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Expectations for a new mayor

A beginning journalistic writing and editing class interviewed a number of people enjoying a beautiful spring day Downtown and asked them what they wanted the next mayor of Pittsburgh to do after he is elected.  These are their responses.

Lauren Finkel

Bob Santamoor, 62, board chairman of the GE Aerospace Conference Board, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

“The thing that’s nice here is that there aren’t people bumping into each other everywhere. It’s a beautiful city.  I think that the mayor should look in to trying to attract businesses. He could start offering some stimulus money. “

Yael Davidesko; 20, student and coffee shop barista, New York City, N.Y.

“While there are a lot of parks ,and I think the city’s obviously made an attempt at it, I think there could be more trees and plants in general. Especially around downtown. It’s still pretty bare. “

Johnny Hopkinson

John Elash, 33, contractor, Squirrel Hill

He wants the next mayor to work more with communities, and “step up” with community groups.

“Pittsburgh’s doing well growing and developing, and more of that should be done. Just look at Market Square.”

He wants the next mayor to stay on the same track with revitalizing areas

D. Mathews, 51, police Officer , South Side

“Hire 300 more cops.”

He wants the mayor to go back to the city being self-sufficient instead of merging with the county’s (police force?

He said there is animosity between the city and county although the method saves money

Also wants new mayor to close down fast food restaurants in the city. He says crime flocks to fast food restaurants

Harrison Buzzatto

P. R. Rennie, 56, of  Whitehall
P. R. Rennie, 56, of Whitehall
P. R. Rennie, 56, of Whitehall

“The priority for the new mayor should be downtown as safe as possible in light of the Boston attacks.”

Len Cullo, 54, Sewickley
Len Cullo, 54, of Sewickley

Len Cullo, 54, of Sewickley,

“I expect, if anything, competency and honesty. Let’s get some of that.

Jessica Carter

Robert Fenhagen, 58, originally from Baltimore, currently Pittsburgh’s North Shore (retired)

“Get rid of whatever that absurd fund was that Ravenstahl and Chief Harper were drawing funds from … I just saw an ad from Corey O’Connor, saying that’s the first change he’d made.  It may have just been political babble, but I believe that the concept is very valid.  And just get rid of the stuff that’s tempting people.  And if possible, just be honest.  That’s the bottom line.”

Dan Wright, 65, Penn Hills (retired)

“Ongoing revitalizing the city and attractions.  Probably improving attractions for Pirates games. You know there aren’t a lot of people going to those games, and if they could, improve the promotions to get people going to the games.  Also they should see about putting in a supermarket downtown that would be nice.  The eateries are good. There are plenty of those, but a supermarket would be great.   And also just cleaning up the streets, getting the drugs and people involved in them off of the streets. I see them all the time, every day. They should definitely do something about that.”

Emily Faller

Domenique Disilvio, 46, works in finance, Squirrel Hill

“I would like to see Oakland cleaned up as well as the Pitt campus. I like that the city has made available living for students who want to live on campus like Point Park has just recently done.”

Ed Whren, 77, doorman, Leetsdale

“I would like the new mayor to take control of the city and do what is needed, especially the sports like the Pirates. The mayor needs to go to the sports [management’s] rooms and sit on their desks, and make them do what they promised. They said we would have a winning baseball team 20 years ago but still no winning team.”

Marissa Buchheit

Caren McBane, 50, Fineview, currently unemployed

“I would really like to see more control on crime, specifically in the North Side area since I live there.  The former mayor lived in Fineview, so I thought maybe he would help out the neighborhood, but didn’t.”

Jim Zamboldi, 61, accountant, Bethel Park

“I’d really like to see him continue to build-up downtown”

Lauren Smith

Ed Meier, 42, works in security, West Mifflin

“I think it would be great if he were able to lower school taxes, which would then also affect home taxes as well. Another thing I would like to see is for the police department to be straightened out.”

Michelle Owens, 32, medical assistant student, Homewood

“Get the guns off the streets most importantly. I have young children and it’s scary, I don’t like them out in the neighborhoods with all of this violence going on. Another big thing for me would be cleaning up the Port Authority System and making a stricter schedule because they are never on time. I would also like to see improvements with public housing and health care.”

Alexis Adams

Nick Chieffallo, 28, works in purchasing, Mount. Washington

“I think he should continue where the mayor left off modernizing the city. Renovations of the city, especially downtown. This is an opportunity to bring people back here to live and enjoy and work.  Build the city up. It’s all about progression. Renovate older buildings. It would be a shame for that whole scandal to go down and for no good or change to come out of all of that.”

Kevin Vietmeier, 25, works in purchasing, Pittsburgh

“I feel jobs would be good. Let’s see jobs and economic growth. I want the mayor to fix this city starting at the Mexican wars streets.”

Jordan Gray

John Seltzer, 59
Originally from New Jersey
Graduated from University of Pittsburgh in 1984; Political Science.
Works in Lebanon, Pa., and Pittsburgh

“Pittsburgh is a great city and the future of it is reinventing.  They need to continue the momentum of growth and stability.  The city needs to keep improving the schools and educational facilities throughout the area.  We also need to make Pittsburgh natives aware of and attracting others to the core of the city for jobs and awareness of employment opportunities.”

Kathy Frankel, 56
Lives in Dormont; originally from Beechview
Works for the state and previously worked for the city.  Knows the mayor.

“The city needs to maintain the litter and trash throughout the city. Better clean-up is required, especially in certain areas of Pittsburgh.”

Paul Wolak, 61
Born and raised in Overbrook.
College graduate from California State in 1977

“The Pittsburgh area needs to step up and improve the public safety throughout the city.  They need to also keep up with the redevelopment throughout all areas of the city.  Also continue to keep taxes to a minimum. Finances are Finances.”

LaQueisha Bowen

Sophia Glenn, 46, doctor, Portland, Oregon
I would love to see the mayor put more money and emphasis on Pittsburgh’s education system. The schools need more money and they are still cutting school programs.

Milton Smith, 34, event coordinator, Troy Hill

I want the major to bring back some of the bus routes that were cut. I now have to walk twenty minutes just to get a bus downtown. The bus that used to come into my neighborhood doesn’t anymore. Its really inconvenient.

Jon Ermlick

Shaun Miller, 32, of Mt. Washington says that he “would like to see a better parking system with cheaper rates, and they need to give you longer than a two hour maximum,” citing that on-street parking is implausible for working individuals.

Mary Ann Ciesielski, aretired CPA from Beltzhoover

“I would be interested to see if he could fix the roads in a timely fashion. There is constant road construction, and it seems like nothing gets fixed.” Potholes have always been a problem on the roads of western Pennsylvania and the patches that are commonly used often do not fix the problem, or at least not for long.

Helen Fallon

Gregory Rucker, 54, currently residing in Renewal, Downtown. Originally from the North Side

“More jobs … more things for the youth to do. When we came up [in our city neighborhoods], they had programs for young people to work, take the pressure off their parents to pay for everything. They don’t have that anymore. These kids go out to the streets and you know what happens there. They need to open up these centers so they can learn, especially computer skills. That’s how society is … everything comes back to that, and the youth have to be on the same page. It’s not that they can’t be educated or have that ability, they need the help.”

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