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One-party rule: Laziness & lack of choices

| Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, 12:03 p.m.
Mayor Bill Peduto greets guests at his victory party at The Boiler Room after winning the mayoral primary on May 16, 2017. (Trib photo)
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Mayor Bill Peduto greets guests at his victory party at The Boiler Room after winning the mayoral primary on May 16, 2017. (Trib photo)

Democrat Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto's attempt to hire his campaign manager as an administrative assistant properly was halted because she didn't meet the city's residency requirement. But the fact that her Wilkinsburg residency wasn't discovered until she arrived for orientation is a symptom of laziness and sloppiness engendered by what amounts to one-party rule.

Without viable political opposition, a party in power has less reason to look over its shoulder — and to look closely at its own doings, such as whether a prospective hire's residency poses a problem before her orientation. That atmosphere also can encourage such missteps as “hire first, vote later” actions by both Pittsburgh City Council and Allegheny County Council — with both bodies' presidents maintaining no Sunshine Act violations occurred — plus two unannounced closed-door sessions held by the latter. And that's just this year .

Democrats dominate in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, but the situation likely would be no better were Republicans as dominant. Absent credible political opposition, either party — any party in power — is susceptible to cutting procedural corners and skirting transparency.

That won't change anytime soon in Pittsburgh, which hasn't had a Republican mayor since 1933. Seeking re-election, Mr. Peduto's unopposed on the Nov. 7 ballot. And that highlights another pernicious effect of one-party rule: voters having no choice but more of the same.

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