Rudiak gets challenger

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Former postal worker and basketball coach John Lee of Brookline announced his plans to run today against incumbent city councilwoman Natalia Rudiak of Carrick. Lee is filing for the Democratic committee endorsement in the District 4 race, and the deadline for seeking the party machinery nod is today.

Lee coached Seton La-Salle to a WPIAL championship in 1989, with a future UNC player at center. From the P-G's high school sports expert Mike White:

Seton-LaSalle enjoyed plenty of success in the old Catholic League when the school was all male and known as South Hills Catholic before joining the WPIAL in the mid 1970s. The Rebels have been in a WPIAL championship game seven times, but won only once, in 1989. That 1989 team was coached by John Lee and featured 6-11 center Kevin Salvadori, who went on to play at the University of North Carolina and was a member of the Tar Heels' 1993 national championship team. Salvadori played 39 games in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings. The last time Seton-LaSalle played in a WPIAL title game was 2000 and the Rebels' leading scorer was Bruce Gradkowski (20 ppg), who is now a backup quarterback for the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals.

Lee, 52, has spent the last 12 years broadcasting basketball and football games for the MSA sports radio network.

Though he does not know Mayor Luke Ravenstahl personally, Lee said the city's southern neighborhoods would benefit from having a councilor who relates better to the Ravenstahl administration than Rudiak, a regular Ravenstahl critic.

"The district has been shortchanged, especially over the last four years due to the acrimoniouis relationship between Natalia and the administration," he said. "From my coaching and managment background I have a good ability to deal with people."

Rudiak meanwhile has already raised $119,630 for her reelection effort, which her campaign notes is twice what she spent in her first run in 2009. "We're excited to get the campaign started and we're confident we'll secure a victory" the in May 21 primary, campaign manager John Fournier said. "No one can approach the amount of work Natalia has done in the neighborhoods the last four years."

Press release from Lee after the jump:

(Pittsburgh, PA) February 1, 2013 Today, John Lee submitted paperwork to the Allegheny County Democratic Committee indicating his intention to seek the party's endorsement in the 2013 Democratic Primary for Pittsburgh City Council, District 4. In doing so, announcing his entry into the race to represent the neighborhoods of Beechview, Bon Air, Brookline, Carrick and Overbrook.

"Our neighborhoods and business districts have been short changed over the past four years. It's going to take a team effort and working together to get the job done to have our communities live up to their full potential," John said after submitting his letter of intent to the Allegheny County Democratic Committee. "We're building the team to get the job done."

John is already endorsed in the race by the Steamfitters Local 449 and the Plumbers Local 27.

John Lee has been active in the Brookline community for over 20 years where he lives with his wife, Karen, and is father to two sons, Chucky and Keith. John Lee holds a bachelor's degree in education from Clarion University and is a former teacher of Physical Education and History. A 24 year employee of the U.S.P.S., John also served as basketball coach for the Church of the Resurrection Grade School, Seton La-Salle High School, and Bishop Canevin High School.

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