Alllegheny County Council District 9 contest gives voters options
By Patrick Cloonan
Published: Monday, May 13, 2013, 3:06 a.m.
Voters have primary and general election choices in Allegheny County Council District 9.
Arlene Jabbour, 62, of West Mifflin, is challenging seven-year incumbent Bob Macey, 64, also of West Mifflin, in the May 21 Democratic primary.
“I'm someone you can trust to be there when you need me, to be a leader and not a follower and to lead the Mon Valley in the right direction for a change,” Jabbour said.
“I have proven leadership and proven skills,” Macey said. “I just want to continue to work with the elected officials, which I have done the past seven years.”
Macey chairs council's public works committee and serves on the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission. He said he has fought for lower property tax assessments.
Jabbour challenged that and said Mon Valley residents have been ignored too often.
“We have less bus services, our roads and bridges need fixed (and) our residents take a back seat while repairs are made in other areas,” she said.
Ken Peoples, 41, of White Oak, is unopposed for the Republican nomination.
Peoples said homeowners do not want to buy or sell because of the uncertainty over property taxes. He said the county is in the midst of a third failed attempt at reassessment.
“(County assessors) are not following (county Senior Common Pleas Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr.'s) order to the letter,” said Peoples, who has worked in real estate for the past two decades. “They are not updating their data as they should.”
Peoples said he wants to freeze property taxes for those over 65 who own their own homes and do not make more than $30,000 a year. He is chairman of the White Oak Republican Committee and was an unsuccessful candidate for McKeesport Area School District‘s board of directors in 2011.
Peoples has been a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician for White Oak EMS. Macey is a volunteer firefighter with West Mifflin's No. 3 company near Allegheny County Airport.
Jabbour served for six years on West Mifflin council, and was vice president during the battles between then-council president William Welsh Jr. and the late Councilman Richard D. Olasz Sr.
“It taught me how to move legislation through bipartisan channels,” Jabbour said.
The Democratic candidates have business management backgrounds. When he was laid off by U.S. Steel after 15 years as an employee at Duquesne Works, Macey joined Century Heritage Federal Credit Union and became its director of business development and community relations.
“(Being) a manager of a statewide corporation for over 10 years gave me an opportunity to learn how big business operates,” Arlene Jabbour said, referring to her work with Schoeneman Beauty Supply Inc. of Pottsville, a chain of 54 beauty salons and approximately a dozen beauty schools and a beauty supply house, covering seven states and the District of Columbia.
Macey once was an ally of Jabbour's husband, former borough and county councilman C.L. “Jay” Jabbour.
“Bob Macey has done an excellent job,” C.L. Jabbour said in 2005 after then-county Executive Dan Onorato chose not to reappoint Macey to the Allegheny County Airport Authority. “He is very much involved with the community as well as the airport authority.”
In 2006, C.L. Jabbour was required by county law to quit council in order to run for a state House seat, a bid that was unsuccessful.
Jabbour took on Rep. Ken Ruffing of West Mifflin and then-U.S. Steel Irvin Plant manager Bill Kortz of Dravosburg, who rode the PA Clean Sweep wave to a primary win and eventual election in the 38th Legislative District.
Jabbour's former Democratic county council colleagues chose Macey to replace him. In 2007, Jabbour challenged Macey and then-West Mifflin mayor John Andzelik in the Democratic primary for the District 9 seat. Macey won the primary and was unopposed that fall.
Both C.L. Jabbour and Ruffing are trying comebacks this spring. They are among a long list of candidates for the Democratic nod for West Mifflin council.
District 9 was shifted in last year's county council redistricting, losing Elizabeth to District 6 and gaining North Versailles Township from District 8.
District 9 also covers Dravosburg, Duquesne, Glassport, Liberty, Lincoln, McKeesport, Port Vue, Versailles, West Mifflin, White Oak and Elizabeth, Forward and South Versailles townships.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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