In last May's Democratic primary, Pittsburgh Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle faced a field of eight challengers in District 9 all vowing not to be the next Twanda Carlisle.
Weary of scandal and corruption allegations against the incumbent, Democratic voters nominated the Rev. Ricky Burgess, 50, the pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church and the executive director of Concerned Citizens Community Creations Center. Running on a three-point platform of fiscal responsibility, crime reduction and economic development, the nominee promised meaningful reform for a part of Pittsburgh that has not had effective representation for years.
District 9 includes Homewood, East Liberty, East Hills, Lincoln-Lemington, Larimer, Belmar and parts of Friendship, North Point Breeze and Garfield.
Mr. Burgess has one more hurdle to clear before taking a seat on council. His opponent in the Nov. 6 election is independent candidate David Adams, 49, of East Hills. Mr. Adams is a Marine veteran and a neighborhood activist who has his own three-pronged plan: cut crime, raise motivation and develop power.
While Mr. Burgess speaks at length about trying to attract businesses and working with other council members to ensure that the district isn't an afterthought, Mr. Adams promises to build community consensus by slashing crime by 40 percent and promoting the cultivation of cultural pride. He declined, however, to detail his crime-fighting plan for the editorial board.
As to reviving the neighborhood's economy, he warned against gentrifying developers who want "to push us out." He said, "We have to protect our black areas and we don't want white people to come in."
Mr. Burgess countered by saying, "This district is not an African-American district," and that he'd work to build Pittsburgh's diversity. Both candidates are black.
Mr. Adams is ambitious, but he betrays a lack of interest in working closely with other council members. The people of District 9 deserve a representative who understands the political process and can use it to benefit the community.
The pastor has the right approach. Mr. Burgess' emphasis on reviving business, enhancing safety and dealing on Grant Street with Pittsburgh's fiscal crisis are sound priorities. While we encourage Mr. Adams to share his ideas on fighting crime with city officials, there's only one member of this duo with the skill and temperament to represent the community: Ricky Burgess.