Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Ink in the South Pgh Reporter - 2 articles

Mark Rauterkus, of the South Side, is a Libertarian. "I'm angry and agitated at the way the city is led," he said. He is particularly angry about deals, such as the tax increment financing proposals being studied by the school board. "These big ticket items are killing us," he said.

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Full article:

District 3 candidates do all the talking

Al Lowe 07.FEB.06

First in Allentown...

By Al Lowe, Contributing Writer

Jeff Koch, a city public works employee from Arlington and owner of a landscaping business, won the Democratic endorsement for the District 3 council race.

Democrats Patrick Sweeney and Eileen Conroy have both withdrawn from the race after failing to get their party's endorsement, but eight other candidates are expected to stay in the race.

The special election is scheduled for March 14, with the winner serving the remainder of the term of Gene Ricciardi, who resigned from council to become a district judge.

They had opportunities to make their individual cases before the voters at a Candidates Night held January 26 at St. John Vianney Parish Center and sponsored by the Reporter, A-CDC and the Allentown Civic Association.

The candidates personalities and philosophies were revealed as they fielded questions from moderator Tom Smith, South Pittsburgh Reporter editor.

His wife asked him why he was running, Democrat Koch said. His answer: "I know the needs of the community." I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty." The work that needs to get done will get done.�
One advantage he said he has as a candidate is that he has checked out every street through his work as a public works employee.

�My strongest point is that I�m in touch with the community.

He wants more undercover detectives to reduce crime and more financial stability for the city. He said he has reported crimes to the police.� �It�s not just lip service.� I mean what I say.�

When he was asked about the expected closing of Knoxville Middle School, Koch said �I hate to see any school close down.� The decision lies with the school board.� I would work with them.�
Mr. Sweeney, like the other candidates, was asked about how he would improve the quality of life for city residents and reduce social problems such as prostitution and drug abuse.� He is a public defender from the South Side.
�I don�t know why my clients do the things they do,� Sweeney said.� The key to reducing drug addiction is to
realize it is a matter of supply and demand and to reduce demand.� He is in favor of rehabilitation without �throwing away the key for criminals.

He also brought up �the huge budget problem.� The bailout package from Harrisburg is inadequate. We need a better deal from Harrisburg.� We need to go after nonprofits that don�t pay taxes.

As a councilman he promised to use his skills at negotiation to get five votes and get things done.

I�ll not just fight for my neighborhood, the South Side.� I�ll fight for every one of the neighborhoods.

�I live in the house that I was born in,� South Side resident Bruce Kraus, who is self-employed with a home design company, said.

�I said this was the people�s campaign from day one.�

He said he was concerned that Pittsburgh neighborhoods were losing their anchors. �Mom and Pop stores, schools and churches are closing.� When there is a vacuum crime comes in. Until we secure the anchor, we�ll always have problems.�

The candidates were asked about closing Knoxville Middle School.� Ideally, it could be used for another school, Kraus said.

Regarding another issue, he said fighting graffiti was his �passion.� He said District 3 was diverse, �with wonderful amenities and even better people.� He promised to use one-on-one communication skills to build good relationships with the people he works with.

I'm the only woman in the race, said former district judge Eileen Conroy, of Oakland. My knowledge and experience makes me qualified...As a judge I understand your problems. I understand your greatest needs.

Her response to several of the questions posed by Mr. Smith was that she �would sit down, find out exactly what was going on and solve the problems. Her answer regarding the vandalism problem at the Caliguiri high rise was she wanted less closed meetings among authority members.

With closed meetings the public is not aware of the decisions that were made.�
Regarding the expected closing of the Knoxville school, she said, �It is always sad when a school closes. There should be a public hearing so the best decision can be made about the property.

Ms. Conroy withdrew from the race last Tuesday after participating in a candidates� forum on the South Side on Monday, Jan. 30. She said that it just didn't feel right having to run as an independent after losing her party's endorsement.

Bruce Krane, a South Side resident, owns Pittsburgh Staffing, an employment contractor for temporary help. He was once chairman of the supervisors for North Strabane and worked in military intelligence.

He mentioned he has produced a radio show. I have significant skills. He said council needs a businessman.
Regarding Mayor Bob O�Connor, he said that if the mayor was right, he'd stand up for him, and if not, he�d go the other way.

Even without the Democratic endorsement, he�d stay in the race as an Independent.

Mark Rauterkus, of the South Side, is a Libertarian. "I'm angry and agitated at the way the city is led," he said. He is particularly angry about deals, such as the tax increment financing proposals being studied by the school board. "These big ticket items are killing us," he said.

The goals of Jason Phillips, a Green Party candidate, include: ending corporate welfare, more green space and returning more beat patrolmen to the streets.

"Stop wasteful spending," candidate Matthew Bartus said. "Stop subsidies to big business." He also wants council members limited to serving two terms and having to resign if they run for other offices.