Archive for May, 2005

More Santorum Homestead Tax Exemption Articles

May 25, 2005

Here are a couple more article on the Santorum Homestead Tax Exemption flap that you may have missed in the weeks leading up to the primary election:

Pittsburgh City Paper
State politics: Searching for the Inner Santorum: When Is His House Not a Home?


Penn Hills Progress
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
County manager to review homestead exemption issue
By Patrick Finnegan, Staff Writer

Hitting A Nerve

May 9, 2005

Apparently our group of concerned citizens hit a nerve with the powers that be. The Tribune-Review was contacted by the National Republican Senatorial Committee who tried to make the claim that we were purveyors of porn:

National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Nick chastised Democracy for Pittsburgh for allowing solicitations for adult Web sites to appear for weeks in the comments section of its online discussion board.

Maria Lupinacci said Democracy for Pittsburgh was a victim of “commercial spam” for online gaming and adult sites. The messages were taken off as soon as they were spotted, she said.

Myles Weissleder, a spokesman for, an Internet company that runs online forums, including one used by Democracy for Pittsburgh, said “comment spam” is prevalent among online discussion groups. Requiring users to register for the site usually reduces the solicitations, he said.

Now, the Trib got that a bit wrong. The National Republican Senatorial Committee was referring to this blog, not the site with this ridiculous charge. As some of you may have noticed, occasionally a spammed message shows up in the comment section of a post here. They will often spam posts that are months old. They repeatedly do this so as you take one down, more mushroom up.

The good thing is that anyone with an email address knows what spam is and how prevalent it has become.

Can we say that this “charge” is OVERREACHING by a mile in attempting to discredit this organization?

I think we can!

Purveyors of Porn

May 6, 2005

Apparently, some Republican groups are claiming that we at Democracy for Pittsburgh are “purveyors of porn” because of the comments with links to porn sites that are occasionally posted on our site.

The porn comments are a form of spam (junk messages) which are posted to increase the number of links to the spammers website, thereby increasing its ranking in search engines like Google.

We obviously do not welcome such messages and do our best to clean them out on a regular basis.

We would like to take this opportunity, however, to remind everybody that Rick Santorum has happily accepted $12,000 in donations from Adelphia Cable, an actual purveyor of porn.

If only we had that kind of money, we would probably have better comment filtering.

D.A.’s office to probe Santorum tax break — and you made it happen

May 6, 2005

Pittsburgh for Democracy member, Joy Sabl, discusses Santorum Homestead
Tax Exemption issue with District Attorney Stephen Zappala, Jr. – Photo by Maria Lupinacci

According to today’s Tribune-Review:

Allegheny County prosecutors don’t know if U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum violated any laws by getting a $70 annual tax break on his Penn Hills house.

But District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr.’s office announced Thursday it will investigate.

Democracy for Pittsburgh, a group of Democratic Party activists, petitioned Zappala for the inquiry. Democrats have targeted the Republican in next year’s election.

“This is obviously a partisan political move on the part of these people, motivated either by the Democratic (National) Committee or the campaign of my opponent,” said Santorum, the Senate’s No. 3 Republican. “I’d hope the district attorney would not waste taxpayers’ resources on playing political games.”

During an interview on KQV Radio yesterday, Santorum further claimed that Democracy for Pittsburgh were “rabid Democrat activists” working at “the behest of Casey and others” and went on to talk about how it was all a political move by “Howard Dean and his ilk.”

“Rabid?” “At the behest of Casey?” The simple truth is that a couple of members of Democracy for Pittsburgh came up with the idea to start a petition, questioning how Senator Santorum could take a tax exemption meant for people who live in Allegheny County — who have a PRIMARY residence here — when by all accounts, Santorum lives with his family in Virginia. As a prime goal of Democracy for Pittsburgh is to increase access of real people to the political process, we posted a copy of the petition on the Wiki for this website for people to download and print out and gather signatures. We also established a PO Box where people could mail the signed petitions.

The project more or less took care of itself. Over 750 signatures were gathered. When it became apparent that there was real grassroots interest in the petition, our group sent a copy of the petition to Sen. Santorum’s office; informed County Council about the project and alerted the media that we would hold a press conference (held yesterday)about the petition and then present the petition to Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala. Again, this was all in keeping with our directive to facilitate folks in getting involved with the democratic process — note that that is small ‘d’ democratic.

The accusation that we are are somehow a front for Bob Casey, Jr. (who wants to run for Santorum’s seat next year) is laughable. While there are those in the group who support Casey, others are strong supporters of Chuck Pennacchio and still others want to draft Barbara Hafer, and I’m certain others would prefer a Libertarian or Green candidate.

Suggestions have been made that we receive funds from the DNC, or Howard Dean or (and I assume this was said in jest) George Soros. For the record: no one is paying us to do anything. No one is funding us. We don’t even collect any dues from our members. We are as grassroots as it gets. For proof of that, let me note that the mic we used at the press conference was a children’s karaoke machine personally purchased by a group member. Hardly the type of equipment that you’d find being used by a group with “big time” financial backing.

You can read a full copy of the text of the press conference statement below the fold.

You can read some mentions of Democracy for Pittsburgh and the Santorum Homestead Tax Exemption issue here:

Pittsburgh City Paper, “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santorum Residence”

Tribune-Review, “Group says Santorum gets improper tax break”

Penn Hills Progress, “Group targeting tax break plans event”

Tribune-Review, “Santorum exemption targeted by group”

Tribune-Review,  “D.A.’s office to probe Santorum tax break”

The story has also been covered on:

KQV Radio

PCNC TV’s “Honsberger Live” program

Fox 53 TV “NewsCentral at Ten”

UPDATE: We have heard that this issue was laso covered on WPXI TV, WTAE TV and DUQ Radio.


May Meetup Is Tonight!

May 4, 2005

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 at 7:00 PM

Mario’s South Side Saloon
1514 E Carson St
Pittsburgh, PA 15203


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