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Dems select Allegheny County Council nominee

Aaron Aupperlee
| Monday, Aug. 10, 2015, 12:01 a.m.
Paul Klein, 61, of Point Breeze will appear on the November ballot for the Allegheny County Council District 11 seat once held by Barbara Daly Danko.
Paul Klein, 61, of Point Breeze will appear on the November ballot for the Allegheny County Council District 11 seat once held by Barbara Daly Danko.

Paul Klein is no stranger to asking tough questions of elected leaders and public officials.

He helped moderate debates between eight Democrats running for governor last year and six state Supreme Court candidates this year.

But as an Allegheny County Council member, Klein will have to ask tough questions, in addition to making tough decisions.

Members of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee this month living in county council's District 11 nominated Klein, 61, a Point Breeze Democrat, to run for a four-year term starting in January for the seat once held by Councilwoman Barbara Daly Danko.

Klein faces no opposition on the ballot in November.

Councilwoman Terri Klein, appointed to temporarily fill Danko's seat and not related to Paul Klein, will be on the November ballot to serve the rest of Danko's term, which ends in January.

Danko, a Regent Square Democrat who represented Pittsburgh's East End neighborhoods, Munhall, Homestead and West Homestead, died May 6 but won the primary election later that month.

“She was someone who was thoughtful and independent, and who really did her homework,” Paul Klein said of Danko. “I looked to her as a model of what a council member should be.”

Paul Klein agreed with Danko's belief that the county should not allow drilling for natural gas on or under public land. He called squabbles among council members “unsettling, embarrassing and off-putting” at times but does not think dysfunction is unique to the 15-member body.

He said he will question county Executive Rich Fitzgerald when necessary.

“There should be tension between the executive and legislative branch,” Paul Klein said. “This separation of powers we have works when one branch keeps a leery eye on the other.”

A committeeman from the 14th Ward and a member of the 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club, Paul Klein ran for a City Council seat in 1989 but lost to then-Councilman Jim Ferlo, who eventually became a state senator.

Paul Klein is a professor of law and ethics at Duquesne University's Palumbo Donahue School of Business. Bill Spangler, the school's associate dean, said his ethics class stresses that decisions aren't always black and white, and sometimes people must choose from several less-than-perfect choices.

“There's a lot of reasoning that goes on. There's a lot of contemplation,” Spangler said of the class. “It really brings home that the world is a complicated place, and you really just can't make a snap decision.”

Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or aaupperlee@tribweb.com.

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