Friday, August 3, 2007

Another blow to the intergrity of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee

There's a saying that company is like fish - after 3 days it stinks. Well, applying that to the integrity of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee and you have - after 3 scandals, something stinks.

Of all the good things Howard Dean, Chair of the Democratic National Committee, had to say about what the Democrats are doing and how it is essential to "get involved with the people whose votes you're looking for" (thanks for the report Dayvoe!), he may be uninformed about the struggling integrity of the ACDC. Remember the hoopla about DPW's Democratic committee members caught up in 'campaigning on the city's dime' and 'politicizing street paving' scandals? (If not, check here). From the PG and much discussion in the burgosphere that:

  1. The manager of the Redd Up crew wearing "Re-elect" Jeff Koch t-shirts was Kevin Quigley, Democratic Committee member from Brighton Heights.
  2. Quigley's sup (cool nickname for supervisor) was Robert Kaczorowski, a ward chairman from Crafton Heights.
  3. Three of DPW's six streets maintenance supervisors were committee members, as were the department's deputy director, operation manager and one assistant director. The result was that 46 members of the Democratic Committee were slated to get fresh asphalt on the roads in front of or right next to their homes, and three of nine council members have parts of their streets, or streets very close to their homes, on the paving list.
Now another scandal that should raise some skepticism about ACDC's integrity, particularly committee members from Brighton Heights, involves stolen vehicle inspection stickers and a stockpile of guns. From the PG:
Paul J. Grguras, 47, of Brighton Heights, was arrested July 23 after police identified him as a suspect in the theft of state inspection stickers from Sullivan Chevrolet in Etna. Mr. Grguras is also a Democratic committee member from the 26th Ward, Brighton Heights.
Among the 43 firearms seized by police were vintage machine guns, various styles of rifles and shotguns. Some bore no serial numbers. Police also found ammunition for all of the guns.Police checked his criminal record and learned that he had been convicted in 1980 in two separate felony cases, and convicted in a third felony case in 1983. State law prohibits convicted felons from possessing firearms.
So dude had 43 guns, some bearing no serial numbers, and ammo for all of them. And we've got a problem with AK47's on the North Side and guns in the hands of idiot thugs killing people around town? And now a Democratic Committee member from Brighton Heights (now that's Mayor Ravenstahl's part of town - a quiet, friendly, and family-oriented neighborhood, right?), a DPW heavy-equipment operator who used to work with City Council Member Jeff Koch, is busted for a pile of unregistered guns he isn't legally allowed to possess because he's a convicted felon and is a suspect of a robbery of a car dealership in Etna?

Whereas convicted felons, as a shameful legacy of the 'Old South', lose their voting rights for the rest of their lives in some states, in Pennsylvania, one only loses his right to vote while incarcerated or completing sentencing (through probation, halfway house, etc). In Allegheny County, however, convicted felons 3 times over are functional mechanisms within the Democratic machine. While the ACDC did not grow up with the mob history that the Chicago political machine did, there is growing evidence that local committee members are stinking up its image and integrity. At minimum, there seems to be a cabal in Brighton Heights. I suggest Jim Burn re-evaluate the merits of current Democratic Committee members and think longterm about what the ACDC represents both locally and nationally.


Anonymous said...

Get real.

Matt H said...

Oh come on. That whole story about committee members getting streets near them paved was bogus as best.

You have 2 committee members in every voting district. The districts are pretty small when you think about it. More likely than not the streets getting paved in their neighborhoods are going to be in close proximity to where they live.

We had a great number of streets in my district paved this year. These streets had years of neglect on them. I know that I lobbied hard for a street to get paved. It isn't even near my home. I could have easily lobbied for some streets closer but I am in it for the betterment of the community.

I am on one end of my district and the woman who is on the committee with me is on the other end. It's bound to come up that streets near us are getting paved. It's not a story.

Skip said...

Anon, it would be better if you would qualify your 'get real' comment. Remember that everyone who raised questions after 9/11 were dismissed as being 'unpatriotic', not unlike your dismissive 'get real' comment.

Matt, of course everyone is going to have an opinion about whether or not the facts point to street paving privileges for committee members. At least you present reasonable arguments that favor your perspective, unlike captain anon above.

My question is what about points 1 & 2 in the post, as well as the Grguras situation? I don't think we want these kinds of faux pas characterizing local dems, particularly because of all the talk about holding early presidential primaries in PA.

Raise Your Hand! No Games said...

Um, members of the ACDC here in the Hill District have been very active in One Hill and, I believe, at the behest of Tonya Payne, to whittle down our asks to the Penguins, City and County.

One Hill was "stockpiled" with Democratic Committee Members in what I believe has been an unethical manner and our Secretary, Pearlene Coleman, is the 3rd Ward Democratic Committee Chair. She also does a horrible job and is extremely divisive.

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fishing steve said...

haha def bogus, agree with matt

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