Sunday, March 04, 2007

More Local Political Rumblings

The Party Endorsement is today. Last night was the 14th Ward's annual Champagne and Dessert Gala. It as a great event as all of the candidates mingle with committee people in a relaxed atmosphere.

Surprisingly absent was Bill Peduto. Peduto has consistently, seemingly positioned himself as an adversary to the Party. Yesterday this occurred again. The County Chair had to call every committee person and warn them about an improper and deceptive mailing from a mayoral candidate. Curious, I dug through the garbage for mailings from both Ravenstahl and Peduto. I couldn't find the right mailing, which apparently was a card from Peduto that looked like an official mailing. It supposedly suggested that he had received the endorsement already. I wish I saw it. I wonder if it was truly deceptive or this is just a political ping pong ball.

I did dig out a letter from Peduto that we received on Saturday. Although not the letter that Burn complained about, he does take a curious tactic. Bill states:

As elected neighborhood leaders, you shouldn't be told who to vote for by political officials. You are free to make your own personal decision about the kind of leadership Pittsburgh needs to grow and develop. After all, you know the challenges our city faces. You know the desires our citizens have to maintain and improve their quality of life. You, as elected Democratic leaders, will be a part of the decision-making process in my administration.

For such a smart, experienced and savvy politician why, days before the endorsement, would he go out of his way to alienate Party leadership? Also isn't a bit insulting to think you have to tell elected committee people that they can make their own minds up. Instead of insulting, why didn't he take the high road, explain why he thinks he is the better candidate and ask for their votes. This is the exact danger of Peduto. He doesn't know how to win over political leaders. Based on informal discussions with political state wide leaders in attendance last night, it is also clear that Peduto has exaggerated his representation of close relationships with our state elected leaders. Assuming Ravenstahl gets the endorsement, which seems to be what Peduto is crying for based on his recent conduct, what will happen when he runs against the party in the primary. Even if we wins, how is he ever going to mend these fences and effectively create positive change? It's a very curious strategy from a person who is always well prepared and plans his moves in detail.

Other able candidates were in attendance. I had a long conversation with Christine Donahue, candidate for Superior Court. She is one of only two female candidates. She is also one of the most respected local trial attorneys and was highly recommended by the bar. The other candidate from Western Pennsylvania is Judge Ron Folino, who is an outstanding Common Pleas Judge. We have two great candidates from our area. Hopefully they can both win the statewide election.

There are several outstanding candidates running for the four Common Pleas Court openings. Hugh McGough was in attendance. Of the new faces he stands out. What will be interesting is how many candidates will drop out if they don't get the endorsement. Judge is a funny thing. Judges aren't really politicians, but they are selected by a political process.This creates a conflict between choosing the best potential jurist and the most loyal and committed member of the party. This is why it often takes able candidates two or three races to become elected. Perhaps decisions made after 4:00 this afternoon will determine who is elected judge next year.

The City Controller race is also extremely fascinating. Arguably the candidates in this race would be better suited for mayor than the Mayoral candidates. Mike Lamb is smart, highly educated, proven, experienced and approachable. Doug Shields has proven to be an effective leader in his tenure as President of City Council. He is also a bright guy and has matured, or mellowed, into an effective champion of progressive ideas. You also have to have some sympathy for Tony Pokora. This is his job and his career. I do not think he has any political ambitions other than to be able to continue with his career. He finds himself in a battle with two excellent, experienced and able politicians. One would like to think that the City can have the luxury of having both Lamb and Shields serving in important elected positions and there can be a place for Pokora, who has been a loyal city employee.


Matt H said...

Huge win for Mayor Luke.

Agent Ska said...

Well, is it so bad to treat people like they aren't 3-year olds who need to be bribed with doughnuts and dinners to figure out who to vote for? Just a thought.