Am I naive about the Wagner/Peduto pairing?

This came across my desk about 14 times last week:

Invitation

Please join Councilman Bill Peduto &
State Representative Chelsa Wagner for

“The Life of the Party”
Halloween Party

feat. live music by

The Old E Allstars
DJ Omar Abdul

Friday, October 31 from 8 to 11 PM

The Grand Hall at The Priory
614 Pressley Street, Northside

Cost is $10 with costume, $20 without
All proceeds benefit Northside charity

Paid for by People for Peduto and Friends of Chelsa Wagner

My first question?  Which Northside charity.  Representative Wagner represents part of the Northside, specifically my part of the Northside – Manchester. Along with Castle Shannon and Beechview and Brookline, etc. Hmmm. Our little step-child status isn't her fault — she didn't draw the district maps.  I've talked with her staff on a regular basis and I believed they genuinely wanted to connect with our community.

This seemed perfect.  A chance for Chelsa to do something for the children in Manchester (and their families) by designating the proceeds to benefit a local charity in her district.  This could pave the way for more contact and stronger connections which would be a win-win for everyone.  Right?  Bill doesn't have any voters in the Northside so there isn't a conflict with him, right? 

I asked some questions. I contacted Wagner's folks and Peduto's folks.  I asked some friends of friends.  I got various answers, but it boils down to no one being willing to name the charity or tell me how that charity has been/will be selected.  That seems weird to me.  Why would there be a problem with designating the proceeds to benefit a neighborhood that could use it?  On the other hand, if they chose something outside of our district, why not just say so? 

I think I am too naive and missing some sort of insider perspective here.  I asked some people about that possibility and no one is talking. 

It is a party.  With masks and costumes.  It costs $10.00.  It seems reasonable to ask that our State Representative invest her time, talent and energies to benefit families living in her district.  We don't have an office.  Her staff cannot always attend (or aren't invited to) local events.  They haven't organized any events here.  So why not this one small first step? 

I certainly have nothing against the other local charitable organizations.  I just think it should be okay to ask for a little transparency when your elected official gets involved a few blocks outside of your district while you are struggling for some state attention.  If you've been reading this blog, you've seen the Herculean efforts it takes to get PennDOT to simply cut their grass.  We could use some help out here. 

Let me say this in closing.  Chelsa's staff have typically been very forthcoming with me and responsive to my calls.  They seem like good people.  I wasn't even going to blog about this until it became apparent that I could not get a straightforward answer.  Having recently sat through a depressing free-for-all that passes for a public meeting, a meeting not attended by her staff, I just think someone has to start speaking up –speaking up  more — and saying that Manchester deserves attention.  My God, my neighbor caught a state employee DUMPING in our fields, only half a block from the house he (the employee) rents.  It is pretty bad when you drive a car down the street that is subsidized by  my tax dollars (gov tags) to your rental property.  But to dump in our neighborhood — a place you should consider home?  That's crazy. 

There's a disconnect here.  Or maybe I'm crazy for asking questions.  Maybe I'm just supposed to put on my costume, shut up, pay up and have a good time.  Then drive back down the street to Manchester passing the kids “hanging out” because their pool is closed, their community center is leaderless and focused on $250,000 housing units and because no one can agree how to ensure these kids get a shot at decent jobs being created by development around the block (i'm talking to you casino and Steeler-hotel people). 

Maybe I'm the crazy one.

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  • “There's a disconnect here. Or maybe I'm crazy for asking questions. Maybe I'm just supposed to put on my costume, shut up, pay up and have a good time.”
    It's a thought. But it'd be nice to know what “north side charities” are involved. Hopefully Wheatley, Walko, Harris, Payne et al are pointing them in some good directions.
    If she held the event in her district, someone might have accused her of padding the wallet of a political supporter! Maybe.

  • I certainly don't think it is a problem to have an event outside of the district, especially if the owners of The Priory extended the invitation. Good for them. And charities outside of Manchester serve our families so there's something to be said for that. But just say it. Say it, accept that some of us are going to say “but, wait a minute…” and be done with it.
    As for padding the wallet of a contributor, I'd counterargue that one could claim she (and Bill) are taking our Manchesterian donations and support for granted, especially given the very low priority given to her office presence here in this part of the district.

