Home » Elections » 2009, 2009 Primary Election, Gossip, Pittsburgh, Politics » Democratic chair makes a mockery of the Democratic committee

Democratic chair makes a mockery of the Democratic committee

Over at Slag Heap, Chris Potter wrote a piece about Tonya Payne’s quixotic write-in campaign and the resulting challenge to her status as chair of the City Democratic Committee.  (Readers may recall that voters in city council district 6 chose to replace her with P2PAC-endorsed candidate Daniel Lavelle.)

In the Spring, Tonya Payne (illegally) used a fake political committee, “Sensible Constituents of District 6,” to distribute some negative materials.  This Fall, she was at it again.  See below for a flyer that she passed out (again, illegally using another fake political committee — “Neighbors Against Dirty Politics”).

She also had the flyers below–which accuse City Councilmember Bill Peduto of racism–distributed in his district.

The Neighbors Against Dirty Politics also sent around the following email:

From: neighbors against dirty politics 2
Date: Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 11:01 PM


Is Trump financing Robert Daniel Lavelle‘s campaign in District 6? No, not really,  but I am confused where Lavelle received his money to add “extra” bonuses to his campaign workers.  I know if I truly believe in a candidate I do not have to be paid!  Why would he have to pay 130 workers $100.00 each?  Why would he have to pay workers breakfast, lunch, and dinner?  Who paid for his Rent A Cars? Who paid for his color brochures?  Who paid for his postage?  Who paid for his color postcards? Who paid for his t-shirts? Who paid for his parties? Why did he not put these expenses on his campaign report? Why did he drop his first name and change his campaign name now to Daniel instead of Robert.  Wasn’t his father, Robert,  fired from The Dwelling House Bank and under FBI investigation?

The Post Gazette’s article stated

the following about the bank;

it suffered a severe blow to its stability late last year when federal auditors discovered that about $3 million had been drained out of its capital account and the bank..  Pittsburgh police and FBI agents are investigating the case.”

“Former Dwelling House president and CEO Robert M. Lavelle, who was fired in November by order of the OTS, also was fined $5,000 last week for his role in the gross negligence that ultimately brought down the bank.”


Where is this money? Robert “Daniel” now flip flops his name so people will not put two and two together. Call him Daniel now, not Robert .Does he think we are stupid?  Is this where the money comes from for his campaign?   The apple does not fall far from the tree.  I would “write in” TonyaPayne, her workers do not have to be paid to campaign for her!

She does not change her name to hide. Our group Neighbors Against Dirty Politics are starting an official “write in” campaign for Tonya Payne!  When you go to the polls just go to the “write in”section and write her name in the spot.



“Write In”
Tonya Payne
Don’t Write Her Off!

District 6 City Councilwoman

“Let justice remain in your district!”

“Keep her REAL name in your decisions.”


Finally, if you still have any question about who the “Neighbors Against Dirty Politics” actually are, there’s a facebook group called “URGENT!! WRITE IN Tonya Payne for City Council District 6″.  The administrator and creator of the page?  Tonya Payne.

Of course, this election is history.  So why does it matter?  Two reasons:

  1. To date, Jim Burn, chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, is turning a blind eye to the City Chair staging a campaign against the duly nominated Democratic nominee for office.
  2. It’s really not clear what Tonya Payne was hoping to gain from these hijinks, but she is rumored to be preparing for a run against Jake Wheatley for State Representative next year.  Even her most staunch supporters must be turned off by her embarrassing behavior.
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  • http://pghcomet.blogspot.com Bram R

    Do we know that Burn is giving Payne a pass yet? It sounds like he made some comments to the effect that he is considering it, but then again Potter indicates he meant those in jest.

  • insider

    Burn knew about this before the election and did nothing.

  • Pingback: Shenanigans in District 6 - Early Returns - post-gazette.com

  • Howdy

    Don’t you remember how the disciplinary provisions in the County by-laws were voted down last year? Voting nay were quite a few “progressives”, if I recall.
    How soon we forget…

    The State Comm by-laws are a different story, but one would still have to prove that Ms. Tonya herself was behind the flyers and emails, not just some misguided supporters acting on their own.
    The facebook page seems a little more problematic.

  • insider

    Howdy.. the disciplinary provisions voted down were for committee members opposing the so-called endorsed candidates in a primary, not for those opposing Democratic nominees actually elected by a Democratic electorate, right?

    I actually don’t believe that any disciplinary measures should be in place, but I do think that the double-standard needs to end. Committee members are only expected to support certain endorsed candidates and certain nominated Democrats.

    What is the point of the county democratic committee even existing at all if there’s no expectation of nominated Democrats receiving their support?

    It’s time to scrap the antiquated endorsement process altogether and go to having open primaries. Have the Democratic committee focus on actually organizing in their neighborhoods so that we can turn out more than the obscenely low number of voters that we are getting now.

    If the chair of the Democratic city committee was focusing on turning out Democrats, rather than waging a write-in campaign, then maybe we would not be looking at swearing in Joan Orie Melvin, Judy Olson, Sallie Mundy, Paula Ott, Patricia McCullough, and Kevin Brobson to our state courts.

  • Howdy

    No argument from me, Insider – I agree. Still, there are no provisions in the county by-laws to remove committee people against their will.

    Ironically, though, having a “contested” city council race in the general election may have done more for Panella and the other statewide judicial candidates than if Ms. Tonya simply supported Lavelle. In the eyes of many voters, there was no reason to come to the polls. One can assume that Payne’s voters were overwhelmingly Democratic, so if they bothered to vote in the other races, the Democratic nominees benefited.

  • insider

    Turnout in that district was under 20%. That number could have been boosted if workers were knocking on doors, calling their neighbors, and talking to people about the importance of judicial races or in how you can build political power by voting in every election. Instead, the resources went into distributing the crap above and “instructing” people inside the voting booth on how to cast a write-in vote for Tonya.

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