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Pittsburgh mayoral election approaches

Credit: Jonathan Leung/Assistant Photo Editor Credit: Jonathan Leung/Assistant Photo Editor Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Pittsburgh’s 2013 mayoral election between Democrat nominee Bill Peduto and Republican nominee Josh Wander takes place tomorrow.

Current mayor Luke Ravenstahl, announced his decision not to run for re-election last March, and has become less and less prominent in his role as mayor since then.

Ravenstahl’s path toward leaving the office has been speckled with controversy. Two weeks ago, Ravenstahl tweeted messages about his legacy from his home and from a nearby country club during the workday.

Ravenstahl has been criticized for being aloof and absent ever since he withdrew from the race.

Ravenstahl is also known to have unfriendly political ties with Peduto; according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, during the primary race Ravenstahl allegedly used campaign money after he drew out of the race to air advertisements critical of Peduto.

Background

Wander grew up in Pittsburgh, but has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Israel, where he is currently residing and working, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Wander received his master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh in public and international affairs. He is a relative newcomer to the political scene, having previously served as constable of White Oak, Pennsylvania following several unsuccessful runs for local offices including Pittsburgh mayor and Pittsburgh City Council.

Peduto has a long history as a Pittsburgh politician. having served on the Pittsburgh City Council for the past 11 years. He recently made a visit to Carnegie Mellon to give a lecture as part of the Forum on Economic Development. Peduto has a long history of initiating reform within Pittsburgh. According to his website, Peduto — a self-described “reform Democrat” — wrote “the most comprehensive package of government reform legislation in Pittsburgh’s history.” He has also focused on redeveloping Pittsburgh’s East End.

Campaign

According to Wander’s campaign website, Pittsburgh security is an issue that he wants to tackle by establishing strong ties between each community and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. He also wants to address the flaws of the mayoral position, such as a lack of presence both in the office and on the streets of Pittsburgh; he hopes to “provide the leadership needed to consolidate, privatize, and establish cooperative services with the county to save money for the taxpayers of Pittsburgh.”

Peduto, according to his website, served as co-creator and co-chair of Pittsburgh’s Comprehensive Climate Action Plan. As co-chair, Peduto helped write legislation to protect Pittsburgh’s “unique green hillsides.” He is working to transform Pittsburgh into a “Med/Ed New Economy.” Peduto, as a reform Democrat, is working to transform Pittsburgh’s economy and bring it out of its recent recession to meet national needs and standards.

Student Response

Many students, when interviewed, were unfamiliar with Wander and his policies. Philip Farr, a sophomore electrical and computer engineering major, said that he had never heard of the candidate. “I don’t know much about Wander; all of the news I’ve seen seems to focus on Peduto and his platform.”

Bineh Ndefru, a junior materials science and engineering major, supports Peduto. “I’m not registered to vote here, but if I were, I would vote for him. I like him a lot.”

Max Goetschel, a sophomore public policy and management, economics, and math triple major, attended Peduto’s lecture at Carnegie Mellon and also supports his proposed policies. “[At the lecture] he answered simple questions about transportation with concrete examples, and gave complicated questions about race a pragmatic and sensible response,” Goetschel said.