Democracy for Pittsburgh endorsements, 2012 (press release)

April 10, 2012 by

===For immediate release===

April 10 (Pittsburgh)

The candidates responded, the members of DFP have voted. Our endorsed candidates are:

Eugene DePasquale for PA Auditor General


Erin Molchany for State Representative (PA General Assembly, district 22)

How do these candidates differ from others who garnered significant support, but not quite the 70% support required for DFP endorsement?  A key commonality springs to mind.  The two candidates share strong progressive tendencies, but they also share something more essential: a deep-seated commitment towards doing right by all citizens of PA, in a way that transcends ideology.

One presumes that every human being has occasional negative moments or a fleeting uncharitable thought. But these two candidates seem as immune to negative sentiment and divisiveness as it’s possible to be while living a life of deeply-felt convictions.  In the public sphere or the nonprofit world, each has made a habit of listening well to, and working respectfully with all who are willing to reciprocate.  In politics, even the very best too often allow themselves to “go negative.”  We not only hope but expect that both of our endorsees will continue to emphasize their strong backgrounds, their problem solving skills, their energy and their commitment–not the flaws (perceived, manufactured, or all-too-real) of their opponents.

We suggest that these are candidates anyone could proudly support, and we invite others to join us in doing so.


Candidate Responses and Endorsement Ballot, 2012 election

March 22, 2012 by

These are apparently all of the responses we’re getting. Voting is now open. 


Auditor General

Eugene DePasquale has strong qualifications and a history of standing up for the rights of the citizen.  Gene is also the only Democrat in the PA Auditor General’s race.

Eugene DePasquale’s website

Eugene DePasquale’s Answers: DePasquale DFP 2012

Attorney General

oddly, we have only received answers from one of the two Democratic Attorney General Candidates, while the other one of the two candidates has responded to social issues groups.  They both have similar (and relatively progressive) stances on individual and corporate rights and responsibilities, and both have both held positions of significant relevance and responsibility.  They are currently splitting support within the party, but not along ideological lines (and they are running a mutually respectful campaign).  Please find out more about both candidates to decide if we want to endorse in the primary, even though only one candidate has asked for our endorsement.

Kathleen Kane’s website

Kathleen Kane’s answers: Kane DFP 2012

Patrick Murphy’s website

(Patrick Murphy, no answers submitted)

link to an article about their campaign styles here .

Kane has Rendell’s election team, great intensity, and  a history, as a prosecutor, in going after child abusers (certainly currently topical, and her “a prosecutor, not a politician” stance should speak to a broad swath of the electorate). Murphy has raised about 5 times as much money (including many union supporters and LGBT supporters who are grateful for his leading role against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell).  Either one would be a solid and highly credible AG candidate in the general election, compared to past Democratic candidates.

State Representative District 22

DFP endorsed Erin Molchany in 2005 another office (where she did credibly in the election, but did not win against the establishment candidate).  Since then, she has served ably as Executive Director for PUMP (where along with a lot of young professional-focused networking, they’ve done good work on community engagement, “giving back,” and voter registration).  She is not the only progressive in the race, but she has far more experience and polish than her competitors, and a history with us.  She’s also the only candidate to respond to our request for answers. At least one strong candidate has potentially embarrassing past legal issues. I am therefore going to suggest that people do not vote “endorse whichever Democrat wins the primary, for the general election” in this race, unless they know more about that situation than I do. 

Erin Molchany’s website

Erin Molchany’s answers: Erin Molchany DFP 2012

State Representative District 20

This is our only head-to-head matchup for endorsement, and it does not include responses from incumbent (and frontrunner) Adam Ravenstahl.

David Schuilenburg facebook page and an interview from a previous political race (for city council), included here because his campaign website is currently nonfunctional.

David Schuilenburg’s responses: schuilenburgDFP2012

Article on Mark Purcell (because I can’t find his campaign website)

Mark Purcell’s responses:  Mark Purcell DFP 2012

All Races

For those interested in personal rights-style social issues (esp. LGBT/feminist), you will likely also want to check the candidate responses to the Steel City Stonewall Democrats, available here.


Ballot and voting instructions

Here is the endorsement ballot, including voting instructions. DFP Ballot 2012.pdf

There are two ways to vote.

a) classic secret ballot  Print out a ballot.  Vote. Do not put your name or any identifying marks on the ballot itself. Then put the ballot in an unmarked envelope. Stick that unmarked envelope in another envelope. Sign your name on the flap of the OUTER envelope, and include your legible, printed name with your return address.  Send it to DFP c/o Sabl, 7008 Willard st. Pittsburgh PA 15208, postmarked by March 30, 2012.  Also email to say the ballot is on its way.

b) quick and easy for those who really hate the two envelope process and who happen to trust Joy Sabl with their choices (hi, Marty, this is for you) you can email your choices to  They will be printed out, stuck in an envelope, and mixed with the other envelopes.


