Harrisburg Politics | BLOGH: City Paper's Blog |


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Posted By on Tue, Jul 3, 2018 at 12:53 PM

When people take to the streets for several consecutive days, politicians tend to respond. The shooting death of Antwon Rose Jr., killed by East Pittsburgh officer Michael Rosfeld on June 19, has generated several protests over the past couple of weeks.

Now, one of Pittsburgh’s state senators is responding.

State Sen. Jay Costa (D-Forest Hills) will introduced a package of legislation aimed at improving police training at municipal police departments across the state.

“In the wake of tragic officer-involved shootings across the commonwealth, and the nation, I am developing and will be introducing legislation to address these situations,” said Costa in a press release. “I believe it is important that the General Assembly develop and enact legislation that provides improved training for police to know when to use force, particularly deadly force.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Posted By on Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 12:22 PM

click to enlarge Some Pittsburghers recently arrested while protesting for universal health care
Photo courtesy Ben Fiorillo
Protesters in Harrisburg staging a "die-in" to protest for universal health care
The push for universal healthcare is a serious movement. For Pittsburgh resident Lizzie Anderson, that means getting arrested.

Last week, Anderson and 200 others rallied in Harrisburg and called for the Pennsylvania state government to ensure no cuts were made to Medicaid or the food-stamp program. On June 4, about 30 of the protesters exited the Capitol building, and held a “die-in,” where protesters laid down in front of the doorway until they were arrested. Anderson says getting arrested was necessary to send a message to lawmakers that our current health-care system is not adequate.

“I am a therapist and work with people who can't always get therapy because of our broken health-care system,” says Anderson. “It seems in this country we need to disrupt everyday life to get the obvious done.”

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Posted By on Thu, May 17, 2018 at 4:25 PM

Anyone who knows Braddock Mayor and current lieutenant-governor nominee John Fetterman knows that he’s no fan of President Donald Trump. During the 2016 campaign, Fetterman had many pointed criticisms of Trump and regularly used a beloved Western Pennsylvania word to describe Trump: jagoff. In fact, Fetterman even made t-shirts calling Trump a “jagoff.”

For those who don’t know, "jagoff" is a regional term used to describe “a stupid, irritating, or contemptible person,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Pittsburgh Dad says it. It’s basically a tame way to call someone a jerk.

But apparently the Pennsylvania Republican Party thinks it’s too profane to print. A May 16 tweet from the official Pennsylvania Republican Party account shows a picture of Fetterman next to a shirt that reads “Trump is a [censored space]." The text above the picture reads “The Pennsylvania Primary Election determined John Fetterman as the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor; Fetterman is endorsed by Bernie Sanders and his rise included selling t-shirts with profanity-laced attacks on President Trump!”

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2018 at 12:26 PM

click to enlarge State Rep. Dom Costa, campaigning as ‘progressive’ Democrat, also wants to get on the Republican ballot
Image courtesy of Pittsburgh Democratic Socialists of America
Dom Costa mailer sent to Republican voters
Sometime last week, state Rep. Dom Costa (D-Stanton Heights) sent out a mailer to some Democratic voters asking for their support. In the mailer, Costa is described as “a Democrat who has the courage to stand up for our progressive Pittsburgh values.” The mailer then details Costa’s support for guaranteed health insurance for children, protecting funding for public schools and fighting for safer working conditions. (It fails to mention, however, Costa’s not-so-progressive support of anti-immigrant bills, pro-gun legislation and pro-life stances.)

But Costa isn’t just trying to convince progressive voters in Pennsylvania state House District 21 to vote for him, he is also courting Republican voters. A copy of a mailer obtained by the Pittsburgh’s Democratic Socialists of America, and shared with City Paper, shows that Costa is asking Republican voters to write in his name on the ballot. If Costa were to receive 300 Republican write-in votes, his name would appear on the November general election ballot, even if he lost the primary election vote to Democratic challenger Sara Innamorato.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Posted By on Tue, May 8, 2018 at 5:06 PM

click to enlarge State Rep. candidate Aerion Abney says weak political will is hindering affordable housing at former Civic Arena site
Photo courtesy of Aerion Abney
Aerion Abney
On May 1, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported how the Pittsburgh Penguins failed to acquire robust affordable-housing tax credits to help create ambitious affordable-housing plans for the proposed redevelopment of the former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill District.

The development has long been proposed and community groups have wanted the large-scale development to follow the master plan created by the Hill District Consensus Group. This plan asked that the development set aside 30 percent of its units to be affordable for people at and below 50 percent of the area median income. A deal brokered in November 2017 didn’t meet those guidelines, but the Penguins did agree to have 20 percent of the units be affordable for people at or below 60 percent of the area median income.

However, with the failure in acquiring the tax credits, the Penguins are now indicating the November 2017 affordable-housing requirements may be in jeopardy. The P-G reports the Penguins organization and its developer, McCormack Baron, “are looking to revert back to the deal originally negotiated with Hill leaders — 20 percent of the units affordable to households earning 60 to 80 percent.” The Penguins failed to received the 9 percent tax credits, but can still apply for 4 percent tax credits.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, May 7, 2018

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2018 at 6:28 PM

click to enlarge State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe’s pro-gun rally attracted support of group with white-supremacist origins
Photo courtesy of Sean Kitchen
American Guard Members attending Daryl Metcalfe’s pro-gun rally on April 30
Gun owners run the gamut in America. According to a 2017 Pew Research report, white people have the highest percentage of gun owners at 36 percent, but black citizens aren’t far behind with a 24 percent gun-ownership rate. Republican-leaning Americans are more likely to own guns (44 percent of them do); 20 percent of Democratic-leaning Americans also own guns.

