Since Dan Onorato decided not to seek a third term (in what may arguably be his wisest political move ever), I've actually become interested in the race for Allegheny County chief executive. The lone teabagger has dropped out of the Republican side of the race, leaving the crook and the Mt. Lebanon councillor/businessman. If registered Republicans have any members left in their ranks with two sane brain cells to rub together, they'll cast their primary ballots for D. Raja, the aforementioned member of Mt. Lebanon's town council.
Meanwhile, on the Democratic side of the primary ballot, where your's truly casts his votes, we've got a race between County Controller Mark Patrick Flaherty and County Council President Rich Fitzgerald. At first glance, it would seem that this would be a "flip a coin" vote. What distinguishes these two men? Thus, I've decided to go to their respective campaign websites and pick at their issues:
|Issue||Flaherty's position||Fitzgerald's position|
|Property tax assessments|
Both oppose court-ordered reassessments; both favour reforms in the assessment system but neglect to be specific.
Both point to diversification in the regional job market as a way to maintain the county's low unemployment rate. Also, both support grants to encourage higher eduction as a way to strengthen the job market.
|Drilling for natural gas the Marcellus Shale|
Opposes drilling until further environmental studies are done and it can be ensured that drilling "is done cleanly and safely, that our rivers are not contaminated in the process, and our schools and neighborhoods are not put in harm’s way by drilling, extracting and transporting something as volatile and explosive as natural gas."
Supports drilling "in a safe, responsible manner which protects the environment and is minimally invasive to our communities."
Opposes the drink tax, calling it "a failure in terms of the transit solution we were looking for." Proposes radically altering the organisation of the Port Authority with an eye towards future expansion of the light rail system.
No position stated.
Of the four issues both candidates touch on between their respective websites, Flaherty and Fitzgerald seem to agree on half of them. While their positions on drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale are similar, Flaherty's caution regarding the matter gains him points in my book. Finally, Fitzgerald's silence on the matter of mass transit where Flaherty not only addresses the issue but throws out some - admittedly embryonic - ideas on what to do about it gives this voter more than enough reasons to back Flaherty at the polls.