Pittsburgh Firefighters Local 1 President Joe King has written a union "HotLine" letter attacking Republican mayoral candidate Mark DeSantis.
He says the letter is being distributed to firefighters union members, retirees, and firefighters widows. The letter constitutes an unofficial endorsement of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, though it doesn't use those words.
King writes that Mayor Ravenstahl would review the safety impact of any plan to close fire stations before taking action on the study. The union president's letter alleges that DeSantis would reopen the firefighters' contract and "implement the recommendations, without even reviewing the impact this new study/plan would have on safety"-- a claim the DeSantis campaign denies.
The campaign's spokeswoman responds that "Mr. Desantis said he is open to the possibility of closing fire stations", but that he also "said he would not compromise public safety". The campaign notes that DeSantis has not seen the details of the draft study prepared by a consultant to the oversight board, and cannot comment on its recommendations directly.
The Ravenstahl campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
The King letter states that Local 1 has "not officially endorsed a candidate" for mayor, and says "there are important issues we need to discuss with Mayor Ravenstahl". The union president writes, however, that "I do know this Mark DeSantis is not the person I welcome discussing or negotiating new contract terms".
King's letter also says DeSantis "was directly affiliated with Rick Santorum". The DeSantis campaign says that suggestion is "patently false". The spokeswoman acknowledges DeSantis made a $400 contribution to the former U.S. senator's campaign in 2000 and a $250 contribution in 2006. She says that DeSantis has also made contributions to Republican U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, and to local Democrats Doug Shields and Valerie McDonald Roberts, and that DeSantis hosted a fundraising reception for Democrat Michael Lamb.
By the way, there's a spirited debate over the significance of campaign contributions under way at Bram Reichbaum's blog, The Pittsburgh Comet.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
(Click the image of the letter below to enlarge it.)