Dems Correct Course, Will Replace Danko in District-Wide Vote

Rank and file Democratic Committee men and women representative of individual Allegheny County Council District 11 neighborhoods all will get to vote for the successor to Barbara Daly Danko.

Danko died of illness during her campaign, yet the voters of that District reelected her by a comfortable margin.

“After careful consultation with attorneys and members of Allegheny County leadership, I am pleased to announce that we are able to grant voting privileges to all committee members within this district,” Ms. Mills said in the release. “We know this is the most democratic — and most fair — way of conducting this election.” (P-G, Early Returns)

All’s well that ends well. 

The Comet had dreamed up a work-around for a similar result:  having the Chair call a Special Meeting to take a “straw poll” one week prior to what seemed like would have to be “the real vote” by Ward bosses and state committee big shots.

We trust Nancy Patton Mills has got this right, though.

So on Sunday August 2, many hundreds of the small cogs in Pittsburgh’s political machine will gather to cast ballots, or vote by voice, or maybe arm-wrestle, under Party rules and supervision, as is required under State law. Don’t play this video if you are still avoiding Game of Thrones book spoilers, but it might go a little something like this…



Anyway. So even this summer will be political!

MORE: State Party Chair Jim Burn (D-Millvale), on the outs.

51 thoughts on “Dems Correct Course, Will Replace Danko in District-Wide Vote

    1. Bram R Post author

      In the past primary election, yes. Mitchell is still a possibility in the upcoming Party Committee election. Though her recruitment by Fitzgerald (before he got humbled in the primary) weighs heavily.

      1. Anonymous

        What facts and/or proof do you have that Fitz recruited her? And what does that have to do with Peduto and Gilman endorsing her?

      2. Bram R Post author

        She was a recent appointee to Fitzgerald’s County board of health. And I couldn’t think of another reason someone might run against Barbara Daly Danko. But my mistake. What was Mitchell’s platform? It all provides context. Her background in chemical engineering and law seems nice.

  1. MGG

    Mitchell posted this to the 14th Ward Club’s Facebook page on June 1. She may have trouble walking it back if she pursues the committee’s vote to replace Danko on the November ballot

    Caroline Mitchell

    June 1 at 9:00pm

    Many of you have no doubt received the letter from Sam Hens Greco relating to the upcoming special election to fill the nomination of the Democratic candidate for the D11 Council seat in the general election. His letter to Jim Burn contests Nancy Mills’ interpretation of Rule 13.1 of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee Rules (as amended, 2009) (available at all times on the ACDC website.) Since Chris Zurawsky removed his post today concerning this topic, I share this information: The Rules of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee set forth the standards for who shall vote on a substitute nomination. Rule 13.1 provides that the 24 committee officers of the 8 wards comprising District 11 are voters in a special election to fill a nomination vacated by death of the nominated candidate. It is unfortunate that the leader of the 14th ward, and his friends in the ’14th Ward independent democrat club’ (sic) did not bother to review these rules, which have been in effect since 2009. It is more unfortunate that at least 4 newspaper articles, and various letters authored by the 14th ward leaders, have erroneously misled committee members and the public since 5/7/15. The 223 democratic committee members in District 11 do not have a vote in the upcoming special election. That special election, at which 24 officers vote, is now noticed for 6/27/15, per letter of the Chair of the County Committee and her announcement on WESA NPR this morning.

    1. Bram R Post author

      Reads like she’s running with great antipathy towards the 14th Ward. That’s not unusual, it goes back to Teddy Roosevelt. Now the question becomes, do they want a divided district, or do they want a consensus figure or a compromise figure (those are different).

      1. Bram R Post author

        It seems we are commenting in circles.

        I assume Peduto and Gilman endorsed Mitchell against Danko partially because of Fitzgerald. But that turned out to be the sort of bigfooting that caused voters and leaders upset, right?

  2. MGG

    Many moons ago Fitzgerald vowed to take down Danko. A number of people were asked by Fitzgerald and his team to run against her but they declined. Eventually, Mitchell, at the same time that she was appointed to the Board of Health, was recruited by Eric Marchbein to run against Danko, who he preceded as 14th Ward chair. Jeanne Clark, 7th Ward chair, chaperoned Mitchell, a newcomer to local politics, to early political event. Clark and Marchbein acted on Fitzgerald’s behalf. Mitchell’s animosity toward the 14th Ward stems in large part from these affiliations.

    1. Bram R Post author

      MGG wrote: “[Mitchell] was recruited by Eric Marchbein to run against Danko, who he preceded as 14th [ACDC] Ward chair.”

