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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Pittsburgh's North Hills constituents worry GOP tax plan could hurt 12th District senior citizens

Posted By on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 5:31 PM

Protesters outside of U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus' office in Ross on Nov. 29. - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Protesters outside of U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus' office in Ross on Nov. 29.
Protesters in Pittsburgh’s North Hills are begging for their fellow residents to pay attention to the details of what is in store if the Republicans’ tax-reform bill passes and is signed into law.

“With the demographics that live in [Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District], almost no one will benefit from this plan,” said Stacey Vernallis, of left-leaning grassroots group PA 12 for Progress, at a Nov. 29 protest in Ross. About 20 other protesters joined Vernallis outside of the office of U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley) to protest the the proposed tax bill.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Lt. Gov. candidate Aryanna Berringer says she’s lived the life of the forgotten constituents she wants to help

Posted By on Tue, Nov 28, 2017 at 12:17 PM

Aryanna Berringer - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAMPAIGN
  • Photo courtesy of campaign
  • Aryanna Berringer
When Murrysville resident Aryanna Berringer was a kid, her father was arrested and jailed for marijuana possession. She is the youngest of 10 children, and her mother had to work three waitress jobs to make ends meet, since her father, a truck driver, could no longer support the family.

Berringer, a longtime Democratic Party activist and Iraq War veteran, entered the race to challenge incumbent Lt. Gov. Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) back in May. She says her life experience is what motivated her to run for lieutenant governor; she hopes to counter any other candidates who may lack authenticity.

“Politicians that have been bred for these roles,” says Berringer. “We don’t often elect people who have lived through the life of the people they want to serve.”

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Check out all the Democrats running for endorsement for the open 18th Congressional District seat

Posted By on Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 3:13 PM

A map of Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District - IMAGE COURTESDY WIKIPEDIA
  • Image courtesdy Wikipedia
  • A map of Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District
When Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth) won the Republican endorsement the state's 18th Congressional District, on Nov. 11, most people following the race were shocked. That day, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, “many observers assumed [state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Jefferson Hills)] was the frontrunner,” but Saccone overtook Reschenthaler in the second round of voting to win 123-91.

Saccone canceled his bid to take on U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Scranton) after former U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) resigned amidst scandal in October, and instead campaigned for the open congressional seat. Saccone is arguably one of the most conservative legislators in the state house, noted for consistently attempting to bring Christianity into government and public schools, as well as for his fervent pro-gun stances.

As for Saccone's opponent, Democratic committee members in the 18th District will decide who represents the party come the March 2018 special election. With the Democrats picking their nominee this Sunday, Pittsburgh City Paper wanted to provide a brief rundown of all seven candidates for the vacated seat. (The 18th district encompasses southern Allegheny County, Washington County, Greene County, and the southern half of Westmoreland County.)

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

John Fetterman wants to unite the left to defeat the right in his run for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 10:55 AM

John Fetterman during his 2016 U.S. Senate campaign. - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • John Fetterman during his 2016 U.S. Senate campaign.
On Nov. 14, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman announced his campaign to run for the state’s second highest office, lieutenant governor. The seat is currently held by Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia). Stack has been criticized for allegedly abusing his staff, as well as for trying to expense thousands of dollars in hotel stays in Philadelphia, where he owns a home. Fetterman, also a Democrat, is hoping to unseat Stack, and join Gov. Tom Wolf (D-York) on the 2018 general election ticket.

In a Nov.14 phone call with Pittsburgh City Paper, Fetterman acknowledged the infighting between the Democratic Party and arguments over how the left should move forward to secure votes in the era of President Donald Trump. The neoliberal side of the Democratic Party, which is more aligned with the policies of Hillary Clinton, believes a more moderate, while still generally progressive, approach will succeed. The Democratic Socialist side, which is more aligned with the policies of Bernie Sanders, feels that drastic changes must take place in order to win elections.

But Fetterman believes his record shows that the two sides can come together. In 2016, he was one of the first U.S. Senate candidates to endorse Sanders, but after Sanders lost the primary, Fetterman started to campaign for Clinton. (He even started campaigning for his senate-election opponent Katie McGinty when he lost in the primary election.)

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Some of Pittsburgh’s Republican suburbs are turning blue

Posted By on Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 4:16 PM

Protesters gather outside of Republican U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus' office in Ross Township in July. - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Protesters gather outside of Republican U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus' office in Ross Township in July.
The 2017 general elections saw some remarkable wins for local Democrats and progressives. In Allegheny County, the Pittsburgh chapter of Democratic Socialists of America saw both of its endorsed candidates, Anita Prizio for county council and Mik Pappas for magisterial judge, pull off victories. In Philadelphia, a Black Lives Matter ally, Larry Krasner, won the race for the city’s district attorney. And Tyler Titus was elected to the Erie school board, making him Pennsylvania’s first openly trans person to be elected to public office.

