Respectfully, former Allegheny County Executive Jim Roddey doesn't get it when he tries to understand why Pittsburgh Democrats greatly outnumber Republicans ("Uphill Fight in the City: Democrats Have Locked Up Pittsburgh Politics for Far Too Long," Aug. 28 Perspectives). Pittsburgh is an ethnically diverse city. When Mr. Roddey, as chairman of the Republican Committee of Allegheny County, characterized Barack Obama supporters as "mentally retarded" in August 2012 and Pittsburgh city employees and their families and organized labor as a "cabal" in this Aug. 28 commentary, he is re-enforcing the image of the Republican Party as out of touch, narrow-minded and without empathy.
The lives of Pittsburghers are affected by our mayor and the policies of our governor, state Legislature and federal officials. We have a Republican governor and Legislature obsessed with denying women the right to choose, preventing Pennsylvanians from enjoying the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and working to suppress the vote with onerous state ID documentation requirements.
The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives has not passed a single jobs bill but has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act 40 times. I wonder why Republicans do not care about the uninsured or those with pre-existing conditions or critically ill people who are approaching their lifetime insurance cap. The House (with the votes of Pennsylvania congressmen Tim Murphy and Keith Rothfus) passed an amendment which demands the government deport "Dreamers" who came to the United States as children.
Despite the city's "poor leadership" (as Mr. Roddey describes it) the current unemployment rate for the Pittsburgh metropolitan region is 6.7 percent compared with the Pennsylvania rate of 7.5 percent. Republicans have two paths to gain political control of Pittsburgh. They can either promote policies that will improve the lives of all Pittsburghers regardless of race, gender, economic or ethnic background or do what they do best -- gerrymander the city!