Allegheny County Council District 1: Jack Betkowski vs. Joe Wise | Election Guide | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Allegheny County Council District 1: Jack Betkowski vs. Joe Wise

click to enlarge Allegheny County Council District 1: Jack Betkowski vs. Joe Wise
CP Illustration: Lucy Chen
Jack Betkowski and Joe Wise
UPDATE, Sat., Oct. 30: Joe Wise, the Republican candidate for Allegheny County Council District 1, has died. Wise will still appear on the ballot for Election Day, and mail-in voting has already begun. If he were elected and seated, members of county council have the authority to choose a candidate to replace him.
ORIGINAL STORY, Wed., Oct. 20:
Allegheny County Council District 1 covers sections of Western Allegheny County, and some northern suburbs close to the city. Includes Findlay, North Fayette, Moon, Coraopolis, Glen Osborne, Aleppo, Haysville, Glenfield, Kilbuck, Ben Avon, Ben Avon Heights, Emsworth, Ross, and West View. Incumbent councilor Tom Baker (R-Ross) is not seeking re-election.

Jack Betkowski (Democrat)

Bio: A resident of Ross and a current commissioner on the township board. Retired after a 34-year career with the Federal Reserve of Cleveland. Graduated with a Master’s in Business Administration from Robert Morris University. Says serving on County Council would be an opportunity to give back to the community.

Public Transportation: Says that District 1 “absolutely” needs improved public transportation. As Ross Township commissioner, says he worked with Port Authority to ensure community considerations were included in the authority’s recently released long range plan, which has proposals for extended light-rail and bus service to District 1 communities.

Paid Sick Leave: Applauds county’s recently passed paid sick leave law. “Especially in these times where there is widespread skepticism of public health experts, I was pleased that the final version of the ordinance was drafted by the County Health Department, and done in such a way as to better ensure it could survive legal challenges.”

Development: In Ross, supported changes to township’s zoning code to encourage mixed-use development (combination of residential, retail, and services in the same zone). Says county council can provide guidance on best zoning practices to encourage the best development, and rules to ensure new buildings don’t exacerbate problems with stormwater runoff.

Endorsements: Says he has never accepted any corporate or special interest PAC contributions and won't be held hostage to the demands of outside interest groups in order to get their endorsement. “The needs of the residents of Allegheny County will always come first,” says Betkowski.

Joe Wise (Republican)

Bio: A native of Moon who worked in communications and public relations for years in Washington, D.C., including for former U.S. Rep. Austin J. Murphy. Returned to Moon in 2006 and now serves on board of Moon Township supervisors.

Public Transportation: Touts his experience saving Moon taxpayers money through fiscally responsible spending. Did not respond to questions about public transit policies.

Paid Sick Leave: Campaign website says he wants to bring county council “back to basics.” Did not respond to questions about paid sick leave policies.

Development: Campaign website says he is most proud of his efforts in Moon to “help secure the development of the Hilton Garden Inn complex on University Boulevard, formerly one of the area’s most visibly blighted properties, and the reconstruction of several important roadways, including the $9.5 million Robert Harper Interchange.”

Endorsements: Lodge #91 of the Allegheny County Fraternal Order of Police