Tuesday, December 30, 2008

District 2 Race: Now, Interesting!

We're down to what appear to be the Final Four candidates in the special election on Feb. 3rd. Let us review:

Chris Metz: Republican nominee. No website it seems, so here is an article. I've got no truck whatsoever with Republicans running for city offices, but at age 24, with no website and the election right around the corner, we may as well move on for the moment.

Brendan Schubert: Real-life Democrat now running on the Brendan Schubert for Council ticket. He is a zoning administrative officer in Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's Department of City Planning who was hired under Pat Ford, so there's that. At age 25, he was rumored at one time to have been Ravenstahl's personal choice for the seat, though that implication fell away well before the endorsement.

His Facebook politician page describes his political views as "moderate" and says his interests are "Moving Pittsburgh City Council District 2 status forward and bringing people together."

Theresa Smith: Democratic nominee, endorsed by the Committee, so there's that. She had a prominent role on outgoing incumbent Dan Deasy's election campaigns. Her website has no Issues material per se, but the homepage says she intends "to develop programs to unite communities, maintain a strong police presence and reduce neighborhood blight."

Smith's bio shows her to be the president of two community councils and to be a coordinator or committee member for many others, including Weed & Seed and Moms & Cops. She also created the South West Enhancing Environment Program (SWEEP) and the South West Eco-Evolution Team (SWEET).

Georgia Blotzer: Real-life Democrat now running as an Independent. A special ed teacher and activist in the special ed movement, a member of the Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation, and a Democratic committee person, her website has an Issues section that fleshes out her thoughts on Safe Streets, Viable Housing, Responsible Development and Campaign Finance Reform.

Blotzer links to a letter she had published recently in the Post-Gazette:

Confidence Breaker

As a taxpayer and a candidate for Pittsburgh City Council, District 2, I am very concerned about the way business is done in our city, as explained by Rich Lord in his Dec. 7 article ("Political Contributors Both Give and Receive").

Mr. Lord explained that dozens of businesses that make large contributions to campaigns of city politicians receive large contracts in return. The most troublesome example was the $10.5 million aid package for the Bakery Square Project awarded to developer Walnut Capital Management, whose executives gave $69,606 to city political campaigns between 2005 and 2007. That is an excellent return on a modest investment. But what is the real cost of allowing a small number of well-off individuals and corporations to, in some cases, fully fund candidates for public office?

Barry Kauffman, director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, states that this practice undermines public confidence. I believe also that large financial contributions to local races create the perception that influence can be bought and favors will be granted to the highest bidder.

As a candidate for City Council, I will work to eliminate this perception by adopting the limits imposed on candidates seeking federal offices, specifically the $2,300 cap on individual contributions and a $5,000 cap on political action committee contributions.

Mount Washington

Did she just kick off her campaign by calling out Walnut Capital? Looks like we have a favorite.

Her website also contains tabs to contact, volunteer and donate, just in case you feel like we do.


  1. It's funny that she supports campaign $$ limits but she was a supporter of Barack Obama who will never be for something like that.

  2. Ms Smith is endorsed by the ACDC, but she has no issues on her website. At least the Committee is consistent.

  3. District 2 comes alive?

    Georgia B certainly sounds like the right choice in this one.

    independent thinker? check.
    campaign finance reformer? check.
    anti-pay-to-play? check.

    One thing is certain: District 2 is going to sorely miss Dan Deasy and his experienced leaderhip.

  4. Brenden S., another Central Catholic grad who cannot spell. Different from Deasy who had his own political signage faux pas.
    Everyone makes mistakes, however, someone should tell him that you can edit your Facebook page and correct errors.

  5. Another reason the huddler is missing the burgh report right now. Clearly Smith is the BEST CANDIDATE FOR THE JOB.

    Bram are you claiming that Smith is NOT a "real life" democrat? Did you forget about her experience and career in the Pittsburgh education system?

    Schubert was Luke's bitch until he clearly did NOT have the SUPPORT he claimed to have. Is Schubert still collecting a paycheck? Can you say Hatch act violation?

    Metz is a nobody in this race.

    Blotzer is going on record and is bringing a whole new definition of the word "HYPOCRITE"!!! Blotzer has never left the cushy world of Mt Washington, clearly she has NO GAME PLAN to revitalize district two. I LOVE candidates like Peduto, and Blotzer who SCREAM campaign finance reform AFTER THEY GET PASSED OVER when the money gets passed out!!!!!

    I thought it was cute that Blotzer signed up for a "teach" the candidate forum the Saturday before her special election? How prepared is she if she is still taking Wellstone classes 3 days before her special election? OR is she just waving the proverbial progressive flag because she has NO CHANCE IN HELL? Where is her community support? Labor support? Party support? Ask her where she is on charter schools? School vouchers? Teacher strikes? Her education campaign is a JOKE.