      Did Danko defeat Marchbain for that chairmanship, or was it a handover? I see we have 7 friends in common.

      Jeanne Clark, also of ALCOSAN.

      1. MGG

        Marchbein relinquished the chair in 2006 leading to Danko beating Bob Nelkin, head of United Way (curiously). Marchbein backed Nelkin. If memory serves, Marchbein then sought to be vice-chair, or one of the ward’s officers, but was rebuffed.

        Just an aside: Marchbein was chair for 16 years (4 terms); 15th Ward (Greenfield/Hazelwood) chair Bill Tenney is headed into at least his 4th term, and very likely his last.

    2. Anonymous

      other than speculation and guilt by association i’m still not seeing how you can pin this on Fitzgerald. At least, not if others can’t pin Stonewall on Peduto.

      1. Bram R Post author

        Well there’s no “guilt”, there’s just association by association.

        And if you want to pin Stonewall on Peduto, go ahead.

  3. Anne

    Nancy Patton Mills should have consulted with attorneys PRIOR to her initial ruling. That would have been the most Democratic and fair way. I doubt that she is pleased with the outcome. Allegheny County leadership (a.k.a. Rich Fitzgerald) should just take over as chair because he’s making the decisions anyway.

  4. MH

    I guess we’re not going to know who started the Poli fire but at least they’ve gotten back to work removing the debris. It was starting to smell musty, like all the rain had left pools buried under the rubble.

    1. Bram R Post author

      In follow-up reporting, various civic interests expressed a ton of motive, and the accomplices to any possible act of arson would have to be several. There is an old expression, “It’s never the crime, it’s the cover-up.” Perhaps clues might be discovered when appropriate authorities take a look at electronic and phone records in the days surrounding the “tragedy”.

      But I’m not sure who those authorities would be, since the state Attorney General is busy foiling corrupt, vampire-obsessed bosses.

    1. Anonymous

      in other words, making an important political point will be deleted if the politburo deems it accurate and damaging.

      1. Bram R Post author

        So why do you think that Peduto’s and Gilman’s (together with ACE Fitzgerald’s) futile endorsement of Mitchell against a deceased incumbent back in the primary is still the most important thing to say — to the point you repeat it again and again while each time offering absolutely nothing else? Don’t you have anything else to say about Mitchell?

        The 1st time it was an important political point. The 2nd time, it was an indicator as to Mitchell’s loyalists’ strategy. The 3rd and 4th time it was just spam — telling spam, and I actually did you a favor by deleting it.

  5. Anonymous

    It is important because every time you intend on distancing Peduto from Fitz you and your readers need to be reminded that they are so closely intertwined that both Peduto and Gilman went hand in hand to endorse Mitchell over Danko purely for loyalist and power structure reasons. It had nothing to do with progressive values or changing the machine or anything else. Politics and power. That is it.

    1. Bram R Post author

      “Distance” between Peduto and Fitz is entirely dependent on context, which I always try to show. My hunch is you (yous) are correct about the reason for those particular endorsements, but when you talk about how G & P & F are “so closely entwined” the operative word to watch out for is “so”.

      I went to a recent candidates forum. My hunch is that County District 11 will survive, even thrive, under any of the present candidates. But Audrey Glickmann really really seems to reflect its sentiment especially well. Plus she’s been deeply committed to that kind of public service for a long time.

      1. Anonymous

        That is, if you choose the sentiment of only a few as being superior to everyone else in the district. What has Glickman done that makes her so qualified?

      2. MH

        It’s a really nice district. The people have great sentiments all around, except for the stupid parking.

      3. Bram R Post author

        Anon 8:08 — I’ve known Audrey Glickman for many years as a loyal lieutenant for my then-City Councilor, Darlene Harris (together with Andrew DeWitt, who now works for City Controller Lamb). Audrey always took to constituent services and problem-solving with an enormous amount of energy, tenacity and institutional knowledge.

        That, and she consistently had a passion for “good government”, even in those instances when her boss was otherwise distracted. And she’s an activist when it comes to voting rights.

        Still on the fence? Say for example you think Fitzgerald needs a watchful eye or two on him, just for the sake of best practices. We’ve lost Danko, we’re losing Heidelbaugh, and it seems Chelsa has grown awful quiet since the primary. Audrey Glickman is well-suited to that role.

      1. Audrey Glickman

        Thank you, Bram, for your words of confidence. I am in the running for the nomination because I believe we need an independent individual in the position. I would not “fall in line” with anyone, that is not me. Listen to everyone, talk with everyone, work with everyone, gather everyone for work that needs to be done, but never “fall in line.”