Unclear? Confusing? Errors?  Please contact  Thanks!

Note: this process does not cost money and was therefore not paid for by anyone.  DFP does not collect or spend funds in support of any candidate. 

DFP endorses “Move to Amend”

May 27, 2011 by

Multiple members having expressed support at our main communications tool, the DFP yahoo group, and nobody speaking against, the group is now an official supporter of the “move to amend” campaign. The single goal of this campaign is to reduce or remove the presumption of “personhood” for corporations.  Until ~ 120 years ago, corporations did just fine in the US without having the privacy or free speech rights of individuals.  In much of the world, corporations have no such rights, but manage to go about their business…without directly warping the political process.

We encourage anyone who reads this to go to the Move to Amend page, and sign on as an individual supporter.

To quote from Move to Amend:

There are two conceptions of corporate personhood. The first simply bestows upon corporations the ability to engage in many legal actions (e.g. enter into contracts, sue, be sued, etc). This is widely accepted and we do not object to this.

However, corporate personhood also commonly refers to the Supreme Court – created precedent of corporations enjoying constitutional rights that were intended solely for human beings. We believe this form of corporate personhood corrupts our Constitution and must be corrected by amending the Constitution.

Endorsements 2011 (press release)

April 15, 2011 by

Democracy for Pittsburgh

Contact: Joy F. Sabl, Meeting Host

(jfsabl”at” gmail “dot” com)


April 15, 2011

Pittsburgh, Pa.–The participating members of Pittsburgh’s Democracy for America chapter, Democracy for Pittsburgh (DFP) just endorsed the following candidates at our April 14th meeting:

  • Darlene Harris, City Council District 1
  • Bruce Kraus, City Council District 3
  • Chris Zurawsky, City Council District 5
  • Lucille Prater-Holliday, Council District 9
  • Rich Fitzgerald, County Executive
  • Alex Bicket, Allegheny Co. Court of Common Pleas

The “do not endorse in this race” option did not win for any seat, though in several races, no one candidate reached the 70% threshold for endorsement.

As always, DFP endorsements require a supermajority vote (≥70%) and allow for ranked voting.  Nonendorsement may imply an absence of good candidates (“do not endorse” is a voting option) or multiple good candidates who split the vote. We do this because we hope that the vast majority of our membership can feel comfortable working for any and all of our endorsed candidates.

Endorsement questions are written / revised in open meetings. Our goal is to learn something about how the candidate thinks, and how they approach a problem when there is no pre-formulated “right answer.”  We reason that in real life, single, simple “right answers” are rare. If you would like to participate, please come join us!

Meeting reminders are posted at and occur monthly, almost always on the third Thursday of every month.

Note that candidates are welcome to submit answers at any point, if they would like to have their responses available on our website.

# # #

Candidate responses and endorsement ballot, 2011 election

March 21, 2011 by

Responses are still showing up. Any that come in after others have been posted will be tagged with that information; the reader can then judge how much any of the late posts may have been influenced by reading earlier posts.  If there’s no link, there’s no response yet.

City Council District 1

City Council District 3

City Council distict 5 (no incumbent/”Shields seat”)

City Council distict 7

  • Ceoffe
  • Calfo (update: did not file, please don’t vote to endorse him)
  • Dowd (Incumbent) Dowd_2011_DFP

City Council distict 9

  • Prater-Holliday (meetup attendee / member) PraterHolliday_2011_DFP
  • Burgess (Incumbent)
  • Copeland-Mitchell (made contact, responses not yet received)

County Executive

County Controller

Commonwealth Court

Common Pleas

District Judge 5-2-35

Some people on this list may have withdrawn, or be withdrawing. Updates will be made after the withdrawal deadine.  Candidates in uncontested seats (no primary contest) are not listed, unless they send in a response.

If you are aware of additional candidates who’d like to participate whose responses are not up here, or candidates who are not listed, please contact JFSABL “at” gmail “dot” com . I also hope to have time to add links to candidate web pages by 3/26/11, and also to endorsement materials from other organizations.

