Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mayor Hopefuls Wooing Blacks Coalition to Choose Its Candidate Today

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mayor Hopefuls Wooing Blacks Coalition to Choose Its Candidate Today

Article excerpt

Pittsburgh mayoral candidates courted African-American support Friday night in anticipation of a pioneering effort to poll black voters and unite that constituency behind their choice in the May 21 primary.

In a three-hour session at Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Larimer, Bill Peduto, Jack Wagner and Jake Wheatley offered their visions for improving city government's responsiveness to the black community while fielding questions on issues ranging from education to enhanced opportunities for minority businesses.

Mr. Peduto repeated his proposal to steer federal funds for city development to fund early childhood education. He also noted that he favored a national search for a new chief of police. Responding to a question on why he had once opposed a Homewood project for a senior center, he said that he had been concerned that there had not been adequate consultation with community interests on the project. He emphasized that such community-based planning would be a foundation of his approach to development throughout the city, a principle he said that should be applied in particular to the need for the continuing rehabilitation of the Hill District.

In response to a challenge to name minority members who had been invited to his house, he laughed and said he had never had anyone to dinner in his home, because he does not cook, and his house is "a wreck."

Mr. Wagner opened with a reprise of his indictment of city government as dysfunctional and deaf to communication.

"There is not a team spirit right now in the city of Pittsburgh to get things done," he said, while reminding the audience that his record on council had included the enactment of an assault weapons ban.

Mr. Wheatley, whose state legislative district includes the Hill District, said that from the time he was elected, he had been a continuing advocate of increased opportunities for minority and female owned businesses. …

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