But state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Cranberry) may be learning that if you come out extremely pro-gun in today’s America, you may be inviting some pretty extreme individuals to celebrate with you. On April 30, Metcalfe hosted a pro-gun rally at the Pennsylvania Capitol building in Harrisburg titled “Rally to Protect Your Right to Keep and Bear Arms.”

Rally-goers filled the Capitol rotunda to listen to speakers like Metcalfe, state Rep. Eli Evankovich (R-Murrysville) and NRA news host Cam Edwards. Republican gubernatorial candidate and Richland resident Paul Mango was also in attendance. But the rally was also attended by members of the American Guard, which the Anti-Defamation League has labeled a white supremacy group.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, April 16, 2018

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 3:04 PM

click to enlarge Pittsburgh-area political candidates stump for votes during April 12 City Paper candidates' forum
CP photo by Aaron Warnick
Only a City Paper function would have political candidates play trivia games and giant Jenga while still providing in-depth discussions on subjects ranging from the fight for $15 minimum wage to natural-gas drilling to campaign-finance reform.

On April 12, more than 50 people attended the political forum at Spirit Lounge in Lawrenceville, sponsored by City Paper and Women for the Future of Pittsburgh (a.k.a. WTF PGH). The forum primarily hosted candidates for contested seats in the Pennsylvania state legislature. The participants were provided opportunities to talk about their campaigns, as well as show off their knowledge of their districts while playing trivia games curated by CP Editor Charlie Deitch. Ray Linsenmayer, a candidate in the 17th Congressional District who was set to take on Conor Lamb in the primary, attended; however, he withdrew from the race over the weekend.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2018 at 2:54 PM

click to enlarge Lieutenant governor candidate Nina Ahmad visits Pittsburgh; talks importance of an inclusive Pennsylvania
Photo courtesy of campaign
Nina Ahmad
Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Nina Ahmad said Pittsburgh’s economic rebound is an example of how to spread more prosperity across the entire state of Pennsylvania. Ahmad was campaigning in Pittsburgh on March 25 and sat down with  City Paper.

Ahmad, a former aide to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, commended Pittsburgh on its economic resilience and noted that Philadelphia has achieved similar results. She said the openness and inclusive mindsets of each city has helped Pittsburgh and Philadelphia bounce back.

“We need to get what Pittsburgh has done and what Philly has done, and get those accomplishments to the center of the state,” said Ahmad. “You need this diversity to have a sustainable economy.”

Ahmad also said she believes having a lieutenant governor that embodies diversity is important to showcase Pennsylvania as open to the new ideas that drive an innovative economy. Ahmad emigrated from Bangladesh when she was 21 years old and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She also served as the former head of Philadelphia's branch of the National Organization for Women.

If elected, she would be the first woman of color to serve a non-judiciary Pennsylvania statewide office. “It’s critical for the statewide offices to have a women of color represented,” she said. “They have been the saving grace for the Democratic Party.” According to 2016 exit polls, 99 percent of black women and 82 percent of Latinas in Pennsylvania voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, March 23, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 5:58 PM

Southwestern Pennsylvania Republicans targeted in ad campaign over GOP push to impeach state justices
Image courtesy of PA Dems
An online ad targeting Cris Dush (left) and Mike Turzai (right)
In January, Pennsylvania state Supreme Court justices voted to toss out the Republican-drawn map of the state’s U.S. Congressional Districts after ruling the map a partisan gerrymander. The five justices who voted in favor were Democrats and the two who voted against were Republicans. After the Pennsylvania legislature failed to agree on a drawing to replace the map, the state Supreme Court justices drew the new map.

State Republicans were pissed, and some even started calling for the state Supreme Court justices to be impeached. In February, state Rep. Cris Dush (R-Jefferson) introduced four different pieces of legislation that together called for the impeachment of four Democratic state Supreme Court justices. The pieces of legislation have not received widespread support in among legislators, but a handful of Republicans, including state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Cranberry), have co-sponsored the package of legislation.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Posted By on Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 10:13 AM

click to enlarge A booster for gubernatorial candidate Paul Mango spouts anti-LGBTQ rhetoric on controversial podcast
Photo courtesy of Facebook
Carla D'Addesi (left) with Paul Mango (center) at a Mango campaign event in February
In January, business consultant and gubernatorial candidate Paul Mango (R-Pine Township) participated in a video interview with the controversial Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, the leader of a far-right Christian church in Northeastern Pennsylvania that worships AR-15 automatic rifles.

During the January interview, Moon said that public-school students were getting “indoctrinated into the homosexual political agenda” and a “transgender agenda.” Mango nodded along to Moon’s comments, and Pennsylvania Democratic Party officials criticized Mango for his appearance with Moon.

Mango spokesperson Matt Beynon told the TribLive in January that Mango doesn’t believe “that schools are indoctrinating our kids," but does “believe that our culture has eroded and has become more and more intolerant of traditional family values.”

But a month later, on Feb. 15, a volunteer and campaign booster for Mango made an appearance on Moon’s podcast, and she joined in with Moon on espousing some anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.

Carla D’Addesi is a conservative cable-news commentator and self-described faith-and-family-coalition leader for Mango’s 2018 gubernatorial run. She went on Moon’s podcast to discuss state Senator and gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner (R-York) and his support for the Pennsylvania Fairness Act, a bill that would provide LGBTQ Pennsylvanians the same civil-rights protections currently received by religious practitioners, minorities and immigrants. Wagner is a co-sponsor of the state senate's version of the Fairness Act.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,