    A website with talking points DOES NOT MAKE HER THE RIGHT CHOICE!!!!
    Blotzer is a farce!! There is only one choice in district two!!

    THERESA SMITH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The Comet has shown his lack of any common sense with his endorsement of Blotzer.

    Respectfully sumbitted. THE HUDDLER!

  6. Matt -- yawn.

    Ed -- I typically don't crack down on websites too hard; just because it doesn't have "issues" doesn't meant the candidate doesn't have "issues". But it does seem sometimes like that aspect gets overlooked...

    TheTruth -- Your choice is easy vote! HEY! Does that mean TS was responsible for inspiring that brilliant post?

    Huddler -- I didn't mean to suggest T. Smith is not a "real" Democrat; that was just my way of clarifying that Schubert and Blotzer are Dems despite not running as such in the Special. As to the rest of your post ... I'll have a chance soon to chat with these folks and explore some of the issues you raise, but man I don't like the classism. Is Mt. Washington the Squirrel Hill of District 2, which we all know is the San Francisco of America? Do we have to play the politics of division even on this level? Yuck.

    BTW not an "endorsement" -- but definitely a strong declaration of interest.

  7. Whoa!! I took the posting as such. A candidate to watch. That does not mean that there are not other strong candidates in their own right. I cannot vote in this district, however, I too, would be leery of the "classism" concept, because that is how I also viewed this in reference to Mt. Washington and the West End. Note of reference, I am familiar with many of the cities unique neighborhoods and focusing in on one neighborhood, in a district election, is not the angle, if one is running, the course of action they should take.

  8. The Wellstone class is a good thing. Can't knock anyone for trying to get more education. I took it, a few years ago. The insights won't help with this years race, but the key is to build insights and relationships. Yes, it might be weird to be in a classroom for 3 days just days before people vote for you in a special election.

    The work of Theresa Smith as a coordinator at Pgh Public Schools in the PERC in Langley was missed in the post. Blind spot. And, her work for Wireless Neighborhoods is absent too. Blind spot, other eye.

    Plus, I think that she was Dan's campaign manager. Prominent.

  9. As a Central Catholic graduate, I would like say that by in large we can spell. And on the whole we are better educated and more competent than the other Catholic High Schools graduates (read: "a certain boy mayor")

  10. Mark, I linked to her website. Don't be so irritating. "Blind spot". Sheesh.

  11. Wireless Neighborhoods, a player in the foundation community, and Pgh Public Schools, w bigger budget than city -- are two significant employers were overlooked by design. Bram, be square with the reporting and there won't be a need to irritating corrections.

  12. Theresa Smith will bring the best leadership to the area. I feel she will best represent the community and bring forth legislation that will benefit the communities she represents.

  13. I also agree that the Wellstone classes are a good thing.

  14. Are you accusing me of intentionally misleading my readers? Over this?

    I would have thanked you for bringing to our attention some of candidate Smith's other affiliations (that were not mentioned on her website or in the press that I can find) -- but I don't remotely understand your suggestion that I may need to issue any "corrections" nor do I understand your accusatory tone.

    I don't know what you think I have an obligation to do over here, but I'm just passing along a sampling of relevant information while providing links for people to do their own research. If you'd like to add to it, fine. If you'd like to take issue with any of my opinions, that's always very welcome. If you'd like to change my blog to your liking because your own is not sufficient for your purposes anymore, either borrow How To Win Friends and Influence People from the library or go take a hike.

  15. And I don't want any of my usual enemies thinking they can provoke me like this! I'm flaming Mark as a courtesy due to the fact that he's been blogging in these parts longer than I. Were it anybody else I'd very contentedly ignore them.

    PS Matt - Don't they get to cane you if you don't say that? :)

  16. two significant employers were overlooked by design

    C'mon man!

    Bram (I believe) is simply pointing out that Gloria Blotzer is pushing some the issues that he (and others) see as important.

    Pay-to-play politics and no-bid contracts are a real problem Mark. Or is that a "blind spot" for you? What does T. Smith have to say on these issues?

    Endorsements don't always come without strings attached.

  17. And they don't always have strings attached.

  18. "PS Matt - Don't they get to cane you if you don't say that? :)"

    Ha Ha

    Theresa is my favorite in the race but everyone knows that.

  19. I've been a fixture against pay to play and unethical political behaviors for a long, long time. I've put matters before the City's Ethics Hearing Board and called for an elimination of all no-bid contracts by gov entities. So, TheTruth -- that isn't a blind spot for me. Good Q about asking for T.Smith's opinions/issues on the topic. I don't know. I don't speak for her, FWIW.

