Given Democratic dominance in the Mon Valley, it's no surprise that Republicans haven't run a credible challenger to Allegheny County Councilman Bob Macey in next month's election.
Mr. Macey, 64, of West Mifflin, has been on council since 2006, representing District 9, which includes Dravosburg, Duquesne, Elizabeth Township, Forward, Glassport. North Versailles, Port Vue, South Versailles, West Mifflin, White Oak, Lincoln, McKeesport, Versailles and Liberty. He retired in June from a credit union in West Mifflin.
Republican Kenneth Peoples, 41, of White Oak, is an emergency medical technician and real estate agent, who uses a broad brush to paint a picture of why he is running. In his landscape, senior citizens are taking extra jobs, turning down the heat in their homes and forgoing medication because living in the county costs too much.
"It's too expensive to live and do business in Allegheny County," he said during a meeting with Post-Gazette editors.
Some citizens are having a hard time making ends meet, but Mr. Peoples had little to offer beyond caricatures, and it is difficult to understand how his proposed remedies would help. For instance, he would abolish the 1 percent Allegheny Regional Asset District sales tax, and the Port Authority's police department and maintenance crews. He does not see the value in investing in bus service, yet he suggested that high-speed rail -- created and funded without public investment -- would ease congestion.
By contrast, Mr. Macey said the RAD tax has been a success, supporting both big-city attractions and smaller, neighborhood amenities including Renzie Park in McKeesport and nearby White Oak Park. Also, half of the sales tax goes to municipalities to help relieve the property tax burden. He said private operators couldn't afford to sustain mass transit services locally and that the Port Authority, like all major systems in the nation, needs public support. He voted for the county's drink tax to sustain public transit, and does not regret making that tough call.
In Mr. Macey, residents have a representative with a realistic approach to the county's challenges. The Post-Gazette endorses Bob Macey, the competent choice to represent District 9 on county council.