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It wasn't only Pittsburgh Police rapping Braddock Mayor John Fetterman on the knuckles for hisLevis Braddock campaign protest outside the UPMC offices yesterday, over the hospital giant's closing/razing of Braddock's hospital. The group Save Our Community Hospitals released a statement supporting his protest, but chastising him for not doing so earlier.

Chris Potter at City Paper notes that may be because of Fetterman's longtime support of Dan Onorato. 

Here's Chris:

And why did he wait until now to take this step? Is it because he didn't want to embarrass Onorato during his unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign, as SOCH suggests?

There's no question that Fetterman and Onorato are tight. Fetterman backed Onorato's gubernatorial ambitions from the outset, and in fact Fetterman and his father have contributed more than $12,000 to Onorato since 2009. And while SOCH has faulted Onorato for not doing more to keep UPMC Braddock open, Fetterman says, "Their disdain of Dan baffles me. He is a profoundly honorable man" -- and one who has taken key steps to improve life in the Mon Valley.

Even so, Fetterman says it is "absolutely false" to think he held off on challenging UPMC until after the election. Fetterman's efforts to turn Braddock around have made him a national phenomenon, and he notes "I've held UPMC accountable on [venues like] Huffington Post and CNN," naming just two of the national media outlets where he has appeared. "In every national platform, I'm the first one to name them."

Fetterman says he took this step because "the situation continues to deteriorate," and the civil-rights lawsuit has "dragged this [dispute] out." Settling the suit offered a chance for "the fog of war to lift," opening a "window of opportunity" to discuss Braddock's future.

As for his relationship to SOCH, "I'm not here to get into the middle of polarizing arguments," he says. "What's fueling the SOCH thing is more personal, and I don't want this to digress into 'SOCH says this and you say that.' They love this community as much as I do, and I invite SOCH to move past whathever differences they've had with Dan or anyone else, and join me with constructive dialogue that will bring urgent care" to Braddock. Fetterman says his appearance at UPMC's headquarters could be a chance for everyone to "hit the reset button" on the dialogue.

To that end, he says, "I'm counting on Sean Logan, who I think is a man of integrity." Logan is a former state Senator who left the legislature to take a community relations post at UPMC, a move that also prompted dismay at UPMC's influence. "SOCH has been very hard on Sean Logan," Fetterman adds, "but I couldn't disagree more."

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