Democrats jockey for Ross primary positions
Ross voters will select Democratic candidates in May for township treasurer and commissioner in two wards before deciding who to elect in November.
Commissioner Gerald O'Brien and North Hills school board member Carol Grom are vying in the Democratic primary for the chance to challenge Republican treasurer Donna Carey.
Carey is unopposed in the May 17 primary. Grom's term on the school board is up this year, and she is not seeking re-election.
For commissioner, Dan McClain Jr. is challenging Commissioner Lana Mazur in the 4th Ward, while Louis Krummert III is running against Commissioner David Mikec Sr. in the 6th Ward.
McClain said he never had the ambition to run for public office until now. He said he wants to offer the township "new and fresh ideas." He said his first issue would be property tax relief for senior citizens.
"One of the main reasons I'm running is because my grandparents are considering moving out of Ross because they can't afford the rising property taxes," he said.
"I want to balance the budget. For four years in a row, we've been deficit spending in Ross. You have to run government like you run a business," he said. "Since I'm an auditor, I know where to cut waste. That's what we need to do in Ross. You only spend what you bring in as income. Ross hasn't done that."
McClain said he wants to work with Ohio Township on the business development just outside of Ross that will impact the 4th Ward.
"Traffic concerns in the 4th Ward are unbelievable right now. It's going to cause problems with light and sound. It's going to cause problems with safety," he said. "Instead of working with Ohio Township to address our concerns, we've alienated them."
Mazur, who is running for a second term, said Ross needs to seek funding from the state to upgrade roads in the 4th Ward that will see traffic from the developments in Ohio Township.
Mazur said she first ran for office wanting to improve communications between residents and township government and because of logging concerns. The township now has a newsletter and Web site and a logging ordinance.
In a second term, Mazur said, she wants to focus on revitalizing the township's commercial districts, planning for and expanding recreation and securing state funding to dredge creeks to prevent flooding.
"We started a plan for road paving that is working wonderfully, and we need to do some kind of plan for recreation to keep up with all of our parks," she said. "We also have to be financially responsible for the taxpayers' money with the budget. We need to find ways to help our senior citizens with taxes, yet keep up with things we need to keep up with."
The primary winner will face Republican candidate Dennis Gsell, who is unopposed.
Krummert, who is challenging Mikec in the 6th Ward, said he's running because of concerns about the township's spending and crime.
"The way they've been spending more money than they've been bringing in upsets me. We don't have any money for the flood victims because the commissioners wasted the money on balancing the budget," he said.
"The crime rate continues to go up, and my opponent voted 'No' on hiring new police officers two weeks ago."
Krummert said the township should spend money on police and public works instead of parks and wants voters to approve spending on projects costing more than $1 million by referendum.
"How much money we spend on parks and recreation is absolutely ridiculous, yet my opponent says we don't have money for police. It doesn't make sense to me. I don't think his priorities are right," he said.
Mikec, who has chaired the public works committee, said he wants to continue the improvement projects he has been involved with.
"I want to continue to strengthen our already strong public safety programs, by providing the police with all the equipment and training that they need and adequate numbers of police officers for the township," he said. "I'd like to continue our pavement management programs and work to strengthen ordinances in the township to coordinate intrusive utility work."
Mikec said experience is in his favor.
"For a lot of the projects that we need to work on, my engineering background is very helpful," he said. "I know the needs and concerns of the elderly, the family people and the young people."
The winner of the primary will face Republican candidate Patricia Niccoll, who is unopposed.
Democratic Commissioner Chris Eyster, who represents the 2nd Ward, and Republican Commissioner Peter Ferraro, who represents the 8th Ward, also are up for election this year and are unchallenged in the primary. John Mazzie is running as a Republican against Eyster, while no Republican has filed in the 8th Ward.
The nomineesWard 4
Family: Two sons
Political experience: Mazur was a Ross commissioner for one term.
Dan McClain, Jr.
Occupation: Advanced auditor, US Steel
Political experience: None
David J. Mikec Sr.
Family: Wife, Patrice; two sons and a daughter
Occupation: Registered civil engineer
Political experience: Appointed commissioner in 2000, elected in 2001
Louis G. Krummert III
Occupation: Financial planner
Political experience: Allegheny County Democratic Committee member.