Democracy Has Prevailed.

April 29, 2007

Dan Onorato's Magic Act

No doubt, this time of year candidates running for office are bombarded with candidate questionnaires from all manner of community groups and PACs. Some may finding it a bit of a distraction, but along with forums and debates, these questionnaires are a good tool to use when groups make their endorsements -- and these same candidates aren't shy when it comes to touting who has endorsed them.

Occasionally, for whatever reason, a candidate will choose not to respond to a questionnaire, and more rarely, a candidate may choose not to respond to a particular question in a questionnaire leaving it blank.

What I haven't heard of before is a candidate disappearing both question and answer in a returned questionnaire as if the question had never been asked (or in hopes that no one would notice that it had been...).

But that is exactly what current Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato has done with the questionnaire submitted to him by the Steel City Stonewall Democrats (SCSD), a politically active GLBT (and friends) group.

You can see their questionnaire and candidate answers at

If you scroll about 1/4 down the page, you can see Onorato's answers and see that a few questions are followed by "CANDIDATE DID NOT ANSWER QUESTION."

These questions include:

Discuss your thoughts on marriage equality for same-sex couples; while the position you seek may not directly affect this issue, it is important for us to understand your perspective.


Over the past decade, government money has been used to promote “abstinence-only-until marriage” programs in schools. Even though same-sex couples still cannot legally marry in Pennsylvania, to qualify for government support, schools must teach that any sexual relationships outside of marriage is “likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.” Do you support or oppose abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula?


Discuss your thoughts on government's role in shaping school curricula for sex education. Do you have any thoughts on the formation of gay-straight student alliances within the public school systems?


Another equality issue confronting our country is the issue of abortion. Please discuss your position on abortion and any thoughts you have on the current abortion debate.

I asked SCSD's Political Director about the missing answers and it was explained that Onorato had not simply left a blank space, but had deleted the questions themselves.

Yes, some of the most relevant questions to a GLBT group had been disappeared into thin air like some cheap trick in a magic act.

Some may find that presumptuous or arrogant, but then again, perhaps it's in keeping with someone who believes that elections themselves are nothing more than distractions (see here for full quote).

The Steel City Stonewall Democrats have tried to contact Onorato about the missing Q&A's but as of this writing, have yet to hear back from him.

Then again, perhaps I'm being too hard on Dan. I should stop and consider the culture that he's in.

It's a political culture where an elected public official (Len Bodack) can refuse all debates and be overheard complaining to his supporters that his opponent (Patrick Dowd) is "trying to steal the food from my kids' mouths." And, where another officeholder (Ravenstahl) made an art form out of avoiding debates and who is running on the legacy of his predecessor after having kicked out most of the staff of that same predecessor.

It is so very Pittsburgh.

It is so very sad.

Unless you hold them accountable.

(You can see Dan's opponent's answers here and learn more about Rick Swartz here).

1 comment:

ihatepoliticians said...

typical Moronorato....lives off others accomplishments, has no grasp of issues but damn let me get on TV..I'll support anything...

how does he get elected....