    The Q I ask about "springs" centers on the D party endorsement for the special election. That event was with a cost of $0 to get onto that ballot. That is a huge shift of policy for candidates, or else a fluke. I'm not a 'D" -- so I don't have a standing to ask in an 'official capacity."

    Bram, if you were blind and now can see -- how lucky for us all. To flame the messenger offering corrections after finding that the original message was flawed is --- off topic. It is not about me. It is about being accurate and fair.

    Slanted coverage about candidates stinks. It happens in Pgh all the time, sadly. And, it is why we have a lack of candidates. They 'take a hike.' Meanwhile, we all are poorer.

    So, my 'motivation' is to NOT discount candidates (as well as their respective experiences) who have the courage to 'stand for elected office' -- especially OUT OF THE GATE. Over time, candidates can generally do a good job of shooting themselves in the foot without the bloggers and MSM doing it at first blush -- in unfounded matters.

  20. Mark - why didn't you criticize me for failing to mention that Georgia Blotzer was active in the Coalition of Labor Union Women, and for developing a successful "No Bullying" program at her school? By your logic, that omission constitutes a "blind spot" and is "discounting her experience". Why no criticism?

    If you want straight reporting, open a newspaper. If you want analysis and some recommendations, read a blog. It's a big marketplace of ideas and there is room for both; we're lucky there is room for both. We're lucky there's room for everything.

    Just don't accuse me of intentionally omitting information and misleading my readers; if you'd like to add something you think I ought to have mentioned, do it without casting aspersions.

    End tangent.

    Theresa Smith informs me that she favors campaign finance reform legislation only at the state level. More next week.

  21. The day is too short, that's why. And, you don't have enough juice in your flamethrower.

    Being active in a coalition = yawn.

    I wish I could get straight reporting in a newspaper. Frankly, the promise and hope of the internet, with interactivity, is turning the coverage more straight than what it has ever been before. And, that isn't a passive pathway.

    We're not "LUCKY" that there is room for everything. We are vigilant to insure it can continue as a blessing from those in past generations. That's not left to luck.

    More next week for you. For me, ... it is more next year.

    Good night.

  22. bram- are you and mark going to kiss and make up for the new year?

  23. Mark, tell me more about Wireless Neighborhoods.

  24. No worries Jason. IMHO, Bram and I don't need to 'make up' -- rather we're make noise so as to get others and self to 'wake up.'

    I'm happy w Bram and his postings, (soft music in background). Really. Conflict, tension, passion, debate = good.

    As to Wireless Neighborhoods, humm.... Where to begin.

    I went to the annual meeting and caught most of it w my video camera. I've not do a bit with it -- as it boils my blood. The speaker was all about the Pgh Promise. Nearly everything he said needed to be ripped to bits. Then it needed to be re-constructed. Good food for thought. And, this was the invited keynote -- not Wireless Neighborhoods outcomes / projects.

    Nutshel: Wireless Neighborhoods is part of that institutional nonprofit sector that pulls many wires in Pgh. It is also high tech, engagement driven. Wireless Neighborhoods helps build capacity with some other key "players" (agencies) in various parts of the city.

  25. "Conflict, tension, passion, debate = good."

    [clink] Happy new year!

  26. Like many Pittsburghers I have come to think it would serve us all best to be interested in all capaigns for all city council seats. Although we have no true "at-large" seats, in a city like our's, we'd better come to expect the intersts of all our citizenry be considered by our representatives. Heck, we'd better demand it.

    I will pay attention.

    Although really irrelevant to her electability or qualifications, I would like to know more about the "No Bullying" program designed by Ms. Blotzer. Does anyone know which school? Was the program model used by any other school?

    Happy New Year.

  27. Deegazette, that intrigued me also. I was a bully-magnet as an adolescent, and it was no fun; I'm sure it has ripple-effects to this day. I'm not sure if I've ever heard of a "program" working to counteract what seems to be mother nature, so I'd be interested to learn about this just for its own sake.

  28. Bram, if you have a list of the bullies who targeted you, I am looking for a new hobby and I might be able to work with that. Two years ago when my son was in fifth grade I overheard him and a pal talking about a program that had just concluded at school.Four weeks, one afternoon per week to stamp out bullying. Great handouts apparently and lots of hype. Rah, rah from staff. I can tell you they enjoyed the time away from class and felt NONE of the suggestions would work in real life. They did not think it was a joke but obviously were very dejected that the recommendations were so useless. I will try to followup on the Blotzer Plan.