Ballot and voting instructions

Here is the endorsement ballot, including voting instructions. Two formats, same content. Voting Instructions and ballot DFP 2011.pdf and  Voting Instructions and ballot DFP 2011.doc

There are three ways to vote.

a) classic secret ballot.  Print out a ballot.  Vote.  Do not include any identifying marks on the ballot.  Seal the ballot in an unmarked envelope. Next, put that unmarked envelope in another, larger envelope. Send it to DFP c/o Sabl, 7008 Willard st. Pittsburgh PA 15208.  Make sure to include your SIGNATURE overlapping the flap of this outer envelope.  Make sure it is postmarked by Monday April 11, 2011.

b) for those who say “I don’t care who knows how I voted, make this painless”: you can e-mail your choices to me at, right in the text of the e-mail.  Your e-mail will be printed out, showing your name and e-mail address, for verification of identity.  Then the voting portion will be ripped lose and added to the tally.

c) show up at the mini-meetup which both precedes and follows MoveOn meetup, usual location, noting the unusual date: April 14, not April 21.  The ballots will be tallied there, and that is the absolute last moment to vote.

2010 Endorsement vote results

March 6, 2010 by

The endorsement vote was tallied at meetup on March 3, 2010 at Tazza d’Oro in Highland park.  As always, DFP endorsement requires that a candidate get at least 70% of the vote.


Joe Hoeffel was endorsed for Governor.

DFP commits to actively supporting the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in the general election.

Joe Sestak was endorsed for Senate.

DFP commits to actively supporting the Democratic Senatorial nominee in the general election.


In addition to these endorsements, a couple of write in votes for other races included mention of Barbara Hafer for PA-12 (“Murtha’s seat”) and Tonya Payne for statehouse.  The deadline for a formal endorsement is past (and more to the point, we don’t have the person-power to go through another round of formal endorsements).  However, members are encouraged to look into these campaigns, and we may have a more informal vote of support / support by acclaim via and/or at the next meetup.

Candidate responses 2010 elections: Wagner, Hoeffel, Onorato, Sestak

February 26, 2010 by

Senate race:

Click here for Sestak_Responses

Specter’s campaign said they would be sending a response, so we consider that a request for endorsement.  Responses will be posted if we get them today. Update: a response came in on March 2 (4 days after the deadline, after the final reminder, and after the other responses were available online).  They also lack a statement saying that the Senator stands behind the answers. With those caveats, click here to see the SpecterResponses.

Click here for Wagner_Responses

Click here for Onorato_Responses

Click here for Hoeffel_Responses

To vote: if you have been to two DFP meetups and/or DFP sponsored events since Feb. 2009, and if you do not intend to vote in person at Tazza d’Oro on March 3, please do the following.

1. print out DFP Endorsement Ballot 2010.

2. vote.

3. place the ballot in a BLANK, white envelope.

4. place the blank envelope in a second envelope.  Address that envelope c/o Joy Sabl, 7008 Willard St, Pittsburgh PA 15208-2841.  Also sign your name across the flap of the outside envelope. If you’d like to tape, glue, put a fingerprint over, or otherwise tamper-proof the outside envelope, feel free.

5. send it ASAP.  If you are housebound or if it’s getting late to mail it, call for pickup: 412…208…4913.

On Wed. March 3, Meetup attendees will examine the outer envelopes.  One person will open the outer envelopes in a bag, and hand off the inner envelopes.  Another person will open the inner envelopes and hand off the ballots for tallying.  Results will be reported as “endorsed” (at least 70% support) or “no endorsement.”  Some members have expressed fears of “hard feelings” or “retribution.” Therefore, unanimous votes, if any, will not be announced as such.

Pardon the broken links

April 10, 2009 by

I’ve relocated the Democracy for Pittsburgh blog from a self-hosted site to a account. Unfortunately, this breaks a lot of the links, even though all of the old posts and comments have been preserved.

If you find any broken links on this site, please report them by posting a comment.

If you find any broken links to this site, we can’t do much about that. Let the webmaster of the other site know.

The Goals We Share (tailgate / potluck)

July 21, 2008 by

The Goals We Share (tailgate / potluck)
Sat. July 26, rain or shine, 11-3:30

Please come to “The Goals We Share,” a family-friendly, alcohol-free potluck/tailgate at West Penn Ballfield at the edge of Polish Hill.

This was an unusual spring where the super-heated rhetoric of primary politics hit Pittsburgh hard. Lets eat together, relax together, and talk to each other, in a low-key way, to re-find our common ground. Bring a dish (optional), family, friends, “fun stuff” (soft frisbees, musical instruments) and goodwill.

Various groups are invited, but the focus is on us…as people.

RSVP online at or for more info & another RSVP link (requires sign-up), go to Want to RSVP for several people at once? Leave a message at (412)731-7020 (voice mail).


March Democracy for Pittsburgh Meeting

March 5, 2008 by

WHAT: Democracy for Pittsburgh Meeting
WHEN: TODAY! Wednesday March 5, 2008, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
WHERE: Mario’s / Blue Lou’s, 1514 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh (South Side) PA 15203

Agenda: meet a candiate / possible candidate endorsement (local race). Brainstorm on mitigating the P.O. / voter registration fiasco. Show up for more details!



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