PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – In just five days, Pittsburgh Democrats will decide whether Bill Peduto gets another four years as mayor or whether to replace him with someone else.
In interviews with all four candidates, KDKA political editor Jon Delano asked each what would be their first priority if elected.READ MORE: Wolf Administration Warns 99% Of All Wildfires Caused By People As Wildfire Season Begins In Pennsylvania
“Day one the first priority is to deal with police-community relations, to start doing the things that help to build trust,” says Pennsylvania Rep. Ed Gainey.
“One, we want to stop over-policing in neighborhoods. We’ve seen the results. African Americans make up 23 percent of the city; 65 percent of the arrests are Black,” he adds.
“Bring those neighborhood leaders together and ask them what they need,” says Tony Moreno.
“We’re going to put police officers back on the street. We’re going to bring the rules back into order. We’re going to have them interact with our neighborhoods, and we’re going to get downtown running and clean and safe again,” says the retired police officer.
“The first thing we need to do is confront the police union. We really need to put the police department into the hands of the people, not the police union,” says Mike Thompson.
Mayor Peduto’s top priority: “Affordable housing and utilizing the OnePGH plan in order to be able to put hundreds of millions of dollars behind an initiative to rebuild existing vacant and abandoned property and to turn it into opportunities for home ownership.”
Will the candidates pledge not to raise city taxes?
“I don’t think we’re going to have to raise taxes,” says Moreno.READ MORE: 'Press Play PA' Campaign Seeks To Connect People In Allegheny, Westmoreland Counties With Drug Treatment, Recovery Options
“If it comes to basic city services not being funded, there’s a chance we might have to raise revenue,” warns Thompson.
“We plan out a five-year budget, so I can show people how we will balance our budget over the next five years without tax increases,” says Peduto.
“We shouldn’t have to tax our residents. They’ve been taxed enough,” notes Gainey.
As this campaign wraps up, the candidates were each asked what surprised them the most.
Gainey: “I never witnessed an incumbent put out so much negativity, smear tactics.”
Moreno: “The biggest thing that I realized was the total dishonesty and lack of honor in our political process.”
Peduto: “The [negative] stuff that is said on social media wouldn’t even be whispered 10 years ago.”
Thompson: “Personally, feel very respected by the campaign and the way my opponents have treated me.”MORE NEWS: Eagle Escapes From Pittsburgh's National Aviary, Whereabouts Currently Unknown
Democratic voters in the city get the last say on Tuesday.