Election Guide: Pittsburgh City Council District 7 | Election Guide | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Election Guide: Pittsburgh City Council District 7

Pittsburgh City Council District covers the Strip District, Polish Hill, Lawrenceville, Bloomfield, Friendship, Morningside, and Highland Park. 

Deb Gross

Bio: Serving as District 7 city councilor since 2013, Gross lives in Highland Park and has a master’s degree from Duke University. Says campaign isn’t “afraid to challenge growing corporate power” and supports keeping Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority publicly owned. 

Affordable Housing: Supported creation of $10 million affordable-housing fund by increasing city’s real estate transfer tax by 1 percent. Introduced legislation to create an inclusionary zoning pilot in Lawrenceville, where developments of more than 20 units commit 10 percent to affordable units. Working with state leaders to create protections for longtime homeowners against potential rising property tax rates. 

Road Design: Says District 7 neighborhoods are built for pedestrians, and that “walkable and bikeable neighborhoods are more livable for everyone.” Has pushed for budget allocations for pedestrian safety and bringing traffic calming to residential streets and intersections. Hopes to bring those changes to Polish Hill and Morningside. Wants a bike trail and public access along the Allegheny River.

Taxing Large Nonprofits: Says “big nonprofits must be held accountable.” Voted against UPMC’s expansion plans, citing inadequate public attention or community input. Supports adjusting zoning to require developers, like large nonprofits, to agree to community benefits such as affordable housing, childcare funding, and water and sewer infrastructure improvements.  

Endorsements: Stonewall Steel City Democrats, Allegheny County Joint Labor Council, AFSCME public service employee union, Clean Water Action, PA Conservation Voters, Communications Workers of America, Planned Parenthood, Gertrude Stein Club, state Reps. Sara Innamorato and Ed Gainey

Deirdre Kane

Bio: A lifelong District 7 resident, who currently works for Highmark Health. Served seven years as a board member of community group Lawrenceville United. Looks forward to “going on a listening tour of the district to meet residents and understand their unique issues.”

Affordable Housing: Believes Pittsburgh should adopt a city-wide inclusionary zoning policy, where new developments are forced to include percentages of affordable units. Supports the creation of additional Community Land Trusts, where governments or nonprofits own land and lease out buildings they rest on as a way to offer continually affordable homes for sale. 

Road Design: Believes we need to work on creating safer bike lanes in Pittsburgh. Says she “would be interested in understanding where we have the highest bike ridership and work to make sure that we address those areas first.” 

Taxing Large Nonprofits: Supports Mayor Bill Peduto’s push to negotiate payments from the large nonprofits to the OnePGH fund, not tax them. Says that in order to achieve climate action, infrastructure, and responsible development goals, we need to “work together the Pittsburgh way.”

Endorsements: Allegheny County Democrat Committee, support from neighborhood advocate Tony Ceoffe

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