Peduto Wins Second Term, Coghill Takes City Council Seat
Mayor Bill Peduto will serve a second term for Pittsburgh after coasting to victory in an unopposed general election. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, he had taken 96 percent of the vote, with four percent going to write-in candidates.
Peduto skipped his election night party with fellow Allegheny County Democrats at the Steamfitters Local 449 Union Office. His campaign manager, Keyva Clark, said he had just left for the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.
“We’re just letting all the contested candidates shine this evening,” Keyva said. “We had some really great candidates on the ballot today, and we want to make sure that they took the spotlight tonight."
A Pittsburgh referendum to allow city employees to take paid part-time positions coaching in the public school system or teaching at public universities, meanwhile, passed by a wide margin on Tuesday, with 73 percent of voters supporting the change to the city's Home Rule Charter.
Democrat Anthony Coghill of Beechview won Pittsburgh City Council's only contested race. Coghill rolled to an expected victory over his Republican opponent, Cletus Cibrone-Abate with a "Back to Basics" platform that emphasized improved infrastructure and services and neighborhood safety.
He also made the opioid crisis a focus of his campaign.
"I can't tell you how many cases I had up there where people see drug deals in the ballparks and the side streets and it's just everywhere," Coghill said. "It's easier said than done, I'm sure. But that will be a high priority of mine."
Three incumbent members have snagged new terms, after running unopposed in the general election.
Councilman Daniel Lavelle has represented Uptown, Downtown, the Hill District and part of the North Side since 2010. He said one of his top priorities for his next term is assembling enough votes on council to pass a revenue stream for the Housing Opportunity Fund.
“There are some of us who already have one proposal which is to raise the realty transfer tax to dedicate to the Housing Opportunity Fund as a source of revenue,” Lavelle said. “There are some other council members who are working to find some resources within our city budget so we don’t have to do a full 1 percent increase.”
Lavelle also wants to see substantial movement on development in the Lower Hill district, as well as redevelopment of Allegheny Dwellings in Fineview and Bedford Dwellings in the Hill District.
Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith will begin her third term in January, having represented Mt. Washington and West End neighborhoods since 2009.
Kail-Smith said she wants to continue bringing new development to her district, and is particularly interested in bringing community center to the area. She said possible locations include vacant land in Chartiers and a vacant school in Sheraden.
That goal works in tandem with addressing the problem of blight, which Kail-Smith said affects quality of life for residents.
“We have some of the most affordable homes in the city of Pittsburgh, but many of them are vacant,” Kail-Smith.
The councilwoman said priority areas for commercial redevelopment include Parkway Center Mall, Noblestown Road, and business districts in neighborhoods including Elliott, Crafton Heights and Sheraden.
Councilman Dan Gilman serves voters in Squirrel Hill, Oakland, Point Breeze and Shadyside, and said with more than $500 million of development projects underway in his district, managing growth is a big part of his responsibility to constituents.
“I work closely with developers and community groups to mitigate any negative impacts to neighborhood livability, including noise, traffic, tree canopy, light pollution, affordability, architectural design, and other issues that accompany large-scale development projects,” he said.
Gilman said during his second term, he’ll prioritize making streets safe an accessible for all modes of transportation as part of the city’s “complete streets” initiative. He said he also wants to enhance the city’s recycling program to include hazardous and electronic home waste recycling.
*This post was updated on 11/7/17 at 11:53 pm to include comments from Peduto's campaign manager.