Democrat Anita Prizio edges Republican Ed Kress on Allegheny County Council
Democrats on Tuesday gained one more seat on Allegheny County Council, strengthening their already strong majority on the 15-member panel.
O'Hara Democrat Anita Prizio narrowly defeated incumbent Shaler Republican Ed Kress for the District 3 seat. Prizio had 50.8 percent, and Kress had 49.1 percent, according to the county's unofficial results.
Her victory brings the number of seats held by Democrats to 11 and the number of seats held by women to four.
Incumbent Tom Baker, a Republican from Ross, squeaked by Democratic challenger Jack Betkowski, winning by only 150 votes.
Baker received 8,409 votes, or 50.35 percent of the ballots cast; Betkowski, got 8, 259 votes, or 49.45 percent — a difference of 0.9 percent. Write-in candidates received 34 votes.
Baker voted against the ban on vaping in public places, along with his Republican colleagues on council. He voted in favor of mandatory lead testing for children and in favor of gas drilling at Deer Lakes Park and Pittsburgh International Airport.
In his next term, Baker told the Trib he hopes to work to combat the opiod epidemic, continue to urge the Port Authority to add bus service in his district, and push for replacement of the county's aging infrastructure.
“If anyone reaches out, we make sure to provide services and make sure to help them, so I'm hoping to do that in the next four years,” Baker said before all the votes were counted, after a day of volunteering as a poll worker. “There has to be something we can do every day to help.”
Baker, 38, is the Chief Community Affairs Officer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh and a former North Hills School District school board member.
District 1 covers Ross, West View, Moon, Findlay, North Fayette and other areas.
During a candidate forum, Prizio, 54, of O'Hara, named transparency as the top concern facing the county council, referencing several Sunshine Act violations the Trib reported this year.
Prizio, owner of Pittsburgh Crankshaft Service Inc., also wants to beef up the requirements developers must meet to earn tax breaks for projects.
She has said she plans to introduce legislation to create a county jail investigative task force, an apprenticeship program and stronger fracking oversight.
Kress, a lawyer, has held the seat since 2014, but he was also appointed to serve terms on the council in 2005 and 2011.
District 3 covers Millvale, Sharpsburg, Etna, West Deer, Shaler, Hampton, Fox Chapel and other areas.
In District 4, Pat Catena, D-Carnegie, won his first election for the seat he was appointed to earlier this year. He beat challenger Dimitrios Pantzoulas, a small business owner, with 65 percent of the vote.
Catena said he would continue to focus on economic development and strive to keep a civil dialogue with his colleagues on council.
“I want to thank the constituents of District 4 for placing their trust in me to take Allegheny County to the next level and be the leader they deserve on County Council,” Catena said after the results were in.
Before he was appointed to council, Catena, 44, served as a member of Carnegie council for about 11 years.
The district includes McKees Rocks, Robinson, Collier, Scott, South Fayette and other areas.
Charles Martoni, D-Swissvale, will keep the seat he has held for 17 years, defeating challenger Michael Dell, Plum council member, with 62.4 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.
The 81-year-old president of Community College of Allegheny County's Boyce campus voted in favor of the vaping ban and mandatory lead testing.
A veteran of public service, Martoni is the former Swissvale mayor and also served on the school board.
In interviews with the Trib, Martoni said he did not have a focus on certain issues in his next term, but hopes to maintain positive relationships with all his colleagues.
“At this point, no issues, I just want good governance, I want honesty,” Martoni said. “Once you're on there, you're not a party member, you're a council member.”
When asked at the forum if he was satisfied with the current status of county government, Martoni said: “I'm not satisfied with the status of anything in America today.”
The district includes Wilkinsburg, Braddock, Forest Hills, Monroeville, Plum and other areas.
In District 12, Robert Palmosina, D-Banksville, will replace Jim Ellenbogen , D-Banksville, who has held the seat for a decade.
Palmosina, Collier's public works director, beat Ellenbogen in the primary with more than 70 percent of the vote.
In District 9, Bob Macey, D-West Mifflin, was re-elected with no challenger. His district includes the Mon Valley as well as Elizabeth and Forward.
Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @tclift.