        Let me try to give examples, from public goings-on involving the candidates. Not to disparage, but to draw contrasts. Committee members will choose based on what is important to them, but they should pay attention to their constituents.

        I have worked with various members of County Council over the past decade, have offered legislation, have lobbied, have testified. Worked on the Human Relations matter, the voting machines and other election matters, the unsavory initiative about posting “In G-d We Trust” in Council chambers, and other issues. I am recognizable to most members of Council. I follow their agendas as a part of my work with Scenic Pittsburgh. Sometimes we are on the same side of an issue, and sometimes not. They are all fine persons, with varying opinions.

        When the Gertrude Stein Political Club asked Caroline Mitchell (then seeking endorsement in the primary) how she can be certain she will be able to work with the various Council members, she said that her preparation consisted of reading transcripts of the meetings. (She ultimately was not endorsed.) When the 7th Ward (Shadyside) Dems met last week, they asked each candidate which elected officials we know and work with. Ms. Mitchell said she picks up the phone and calls Rich Fitzgerald – as she did about fracking Deer Lakes Park – and she knows and can work with Dan Gilman (who is a *City* Council person).

        After all these years, I know and enjoy working with many elected officials. My website AudreyGlickman-dot-com gives my history and positions. And my opinions are fairly well available all over the web.

        Look, in the interest of fairness and equal time, please encourage all candidates to weigh in here.

        What we should work for is a knowledgeable, open vote by each Committee person in this nomination. Openness and transparency are important – at least to me.

  6. MGG

    It blows my mind that committee members who I know and respect are seriously considering voting for Mitchell on Sunday. The old “lipstick on a pig” adage comes to mind. I’ve got to get on the blower this week and set them straight. Keep up the good fight Audrey.

      1. MasterStudent


        I’ve come to regard you with high respect; almost immediately after meeting you I witness your persistence and tenacity to serve the community.

        Whatever the results of this Sunday, I hope to work with you in the near future.

        And Bram, thank you for keeping up with and informing the people about city and county affairs. It was nice to finally meet you at the 14W panel.

    1. Anonymous

      It blows my mind that anyone thinks a few secretive individuals get to choose our representative. That is the real crime.

      1. Bram R Post author

        Well Anon 10:16, it is an extenuating circumstance — a Special Election.

        I’d rather see a popular election in the case of such vacancies as well, but can at least see the logic to appealing to the Party apparatus AKA “few secretive individuals” — especially since that’s what State Law requires in this case.

        By the way, Mitchell is alone among D-11 candidates in having yet to submit a bio to the ACDC / FSI. But go ahead and comment on the rest of them!

  7. MGG

    There will still be an election in November, Anon. 10:16. After the “few” (i.e., 230 or so) committee people in District 11 choose a candidate to endorse for the Democratic ticket (as they did in March or April, when they selected Danko as the endorsed Dem), all voters in the district will then have the opportunity to vote for the endorsed Dem or a write-in candidate (the Republicans failed to scare up a candidate). So you still have plenty of time to launch your campaign!

    1. Anonymous

      Are you serious with your “there will be an election in November?” NO there will not. You lost all credibility, but that is what happens when you support a secretive (yes 230 people is a secretive club) group picking our reps. The law actually says the officers get to choose but that was thrown by the wayside to please the populous. It wouldn’t be that hard to have an actual election.

      1. Bram R Post author

        State Law requires that the Party (yes, here a secretive club) nominates candidates to fill vacancies on ballots and in seats. The Party’s organizational bylaws state only the high officers may get to choose those nominees, but that was thrown by the wayside by Party ladership to retain minimal credibility.

        It would have been hard for the Party to hold a popular election on its own, but I guess not impossible.

      2. MGG

        General Election Day is November 3. Here’s the link to the county Elections Department calendar

        There are 230 committee people in county council District 11, another 200 or so in each of the other 12 council districts, or about 2,000 Democratic committee people countywide. They are elected every four years by Democratic voters in their districts (by design, about 500 voters in each district choose a committee man and a committee woman; in practice, about 100-200 people actually vote in each district). It’s hardly a secret group. Committee candidates names are on the voting machines in their districts and anyone can run, so … get off the sidelines and give it a shot!

        BTW, three of the five candidates running to fill Danko’s seat, in one way or another, are committee people–Glickman and both Kleins (the are not related). About a month back the 14th Ward committee held a candidates forum at a disclosed location–the church at Forbes and Murray, in Squirrel Hill–that was open to the public. Anyone interested in meeting the “secret” group of committee people could have attended. Granted it takes a little effort–a couple phone calls, perhaps, a little bit of Googling–but there are many opportunities to get in involved.

