Trash talk is typical during any political election. In the race for Harrisburg mayor, that's no different. However, instead of name-calling, the candidates are focused the city's trash problem.
For the second time in three weeks, Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson talked trash on Monday. Over the past couple years, City Councilwoman Sandra Reid has been fighting city blight with "actions, not talk." Even Reid has spotted a trash trend.
"Trash…it's the topic right now of the campaign election cycle."
Last Friday mayoral candidate Eric Papenfuse began weekly city cleanups. He and his staffers went to Harrisburg's Hall Manor to help pick up trash. In a press release last week Papenfuse stated trash and the city's blight is a top priority in his campaign.
During Thompson's press conference Monday, she announced the "Second Annual Love Harrisburg" citywide cleanup event on April 20. Thompson said the last time there was a Love Harrisburg event was in 2011.
A citywide cleanup was scheduled for last November but was canceled. Pinnacle Health said they would cover the cost of 16 dumpsters that are going to be provided by Waste Management. Some of these details were mentioned in previous press conferences, but Thompson insisted the latest event was not campaign motivated.
"I haven't really been paying attention to what the other candidates have been saying there," said Thompson. "I've been focused on being the mayor of this city and continue to do what I've been doing since I came in here, and that was to get our city back to solvency and making sure our streets are clean and safe."
Mayoral candidate and current city Controller Dan Miller told abc27 his top priority is Harrisburg's fiscal crisis. In an email Miller wrote, "The city finances dwarf all other issues at least 10 times. If we had enough money we could have a dedicated trash crew to clean up the city and keep it clean."
Miller continued to explain that the structural deficit was around $10 million in 2011 and ballooned to $15 million last year. Miller argued if you fix the finances, other problems like trash could eventually be solved.
Councilwoman Reid said this election is vital to the future of the city, especially its cleanliness.
"The mayor has a tremendous amount of power in getting the city clean and insuring the city stays clean."
Reid attended the press conference and urged everyone, residents and politicians, to back up words with actions.
Mayor Thompson said she would be involved in the citywide cleanup later this month.
"It's not beneath me to get out there and help pick up trash bags."