This is the first in a series of candidate endorsements in contested races on the Nov. 5 ballot. These editorials will culminate in a recap of the Post-Gazette's recommendations that will appear on Sunday, Nov. 3.
Vigorous contests in two Pittsburgh council districts during the Democratic primary have given way to quieter fall campaigns for next month's general election. The choices should be easy ones for voters, with two council veterans -- one an incumbent and the other a longtime staff member -- having ideas and experience that are superior to that of their challengers.
Natalia Rudiak, who joined council in 2010, is seeking her second term in District 4, and her active tenure recommends her for it. After defeating a candidate who had powerful union backing and the Democratic committee's endorsement in the primary, she squares off against an energetic but less-prepared Republican challenger.
Samuel Hurst, 30, of Brookline, graduated from Brashear High School and attended the ICM School of Business. A taxi driver with a daughter in elementary school, he is vice president of the PTA at West Liberty K-5 and a volunteer member of the Allegheny County Transit Council.
He believes it takes the city too long to recruit, hire and train police officers and that officials do a poor job of retaining them. He rejects the notion that government should be involved in economic development and believes it should be the sole responsibility of the private sector.
Ms. Rudiak, 33, of Carrick, holds degrees from George Washington and Carnegie Mellon universities. She has actively solicited business owners, developers and philanthropic leaders to invest in the communities that make up District 4 -- Beechview, Bon Air, Brookline, Carrick, Overbrook and part of Mount Washington.
She has tackled projects both big and small in her district at the same time that she has been an advocate on important citywide issues. An ally of mayor-apparent Bill Peduto, she said she is looking forward to tackling some of the city's problems working in tandem with his administration.
The Post-Gazette endorses Natalia Rudiak for re-election.
In May, three strong candidates ran for the Democratic nomination to succeed Councilman Peduto. His long-time chief of staff, Dan Gilman, was the victor and voters now must decide whether to seat Mr. Gilman or Republican Mordecai D. Treblow.
Mr. Treblow, 83, of Squirrel Hill, retired in 1990 as a chemist, having worked in industry and for universities during his career. He ran unsuccessfully for council in 1985 and for state representative in 1998, and he campaigned actively for a by-district city council and the county's Regional Asset District sales tax.
He doesn't believe parking rates should vary among different neighborhoods outside Downtown, and he offered a peculiar alternative to property taxes -- he said he would request contributions from nonprofits to fund college scholarships, although it is not clear how that would solve the city's fiscal woes.
By contrast, ideas offered by Mr. Gilman, 31, of Shadyside, are built on a foundation of day-to-day work with constituents in the district and policy-makers citywide. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, he majored in ethics, history and politics and was president of the student body. He worked for Congressman Mike Doyle before joining Mr. Peduto's staff nine years ago. He said he finds it more rewarding than work in the nation's capital because local office holders can have more impact.
He hopes to create a climate that welcomes young, start-up companies by reducing red tape and would like to see the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority operate incubator space.
Among his priorities for District 8 -- Shadyside and parts of Oakland, Squirrel Hill and Point Breeze -- are balancing the growth of institutions against the livability of neighborhoods and realigning police deployment to match community needs.
The Post-Gazette endorses Dan Gilman to represent city council's District 8 because of his experience and his ambitious goals for Pittsburgh's future.
First Published October 14, 2013 8:00 PM