  • Chelsa Wagner hasn't set foot in Manchester since her real campaign. She has bigger fish to fry than poor urban families so stop wasting your time. How many black families in Manchester were involved in the Peduto for Mayor campaign? Allegheny West is much more their style and their people. Why waste your time worrying about it? How many people of color work for either one?
    This is about support for bigger campaign donations for bigger challenges. Who cares about the charity? You should be worried about who is throwing the party.

  • You are one dumb bitch if you think the Wagners give a fuck about your fag issues. Bill Peduto can't get himself elected so he's backing a new horse. So boo hoo hoo about your fucking gay or poor people charity. She doesn't need your votes to win any race. Who the fuck cares about some ghetto neighborhood? Stop whining you pathetic bitch and just stay home on Halloween to pass out candy to little kids in costumes from Family Dollar. She needs to stay on her side of the river and focus on people who have jobs and want to have a decent life, not a bunch of bull dykes.

  • Are you suggesting that Chelsa Wagner might actually prefer the company of her white suburban voters to inner city residents? I mean, she invited them to a party at The Priory and that's pretty much a Northside watering hole. It is practically the same thing as coming to her district. She has to drive down Allegheny Avenue to get there. That's the same thing.
    Don't discount the Wagners when it comes to the gays. They may not show up at Pridefestivals, but they know how to keep the gay money flowing in to the coffers. They simply prefer the company of white gay men with money who also wouldn't be caught dead in Manchester.
    No one talks about these things because Dan Frankel wants to keep his street cred as a progressive and Wagner is his protegee. Peduto sees that swinging to the middle is his only opportunity to be relevant. If the gays keep their mouths shut, they might stay in the good graces and keep the Marriage Amendment off the table. Everyone wins.
    Keep blogging about this stuff. Ignore the gay baiters. People in Manchester got tired of Sala ignoring them and voted for Tonya Payne. It could happen again. No other blogger in Pittsburgh will touch Chelsa Wagner, but the long arm of Jack Wagner only goes so far.

  • “just stay home on Halloween to pass out candy to little kids in costumes from Family Dollar.”
    Nice. Mock poor inner-city kids. If you represent Wagner's voters from “her side of the river” maybe I need to start paying better attention to state politics. Why isn't Manchester part of Jake Wheatley's district anyway?

  • There are two reasons Chelsa Wagner is giving you the run around. One, she is a puppet and someone behind the scenes is making the decisions. Two, she knows she is going to take some flak over the ID of the charity. Neither is flattering to her.
    Either way, this has nothing to do with Manchester or gays or constituents. It is about Chelsa and Bill teaming up with some unnamed supporters and keeping their motivations on the downlow. No one benefits from this except them. And they know it or they would be willing to talk with you about this.
    Make no mistake about it, Chelsa wants you to shut this conversation down. She may be new, but she's not stupid. The racist and homophobic comments from her supporters aren't very flattering. Neither is the suggestion that she's in bed with unnamed supporters with their own agenda. You can bet that agenda is more about the North Shore than the Northside.
    She should have just told you the name of the charity. Now, that was a newbie mistake.
    Go to the Halloween party and get a list of the donors to the event. That's your story.

  • Sue, for my money, “Another Burgher” is the commenter you want to listen to here. It might not always be pleasant for you (and you might not always be right, so be careful!!), but keep being skeptical. Trust your instincts.
    Identifying the charities to be involved is entirely reasonable, and speculating about Ms. Wagner's political profile within her district is entirely appropriate.

  • Hey — this generated quite a response. I'm not quite sure how someone made the leap from a Halloween party to the vicious us/them divide across the Ohio River and the gay bashing comments are unfounded, IMHO. Chelsa is a cosponsor of HB 1400 which would extend civil protections in housing and employment to the LGBT community. Her legislative record on “gay issues” is fine, if not comparable to Frankel. And I did point out in my original post that her office does have positive responses — I think their worst sin thus fas has been a lack of experience, especially in terms of juggling such a district as this. They can do better and I had simply hoped this little party was one step toward achieving that goal. I seem to be wrong about that.
    I'm not sure I'm right about anything except the lack of transparency as to the identity of the charities and the identity of the “decider.” I just keep thinking that I personally wouldn't lend my name to something without knowing that particular detail so it doesn't make sense that Bill and Chelsa would really do that, unless they have a very trusting relationship in the organizers of this event. Which begs the question of who those organizers are. John Graf of The Priory is the only public face associated with this event.
    I can't speculate any further without more information. It wouldn't be fair or wise. It could all be some wonderful attempt to support a worthwhile Northside charity, but we still go back to the original question of why — 3 days before the event — that charity has not been identified. Transparency.
    Mocking children in Halloween costumes coming from Family Dollar is pretty pathetic and I'm sure not reflective of the mentality of everyone who supports Chelsa and live in her other neighborhoods. It does point to some of the racial/socioeconomic tensions bubbling under the surface in this community and I do strongly believe that seeing Chelsa visit the district would be to her benefit. Pick on the grown up gay people if you want, but leave the kids alone.
    Neither Chelsa nor Bill will go on the record on this matter.

