Vote for Wander because he’s Jewish?
Of course that is a silly statement. Who, in their right mind would consider voting for a candidate solely on the basis of religion? Fortunately, on Nov. 8 you will have an opportunity to choose a candidate, not based on name recognition or party affiliation, but upon hard credentials.
The way to improve the quality of life in Pittsburgh is simply by electing qualified individuals to office. This has clearly not been the case. The proof: our population has dwindled to less than half its original glory while we have been struggling with single party rule, which is unhealthy for any city, regardless of which party is in power.
There is a good reason that we have a two party system in our country, because it promotes accountability, something that has been missing from our city for many decades. For example, the city’s pension system was a reckless patronage agreement made because the city’s one-party rule created a backslapping arrangement with the unions at the expense of you, the taxpayer. Once elected, I will begin to dismantle that system and replace it with a right-to-work initiative that will reward city workers commensurate with their achievements.
Also, all of the quasi-governmental authorities need to be reigned in. I would immediately begin a complete audit of the entire city government to see where we can make cuts, work to consolidate the duplication of services and how we can stop the out of control waste.
This really isn’t rocket science and is something that all of the oversight boards should have done from the get go. We need someone whose hands are not tied by special interest groups, labor unions and old school politics to get this job done. Politics as usual, will not do. We need transparency now.
Crime has plagued our city and is begging to spill over into our district. With my background in law enforcement and the military, I pledge not only to equip our first responders with the most advanced tools to battle crime, but I will provide them with new and innovative ways to accomplish this task.
Finally, city council needs to understand the limits of their authority. As with all levels of government they swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. My guess is that very few of them have even bothered to read the fundamental documents of which our country and state are bound. Many of the ordinances passed by council overstep their mandate, which is not only a waste of time and money for the city, but opens up the city to possible litigation. Simply put, we need experienced and responsible people running our city.
I am a native Pittsburgher and was born in McKeesport. I went to both Hillel Academy and Yeshiva Schools. I moved to Israel after high school to pursue an undergraduate degree in talmudic law. Following the first Gulf War I recognized the need to protect Israel and volunteered in the Israeli army, where I served honorably as a combat commander in Lebanon. Following my military service, I got involved in politics and served as an advisor in the Knesset. I then went on to work as the online editor for the Jerusalem Post. When I returned to the United States, married with children, I continued to serve in my role as a public servant. I was elected to the position of state constable and began my advanced studies in public policy. I earned a master’s degree in public and international affairs, majoring in security and intelligence studies, from the University of Pittsburgh. I also earned an advanced certificate in global studies on the side. Finally, I began studies toward a doctorate in public policy and administration. Sounds overqualified for the job? Perhaps, considering that a few years ago most people on city council did not have a college degree and some never even finished high school. But, better overqualified than under-qualified.
Our city is in receivership on the brink of bankruptcy and “leadership” is not capable of rescuing us from this mess. We have previously elected young and less than qualified individuals to council with the hope that they would learn on the job. We can no longer afford to do this.
So, should you vote for Josh Wander because he’s Jewish? Of course not. You should vote for me because I am the more qualified candidate to fix a broken system, which is in such desperate need of repair.
(Josh Wander is the Republican candidate for the Pittsburgh City Council, District 5.)