Thursday, March 22, 2007

the butterfly strikes again

Consider how convoluted the path has been to this point. First off, let's consider where we were just a couple years ago.

Not too long ago, both the professional and insider pundits foretold a vertiable multitude of candidates for mayor. The reality was the opposite.

Then there was the phase where the question seemed to be whether there would be just a multitude of east end candidates that would dilute the vote for any one of them.

Then some said that the endorsement was going to be a nail biter. Must be that new math.

Then on the the day the LR campaign had its worst PR day thus far, the counter intuitive result was a strategic victory. It raises an interesting question, if people had thought BP might not run in the end, would any of the other other erstwhile candidates have entered the race?

Could BP be planning a campaign for the general election. When the prospect was for a bakers dozen of candidates I made the point that at least one of the major candidates would see that as the best strategy. I doubt that logic applies these days. There are some conflicting legal precedents on whether this is even a possibility given the fact that BP filed Democratic Party nomination petitions. I will let the legal beagles sort it out.

Ignoring the legal issues, it a general election run politically feasible. The analogy people want to throw out there is the Caliguiri example, but it is a lot more complex than people remember it. Again, I am not sure it applies to the current situation anyway.

What are the secondary impacts? Without a headline mayor's race and a virtually uncontested county executive race, turnout could be very very low. What the impact will be on the city controller and city council seats??? It could be an all-time low turnout for what its worth.

Last but not least. For the inside-the-party perspective of yesterday's events, I again point out the latest musings by PittsburghGuy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I said it best in the McIntire column in the paper...

"Matt H, an in-the-tank-for-Luke committeeman, says the race is a "slam dunk" for Opie. "I just don't see how he can lose it," he says."

I don't know what Babs was talking about.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 2:15:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Rauterkus said...

What, by golly, is "estwhile."

The posting include: "would any of the other other erstwhile candidates have entered the race?"

Is the "other other" qualifier just a "typo typo"?

So, "other other estwhile candidate" means what, exactly?

Then we'll talk about 'entered' and what 'race?'

Do you catch my drift? I'd like to know.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

while my spelling is not always the best there is no typo there.. it says eRstswhile. Yes I seem to have added a 2nd 'other'. Thank you for your assistance.

yeah, we all get the drift. Can I be honest Mark. I applaud your sense of duty and activism, but until you show some sign of being a viable candidate in any race, what do you want people to say. Whether you like it or not, the story has not become: 'Ravenstahl to face Rauterkus for mayor'. You are not being ignored because of any conspiracy.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Shawn Carter said...


I would love nothing more than to sit down with you over coffee and talk about Pittsburgh in the structural construct.

Obviously very real solutions to our problems are well outside of the reach of the political establishment, but just taking a flyer here, I think that issue development is a lost art in a City with almost a century of one-party rule.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 8:49:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

it’s just too simplistic to blame Pittsburgh’s financial problems on one party rule.. or Democratic Party rule which is often what people really mean by that. Such an argument implies that there have not been deep and divisive debates over most issues affecting the city. Fifth and Forbes anyone? It's been a long long time since the party apparatus was able to dictate policies that get approved here.

And let’s consider the other cities people mention bankruptcy as a possibility: San Diego is in the news a lot for outright financial mismanagement. Nary a Democrat mayor there in some time. What government has gone into Chapter 9 in recent years: Orange County. Not exactly a Democratic bastion. And neither of those places have any of the excuses Pittsburgh has had in terms of economic problems to overcome.

In many ways, it is remarkable Pittsburgh has not gone into bankruptcy or become a basket case in the way some inner cities have. One of the reasons the city’s fiscal crisis is still looming is that somehow the final liquidity crisis has been postponed many times in the past. Innumerable federal and state policies have put the city, all cities really, in the bind it is in now. Without structural changes that local politicians of either party have little control over, I would argue the city would be in much the same situation if Peter Drucker had somehow been managing city services for the last half century.

In my opinion this obsession with making this into a partisan political issue/debate has made the power that be unable or unwilling to deal with urban finance problems throughout the state.

Saturday, March 24, 2007 1:28:00 PM  
Blogger EdHeath said...

So there are reports today reminding us that Act 47 is not a panacea, and may just be delaying the inevitable. There were huge financial problems with cities like New York, and they managed to emerge (probably a different structure of problems, and who knows how they interacted with the legislature). I have to say I think the one party is currently stifling any drive for new ideas, but since so many are saying the solutions may be beyond us (residing in Harrisburg), maybe it doesn’t matter that much.

Do you think that health care obligations could be affected by a very aggressive wellness program, with real financial incentives for diet, exercise and frequent check ups, and real financial penalties for bad health indicators like weight, cholesterol and blood sugar levels? There was a piece in the NYT about how the South Beach Diet inventor, a doctor, is losing money because his practice is so aggressive about wellness (he can afford to run it at a loss). If we can reduce the number of health insurance claims …

Monday, March 26, 2007 12:32:00 PM  

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