Category Archives: Onorato

Dan Onorato: In the News

County chief Dan Onorato says RAD money is “off the table” to help the Port Authority (P-G). This will be a relief to some cultural and arts organizations who depend on these funds.

Meanwhile, the P-G editorial board delivers one hell of an endorsement for Onorato’s reelection.

Not only do they dismiss his opponent Rick Swartz as a well-intentioned lightweight, but they hail Onorato as a capable leader who knows when to build community consensus, when to hammer out back-room deals, and when to go it alone.

Still not convinced? There is a debate tonight at the Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church in the Hill District from 6 to 7 PM. Call 412-758-7898.

Speaking of community consensus and/or/if/but back-room deals, we caught Dan Onorato on WQED’s OnQ a few nights ago. He was joined by the Rev. Johnny Monroe and Marimba Milliones, and it was just fascinating.

A lot seems to hinge on development outside a certain key 28 blocks of real estate — and whether or not Mayor Ravenstahl and the Sports & Exhibition Authority are going to be on board with that.

The Rev. Monroe was extremely frank about his community getting “a piece of the action.” Onorato fully supported that sentiment, comparing it to what he did for the North Side as a councilman during stadium development. Reflecting on the Civic Arena, Onorato said, “You don’t often get a second bite at the apple … we can actually do this right this time.”

Stonewall Democrat Endorsements

District 3: Kraus
District 7: Dowd
Controller: Lamb
County Exec: Swartz

This may not be an exhaustive slate. For example, Ricky Burgess appeared as of last night to have narrowly won the endorsement for District 9. This would have been a bit of a shock, as the Reverend is first and foremost a Reverend, and was reportedly frank and honest with the GLBT group. However, there has since been some confusion; there will soon be a re-vote for District 9.

The selection of Rick Swartz will shock no one, as Dan Onorato not only declined to answer four of their questions, but somehow deleted them from the questionnaire. The questions were about gay marriage, sex education, and abortion. In light of a widely speculated gubernatorial run by Onorato in 2010, the Comet must classify this as An Issue.

Luke Ravenstahl did not return the questionnaire at all, although this did not result in an endorsement for the Pirogi.

Dan-O: On Q

First the substance.

Host Chris Moore allowed county exec Dan Onorato to lead off with news of new airport area development and projects elsewhere. He trumpeted new warehousing, shipping, and transportation capacity. This is actually pretty awesome, since Allegheny County has been soft and softening in the transpo / warehousing and wholesale trade sectors, and we’ll need that economic diversity if we’re going to become flexible, and attract innovation. (We spent 20 minutes struggling through the Allegheny Places Economic Trends report, so we’re experts now!)

On the new Penguins arena, he pledged that not one cent would come from city or county taxes, which was somehow news to the Comet. So we must ask: really? Or just sort of technically?

My fave moment occured during this arena part, on why local taxes are off the table: “First of all, the city is in financial meltdown — or, ah, was, we’re coming out of that…”

He made a decent case for the controversial Mon-Fayette Expressway, allowing that it’s only worthwhile if they bother building ramps near all those old mill towns.

He took a beating on buses, of course. He kept reassuring us the County is still writing the same $25 million annual checks to PAT, and stresses this remains the only dedicated funding available. He was also very frank that North Shore Connector could have happened at a more ideal time , but insisted its better than nothing, and reaffirmed his goal to send the “spine-line” out to Oakland, very next thing.

Now on to style.

We wanted to avoid writing a mash note to Dan-O … but we won’t. There’s a reason nobody is running against this cat.

Onorato has the ability to be on top of every policy detail, without losing that “I’m a human being” quality. He conveys great excitement and importance about planning and budgetary matters, just like we dissect the Steelers‘ rushing game. Most importantly, he avoids the habits of glibness and pablum, or of obviously sidestepping questions. Yet he does manage to stay on safe, constructive ground.

Sometimes he gets a little too excited — he forgot to show sympathy for a desperate transit rider — so he could still stand to age another 5-10 years. But we are quite bullish indeed on this man’s future.

Competition for Onorato???

Under the headline “Onorato Lacking GOP Opponent,” the Trib’s David M. Brown has County GOP Chairman Bob Glancy vowing that a viable Republican candidate will emerge before the March 6 deadline.

The most tantalizing possibilities are former congressperson Melissa Hart, and U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanon, though neither have confirmed interest.

In a hysterically uncalled-for aside, County Democratic Chairman Jim Burn said his counterpart’s talk reminds him of a hockey coach who would “put a goon on the ice” to “create disruption and trouble” when his team has no chance of winning. “If they want to resort to goonism in Allegheny County, shame on them.”

County Executive Race

There is none. Lucky stiff.

“And remember,” Mr. (Jim) Roddey added, “when you’re running for office, there are two constituencies — voters, and, of course they’re important, but there’s also the business community, the people who write the big checks, and downsizing Port Authority would probably win with those folks nine to one.”

This money quote care of the P-G’s James O’Toole, suggesting that with Dan-O’s sights set on Harrisburg in 2010, the whole Port Authority bru-ha-ha can really only help him, since its not like unions have anywhere else to go.