NEW KID ON THE BLOCK.
South Side Flats resident Mark Rauterkus is throwing his hat in the ring for Pittsburgh's mayoral race. For now, he's the lone republican candidate for the May primary election, with incumbent Tom Murphy and City Councilman Bob O'Connor filling out a democratic battle. Eighteen-year-old Josh Pollock is still lobbying for a slot -- waiting to hear if he can run at his tender age.
Rauterkus has an ambitious agenda: "One of my challenges is to lower the skepticism about having a new person in office," he says. "Then, I need to crank up the idea of hope so that people will move back to the city. We need to reframe the issues. -- We're talking about the wrong things."
He's up in arms about the current property reassessment controversy that has shocked many local residents with its huge tax increases. "This would have never happened if we had done assessment buffering. That means, take last year's tax base and stage it over three years so that property owners only incur one-third of the increase each year.
We're all doing too little too late.
If we had open-source mindset where the public would have seen the criteria, so we would have known up front (what the increases would be). Now we're reverse engineering the system. I wouldn't have let us get into this deal to begin with."
"We don't need an Idea Factory," he said taking at jab at County Council Director Jim Roddey's focus group.
"We need a distillery, a place where rehashing and percolating ideas can take place, like an artist's studio."
"Mark wants the decision-making mix to be more representative. There are no Republicans or plain citizens making decisions. We need to not just iron out differences -- but be the eagle that soars above with a left wing, right wing and a bunch of tail feathers."
Rauterkus describes himself as "a small government, citizen-style Republican -- not a corporate type."
"If I become Mayor, we'll have an interesting quilt of what Pittsburgh's supposed to be like." Rauterkus is having an open house this Friday from 5-8 p.m. and on Saturday from noon-5 at his campaign headquarters, 108 South 12th Street, South Side Flats. Everybody's invited and, of course, donations will be accepted.
Rauterkus' Web site is http://www.rauterkus.com.