As a former member of the Government Study Commission that wrote the city of Pittsburgh's Home Rule Charter, I am writing to call attention to the fact that in District 8 only one candidate for city council -- Sam Hens-Greco -- is a lawyer. Even more important, were he to be elected, Mr. Hens-Greco would be the only lawyer serving on council.
Why is this important? Because our city charter established a "strong-mayor" form of government. To appropriately exercise its own powers, city council must, to state the obvious, pass laws that withstand legal scrutiny. Over time members of council have complained that their access to legal counsel is inadequate. Recently it has been said that council's campaign finance law was "full of holes."
When you combine Sam Hens-Greco's legal experience -- 28 years of practice, often in service to the city's disadvantaged -- with his work ethic and his deeply held values, we have a clear choice in this election. Think of what someone with his values and his goals -- greening the city, ending gun violence, dealing with the flooding and parking problems that beset the East End -- would do on council. Not only would he propose innovative and defensible legislation to advance these goals, he would be a calming influence on council, given his years of experience in mediation and his generous nature.
Electing Sam Hens-Greco to city council would prove that sometimes "nice guys can finish first" and that we as voters value effective, ethical and farsighted leadership.