Share This Page

Tensions rise during mayoral debate in Larimer

| Saturday, May 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Tension between candidates for Pittsburgh mayor boiled to the surface Saturday during a debate at the Kingsley Association in Larimer, with two candidates attacking Bill Peduto's ability to work with others and Peduto claiming entrenched politicians are “scared as hell” that he'll win.

Peduto, 48, of Point Breeze was asked about his contentious relationship with fellow City Council members Daniel Lavelle and Ricky Burgess, both of whom are black. The forum was organized by the Alliance for Police Accountability and took place at the Kingsley Association in Homewood before a mostly black audience of about 30 people.

Peduto responded by accusing Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, his allies, and campaign rival Jack Wagner of running a smear campaign against him. State Rep. Jake Wheatley, 41, D-Hill District, and Wagner pounced on Peduto's rift with some on council, questioning whether he has the temperament to work with people who disagree with him.

“Mr. Burgess, Mr. Lavelle, they didn't support me before. They supported Luke. Is it any surprise that Luke's political backers would not like me? Is that shocking to anybody?” Peduto said. Peduto listed several of the Democratic politicians who endorsed him. “If I was such a divider who can't work with people, why are the majority of the Democrats supporting me, while a handful of Luke's supporters are holding on to that last hope that they can keep their hands on the video game and play for another four years?”

Peduto intimated that an ad that Ravenstahl's political committee aired attacking him aims to stir opposition to him among black voters.

“They say ... that I'm against the Hill and Homewood. Do you think that's discreet, what they're trying to do?” Peduto asked.

He has accused Wagner, 65, of Beechview of being complicit in the ad, which was created by the GOP firm that made the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth ads against Sen. John Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign. Wagner, his voice rising, called the accusation of his involvement “an absolute lie and an insult.”

“I'm a Vietnam veteran. I put my life on the line, as did (Senator) Kerry,” Wagner said of the former Massachusetts senator who's now secretary of State.

Community organizer A.J. Richardson, 36, of Sheraden also is seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor in the May 21 primary.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.