Monday, April 20, 2009

Open Thread: 'TAE Debate*

I have it waiting for me on VHS. How'd it go?

I caught only the closing statements, during which Dowd assailed Ravenstahl for exhibiting "cronyistic behaviors".

Please tell me that somebody actually named a crony or defined a behavior. My confidence in John Q. Public apprehending what that means is somewhat on the low side.

*-UPDATE: My own breakdown resides in Comment #15. Suitable for The Cutting Edge or similar.


  1. Alas, cronyism was not defined. Nor did they define pay-for-play. YIKES.


  2. Not sure I agree with annointing Dowd as the victor. I kind of thought the Mayor came out looking the best, but he had the benefit of not having to be the attacker.

    Dowd made the best points - or at least the ones I agreed with - but the Mayor seemed to be pretty well-prepared and had answers for just about everything. John Q. Public will probably come away saying "That kid's not too bad. Seems like he's got us going in the right direction."

    Also thought that the Mayor played a couple things pretty well, particularly his closing statement of "Was I prepared for the office of Mayor when I took over in September of 2006? I wasn’t. But I am today."

    Well played.

  3. Luke seemed to lack a certain confidence, based on what I've watched so far.

    You know, Blink n'at.

    That's really surprising me. Back in 2007 he was already playing poker with a weak hand and a big stack of chips, but he always performed well in these environments. This time it's like something was missing.

    @Anon 9:09 - Dowd, not Robinson? Why?

  4. Bram, I think as you watch the debate you'll feel a little differently. I thought the Mayor acted like an incumbent, rather cooly deflecting the attacks of Robinson and Dowd, who were virtually non-stop in going after him.

    But instead of jumping into counter-attacks - save for an argumentative spat with Dowd - the Mayor smirked and had an answer for everything.

    Whether or not his answers were relevant can be questioned, but I thought he carried himself pretty well.

  5. If Carmen wasn't so nervous, then I believe she could've made substantial gains tonight. Her answers set her apart, but the delivery was a setback.

  6. Agree that Robinson was making some good points, but at times she was almost lost in the bickering between Dowd and the Mayor. When those two really got into it on the gun control bill and were going back and forth in dialogue, she eventually resorted to raising her hand in order to get in on the discussion. You could almost see her sensing her relevancy slipping away.

    Still, I hope she can find some form of gainful employment in city government. She seems like the kind of person the city could use.

  7. If she's good, she'll spin this into "I'm the only real person up there" and make huge gains.

  8. Branding herself as separate and different from the other two is probably her best - and only - bet.

  9. I think I am with Peaks and Gutters, particularly his first comment. I don't like the Mayor, and I thought he was stretching the truth quite a bit. I thought Dowd was marginally better, but a fair number of his points were fuzzy. In trying to reach out to yinzers I think he lost the nerd factor that some people expect out of him. And the important thing is Dowd did not put the Mayor away.

    I think Carmen Robinson will pick up some of the African American vote, but little else. But I think that hurts Dowd more than the Mayor. FWIW.

    Still a debate to go.

  10. I missed the beginning, but I thought from what I did see that Carmen Robinson did well on the last few questions. If you go to
    Bob Mayo's blog, you will see that Luke's closing statement was almost identical to statements in 2007. The same amount of money, he says the city has, and the same rhetoric about O'Connor. To me his performance was bland, he didn't answer the questions that were posed, he went off on his own, delay, distract agenda.

  11. He (the Mayor) was asked specifically to provide his agenda and schedule that prohibits him from participating in any further debates. he never answered the question, and He commmitted to no further debates.

    I believe the candidates thought he did, but he agreed to nothing. He did not agree to release his schedule nor did he agree to another debate before the primary. That is a huge loss to the voters.

  12. My thoughts on Carmen Robinson: I was not sure if she threw her hat in the ring to get her name out there for future elections.

    I do not feel that way now. I believe frustration with the status quo, I believe her real grasp on the blight of neighborhoods, not only the Hill, but Homewood and she has mentioned the neglect of the South Hills in anyone's agenda that does not involve the North Shore, the East End and moving it's residents for development, the half-assed attempts to provide to the Hill. She is a real, grass roots, home grown candidate, frustrated with the good ol boy politics.

  13. Alright, done. More thoughts:

    Luke clearly won this thing. I mean, don't vote that way in the WTAE poll, but facts are facts. I agree with most of what Peaks & Gutters said, and I'll add this:



    Line of the night: Carmen Robinson saying "We don't need to indict or convict Luke Ravenstahl" to know that we have pay-to-play politics in this city right now. Great line, but: I'M NOT SO SURE ABOUT THAT.

    2nd line of the night: Luke saying, in response to Wendy Bell's question about bringing Pepsi or somebody to town, that he rather concentrate on helping businesses that are right here. HAHAHAHAH! And how! You said a mouthful.

    Unfortunately, neither challenger seized on that, opting instead to just banged the small business drum. S.O.S. guys: Yes but the globe is TEEMING with entrepreneurs. Bringing them here would be helpful, please, okay? Might even have neatly tied that in to our *ahem* parochial business environment.

    I can't believe there's less than a month to go and no one has talked about Pat Ford.

    More: Luke agreeing to Peduto's legislation in regards to what Bob Mayo asked about registering lobbyists, making public schedule available, and lower campaign caps: that was news. WHAT IS THAT ALL ABOUT? If Anon 11:13 is Bill Peduto, for example, Luke stepped in it.