      3. Audrey Glickman

        Always in the interest of fair and open elections, there is the potential for persons to run to be Democratic committee persons in 1,319 precincts in Allegheny County, one male and one female in each. (I do not know how the Republican committee handles its elections.) Absolutely as MGG says, get out and run! I won my seat by one vote.

        Additionally, there is still time for a third-party candidate to get onto the ballot for County Council districts that are up for election, though at this point it would be a major push. TODAY is the last day for other parties and political bodies to circulate and file nomination papers for the General Election. (I’ve posted this sort of information inside my campaign website calendar, audreyglickman-dot-com, and it is always posted at VoteAllegheny-dot-org.)

      4. Anonymous

        gotta luv how when it suits you the committee is so open and fair and everyone knows exactly how it works. Back on earth, the vast majority of regular people have no idea how to get involved or how the rules work. And you fail to mention how many committee people are simply appointed by political allies in exchange for vowing support. In context with actual free and fair elections it is extremely secretive and closed. Outsiders are not welcome. I am happy someone pointed out that 3 of the 5 “candidates” are committee people. That is par for the course. Committee people run for office and committee people get elected.

  8. MGG

    Mitchell, a member of the county’s Board of Health with a keen interest in landlord/tenant issues and fracking, is telling everyone that she’s not Fitz’s puppet and will have no qualms opposing him when necessary, which opens the door to a win-win outcome Sunday–put Glickman on council, that way Rich will have two thorns in his side.

    1. Audrey Glickman

      Mr. Fitzgerald’s interesting act of appointing a lawyer / engineer to the Board of Health just before his PAC endorsed her run for Council inescapably intertwines Mr. Fitzgerald with that candidate.

      All the candidates except for me are total novices to County Council, may never have attended a meeting. They have never written legislation. Electing one of them would create a Councilperson who fumbles about, goes along to get along, and says “yes” to the County Executive and to the Councilpersons who regularly fall in lockstep with him. Does that move our County forward? Does that serve the constituents of District 11?

      1. MGG

        Audrey – I’ve talked to two committee people in the past two days who say they’re leaning toward Caroline and have never gotten a call from you. Time for a last minute push!

  9. Bram R Post author

    Apropos to most of this, here are the results:

    Paul Klein 83
    Caroline Mitchell 48
    Audrey Glickman 11
    Kimberly Kaplan 4

    At the candidates forum I attended, Paul struck me as “the comedian”, always ready to open with a joke for perspective. He said then that he thinks he can “talk to the people on both sides,” and similarly in his ACDC candidate bio it says he’ll “reach across the divide” and “doesn’t allow personal grudges or vendettas”.

    Taking a closer look at his bio, it reads, “For the past 26 years I have taught law and ethics at Duquesne University, where I am a faculty member in the School of Business. I spent almost six years working for the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations.

    So there’s that!

    He was given credit by the other candidates for making a lot of personal contact, visiting committee members at their doors in lieu of phone calls. I suspect a win as big as that can’t come with a certain amount of organization by people motivated to sidestep pro-Fitz and Anti-Fitz animus, but he sure seemed like a great fit for that opportunity.

    1. MGG

      Yeah, given the rather lopsided result, I hate to say it, but I think the fix was in, in the sense that Fitz let it be known among party leaders that he would not be actively supporting Mitchell (and she helped out by telling people that she would happily oppose Fitz on council when she deemed it necessary). Without Fitz, Mitchell didn’t have a prayer, even if some committee members were swayed by her sex and brains.

  10. Cruncher

    Startlingly consistent percentages for Danko/Klein:

    Spring endorsement vote
    Danko – 109 … 57.67 percent
    Mitchell – 80 … 42.32 percent
    TOTAL – 189

    Member of County Council DISTRICT 11
    Vote for 1
    Barbara Daly Danko . . . . . . . 5,596 57.85
    Caroline Mitchell. . . . . . . . 4,027 41.63
    WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 50 .52

    Yesterday’s ballot replacement vote
    Paul Klein – 83 … 56.84 percent
    Caroline Mitchell – 48 … 32.87
    Audrey Glickman – 11 … 7.53
    Kimberly Kaplan – 4 … 2.73
    TOTAL – 146

    1. Flybylight

      Having known and worked with and appreciated and admired Barbara Danko since the mid-1980s, Audrey Glickman definitely counts as a BDD candidate rather than a Rich Fitzgerald candidate, if such a distinction may be drawn.

      There was a lot of work “behind the scenes” in Paul’s campaign, and the smooth and open political operation took the day.

      Now that we have an educated, knowledgeable, independent-thinking candidate, let’s get behind him in getting something done in County Council.


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