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3 Democrats vie for District 8 Pittsburgh City Council seat being vacated after 12 years

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 11:06 p.m.
Dan Gilman, Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto’s chief of staff, is running for his boss' District 8 seat in the May 21 primary.
Jeanne Clark, Democratic candidate for the District 8 seat on City Council in the May 21 primary election.
Sam Hens-Greco, Democratic candidate for the District 8 City Council seat being vacated by Bill Peduto.

Three former political allies are vying for the Democratic nomination in Pittsburgh's heavily populated City Council District 8, which will have new representation for the first time since 2001.

Jeanne Clark, Sam Hens-Greco and Dan Gilman say they will remain friends and join forces after the May 21 primary. The district includes Shadyside and parts of Point Breeze, Squirrel Hill and Oakland. Republican Mordecai D. Treblow, 83, of Squirrel Hill is running unopposed for the GOP nomination.

The four are seeking to fill the seat of Bill Peduto, who is a mayoral candidate.

Clark, Hens-Greco and Gilman agree that city government must become more diverse, transparent and modern.

One area in which they disagree is Marcellus shale drilling. In 2010, City Council banned shale drilling within city limits.

Clark said she opposes the ban and would work to overturn it. Hens-Greco and Gilman support keeping the ban for now.

“When council decided to ban drilling in the city — despite all of the evidence that there's no intention to drill in the city — what they said to all of the companies that were coming in to do business in Pennsylvania was: ‘Don't locate your corporation in the city of Pittsburgh,' ” said Clark, who works for the environmental advocacy nonprofit PennFuture.

Clark said her priority on council would be to diversify government and its ruling bodies so that they reflect the city's minority and female populations. Women make up nearly 52 percent of Pittsburgh's population of 305,704, according to 2010 Census data. Blacks account for 26 percent.

“We're cheating Pittsburgh out of great talent, and we're encouraging females to leave,” Clark said.

Hens-Greco said his main interest is gun violence. He would ask for commitments from council, the new mayor and police chief to end gun violence, then discuss ways to do that. He favors hiring more police officers and fostering a better relationship between police and neighborhood residents.

“If we can end gun violence, it would transform the quality of life and safety in the city for everybody,” he said.

Gilman said he would work to modernize city government and begin a Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation to help new businesses navigate bureaucracy.

He said the city should allow developers to file building plans electronically and pay for permits with credit cards.

“For Pittsburgh to be a world-class city in the 21st century, city government needs to operate in a modern way,” he said.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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