  • Well, I guess you told Sue! But the spewing of hatred and name-calling doesn't do anything to further the discussion which is a legitimate thing to have given that Sue and anyone else who attends this party has a right to know where the money goes. I feel sorry that you and many other people in this city and nation are filled with such hate about people who are different. And I happen to know from my employment that your side of the river has plenty of issues with drugs, violence and other “ghetto issues.” As for Sue being a dumb bitch, she has done a lot for her community and is one of the smartest, most compassionate people I know. So, tell me, exactly what have you been doing to lift up our city?
    Now, if you will excuse me this “bull dyke” is going to join Sue in passing out Halloween candy to the kids in the family dollar costumes.

  • you're both naive and crazy if you think chelsa wagner and bill peduto arenot going to be pissedd off that you wrote about this topic. my source is part of the pre-campaign team and told me that you annoyed them by even immplying that they have political motives or behave like politicians instead of crusaders. she was annoyed with you to until i pointed out literally all of the good posts you hav written about both of them. that shut her up.
    of course their are political motives here. the trib wrote it. chelsa wants to be mayor and bill wants to unseat luke and be considered a power broker. they want to play traditional politics in the guise of charitable concern for the northside. now they look like fools and they arent happy. they want liberal “street cred” as you put it and to go up against the local machine. good luck.
    you get no credit for all of the good things you write. i guarantee you will be on the naughty list until chelsa can find a way to make you shut up about manchester. the last thing she needs in a mayoral race is a neighborhood of people who could testify in court that she never shows up. especially a black neighborhood right next to luke's homebase who see a lot of tonya payne. all the yuppies in the east end cant undo that. whoever mentioned sala udin is right on the money.
    count on chelsa to make a public appearance in manchester in the next six weeks. if her campaign were smart theyd team up with you insted of punishing you for asking questions. otherwise one appearnce of the redd up crew will undo anything she can accomplish before the primary. she needs your support and pouting about a reasonable question that shows a weakness in her planning team is no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water. do they really want more gay people from the city supporting whatever third party throws their hat in the race?
    peduto should remember ijustine. you and your lady bloggers asked questions about that and now where is she? politicians make mistakes and it is the heigth of egotism to expect you to turn the other way because you are a liberal too.
    they are both too busy pouting to realize this could be fixed in about ten minutes by answering your questions by email with all of the usual selfstroking jargon about concern for the northside and turning it on its head by tossing in some language apllauding bloggers for being a voice for citizens and alternative viewpoints and all that. then they ask you to help judge the costume contest and that's that. chelsa tells you privately when she'll be in manchester and you agree to cover it. a cup of coffee at a local joint could fix this and make them look like bigger people.
    even i can see that solution. based on what my source tells me, what is actualy going to happen is they are both going to ignore you unless you call chelsa as a resident. they will not give you a public on the record comment on this or any other issue. they will ignore your email. they will be polite to you in public but you will be out of the loop until you write something positive about some action or bill they support. then you are back in. that post you wrote about being friends with bill peduto is priceless.
    if bill and chelsa could just remember that they have to earn your support and not take it for granted, they'd be better politicians (and candidates). chelsa is too smart to realize that not showing up in manchester is a bad move and someone is giving her bad advice. now she has racist homophobic jerks defending her. and you can bet dollars to dougnuts that she and bill both blame you for that.
    keep asking questions as long as you can handle the fallout of being frozen out by the selfstyled white knights whocannot tolerate criticism. you are now officially in the “free speech zone” of local liberal politics. manchester seems about as far from political power so you don't even have to move sue. just keep looking out your back window at that overgrown penndot lot and remember how much respect the city and state have for people in your part of town. they show up once a year to clean up their mess.
    i like your blogs even when i disagree with you. you are right up there with the comet and the burgher when it comes to local stuff. you dont pretend to be some quasi-journalist. you just have opinions and exercise your right to express them. peduto and wagner have to realize that they arent gong to take the mayors office with a herd of zombies, even well heeled zombies with good intentions.
    my friend promised me she would read your blog so she can make up her own opinion about you. so thats one good thing that comes out of this. i dont delude myself that peduto or wagner are going to take my advice for consideration. im just a voter.

