Tuesday, October 17, 2006

getting crowded

I told myself to get off the politics beat here and move on.. but I just caught a snippit of local news last night with Delano interviewing someone who sure sounded like he was running for mayor: Mike Dawida. In fact he sounded much more like a mayoral candidate than any of the other 'names' (apologies to Lloyds) out there now. I had thought this race really could get pathologically crowded.. not just in the number of potential candidates but how they split out so evenly. By multiple accounts the potential candidates include: Lamb and Wagner who would split south and west... Ravenstahl and Woods who would go against each other in the north... Peduto and Caliguiri who will do the same in the east. It would be easy to see nobody breaking 20% if that in itself were the field. And that is before there is any known female or minority candidates who could cut into support across sections of the city.... and now Mike Dawida. His big hurdle would be regaining trust of the African American community. Despite being both the de facto incumbent (as county commissioner) and endorsed Democrat he lost 90% of the African American vote and it likely cost him the election to Wecht in the first ever primary for ACE in 1999. and that was a county wide race, it’s a much bigger constituency in a city race.

but we ought to start a contest to see who can guess what other names beyond those mentioned will pop into the race. My guess: Michelle Madoff is but a plane ride away. Think I'm kidding, she is still getting in the news…. Well, maybe not this election.

last political thought for the moment. With an election in 2007, the potential winner will take office in 2008 and the next primary will be in early 2009. One way or another its going to be a never ending election cycle for a little while.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about Sala Udin, Sophie Masloff, Gene Ricciardi, Dan Frankel, Michael Diven, and Joe Preston

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I should have said one guess per persona... but sure, all those names are possible sure enough. It's sort of like the out-of-power party's primary for president, you have this huge horde of names early on... the difference is that there is no long drawn out primary to winnow down that list in this case. Maybe a question for the bookies is how many will actually be on the ballot in May.

but I'm tempted to pay a few dollars to secure sophieformayor.com. I could be like the guy trying to draft Oprah without her consent.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 3:30:00 PM  
Blogger The Burgher said...

Does the winner take office in 2008 or the day after the election?

Special elections normally do it right away, but that is to fill a vacant seat.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 4:04:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

ha. I would guess that is correct. Didnt think about that, but who knows. Given the vagueness that is causing the problem it could be a question. But it would surely not be a late night thing. Election returns need to be certified and a winner officially declared not just conceded. That takes a little time usually. So in the end we are only talking about a few weeks.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 4:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things:

ONE -- Dawida could NEVER win a mayoral election in the city of Pittsburgh. At one point, he seemed to be a promising elected official for our region, but he turned out to be one of the worst this county has ever seen. He proved to not being trustworthy, loyal, nor very knowledgable. He played a major role in destroying Allegheny County. The only reason he beat Foerster was with LOTS of help, not because of anything special about being Dawida. Truth be told, Vuono was the better candidate. If I were Dawida, I wouldn't embarass myself and I'd stay out of not only next year's mayoral primary, but also out of public life.

AND TWO -- Your assertion of 'vote splitting" by geographic region is theoretically correct. However, with the scenario you painted and the potential candidates you named, ruling out Jack Wagner because of splitting the South-West vote with Lamb is ridiculous. Lamb's numbers won't be anywhere near those of Jack Wagner's in the South, the West or any other part of the city. You're giving Lamb way too much credit. Even having run citywide last year, Lamb is known only to hacks and political observers (of which there aren't many). He is an unknown who really brings nothing to the table. Can anyone tell me what he stands for? He is currently Prothonotary because Coyne passed away during his elected term and Lamb was his deputy who assumed the office. And he remained there primarily because populous doesn't care who the Prothonotary is, not because people wanted Lamb. I am reading now that Lamb is grappling with the decision as to whether to run for mayor or controller next year, after his currect office is abolished. Sounds a little like Bobby Casey to me. How about this? Why not get a job and not run for anything. Leave the important office of mayor to those that can actually win and that actually have some vision and a plan for this dying metropolis. Of the names of potential candidates that were mentioned, that would include both Wagner and Peduto, with Wagner being the much stronger candidate and so far at least, clearly the front runner.

Saturday, October 21, 2006 4:48:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Aren’t you proving the key point that if Dawida is jumping in, then it’s going to get a lot more crowded than people already expect? It means a lot of people that seemingly have low chances of winning are seriously considering running. Did you see this long long interview Delano had with him?..He may have just been floating the idea but he was not subtle about it at all. And that type of free advertising goes a long way in this town, especially in a race that could leave the field fighting for snippits of time with the local media.

who ruled out Jack Wagner? Certainly not me. I have no doubt Jack Wagner would be a strong candidate.. am a little surprised he wants the job but that is another question. Note I didn’t say there would be a 50-50 split but even at 70-30 for any particular constituency (since every consituency could have its own champion at the rate this is going) and the dilution is enough to keep this race more mosh than march.

but on all these people.. Dawida, Wagner, Lamb, etc... time and politics are funny things. I doubt any of them are beyond changing the public's perception of them.. for different reasons though. Dawida's past may have faded in peoples memory (obviously not everybody's). That Lamb is still a blank slate to many can be a good thing in politics because it’s much easier to fill in a persona than to change one. Wagner already has changed the perception of himself. If you consider Wagner the front runner, which I do think is plausible, it is ironic considering he lost by over 41 percentage points to Murphy who had never had a city office compared to Wagner who had been city council prez.

