"My opponent in this election, Councilwoman Kail-Smith, is a cog in the special interest machine that has put so much of Pittsburgh up for sale. From her rabid support for the unremarkable policy initiatives that have done so little for the West End to her fixation on the type of politics that arranged her special election victory, Theresa Smith represents more of the same. Her recent obstruction of commonplace campaign finance reform and her acceptance of tens of thousands of dollars in large contributions now proves that."City Councilor Bill Peduto has also been pushing for reform for YEARS:
"Gathering signatures and meeting voters during my listening tour has taught me many things about Pittsburgh, and what the residents of District 2 want in a councilmember. I am pleased to accept the suggestion of a West End neighbor in announcing my new campaign slogan:
"Georgia Blotzer: Some things aren't for sale."
Councilman William Peduto first sponsored campaign finance reform legislation in City Council in 2004 and re-introduced and passed legislation in 2008, prior to a mayoral veto. Councilman Peduto now plans to amend the Mayor and County Executive’s proposal to include three key provisions. First, an elimination of all no-bid contracts. Second, donation limits that are significantly lower than currently proposed and comparable to similarly sized cities. Finally, public access to political contributors and contracts.
“Comprehensive campaign finance reform is an essential first step in the effort to reform City government,” said Councilman William Peduto. “I will not vote for any legislation that does not include these three key provisions.”
He held a post agenda meeting on campaign finance reform on Tuesday.
Mayoral candidate Patrick Dowd in response to yesterday’s post agenda on Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s campaign finance bill, called the Ravenstahl bill “a hollow gesture that falls short of real reform.”
From his press release:
Last year, Ravenstahl vetoed a bill supported by a majority of council that imposed federal contribution limits, $2,300 per person per cycle, on municipal elections. Since his June veto, Ravenstahl has raised approximately $500,000 according to public filings.
“Luke’s attention to reform is a year late and $500,000 short,” Dowd said. “When the council passed sweeping reform in June, he blocked it, only so city contractors could keep funneling cash into his campaign."
Ravenstahl’s current proposal is a watered down version of the legislation he vetoed last year. It allows for double the limit for individual contributions, and fails to provide for transparency in electronic reporting.
More importantly, Ravenstahl's legislation places no restrictions on the awarding of no-bid contracts to contributors. In light of recent press coverage, this means the legislation fails to address the rampant pay-to-play politics currently going on in Pittsburgh.
In response to what he termed a “complete failure of leadership” on campaign finance and eliminating the appearance of impropriety in contracting, Dowd outlined his campaign finance reform agenda:
In a Dowd Administration
1) I will introduce comprehensive, common sense campaign finance legislation that is tied to federal contribution limits within the first 100 days;
2) I will end the practice of awarding no-bid contracts to campaign contributors;
3) I will ensure that every contract over $25,000 will be competitively bid;
4) As an incumbent Mayor, I will not solicit campaign contributions from any firm that does business with the City of Pittsburgh or its Authorities;
5) I will make all finance reports electronically available to the public on the state and county filing dates;
6) I will ensure the creation of and integrate searchable electronic databases of all city contracts and all campaign contributions of all city elected officials;
7) I will publish my public schedule on the city's website so that any Pittsburgher can see who I am meeting with.
Bob Mayo has a chart offered by Peduto during City Council's meeting on the topic which compares the Onorato-Ravenstahl proposal to limit political contributions to campaign finance reform in other cities. It demonstrates how seriously out of whack the O-R plan is.
The Post-Gazette reports that "Facing a potential train wreck of competing campaign reform concepts, city and county council members may create a joint committee to hash out legislation that would cap political donations to candidates, possibly even in borough and township races."
I wish I could be hopeful...
Obligatory Disclaimer: As mentioned before, I've been paid by the Georgia for Council campaign to create and maintain her web site: www.georgiaforcouncil.com