Tuesday, May 12, 2009

District 2 Debate Winner = Bill Peduto!

Thinking back to the way things were, say, two years ago today, it's incredible to observe politicians clear on the other side of town scrambling to align themselves with the representative of District 8.

Yet that's exactly what happened during a sizable portion of this evening's debate among Democratic candidates Georgia Blotzer, Rob Frank and Theresa Smith for the Council seat representing District 2.

It was quite educational!

The candidates of the West End it seems are not only looking towards Peduto for leadership on government reform, but also most notably on financial stewardship.

For example, when the candidates were asked whether or not it's time to leave Act 47 Distressed Municipality status, incumbent Theresa Smith said that indeed Pittsburgh is ready to withdraw, arguing, "I followed the lead of my Finance Chair Bill Peduto" and is "joining him in working on a Five Year Plan to come out of Act 47."

We have long known Peduto as the Council's leading voice cautioning against withdrawing preemptively from Act 47, but apparently there is new encouraging financial data that has made him change his position recently. Well done, Pittsburgh!

Additionally, when answering a question about whether retaining a $47 million "irrevocable fund" "restricted fund" within the city for the purposes of paying down debt was a wise maneuver, Councilwoman Smith testified that although she expressed some reservations at the time, ultimately she "took the advice of Finance Chair Bill Peduto" who said the fund was a good idea.

We all do remember that Peduto actually voted against the measure to approve that fund -- twice -- once during budget talks, and again this year in a vote to approve the fund agreement. Yet apparently those must have been minor technical issues, since Smith maintains that Peduto talked her into it.

I do wish I could show you footage of these remarkable events -- however, the League of Women Voters ruled that I might film the proceedings only if all three candidates agreed to it. Disappointingly, Ms. Kail-Smith said, "No, I don't want you taping it," because I tell lies on my blog and have treated her unfairly. I tried to argue that a record of the debate would only benefit all three candidates, the public at large, and democracy in general, but to no avail.

I'm sure you'll be told that I misheard this material or misunderstood it or worse, but for the record I know I took very careful and accurate notes.

So unfortunately you will not get to hear stories of how Theresa Smith "first brought the Weed & Seed program to the eight communities," or "brought in funding for the Dillworth Pittsburgh Boxing Ring", or most interestingly, how just today she "introduced the vacant property / nuisance property registry." We will however be able to show you solid evidence of her other wondrous claimed accomplishments tomorrow.


  1. Can you really trust anything Theresa Smith says?

  2. You obviously weren't paying attention while taking notes. Maybe you're just not that good at multi-tasking! Theresa Smith said that she helped push the paper work through not that she got funding for Pittsburgh boxing. Clean your ears out! By the way it's Pittsburgh Boxing not the Dilworth boxing ring. Great note taking!

  3. Hahahaha! No, definitely nothing about "pushing paperwork through". Because that would hardly be a debate-worthy thing to mention, would it? And no mention of Chelsa Wagner or the other leaders actually responsible for the task. She said she "brought in funding" for it, and it was a wholly individual reference.

    Thanks for the Dillworth / Pittsburgh boxing ring correction though. No comments on Act 47 / the restricted fund / Weed & Seed / and "introducing" a bill that was introduced (and thereafter became very problematic) last year? Or are you content with the little jab about mishearing the mumbled name of the boxing facility?

    I suppose I can no longer expect Ms. Smith to track down some grant money for me for the Comet, as she suggested in the middle of our initial interview -- an offer the like of which no other politician or person ever extended to me during any other interview.

    Seriously, what's up with the rest of you guys? I'm into pay-to-play, too!

  4. No, I understood completely.

  5. Georgia Blotzer knocked on my mothers door the other day, my mother doesn't live in Mt. Washington, or Elliot or Esplen.

    My mother isn't wealthy, she is a senior citizen, on a fixed income who votes. Ms. Blotzer asked my mother if she had made up her mind of who she would vote for? My Mother said she had not.

    Ms. Blotzer must have made a good impression on my Mother, enough that she would ask me about her. I led my mother to information that I believed was fair reporting on the background of both candidates. More importantly I asked my mother was she aware of who her former council person was? She said she knew his name but had never met him, and she is a very active senior. I asked her if she knew who her current council person was and she was aware of that also. When I asked have you received any help in the calls you have made to 311 on issues in your neighborhood in the last few months and have you gotten any response? The answer was no. As of today, My mother is leaning towards Blotzer.

  6. I do wish I could show you footage of these remarkable events -- however, the League of Women Voters ruled that I might film the proceedings only if all three candidates agreed to it. Disappointingly, Ms. Kail-Smith said, "No, I don't want you taping it," because I tell lies on my blog and have treated her unfairly. Absolutely ridiculous. How could you "tell lies" using a video tape? I guess she was planning on lying to the voters and didn't want video evidence. Good thing you were there to take notes.

  7. RE: the boxing club comment.

    I was at the debate....Smith said she secured funding for the boxing club....very clearly... no mention of pushing paperwork through.

    I remmeber it vividly. Because I know she DID NOT secure funding for that...so I was wondering what she meant.

    So, she may have MEANT that she pushed the paper work through....but she SAID she secured the funding for.

  8. Thanks, Anon 11:32. It WAS clear.

    And I'm not as generous about what she MEANT to say, given all the data points we have available.