In statewide races, Republicans won some victories, too. For one, surprisingly, given upstart progressive wins elsewhere, Republican Sallie Mundy won a full term as state Supreme Court justice, and did so by winning in some unexpected places. For example, both Erie and Lackawanna counties sided with Mundy, despite historically leaning Democratic. And in Commonwealth Court, Republicans split the four open seats with Democrats.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

U.S. Congressional candidate Bob Solomon believes moving left is necessary to flip the 18th District

Posted By on Tue, Nov 7, 2017 at 1:04 PM

bob-solomon.jpg
Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District has been a Republican stronghold for more than 15 years. Former U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair), who recently resigned after a scandal broke, held the seat since 2002 and never received less than 58 percent of the vote. For the last two elections, Democrats didn’t even bother to offer a challenger to Murphy.

However, emergency physician Bob Solomon believes there is a path to flip the 18th District, but only with a candidate pushing a very progressive-left agenda. The 18th District stretches from Washington and Greene counties to Westmoreland County, and includes the southern section of Allegheny County. Solomon acknowledges the district's voters tend to be “fairly conservative.” But, he believes that campaigning on policies like single-payer health care, publicly provided higher education, campaign-finance reform and wage equity, will increase voter turnout among left-leaning voters and entice enough conservative Democrats to put him in the U.S. Congress.

Solomon says these progressive policies are beneficial to working-class individuals.

“The Democratic Party is for the people who work for a living, but the Democratic Party has gotten away from that message,” says Solomon. “But I think we can work to get back to that.”

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Decoding state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe’s far-right messaging targeting Pittsburgh City Paper

Posted By on Fri, Nov 3, 2017 at 4:56 PM

Screenshot of Daryl Metcalfe's post about CP's Sh*t List - IMAGE COURTESY OF FACEBOOK
  • Image courtesy of Facebook
  • Screenshot of Daryl Metcalfe's post about CP's Sh*t List
On Oct. 12, state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Cranberry) discovered City Paper’s 2017 Shit List issue, which was first published on Aug. 2. Metcalfe wrote on his personal Facebook page, “I am sharing this pic with you to expose just how profane, vulgar and disrespectful the left is!” and included a picture of a cut-out paper version of his entry on the 2017 Shit List next to the poop-emoji used to illustrate the list.

Metcalfe claimed CP’s article was in the “same area” as an ad for a foster-care service provider in CP’s print issue. He then went on to claim CP and “the left” hate mankind, support abortion, reject morality, support homosexuality, and “hate God and reject His sovereign authority based on all of the above.”

Of course, most of Metcalfe’s claims are nonsense. One, the foster-care ad is actually several pages from the Shit List article. Second, there is no quantifiable way to judge if CP hates or loves mankind, but considering that we have written stories shining a light on issues facing Latino immigrants, African-Americans, LGBTQ Pennsylvanians, rural white people, Asian and African refugees, low-and-middle income Pittsburghers, the wrongfully imprisoned, people suffering from health issues, high-school students in Metcalfe’s district, etc., it’s easy to believe that CP falls on the love-mankind side of the spectrum.

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Monessen Mayor Lou Mavrakis slings mud and potentially encourages voter fraud in last week of race

Posted By on Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 2:51 PM

Flier depicting Matt Shorraw as a puppet - IMAGE OBTAINED BY CITY PAPER
  • Image obtained by City Paper
  • Flier depicting Matt Shorraw as a puppet
When President Donald Trump visited an aluminum factory in the Mon Valley town of Monessen in June 2016, it was a game-changing moment. A shift occurred that put a Republican presidential candidate in a place one had never really been before: championing unionized heavy-industry workers in Pennsylvania. And this was all orchestrated by Monessen Mayor Lou Mavrakis, a Democrat, who invited Trump to campaign in the small town.

But while this visit might have helped Trump, who is now president in part due to an improbable Pennsylvania victory, Mavrakis took heat from Monessen Democrats, and they cast him out in the 2017 Democratic primary election. (The actual impact of Trump's visit is questionable. Monessen voters supported Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by a more than 12 point margin). Mavrakis lost the primary to Matt Shorraw, a grad student at California University of Pennsylvania with a progressive platform. And even though Shorraw is the presumptive mayor since his name is the only one on the general-election ballot, Mavrakis is still attempting to hold on to his seat with a write-in campaign.

Part of Mavrakis' campaign appears to be targeting voters and encouraging them to fill out absentee ballots, even if they will be in Monessen on Election Day. A PDF obtained by Pittsburgh City Paper shows a letter that was mailed out by Mavrakis’ wife Glenda Mavrakis, to a Monessen constituent, and signed by Lou Mavrakis. The letter gives step-by-step instructions on how to write-in and vote for Mavrakis, and even suggests that voters call Mavrakis, so he can pick up, stamp and mail their ballot.

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