    Interested to see if statistics show that cities with security cameras experience great drops in crime, as Luke said.

    Luke did kind of explode Patrick in regards to his stance on gun control. Patrick spun it like he only wants stricter gun control, but um ... is that how it actually went down? Eeeeeeeee....

    When Carmen got her feat underneath her about 20 seconds into each question she came closest to doing what she needed to do. No, subsidizing college scholarships will not do anything for youngsters with no resources in their schools and communities. No, gun control and security cameras will not improve life in these communities. However, what's the program? What would you do, exactly? She's one or two real professional television political consultants away from winning this thing, but she also needs a program.

    Patrick: I'm not sure if he'd listen to the consultants if they'd offer it pro-bono. But he also needs to explain what he means by honest government. He talks about having to read headlines. Tell me some of the headlines.

    OMG, DIVERSITY! Yes, city government is a men's club, and a good percentage of figureheads at the top eschelon does not do anything about inequities deep deep deep through the system. And Patrick Dowd mentions -- rightly, but as a Councilman -- there's an equity study "he's looking forward to". How about asking why it's taken over a year for the Ravenstahl administration to actually do the thing?

    P-Diddy does have more than a little John Kerry Senatitis going on. I think he's probably make the best mayor, but he's not treating this like what it has to be: a frank, genuinely informative and very amusing public roast.

    Now, as to my "blink" in a previous comment: no it was not entirely representative, Luke did look confident through most of the debate. He only sounded unsure of himself at the terminus, in assuring the viewers that he's now better prepared for the job than he was 3 years ago.

    Probably a reflection of why he is how he is: his M.O. is to look to the people he views as "good at politics" to tell him what to do. I swear, if he only threw the scoundrels overboard and walked a mile in the shoes of the poorest Pittsburgher, he could be a decent mayor. But I don't think he's doing those things, someone please tell me if I'm misinformed.

    In summary: these debates better not all be the same, or it's going to be a long and unremarkable four years.

  14. draw all way around. they reassured their respective camps they made the right choice. status quo. Is this the only debate? really?

  15. Interestingly, WTAE is showing a most favorable Dowd clip, and at least as of Six AM is broadcasting the results of their (unscientific) poll - Dowd with a good lead. It means nothing but it is interesting that 'TAE is taking a subtle stand here.

  16. No matter what, the media wants a race so as to get more of the money into the MSM's pockets.

    And, they won't want a 3 way race.

  17. Bah! Local polls are useless. Half of the self-identified Pittsburghers live in the burbs, half live outside the state and the other half live in Pittsburgh, but don't watch channel 4.

  18. My two favorite parts of the evening were when the mayor said the trash were actually competitively bid and the insane question from Wendy Bell suggesting we should make prisoners the equivalent of slaves.

    All in all, I wish Carmen held her composure more and wish Dowd gave clearer, cleaner answers

  19. @MayorFluke: Wendy's idea was gold in regards to Curfew violators and truants. Thems should be steered toward doing community service and redding up. Maybe not so much in regards to actual prisoners.

    Add a § 604.06 (i) to the Code. Have a magistrate on hand each morning to go through the night's catch. Ensure something productive is occuring when we haul kids in for their little state-sponsored intervention. Heck, award them a significant voucher for school supplies if they complete their hours with good behavior.

  20. I thought the mayor looked like an ass when the gun issue came up.

    Apparently, his parents never taught him how to wait for his his turn before speaking.

  21. Wendy is Pittsburgh's treasure! Don't go bashing her and her hair (oh, wait, that's me). I agree with Fluke! I had the same thought about slavery! HAHA!

    I tend to watch these things from ignorance--a gut level. I hated Carmen pointing her pen and getting defensive over sending kids to college. And I thought Dowd was not overly impressive. I expected more. I guess there has been all this build up of him and for me, this was the first time I have seen him debate and I expected to much from him and he fell short.

    I wanted him knock the mayor off his game, to shake him a little and there was none of it I could see in my ignorant eye. I thought the mayor was cool and calm and kept batting the questions out of the part, regardless of the accuracy of the answers. He wasn't tense, and he smiled. I liked it. I liked Luke. BAAAHHHHH.

  22. I just realized that Matt H never showed up to this party to tell us how well Luke did. I guess his feelings really were hurt.

  23. I find much to doubt in any prediction that "it's going to be a long and unremarkable four years."

    According to the Propositions Board, it might just as likely become a relatively tough 16-to-24 months somewhere along the way.

    Did Luke "win"? As Gust Avrakotos, channelling the Zen master, would have advised us:

    "We'll see"(it's the fifth item on the list: "There's a little boy and on his 14th birthday . . .")

  24. Bram, curfew violators don't exist.

    Kids that do nothing wrong are not to be punished.

    Don't put "Curfew violators" into the same category as "truants."

    "The night's catching" -- like in other parts of PA where kids were taken to court - found guilty and put in a privatized jail for NOTHING -- except the kick-back money paid to the slime ball authorities -- JUDGES, POLICE, ENFORCERS.

    No way.

    Don't award vouchers for school supply. Rather, the purpose of government is to insure personal liberty -- not a bribe center.

  25. "She's one or two real professional television political consultants away from winning this thing..."

    You can't be serious!