Bill Peduto Replies

Mayoral candidate Bill Peduto supplies this A to one of my Q's:

Question: Why should residents of the City be optimistic about the future of Pittsburgh?


Prof. Madison:

First, thank you for hosting this Q & A. The support of local blogs was a large factor in my decision to run and blogs have been invaluable in supporting my campaign. I wanted to be the first democratic mayoral candidate to recognize the importance of local blogs, and I hope the other campaigns will follow suit.

I’ll answer this question first because optimism about Pittsburgh is the theme of your blog.

We need to – and can – restore hope in Pittsburgh. If you’ve ever seen me at a debate or forum you’ve heard me say this. Because, one: it’s true. And, two: Grant Street hasn’t given us a lot to be proud of lately, and I want to change that.

I was elected at the perfect time because I was there to make the tough votes and fight for the reforms we need to fix the city. In fact, I was the first elected official to call on the city to seek Act 47 status to avoid bankruptcy, and no other councilmember would even “second the motion” to bring it up for a vote. (One mayoral candidate was sitting right next to me as this happened.) There have been a lot of difficult choices and votes, but I was fortunate because even when some of my ideas didn’t pass – they were later adopted as part of the Act 47 reform plan.

I’m optimistic, because Act 47 and the Oversight Board have given us this remarkable opportunity to make the significant structural changes we need. It’s why I’m running for mayor: We have four to six years to change the city for the next 20. People said I was crazy when I first proposed many of my reforms – regionalism was a dirty word to most local politicians because people were afraid to give up turf – but citizens responded positively. So now, more than three years after I was sworn-in, almost every mayoral candidate is proposing reforms that sound similar to mine. It shows my ideas have resonated with Pittsburgh residents. I honestly believe City residents want candidates with the courage to reform, and some candidates are finally starting to realize this. Bob O’Connor had three terms on council to propose these ideas, but he never did. I started proposing these changes my very first day in office.

So there’s a critical choice in this election. Everybody running for mayor is a nice guy – I like all of the candidates on a personal level – but while everyone talks about change, I’ve actually done it. I cut my salary and reduced my office expenses 20 percent. I’ve proven that I have the vision to reform and the courage to make the tough decisions. We shifted the paradigm during my first term on council and I’ll continue to look out for the best interests of Pittsburgh taxpayers as mayor.

So, contrary to what many might feel right now, I’m optimistic, because we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to restructure our city – if we choose to elect a true reformer as mayor.

Aside from the opportunity to reform the city, there is a lot to be optimistic about. Community leaders are working to revitalize their neighborhoods in all parts of this city. The transformation of Lawrenceville is remarkable. It’s amazing to see what a group of dedicated business owners and young artists have done to that neighborhood – and I believe we can support similar revitalization city-wide.

During this campaign, I have been fortunate to visit every city neighborhood. There is so much activity, culture and nightlife happening in Pittsburgh. It’s remarkable some young Pittsburgh residents tell me they see Pittsburgh as a dying city. (I’ll talk about this more when I answer questions 1 and 3.) It’s been a pleasure to soak in all the culture, and I encourage everyone to experience it. Every neighborhood has its secret treasures – cuts at Fiori’s in Brookline, Taza D’Oro in Highland Park, the Shadow Lounge in East Liberty, Butler Street in Lawrenceville and Penn Avenue in Garfield. I could go on and on. I hope we don’t take these treasures for granted – I know you don’t. The strength of our neighborhoods – and what they can become if elected officials listen to them – should be a reason for optimism.

Also, the Steelers are on Monday night three times in 2005.


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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