Wednesday, October 21, 2009

existential politics in existential Pittsburgh

Did the afternoon kerfuffle generate any interest in this debate?  I dunno.  I'd try and parse what has made it into the news, but it's like inside baseball vs. inside baseball.  It's more like buried baseball in terms of how far I think some of it is from the public's consciousness, or will be within the next couple of weeks.  Like NORAD-deep buried.  I and the dozen other folks in town who have even a partial concept of what is being talked about will be interested to see if it persists more than a news cycle. 

I was thinking about geography.  One reason why the city race doesn't gain much traction is that the city is really just a small fraction of the local media market.  Not that people realize it.  Many get so confused between city/county and region that issues get confused daily.  I swear I once heard a city secretary take a call from someone who was insistent they could help with some potholes in Bellevue.   When it comes to politics I have heard folks from more than a couple suburbs think at various times they were going to be able to vote in past mayors' races.

Wait~  All stop! Speaking of geography.  I swear I am typing this with the tape of the debate playing almost as background...  Did Wendy Bell just ask the candidates what to do about Braddock and Rankin... or at least used them as examples of places that have not been able to reinvent themselves as has East Liberty.  Skip my long ago comments on Eastside, but Braddock? Rankin?  Maybe Fetterman will get some write in votes.  Sigh. And people are debating who John V. is?  Let's start with debating what Pittsburgh is? I want to cry.

Some other news today is another kerfuffle over comments by state rep Metcalf. It's all too strange to comment on, but again on geography.  If folks don't understand whether they are city residents are not.... far fewer have any concept who their state rep is.  I looked around and didn't see any terriby useful maps to help the public figure it out.. some small scale maps from the state are out there is all if you look hard enough.  I'd be curious if anyone is surprised to learn from this map that they are residents of Pennsylvania's 12th legislative district currently represented by Rep. Metcalf. 


Blogger n'at said...

Metcalfe could possibly get a "wag of the finger" on the cable circuit and perhaps a brief comment at one of the Sunday roundtables, but I wouldn't expect it to make much local news because there is too much happening with the Steelers this week.

Speaking of shoes and ships and sealing wax... I have heard, still hear and probably will continue to hear silly stories of Allegheny County, PA, forwarding calls from constituents situated in Allegany County, MD, to their proper bureaucracy. No old wives tails of Allegany County, NY, though.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 9:50:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I was going to intro all this by commenting that Jeff Reed has blunted most of the impact either situation (debate or Metcalf) would have... If he had actually been indicted today or had anything resembling a perp walk then I think WTAE would have had to delay airing that tape even.

on confused constituents. When living in New York one of my roomates and college friends had the same name as the speaker of the NYC council I think it was... we would get calls from irate citizens all the time. You couldnt convince them they had the wrong number.. anyone who thought the phone book was getting them the home number of an important politician was not to be disabused by reason. and I never had the heart to hang up.. and they would call back anyway. You had to just listen and say you would do what you could. Thus I feel for all you 5th floor staffers.. I do.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 10:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll assume that you're talking about the Verbanec "kerfuffle" early in your post. While I usually share your skepticism about voters' interest and candidates' ability to generate that interest, I will observe that from my personal experience Acklin is doing a far better job than DeSantis or Dowd did in introducing himself to voters. The guy is everywhere. It is truly unfortunate that Harris is in the race, but perhaps he will pull some of the sports vote from Ravenstahl.

Thursday, October 22, 2009 9:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See now I think its truly unfortunate that Acklin is in the race. Harris is really exciting voters all over the city and so on and so forth. Great comment over at the Comet about this issue of one of the independent candidates dropping out btw.

Thursday, October 22, 2009 1:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just saw at the politicsandplace blog that Dok Harris made the same geography faux pas. I have no idea if the mayor of Homestead appreciates Dok's support: "I'm going to be a Mayor for all the neighborhoods, including the neighborhoods South of the river like Beechview, and those that sit in the East End or Northside, but also lack support from City Hall, like Hazelwood or Homestead."

Thursday, October 22, 2009 5:55:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I have not looked at the context for that and it's possible his geography is off..... but New Homestead is a City of Pittsburgh neighborhood that is rarely rarely talked about... maybe he meant that?

I should add that I can't imagine Wendy B. actually thought Braddock or Rankin were city neighborhoods as much as anyone could think the mayor of the city of Pittsburgh was in a position to help those places and why it was worth talking about in the limited time of a debate over who will be the mayor.

Thursday, October 22, 2009 6:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, Dok might've meant New Homestead, as he mentioned it with Hazelwood. As a native Pittsburgher -- and resident of the 15207 area code -- I am embarrassed I didn't know of New Homestead; at best it was Lincoln Place or Glen-Hazel to me. Kudos to Dok if that is what he meant.

And I realize what you meant, and completely agree with the criticism of the wasted time on irrelevant questions. That seems to be the standard of these debates.

Thursday, October 22, 2009 7:57:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Strangely enough.. New Homestead may have its moment in the media spotlight pretty soon. Repeat after me: Marcellus Shale.

Speaking of which.. you know that is one topic that I have not heard debating in the mayoral race. People think its an issue for more suburban/rural areas but as I have pointed out it isn't. I have to admit I don't spend time poring through candidates policy documents. Do any of them address this and no matter it should be a question they should have gotten hit with in one of these debates.. Is there another debate?

Friday, October 23, 2009 11:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't heard or read anyone address it at all. WPXI is hosting the next debate, to be taped on October 29. They invite questions:

Friday, October 23, 2009 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger InsideAgitator said...

Marcellus Shale and the greater Chesepeake watershed (Drunkard Creek, anyone?)must be addressed.

Friday, October 23, 2009 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Dok might have meant New Homestead, but by your own admission, few Pittsburghers know about New Homestead, so it is really logical to believe that somebody from Sewickley would know about it? Maybe he meant to say Homewood, too. You know, "Home" and "Home". But what he was probably thinking was, "I went to the mall in Homestead the other night and saw one of my buddies from Squirrel Hill over there, so it must be in Pittsburgh." Or not. Or he might have meant to say any of a number of things, but what he actually said was incorrect.

Monday, October 26, 2009 9:44:00 AM  
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