  • you're both naive and crazy if you think chelsa wagner and bill peduto arenot going to be pissedd off that you wrote about this topic. my source is part of the pre-campaign team and told me that you annoyed them by even immplying that they have political motives or behave like politicians instead of crusaders. she was annoyed with you to until i pointed out literally all of the good posts you hav written about both of them. that shut her up.
    of course their are political motives here. the trib wrote it. chelsa wants to be mayor and bill wants to unseat luke and be considered a power broker. they want to play traditional politics in the guise of charitable concern for the northside. now they look like fools and they arent happy. they want liberal “street cred” as you put it and to go up against the local machine. good luck.
    you get no credit for all of the good things you write. i guarantee you will be on the naughty list until chelsa can find a way to make you shut up about manchester. the last thing she needs in a mayoral race is a neighborhood of people who could testify in court that she never shows up. especially a black neighborhood right next to luke's homebase who see a lot of tonya payne. all the yuppies in the east end cant undo that. whoever mentioned sala udin is right on the money.
    count on chelsa to make a public appearance in manchester in the next six weeks. if her campaign were smart theyd team up with you insted of punishing you for asking questions. otherwise one appearnce of the redd up crew will undo anything she can accomplish before the primary. she needs your support and pouting about a reasonable question that shows a weakness in her planning team is no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water. do they really want more gay people from the city supporting whatever third party throws their hat in the race?
    peduto should remember ijustine. you and your lady bloggers asked questions about that and now where is she? politicians make mistakes and it is the heigth of egotism to expect you to turn the other way because you are a liberal too.
    they are both too busy pouting to realize this could be fixed in about ten minutes by answering your questions by email with all of the usual selfstroking jargon about concern for the northside and turning it on its head by tossing in some language apllauding bloggers for being a voice for citizens and alternative viewpoints and all that. then they ask you to help judge the costume contest and that's that. chelsa tells you privately when she'll be in manchester and you agree to cover it. a cup of coffee at a local joint could fix this and make them look like bigger people.
    even i can see that solution. based on what my source tells me, what is actualy going to happen is they are both going to ignore you unless you call chelsa as a resident. they will not give you a public on the record comment on this or any other issue. they will ignore your email. they will be polite to you in public but you will be out of the loop until you write something positive about some action or bill they support. then you are back in. that post you wrote about being friends with bill peduto is priceless.
    if bill and chelsa could just remember that they have to earn your support and not take it for granted, they'd be better politicians (and candidates). chelsa is too smart to realize that not showing up in manchester is a bad move and someone is giving her bad advice. now she has racist homophobic jerks defending her. and you can bet dollars to dougnuts that she and bill both blame you for that.
    keep asking questions as long as you can handle the fallout of being frozen out by the selfstyled white knights whocannot tolerate criticism. you are now officially in the “free speech zone” of local liberal politics. manchester seems about as far from political power so you don't even have to move sue. just keep looking out your back window at that overgrown penndot lot and remember how much respect the city and state have for people in your part of town. they show up once a year to clean up their mess.
    i like your blogs even when i disagree with you. you are right up there with the comet and the burgher when it comes to local stuff. you dont pretend to be some quasi-journalist. you just have opinions and exercise your right to express them. peduto and wagner have to realize that they arent gong to take the mayors office with a herd of zombies, even well heeled zombies with good intentions.
    my friend promised me she would read your blog so she can make up her own opinion about you. so thats one good thing that comes out of this. i dont delude myself that peduto or wagner are going to take my advice for consideration. im just a voter.

  • Wow, I am not naive, but so much hate in at least one of these posts, its amazing.
    Sue, don't get discouraged or focused on that. You had a legitimate question, you asked it. Maybe its not a bad thing that focus has been put on Manchester. The trick is to make sure that after any election, it stays there. It's a good thing that politicians are paying interest, make them continue.

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