Saturday, October 22, 2005

County Candidates

Mark Purcell, Democrat
Wants to take politics out of property assessments by putting county controller in charge of valuations. Favors adding assessors in the field to improve accuracy.
We should take politics out of valuations of property. The best way to do that is to only tax the land. Then formulas on square foot of land can be applied to the various land footprints.

We used to have county assessers. But, they became, how should we say, shady -- from time to time. We really should have been better at protections for whistle-blowers and keeping the county assessment department above reproach. They were good, so I've come to understand. But, they needed to be excellent. And, the three county commissioners had a way of fussing with property values.

I would be in favor of county employees as assessors.

We could also make a change in the county charter to allow for an elected assessor. We don't need a register of wills to be elected. We could use an elected assessor. If the assessments are not square -- then the people toss the person out of office.

Matt Drozd, Republican.
Vows to vote against any tax increase. Wants to institute voter referendums for all tax increases and major spending items. Says county needs greater focus on job creation.
Yes, let's start to have some real democracy. Let's put more voter referendums into the landscape and vote if we should give American Eagle Outfitters more than $5-million.

Yes, let's not make tax increases. We are already taxed enough.

However, I'm not too sure what he means about the county needing to put a greater focus on job creation. The private sector makes jobs. Government has a poor record with job creation. No thanks. Perhaps I'll visit his web site to see what he means by that short statement.

Edward J. Kress, Republican.
Wants to create economic opportunity to reverse tide of young people leaving Allegheny County. Favors finding alternate sources of county government revenue by selling naming rights to parks, other county facilities.
The "alternative funding" efforts are fine, as per Les Ludwig's ideas. Bring them on. We should have never sold the naming rights to the Civic Arena to the Penguins. The Pens want to tear down the Civic Arena now.

However, I wonder what is up with the econimic opportunity efforts. Does he want to create more TIFs for young people that are not here? Or, does he want to help in the sponsoring of a YOUTH TECHNOLOGY SUMMIT as an annual event at the Convention Center so our kids, academics, parents, foundations, schools and volunteers can mingle with businesses?

James R. Burn, Republican
Favors assessment plan adopted by Allegheny County Council, but says county must work toward annual assessments to gain accuracy. Says he will bring financial stability and economic growth.

Great to hear that someone is against the current trend of freezes on assessments. We used to freeze property assessments and that leads to trouble.

Yes, we need financial stability, and yes, we need economic growth -- but how and where?

Michael J. Finnerty, Democrat -- no web site. Welcome to 2005. Sounds like an old fart.
Wants to create jobs and economic development. Favors incentives for building and development, especially in area near Pittsburgh International Airport. Seeks more consolidation of services such as purchasing with city, but would go slow with mergers of major offices.
I'd like to work against this type of thinking. I don't want to create jobs and econimic development by the airport and kill the city. If people want to buy that land -- let them do it on their own. We have an urban decay that needs more attention than development on greenfields by an airport that has few flights.

Doug Price, Republican. It breaks my heart to find out that Doug does not have a web site. But, at least he has a record to stand upon. He's been on council and you know what you're getting.
Seeks continued reform of county government by transforming treasurer and sheriff from elected to appointed positions. Favors developing the airport corridor by funding a new water treatment plant to serve two major development sites there.
Okay, I'm okay with a water treatment plant by the airport. That is a public infrastructure investment. That's great. We could do some 'green' development with better treatment of water sources, etc.

I've always liked Doug's approach to reform. I hope he keeps his seat.

Geneva McKee, Republican -- no web site, sadly.
Says assessments need to be made more fair so lower-priced properties do not subsidize underassessed properties. Favors cutting taxes overall to try to create jobs and keep people in the region.

Charles Martoni, Democrat -- no web site.
Favors economic development to keep young people in the area. Wants to develop brownfields. Favors government free of partisan rancor.

His web site is free of rancor -- and void of ideas. I don't mind a little rancor from time to time as democracy is messy. Martoni is no saint either. How we should develop brownfields is not understood. To put in big-box developers at tax-payers' expense isn't okay. Martoni has approved tiffs.

Your comments are welcomed too.


Anonymous said...

doug price is leaving council

Mark Rauterkus said...

Someone wrote that Doug Price is leaving council. Humm. Tell me more. Willingly? Is it just expected that he'll not be able to win his seat?

Didn't he win the GOP primary? Did he decide to pull out?

I ask as I don't know and don't want anything hanging without facts and details.

Mark Rauterkus said...

The poster seems to be wrong about Price. Here is a snip of a PG article on Sunday. Perhaps he got Doug and Tom S mixed up.

One of Mr. Onorato's most persistent Republican critics, Councilman Doug Price of Collier, is up for re-election in council District 4, which covers portions of the South Hills and, because of redistricting, now has 43,594 Democrats and 19,800 Republicans.

Yet Mr. Price thinks his new constituents will support him. He won the votes of many Democrats in 2002, when he defeated the district's incumbent, Eileen Wagner. She is now the county register of wills.

"I think my voice on council has been one of objective dissent," said Mr. Price, a 41-year-old lawyer. "I hope, in an election like this, the voters simply look at the candidate and not the party."

Mr. Price was the author of a Republican plan to adopt the results of the 2006 reassessment and set a property's value at 84 percent of its assessed value. He argues such a change would have eased the tax burden on some poorer homeowners with declining property values.

But council voted against his plan last week. Instead, members approved Mr. Onorato's proposal to use 2002 -- the year of the previous reassessment -- as the county's base year.

Mr. Price's opponent, Michael Finnerty of Scott, said he supports the base-year approach.

"I think it stabilizes the assessments and that's important for the residents and businesses of Allegheny County," he said.

Mr. Finnerty, 60, is a former teacher in the Chartiers Valley School District. He also served as president of the teachers union there.