Pittsburgh Mayor Recall

When you hear the word “recall,” I assume your first thought is concerning a manufacturer informing individuals to bring their automobiles into the shop to remedy a safety defect. For me, that was the case until August 2021. As a Southern California native, August 2021 was the start of a very important process called a gubernatorial recall election. There were complaints about having the highest taxes in the United States, the highest homelessness rates, and according to some, the lowest quality of life. These frustrations coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which exacerbated existing problems. At this point, seven total recall petitions had been launched against Governor Gavin Newsom (D). On Feb. 20, 2020, the petition which led to the 2021 recall election was served against Governor Newsom. In short, Governor Newsom won and is still the Governor of California.

This may seem a bit odd to bring up a year-and-a-half later, but we, in the city of Pittsburgh, are faced with a similar dilemma. The incumbent Mayor of Pittsburgh, Ed Gainey, has seen his relationship with the people of Pittsburgh grow sour. Since assuming office, Mayor Gainey has failed to effectively salt the roads to protect drivers against the snow. After one winter, the local yinzers had grown tired of Gainey’s use of salt with abnormally high alkalinity levels. Then, during football season, in a misguided attempt to endear himself to the city’s rabid sports fans, Gainey tried to color the city’s three rivers black and yellow like Chicago does when it dyes its river green on St. Patrick’s Day. The result was the black of the Allegheny River mixed with the yellow of the Monongahela River to turn the Ohio River into a dreary shade of gray not seen since the steel mills polluted the rivers 60 years ago. But the straw that broke the camel’s back was a Jan. 30, 2023 tweet from Mayor Gainey’s Twitter handle (@gainey_ed): “Congratulations @Eagles — Pennsylvania is headed to the Super Bowl #FlyEaglesFly.”

That seems like something Governor Josh Shapiro (hometown: Philadelphia) would tweet, not the mayor of a different city within the state — especially one with a long-held rivalry. Gainey used to be in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, but he allegedly grew up in Pittsburgh and is the mayor of Pittsburgh, a fact that was frequently highlighted in responses to his tweet and referenced rather vociferously on many occasions. A tweet seemingly so innocuous yet also so concerning. As someone living in this great city, can I trust that Gainey is actually from Pittsburgh? Does Gainey really like French Fries on his sandwiches, or does he prefer cheese whiz on them? Is his real name even Ed Gainey?

This tweet ended up prompting a successful recall petition. Since then, a young, up-and-coming Republican candidate has come out of nowhere to take this fair city by storm. Meet Jorge Santoso — the 34-year-old, mega-successful businessman. Santoso, a Pittsburgh native, attended Taylor Allderdice High School, furthered his education at the University of Pittsburgh for his bachelor’s degree, and received an MBA from Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business in 2013. Santoso has since started his own capital introduction consulting firm, Santoso Organization. At its peak, Santoso Organization managed $800 million in assets. The firm was based in Pittsburgh but registered in Florida to avoid the aggressive Pennsylvania taxes forced upon everyday people by the avaricious, gluttonous Democrats. n January 2023, Jorge Santoso dissolved Santoso Organization to prioritize challenging Mayor Gainey in the recall election to save Pittsburgh.

It is no secret why I am voting Santoso in the election. There is something about über-successful, honest businessmen that translates into great politicians. There was one that won office in 2016 at the federal level, but his name is escaping me. Maybe you can figure that one out.

Outside of his professional success, Santoso is an appealing candidate because of how well-rounded and accomplished he is in almost every way imaginable.

Some highlights:

When Santoso began his freshman year at Taylor Allderdice High School, it was actually known as General Robert E. Lee High School. Yes, Robert E. Lee, as in the Confederate general who led the South’s attempt at secession during the Civil War. But Santoso knew that keeping a name like that and celebrating a man who fought for hatred was problematic, so he held protests and got the school to change the name. unny enough, Santoso overlapped with Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa at Taylor Allderdice High School. Santoso encouraged Wiz Khalifa to start getting into music. Being the multi-talented guy he is, Santoso wrote the classic Pittsburgh anthem “Black and Yellow” for Mr. Khalifa. The song became a major hit and launched Wiz Khalifa into rap superstardom.

Santoso is Jewish. I know this one may not resonate with everyone, but Santoso’s Jewish heritage in the political spectrum is a big deal for Jewish people like me.

Santoso formed a non-profit that specialized in financial elder protection. The non-profit was responsible for saving hundreds of thousands of seniors from falling victim to credit card and check fraud—heroic.

Now that I have covered his successful business and impressive side quests, I have yet to mention his football days. Back as an undergrad at Pitt, Santoso was actually a star wideout alongside the legendary Larry Fitzgerald. At Pitt, they were arguably the greatest college receiving combo ever.

But Santoso knew his calling was bigger than playing football. His eyes were set on serving the people of Pittsburgh. This guy would never allow the venerable Heinz name to be replaced at the Steelers gridiron by some internet insurance firm from Grand Rapids, Michigan! In Santoso, I know I am getting an overachieving, principled man that is fit to serve the people of Pittsburgh — his people. For that reason, I am voting to recall Ed Gainey and elect Jorge Santoso to lead Pittsburgh.