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Ed Gainey wins mayoral race, Democrats pick up additional County Council seats

Election signs decorate the lawn outside of Morse Gardens in the South Side on Nov. 2, 2021.
Kiley Koscinski
90.5 WESA
Election signs decorate the lawn outside of Morse Gardens in the South Side on Nov. 2, 2021.

On today’s episode of The Confluence: Chris Potter and Ariel Worthy from WESA’s government and accountability team share what we know so far about the results from Tuesday’s election; and the Post-Gazette’s John Hayes explains why the Pennsylvania Steelhead Association has put up a surveillance camera at Lake Erie, where anglers and poachers harvest the popular trout.

Ed Gainey wins Pittsburgh’s mayoral race
(0:00 - 5:08)

Pittsburgh voters have elected the city’s first Black mayor. Ed Gainey will take the helm of the city in January 2022 after defeating Tony Moreno, capturing about 70% of the vote.

At Gainey’s victory party, he highlighted the need to unify and clean up the city, and future policing reform.

Back in May, Moreno actually finished third in the Democratic primary, behind Gainey and incumbent Bill Peduto. However, he won enough write-in votes to claim the Republican nomination.

“As of last night, Gainey said he did not hear from Moreno,” says WESA’s government and accountability reporter Ariel Worthy. “It does appear that Moreno might have conceded at his party, but he did not make a call to Gainey.”

Worthy says many at Gainey’s election night party were excited for Pittsburgh to elect its first Black mayor, but also said they expect to keep him accountable.

Policing was a topic both Gainey and Moreno discussed often during the campaign.

“Moreno, as a [former] police officer, he had a different approach and felt that police … were actually the ones who needed more: more resources, more money, just a lot of different, other things,” says Worthy.

“Gainey’s thing yesterday was, working with the police to ensure over policing is not a problem in certain neighborhoods, so that’s one thing he said he was going to address when he gets into office.”

Progressive Democratic candidates won local judicial races, some without party endorsement
(5:20 - 14:52)

In the off-year election, much attention was paid to judicial races, with electors voting for judges at the state and county level.

Ten judges for Allegheny County Common Pleas Court were selected, but the Republican slate did not do very well in those races.

“What you had were eight Republicans who were endorsed by the party on their slate, and two who weren’t. All of the eight who were endorsed by party leaders in the GOP lost last night,” explains WESA government and accountability editor Chris Potter. “The big winners were the democratic slate, and particularly female candidates.”

The top four candidates were all Black women. Potter says they indicate a philosophical change in courts, as these candidates have called for reconsidering how criminal justice operates.

“One of the things I think that happened this year is sort of a continuing transformation of how politics is done, especially by Democrats, especially by progressive Democrats in Allegheny County,” says Potter.

He says some who won declined to participate in the party endorsement process, which is a costly endeavor, and used to be close to a requirement for getting the attention of voters.

“I think it really speaks to a coalition of movements, grassroots groups out there who are supporting progressive candidates, and it does suggest there is a lot of power within that movement, at least within Allegheny county.”

Live webcam helping to stop fish poachers
(15:01 - 22:30)

Following an increasing issue with fish-poaching at Trout Run, a tributary which serves as nursery waters at Avonia Beach in Fairview, Erie County, a live streaming webcam was installed over the summer.

As fall weather brings more trout anglers to the area, John Hayes, Outdoors Editor for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, says it’s becoming all the more useful.

“It's not an individual guy taking fish home for his family, [poaching is] a black market industry,” says Hayes.

Hayes says poachers will go to the hatchery at night, illegally scooping large numbers of steelhead trout with a net. The operation is difficult to stop, he says, because it likely has ties to multiple places in the country, and would require a lot of resources, including immigration services and undercover operatives, to take down.

Hayes says several nonprofit groups have collaborated to purchase the surveillance camera at Trout Run. He says that there are other cameras at the creek, but those are to let anglers check water and weather conditions.

“This one at Trout Run is mounted in a parking lot at Avonia Beach,” he says, “Hopefully they're going to try to get the faces of poachers, and perhaps their license plates.”

As for fishing conditions this time of year, Hayes has a few pointers.

“It does vary [depending on] what you're fishing for,” he says. “Right now, the water is cool, but it's not yet frigid, so the fish aren't lethargic like they get when it's really cold.”

In the lakes and rivers around Erie, he says fishing is great if you’re looking for steelhead. Closer to Pittsburgh, flathead catfish are very active in the rivers, and trout streams have just been stocked as well. Anglers can check online which streams and lakes have been most recently stocked by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

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