District Magistrate for Northside

Finally I've been able to find information on the individuals running for the Magisterial District Judge race on the Northside (Wards 21-25).

Why do I care?  Well, I gained some interest after I realized how many of my neighbors were supporting the candidate they know without any real sense of his qualifications beyond the fact that he's an attorney.  I can see why people use this criteria as we all want to support our friends and, frankly, finding information is a struggle.  Candidates at this level don't have fancy websites, twitter or so forth.

I had something stuffed in my door today from a Republican running for the office.  His name is Dan Styche who is a State Deputy Constable.  I'm not clear on what that means, but apparently is makes him a lawman and able to claim 12 years experience working in the Magistrate's Offices.

That led me to the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania site which has FIVE candidates listed. 

  • Derwin Rushing, Democratic
  • Karen McLellan, Democratic  (Karen is the only with information available: here)
  • Daniel A. Styche, Republican
  • Jackie Lynn Hoffman, Democratic, Republican
  • Dean A. Birdy, Democratic
  • So what does a district magistrate do?  I'm not sure.  I know they take care of the first steps in a criminal process.  They hear tax cases. I can't find a really good description of what they do.

    Our of the five people running in my area, Derwin Rushing is an attorney.  Karen McLellan is a police officer.  We already mentioned the constable.  I think Dean Birdy is also an attorney.   I can't find anything about Jackie Lynn Hoffman. 

    I did discover that Dean Birdy and Dan Styche are listed as committeefolks for the Allegheny County Democrat committee.  That's odd that Styche is running as a Republican then.  His literature says Democat. 

    So I frankly have no good information in this race.  I have some info that makes me disinclined to vote for one candidate, but without more details it is hard to know who my best alternative is.  It is hard to know who is qualified when you aren't sure what they do.  Clearly, the two lawyers and the police officer have a leg up when it comes to actually knowing the law. 

    Frustrating. I'll keep digging.


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