2 Democrats vie to be new Penn Hills mayor
Two Penn Hills residents are vying for votes to be the municipality’s next mayor.
Pauline Calabrese, 56, and John Petrucci, 57, have announced bids. They are both running as Democrats. Mayor Sara Kuhn will not seek re-election. Her term expires in December.
Here are where the candidates stand on some local issues and their ideas on how to solve them:
Petrucci said he would make council meetings more professional.
“The structure of the meetings, the way it’s done, it needs to fit the needs of the community today,” he said, adding that he will work to get monthly council meetings recorded on video and accessible on a local cable channel.
He also said he hopes to bring back two meetings per month. The first meeting would follow a similar structure of communities that have an agenda-setting, or council workshop meeting prior to a voting meeting.
Calabrese said she is also in favor of bringing back two council meetings per month, but she wants two voting meetings so municipal vendors are able to get paid in time.
She also said she would make information public instead of making residents submit a Right-to-Know request.
“And I would place public comment at the beginning of the meeting rather than make residents wait until the end of a long meeting to speak. I would let residents actually speak, without interruption,” Calabrese said.
Calabrese said she would treat littering as what it is — a violation of the law — and fine violators with the highest fine allowed.
“I would seek an environmental and public health grant for cameras so that littering laws can be enforced to the fullest extent of the law,” she said.
She’d also make sure code enforcement officials inspect rental properties three times per year and revoke occupancy permits if landlords are absent.
Petrucci said he has been fighting the litter battle since before being elected to council by sponsoring litter clean-up events and placing signs around the municipality.
“We have a serious problem and we’re constantly combating this problem,” he said, adding he is also in favor of purchasing cameras to place in highly littered areas.
He also hopes to purchase anti-litter signage and create an adopt-a-roadway program to encourage residents to take ownership of certain municipal roads.
Petrucci said he feels residents’ pain when it comes to the municipality’s high bills. He referenced his involvement to get a $5 decrease in the quarterly billed sewage service fee.
“That’s a big step in the right direction. And hopefully, we’ll continue looking at this sewage and see if we get it decreased more. Whenever we see the opportunity, we’ll take that opportunity,” he said.
Calabrese said she would tap on congressional leadership in Washington, D.C. to seek federal funding to reduce the debt that “current taxpayers are saddled with that was created 20 years ago by poor decisions.”
“On day one, I will call Congressman Connor Lamb and Congressman Mike Doyle and respectfully remind them that Penn Hills is the largest municipality outside the City of Pittsburgh,” she said, adding that she would work to also meet with County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority board to discuss the issues.
Petrucci, a current council member, is a retired policeman.
His career included stints with the North Braddock Police Department, state Attorney General’s Office and the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office.
He graduated from Penn Hills High School in 1979 and holds several certificates from law enforcement training.
The councilman, whose term expires in 2021 after running unopposed in 2017, ran unsuccessfully for district judge in 2015.
Petrucci lives in Penn Hills with his wife, Rose, and has one son and a daughter-in-law.
Calabrese, an attorney for Notaro & Associates in Downtown Pittsburgh, served for more than a decade as a professor at Carlow University teaching employment discrimination law and business law.
She also serves on the faculty for CCAC.
She graduated from Penn State University in 1985 with a degree in pre-law. She then earned her law degree in 1988 from Duquesne University School of Law.
The candidate served as a Penn Hills school board member from 2014-17 and ran unsuccessfully to be a judge on the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas in 2015 and 2017.
She said she was not part of the school board that led to the district’s financial crisis.
Calabrese lives in Penn Hills with her husband, Nick, and five children.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .