Friday, April 18, 2008

News Article

A repeat of a contest from six years ago is in the offing in the 39th Legislative District.State Rep. David Levdansky, D­Forward Township, and his 2002 fall opponent, Elizabeth council President Monica Douglas, launched write-in efforts to win the Republican nomination there.“This is really a citizens’ grassroots effort,” Douglas said Thursday. “I was recruited by a number of people. Drafted might be a better way of put­ting it.” Levdansky has no Democratic foe in Tuesday’s vote in Forward, Nottingham, South Park and Union townships, Clairton, Elizabeth, Jefferson Hills, New Eagle, Finleyville and parts of Carroll and Elizabeth townships.“I don’t have a Republican opponent and would welcome the Republican support for my re-elec­tion,” the 11-term incumbent said Thursday.Douglas has on Elizabeth council since 2004 and has been its presi­dent since 2006. She also represents Elizabeth on the Twin Rivers Council of Governments.“In order to secure a place on the ballot, I would need to garner at least 300 write-in votes on Tuesday from Republicans,” Douglas said.Douglas also serves as executive director of the Republican Committee of Allegheny County, working with committee chairman and former county executive Jim Roddey.“Monica is an extremely capable individual,” Roddey said. “She is a hard worker and has been very active in the Republican Party and in the community.” Mailings sent to Republicans in the district cited what Levdansky called his “effective representation” to everyone.He cited his “fair, balanced approach ... to solving problems, my work to address significant challenges such as property tax reform (and) the help my staff provides.” “Mr. Levdansky had the opportu­nity to vote on property tax reform and chose not to do it,” Douglas said. “Relief to seniors who meet a certain income threshold.” Douglas may have been referring to an amendment by state Rep. John Perzel, R-Philadelphia, to Levdansky’s own House Bill 1600.“My HB 1600 would raise about $1.5 billion (for property tax cuts) by increasing the sales tax from 6 to 6.5 percent (or 7 to 7.5 in Allegheny County) and increasing the state income tax from 3.07 to 3.29 per­cent,” Levdansky wrote in a January letter to the editor of The Daily News .Perzel’s amendment transferring up to $50 million from the lottery fund to a property tax relief fund was approved 159-36. Levdansky voted no.Douglas said seniors told her, “We get birthday cards and these seeds each year from Mr. Levdansky, but we would like to see some real help.” HB 1600 was recommitted to Levdansky’s House Finance Committee on Feb. 4.Gun control may be an issue as well. Levdansky pressed for a “com­mon sense amendment” requiring that, “if you lose your gun or if it is stolen, from the moment you realize it, you have to report it.” That amendment was defeated. Levdansky blamed “a Republican leadership that is so wedded to the National Rifle Association.” The NRA sent out a question­naire both Levdansky and Douglas received. Levdansky said he didn’t return it.“At this point in my life I don’t answer anyone’s questionnaires,” Levdansky said. “The NRA did not have a question on theirs about the lost-and-stolen amendment.” “I haven’t heard directly from the NRA,” Douglas said, “but I would be very happy to have their endorse­ment.” Levdansky questioned why Douglas didn’t file in the first place. A Levdansky supporter’s challenge in Commonwealth Court took GOP hopeful Vinton Wright of Jefferson Hills off the ballot.“I’ve met her on a couple of occa­sions,” Wright said. “She seems pretty straightforward, pretty savvy.” Levdansky suggested that Douglas may have been encouraged by for­mer Jefferson Hills Mayor Mary Larcinese, now a staffer with the House Republican Caucus.“Monica had contacted me over some phone calls she had received after she was on Marty Griffin’s show,” Larcinese said. “My comment was, ‘Hey, go for it, I’ll help you in any way.’” Staff Writer Eric Slagle contributed to this story.