New American and Returning Candidate.
Pittsburgh, PA – Responding to calls from North Side residents for a change in the way council does business, newly naturalized US Citizen, Dave Schuilenburg, affirmed today that he will seek to unseat Darlene Harris of Pittsburgh’s City Council District 1 seat. “It is with deep humility that I announce today my intention to present myself again as an alternative for voters to City Council’s & Darlene Harris’ spending ways” announced Schuilenburg, the 9-1-1 dispatcher & Summer Hill home owner who presented a respectable challenge to the unpopular former Pittsburgh Public School board member in the November 7th Special Election.
Schuilenburg’s confirmation of a re-run for the office comes amidst recent media reports which brought to light a purchase initiated by Ms Harris of a Smoke Eater for her office in the non-smoking City-County building. “Not only are tax payers forking the bill for her Ms Harris’ bad & unhealthy habit, but an illegal one at that, and that is simply unethical & unacceptable!” comments Schuilenburg.
“Not only does this show that Ms Harris has not changed her spending ways,” continued Schuilenburg, “but it also shows her blatant disrespect for the residents that elected her, and the law for that matter. Is this truly the ‘fiscal manager’, as she called herself before the Post-Gazette editors, we want to lead us out of the city’s fiscal crisis for the next 4 years? More importantly, is this the example of leadership we want to set for our children?”
In contrast, Schuilenburg plans on running a campaign focused on concrete reforms he calls ‘An Agenda Of Positive Change’, policy ideas he initially presented during last fall’s special election for the district’s council seat. The platform was overshadowed, however, by his opponent’s tactic of raising concern with his citizenship status at the time. “Though I had heard several reports of my opponents going door-to-door attempting to convince voters to hold back lending me their support due to such, their success was minimal at best. More importantly, however,” adds Schuilenburg “now that my 5+ year process to become a citizen has finally come to end last month, this time around the onus falls back on them to counter with their concrete ideas for change, something none of them, including Ms Harris, did last time around.”
Setting his sights on ‘out of favor’ Harris, Schuilenburg adds “Let’s not forget that she only won based on the electorate’s strong will to unseat Santorum & Hart, and the ‘Straight Party’ ticket wave that accomplished such, despite not having had to run in a May primary. Considering she only had 45% of the district committee members endorsement in the fall, however,” adds Schuilenburg “I can guarantee that she will not win this year without placing a 4 year plan for the North Side & the city out for debate, should she even have one!”
Ms Harris’ unpopularity originates from ill decisions made during her tenor on the PPS board, including one to open nearby schools with low attendance during a fiscal crisis, actions which subsequently cost the school district loss of significant grant money from highly respected local endowments. Temporarily withdrawing their financing of school programs, the Heinz Endowment & Pittsburgh Foundation specifically cited her lack of ‘governance, leadership & financial discipline’ as their reason, and subsequently reinstated the funding when the electorate voted her out of office the following election.
A respected member of various upper North Side community & action committees, including the North Side Weed & Seed and the North Side Public Safety Council, Schuilenburg presented himself last November as the most non-partisan choice to Harris, and was quoted as being ‘the most knowledgeable candidate on the issues’ by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Likewise, Schuilenburg ran a campaign on proposed concrete ideas as opposed to name recognition as attempted to do other candidates, and garnered almost half the votes the candidates with recognizable name did.
Schuilenburg’s documented platform of council reforms includes allowing the electorate the opportunity to vote on downsizing council from 9 to at least 7 members; improvements to public safety, including a reorganization resources so as to free up officers for true police work; pro-merger of city-county administrative & bureaucratic duplicate services; and refocusing capital investments into neighborhoods, a position current Mayor Ravenstahl has taken in his first budget. Schuilenburg even proposes holding a public ‘Socio-Economic Summit’ with North Side neighborhood groups & elected officials of all levels so as to set forth strategies & priorities for kick-starting improvements to the quality of life on the North Side as a whole. “When East Allegheny, Troy Hill & Manchester suffer, we all suffer; and it is time for leaders with ideas from across the North Side to come forth and present those ideas for consideration”.