- Gilchrist first Black female EMS district chief - 2013-05-22
- Council passes Domestic Violence Bill - 2013-05-22
- Bill Peduto wins primary for Pittsburgh Mayor - 2013-05-21
- Trailer Parking: Zoe bares all in Allure magazine pictorial - 2013-05-17
- NAACP head says Orie Sisters’ sentence just; Judge orders re-sentencing for ex-Justice Melvin - 2013-05-10
Created on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 09:16 Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 09:16 Published on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 09:16 Written by Christian Morrow - Courier Staff Writer Hits: 1175
BILL ROBINSON WITH CHECK BOOK (Photo by J.L. Martello)
Three days after a weekend meeting at the Hill House organized to crystallize support behind a single Black mayoral candidate for Pittsburgh, Allegheny County Councilman William Robinson called a press conference that most thought he would declare himself that candidate—except he didn’t.
Instead, he said any candidate for mayor must have a plan for a Black agenda, and that he would only support such a candidate.
“Whoever the candidate is must have what’s been euphemistically call a Black agenda and one for poor people,” he said. “They should come forward and say what that agenda is. Fiscal stability may be at the top of the list for many, but not for me. Let’s speak to specific needs of specific people.”
Noting that the bulk of his constituents are African-Americans, that 40 percent of the city’s population is African-American, and that 40 percent of the city Democratic Party is African-American, Robinson said their concerns should be addressed.
He then said he, himself, had no such plan and that even if he were a candidate for mayor, which he did not confirm, he would financially back any other candidate that committed to a Black agenda.
“I will give $5,000 of my own money to any candidate who comes forward with a plan,” he said.
Asked further about his place in the race, Robinson said he had no campaign organization in place. Asked if he had resigned his county council seat, which is a requirement placed on council members who declare for another elected office by the Allegheny County Home Rule Charter, he said, “No sir.”
Robinson’s one-foot-in, one-foot-out announcement further muddies the waters in a mayoral contest that appeared to be a three-way race until Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced he would not seek another term late last month.
As of this writing, as many as four additional candidates could join Robinson, City Councilman Bill Peduto and city Controller Michael Lamb in the Democratic Primary race. They are state Rep. Jim Ferlo, of Lawrenceville; City Council President Darlene Harris, North Side; state Sen. Wayne Fontana of Brookline, and state former Auditor Gen. Jack Wagner of Beechview.
Jake Wheatley, Hill District, said he is also circulating petitions and said he intends to file, but has said even less than Robinson regarding a commitment to running.
The deadline for filing nominating petitions, March 12, passed after New Pittsburgh Courier deadline. The deadline for candidates who have submitted petitions to withdraw from the race is March 27.
Lamb was the only candidate seeking the Democratic Party endorsement for mayor at its March 10 party meeting. Peduto chose to save his money for the campaign, and with Ravenstahl’s announcement coming after the deadline to seek the endorsement, none of the other hopefuls could do so.
But that didn’t stop them from attending the meeting at the IBEW hall on the South Side and trying to drum up support. Party officials, apparently upset with Wagner’s glad handing for votes, asked him to leave since he was neither a candidate nor a voter.
Robinson, Harris, Ferlo and Fontana also attended, as did state Rep. Jake Wheatley.
Most of the remaining endorsements were perfunctory. To no one’s surprise, Dan Gillman won the nomination for his former boss Peduto’s open city council seat with 33 votes. His rivals Jeanne Clark and Sam Hans-Greco finished with 23 votes and 14 votes respectively.
But in what has become a recurring puzzlement to some city residents, former city Councilwoman Tonya Payne again won the party endorsement over a sitting candidate, in this case city Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, who ousted Payne from her council seat four years ago.
Payne won the endorsement with 45 votes to Lavelle’s 37. In 2012 she lost a race to unseat Wheatley despite winning that endorsement too.
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the New Pittsburgh Courier Digital Daily newsletter!