What Fresh Hell Is This?

May 16, 2011

Pittsburgh City Council Races -- It's getting really ugly out there!

First, if you haven't already, you should read this article by Joe Smydo in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In it, incumbents Darlene Harris and Bruce Kraus allege that there's been mayoral interference and "improper use of city resources" in this year's primary races. Harris notes that street paving and pothole filling has been delayed and that PWSA workers have been seen removing her campaign signs. Kraus brings up "Ravenstahl's decision to hold up a $100,000 study of problems in the South Side entertainment district" and that "the administration allowed city police Chief Nate Harper last week to address a meeting organized by one of the councilman's opponents, Jeff Koch, a city public works supervisor who's backed by the mayor." There's also the matter of a stop sign on Pius St. that was disallowed before the race, but suddenly appeared when Koch contacted his public works colleagues.

So what's the latest?

First, from the Lucille Prater-Holliday campaign:

11th Hour Trickery Clouds Race in District 9

With two days until the Election Day, and the campaign of Lucille Prater-Holliday gaining momentum, illegal campaign tactics are apparently being used to cloud the campaign.

A series of outgoing calls have apparently been made with the return number masked so that it appeared as if the calls were made from the Prater-Holliday campaign office.

Multiple calls are going out to the same individuals. Anyone who received a call that may have contained inaccurate or offensive information is asked to contact the campaign office at 412-259-3866.

A police report has been filed.

We are asking the campaigns of Phyllis Copeland-Mitchell and Ricky Burgess to repudiate any illegal or deceptive campaign tactics that are being used to harm the campaign of Ms. Prater-Holliday, and to let the campaign know if they have any information about the calls.
Then there's this -- Darlene Harris' campaign headquarters were vandalized:

(Click to enlarge)

Hmmm, what does this remind me of? The accompanying press release also says that items have been thrown at Harris' personal vehicle while she was driving at night.

Lastly, the previously mentioned P-G article notes that Lil Mayor Luke's buddies Koch, Tony Ceoffe (running against Patrick Dowd), Vince Pallus (running against Harris), and Ricky Burgess (running against the world) have all made allegations of improper campaign financing. Now, these charges have been looked into repeatedly by Chris Potter at the Pittsburgh City Paper (here, here, and here) and found wanting. You can also read Bill Peduto's detailed explanation of the city's campaign finance reform law here*. It's worth noting that the biggest critic of how others follow this law -- the Rev. Ricky Burgess -- wants to scrap it altogether.

Not surprisingly, Jeff Koch has come out with a new flyer that mostly slams Bruce Kraus on the false allegations of failing to follow the campaign finance law:

(Click to enlarge)

We already addressed the raise increase and redecoration "issues" here. And, Kraus is not "fighting bars." He's trying to get businesses and residents to exist in harmony for which, as noted above, Koch's buddy, the Mayor, is holding up money to do.

*Note: I posted that piece at Reform Pittsburgh Now.


James said...

Whenever it comes close to an election and things turn ugly, I'm reminded of this classic Mr. Show sketch involving dirty political ads:


rich10e said...

do we really need to spend 100,000 on a south side study...what ever happened to a good ole sit down with your neighbors and businesses....didn't Bruce have an intern already do a similar project??
More cops would help?? Spend the 100,000 on two more cops dedicated to the SS business district!!

Maria said...


City Councilors cannot designate where police officers serve AND if you recall, the extra officers who were making weekend sweeps on the South Side were pulled with no reason given by the Mayor and the Chief.