Pittsburgh City Council District 9 | 2019 General Election Guide | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
click to enlarge CP ILLUSTRATIONS: ABBIE ADAMS
CP illustrations: Abbie Adams

Pittsburgh City Council District 9 covers the East End neighborhoods of East Hills, East Liberty, Garfield, Homewood, Larimer, Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar, Point Breeze, and Stanton Heights. 

Ricky Burgess (D-Point Breeze)

Bio: Burgess, a Democrat, is a longtime pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church, and has served on council since 2008. A Central Catholic High School grad, he received a master’s from Eastern Michigan University. The chair of Pittsburgh’s Land Bank Board of Directors.

Housing: Lauds his efforts in helping to bring community, nonprofit, and city leaders together in a successful application for the $30 million Choice Neighborhood HUD grant, which has created a large affordable housing neighborhood in Larimer. Voted in favor of an increase in the state real-estate transfer tax which funds city’s $10 million a year Housing Opportunity Fund. Supports more transit-friendly business districts.

Gun Violence: Wrote legislation to create a gunfire locator system called Shotspotter, which his website says has allowed police to respond quicker to gunshots. Says he’s worked to created and fund a Group Violence Intervention program, which provides resources to high-risk individuals. Says this is partially responsible for a 40 percent reduction in shootings since 2016.

Racial inequity: Recently introduced legislation along with City Councilor Daniel Lavelle (D-Hill District) that would declare racism in Pittsburgh a public health crisis and establish a leadership forum and monetary fund with the goals of eliminating racial inequalities and barriers. Urged large nonprofits and banks to contribute to the proposed fund.

Endorsements: Allegheny County Democratic Committee, Steel City Stonewall Democrats, SEIU local 32BJ. Financial support from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto campaign, Mid-Atlantic Laborers' Political League, E Properties and Development. Has raised the most money and has the largest financial war chest of any District 9 candidate.

Barbara Daniels (Homewood)

Bio: A graduate of Carlow University, Daniels currently works for UMPC. A Youngstown, Ohio native, she now lives in Homewood. Daniels attempted to register as an independent, but that party affiliation was already taken, so Daniels’ party is titled the “Community for Daniels” party. Plans to have a neighborhood Advisory Leveling Board made of community members if elected.

Housing: Supports implementing a property tax freeze or lowering property taxes for homeowners. Backs home-repair programs for low-to-moderate income homeowners. Supports rent-control initiatives, funded by taxes on developers of low-income neighborhoods, and wants those same developers to construct a proportionate amount of affordable housing if they are building luxury housing.

Gun Violence: Says city’s recently passed gun restrictions will be more symbolic than effective. “The gun restriction bill was not passed as a result of gun violence in District 9. The bill was passed as a result of the synagogue shooting in Squirrel Hill.” Says gun violence won’t be addressed in the district until larger issues like poverty and economic inequality are reduced.

Racial inequity: Says a recent Pitt study showing stark economic and social inequities between Black and white Pittsburgh confirms what many Black people have felt for some time. Thinks more Black people should be represented in local government. Would work to address racial inequalities that exist within city hiring practices, and advocate for more a diverse police bureau.

Endorsements: Has not formally sought any endorsements. “My supporters are my family and friends, my community, and my church family.” As of  Oct. 1, campaign finance reports show Daniels has raised $70.

Randall Taylor (I-East Liberty)

Bio: Taylor is a former Pittsburgh Public School board member and is running as an independent with backing from Pittsburgh’s Democratic Socialists of America. A vocal affordable housing advocate, Taylor used to live in Penn Plaza in East Liberty, and was opposed to its demolition and loss of hundreds of below-market rate apartment units.

Housing: Says council should fund the development of affordable housing co-operatives in addition to Community Land Trusts, which allow low-income residents to purchase homes. Taylor says these also help stabilize housing markets and property taxes. Wants council to incentivize landlords to accept housing vouchers; created a citywide Tenants Bill of Rights to shore up protections against evictions.

Gun Violence: Believes reducing gun violence starts with increasing economic opportunity in the district. Wants to require city workers and contractors be paid $18 an hour, and says this could put pressure on private employers to do the same. Supports boosting youth programming efforts, and says over-policing and charging only contributes to poor economic conditions that encourage gun violence.

Racial Inequity: Says Pittsburgh has racial disparities throughout its history, from land stolen from the Native American Haudenosaunee Confederacy to the stark economic and social inequalities Black Pittsburghers face today. Wants more education to teach Pittsburghers about these wrongs. Wants to tax large nonprofits like UPMC to fund transit passes, public housing, and free health-care clinics to boost Black Pittsburghers.

Endorsements: Pittsburgh DSA, Sierra Club, Pitt Progressives, Gertrude Stein Political Club, Former Democratic District Attorney candidate Turahn Jenkins, racial and housing justice advocates Carl Redwood, Judith Ginyard, and Hop Kendrick

DeNeice Welch (Homewood)

Bio: Holds a Ph.D. from Duquesne University and is president of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN). A longtime community activist, says her activism helped lead to community policing policies in Pittsburgh. Sought to register as an independent, but that party affiliation was already taken, so Welch’s party is titled the “Citizens for Welch” party.

Housing: Wants ordinances to prevent absentee landlords from allowing their properties to decay into blight and provides low-interest loans to homeowners to fix up homes. Supports inclusionary zoning polices and tenant co-ops like Belmar Gardens, which can help residents own and control their own properties.

Gun Violence: “The major source of gun violence is poverty.” Says boosting family-sustaining wages, transportation, access to quality health care and childcare and unionizing is the way to combat the source of gun violence. Supports council’s current efforts to restrict gun use in city limits. Would advocate for partnering with groups working to combat gun violence.

Racial Inequity: Says African Americans have long been aware of the negative effects of racist policies, even without the recent Pitt study. Wants the city to acknowledge the racism and audits his hiring practices to ensure racial equity. Says the issue goes beyond money, but taxes on large corporations can ameliorate other systemic issues like housing, environmental concerns, and infrastructure.

Endorsements: Says supporters are District 9 residents and those that advocate on shared causes like increased wages and Community Schools. According to campaign finance records, raised more than $37,000 between September and October of this year.

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