Infinonymous is only the latest commentator to suggest that our County Chief's signature accomplishment, "holding the line on property taxes", is actually "immoral and regressive". Yet he/she/it presents one of the best examples, making for one of the most succinct arguments.
Mr. Onorato likes to point out that most of the other counties across the state have been using a similar system, and managing constant reassessments is a burden to them all. However, aside from the fact that the disparities are far more acute right here, he is demanding a state-wise solution without thus far actually suggesting one.
That may be a lot to ask of the average County Executive -- but perhaps not too much to ask of a man who would have folks believe he possesses the leadership skills to run the whole shebang. Certainly not of one who gets in people's faces and demands change when he sees corruption and inefficiency.
Speaking of that campaign letter by Onorato, there may be a price to be paid for being seen to jump late onto a civil rights bandwagon. Sue Kerr from Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents picks apart claims in the letter as exaggerations or worse. While she also maintains he deserves credit for signing the Human Relations ordinance and likely working behind the scenes for its narrow passage, one can't help but think the reception for this new campaign plank would have been more generous had it seemed to come from the heart rather than the noggin.
How deep will that vein of support prove in a Democratic primary, after a conversation about civil unions -- or maybe even about same-sex marriage?
The Comet, meanwhile? You know we're still sore about a certain 272 geese. And we're still troubled on general principle by the Chief's abrupt reversal of a then-only recently stated "no kill" promise and an agreement to properly pursue an effective, nonlethal course of action (see page 13, or download the PDF).
At the very least, it's time again to touch base with the state of waterfowl-government relations. Have progressive steps been taken since that unfortunate occurrence to stay ahead of the gander? Or are we nearing "harvest" season once again?
Then there are the little things. Onorato basically cemented Luke Ravenstahl as Pittsburgh's mayor by standing firmly behind him (literally and politically) immediately after the latter's abrupt ascension, when an argument could have been made that neutrality was in order. A recent $150,000 campaign loan to Pittsburgh's mayor just this year shows that the partnership endures.
The unfortunate side of that political marriage may manifest itself here and there on specific issues. Word around the campfire is, for example, that Onorato played an active role in the fire sale of North Side land to the Steelers and their agents, though that needs to be confirmed.
That's not immediately likely to rile up that many voters across the state or even in Allegheny County, but we're talking about the local Internet's take so here we are. When Mr. Onorato goes a-boasting, it's usually about redeveloping brownfields, which deservedly or otherwise never really excites passions out here.
Should we be talking about the Internet at all? Hard to say. In a contest of this scope, there may be little it could possibly do for Mr. Onorato that his own political skills and organization can't do by itself.
But if the Net were to situate itself in withering opposition, from his own backyard? That couldn't be helpful.
None of which is to say that the Internet has anywhere else to go. Take me, for example. I've been agnostic toward party politics on the local yokel level, but the prospect of a Republican governor terrifies me for a plethora of reasons.
If it comes down to Dan Onorato and some Republican in a dogfight -- even a hometown pedophile-catching Republican like Tom Corbett -- I'll be singing songs in praise of Mr. Onorato on a near-daily basis. Take a look up and down my sidebar, and I bet that will be the case for almost all others as well.
Through the Democratic primary, though? I feel like Jack Wagner needs to reintroduce himself. I feel like Tom Knox needs to introduce himself period. I know the theory goes that Western Pennsylvania needs to beat Eastern Pennsylvania for once, but I feel like that will matter a lot less to average Western PA residents than to the professional politicos and hangers-on.
To average residents, it'll be more important who is the better Democrat. So who is the better Democrat? Frankly, I'm not even sure what that means, but I'm pretty sure I'll know it when I hear it. Not see it, hear it. I know that scrutinizing policy discussions is hopelessly outmoded in the age of fundraising comparisons, key endorsements and managing performance expectations, but I'm looking forward to a great and revealing conversation.