Saturday, October 21, 2006 2:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the cover story in the current issue of the Pittsburgh City Paper about the generational shift in Pittsburgh party politics, there is at least one glaring issue that requires clarification.

In the article, Joe Mistick, the esteemed Duquesne University law professor and local political pundit who usually is quite on the mark with his analysis of the political game, makes mention that the late Allegheny County Commissioner was once a political maverick who at one time beat the political machine and then after several terms, became entrenched in office and became the machine. This point is absolutely correct. However, Mistick goes on to state that the voters had to do away with the three commissioner system to finally get rid of Foerster. This, however, is not accurate. The referendum was not even placed on a ballot until years after Foerster was voted out of office.

The commissioner, who became complacent in office, was defeated for a variety of compelling reasons in his final run to hold onto the seat he held for seven terms. At that time, the entrenched Foerster administration was beleaguered by a series of serious scandals which got caught in the crosshairs of a few investigative reporters. The result was a number of very negative stories that seemed to dominate the airwaves and both of the Pittsburgh dailies and proved disastrous for the long-term commissioner. The Foerster regime was crumbling slowly until it finally collapsed on primary election day in 1995 when the Foerster-Pete Flaherty ticket was defeated by the team of Mike Dawida and Coleen Vuono. But the story doesn't end there.

As it turned out, Vuono, who incidentally had a much better grasp of the issues and was more knowledgeable in the arena of county government than her running mate, lost her bid for one of the three seats on the county commission to an unemployed political novice by the slim margin of 900 votes in the general election. As it also turned out, I've been told that many of Dawida's campaign staffers didn't even vote for her, which speaks volumes as to their inexperience and intellect.

As disappointed as some of us who worked tirelessly for the Dawida-Vuono ticket were after the general election defeat, this disappointment pales in comparison to how Commissioner Dawida fared during his term. In addition to alienating those who got him elected and who were still willing to go the extra mile to help make his term as minority commissioner at least a respectable one, he joined forces with the even less-experienced Bob Cranmer and allowed the reins of county government to be controlled by County Manager Glenn Cannon and staff, who made the Dawida campaign team look like geniuses. To say that Cannon wasn't equipped for the job and was way-in-over-his-head is a gross understatement. The Dawida-Cranmer-Cannon recipe of mismanagement drove the county into the ground, both operationally and financially. This is precisely the reason that voters opted to rid Allegheny County of the three commissioner system of government. Changing the form of our county government virtually guaranteed getting rid of those responsible for the need for change. Dawida's campaign slogan was "Change Allegheny." I can't think of anything more fitting.

There has been some scuttlebutt that Dawida is now weighing his options with regard to possibly running for Mayor of Pittsburgh in the spring election. I will not place any bets at this time as to whether Luke Ravenstahl, Bill Peduto or any of the other potential younger candidates -- or someone else -- will be victorious in May. But my smart money will be bet that the voter's of this city will recognize that Dawida has no real vision for this region and will not be duped by him a second time.

Thursday, January 04, 2007 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

not in town so I have not read the CP issue uet. and am not sure anyone reads old blog posts like this but just to follow up on that last post.

People forget some of the biggest things that affected that Dawida-Dunn-Cranmer-Vuono race. The biggest thing I recall was teh Johnny Gammage death. Cranmer was a Brentwood City Council person at the time and was clashing with his own council over how to deal with it. In my opinion that was a much bigger factor in how that race turned out.

I honestly need to revisit the timing of all the various bad things in county government back then. Most attribute the negatives to Larry Dunn and his unilateral tax cuts that stripped out a lot of essential spending as one of the big factors for choas at the county.. he also set in motion the untenable decisions that forced Judge wettick to order a mass reassessment. I am not absolutely clear its fair to lump Glenn Cannon in with that.

I have no idea if Dawida will run but its not scuttlebutt per se. I saw this long-ish interview Delano had with him on KDKA where he all but said he was running... I am sure he was just testing the water but he was not being coy. I suspect he will decide against it in the end but you never know.

Thursday, January 04, 2007 3:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, obviously you've both seen that Dawida is running for controller, not mayor--but sheesh, "Anonymous"--you sound like someone who's pissed that they didn't get a job or a favor that they wanted? I mean, I wouldn't say his run as commish was perfect, but I wouldn't exactly say that he "ran the county into the ground" either--not by a long shot. You're definitely bitter about something else--but what is it??

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 2:32:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Sarah.. am not sure many read these old posts. So I doubt there will ever be a response to that... but I am as perplexed as anyone why all this interest in the controllers race. I would suspect that some just are taking a pass on this coming mayors race and see it as sort of a political purgatory until we do this all again in two years.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 9:31:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home