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Feb. 17-21 Explained: Democratic Party Pandemonium, Arts Funding Inequities & Upcoming Primaries

Keith Srokocic
In this image made with a fisheye lens, an array of umbrellas covers a walkway at the annual Three Rivers Arts Festival on Saturday, June 3, 2017, in Pittsburgh.


Recent controversial endorsements have led the Allegheny County Democratic Committee leadership to defend its purpose and decision-making process. A new report shows Pittsburgh's art scene is growing, but support is not always equitable and inclusive. And, incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle faces a challenger for the 18th congressional district as some in the party push for a more progressive platform.

Helping explain the headlines this week from the WESA newsroom:

In a wide-ranging and sometimes contentious half-hour press conference, Allegheny County Democratic Committee chairwoman Eileen Kelly pushed back on criticism of the local party and called for unity in a presidential election year — while settling some scores of her own.

Held at the county party’s West End headquarters, the press conference began inauspiciously when Kelly and committee ward chair City Councilor Anthony Coghill, who also attended, demanded that County Councilor Bethany Hallam leave. Hallam is also a committee member, and has been a vocal critic of the endorsement process.

Big increases in attendance and full-time jobs marked the past five years on Pittsburgh’s arts scene. But the arts community needs to become more equitable and inclusive.

Both conclusions are drawn from “Culture Counts 2020,” the new edition of the state-of-the-arts report last issued by advocacy group the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, or GPAC, in 2015.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle is being challenged by Jerry Dickinson, a University of Pittsburgh law professor, and Janis Brooks of North Versailles, in the upcoming Democratic primary. 

"In other news"

Pittsburgh Explainer is hosted by Liz Reid and produced by Katie Blackley. New episodes come out every Friday. Subscribe on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher and Spotify.

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer and host of our Good Question! series and podcast. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community. kblackley@wesa.fm
Liz Reid began working at WESA in 2013 as a general assignment reporter and weekend host. Since then, she’s worked as the Morning Edition producer, health & science reporter and as an editor.