Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lamb announces for Mayor, Jabs both Opponents

Oh, man. It begins. And we dive right in...

[City Controller Michael Lamb] contrasted [his own] record with those of "an absentee mayor and a councilman who talks a lot but hasn't accomplished much." (P-G, James O'Toole)

As you know, we live in a "strong mayor" form of government. If a mayor does not desire his perceived rivals to enact and implement any accomplishments, chances are excellent those rivals are going to show few concrete accomplishments.

Even still, "hasn't accomplished much" may play directly into Bill Peduto's strengths vis-a-vis Lamb. Peduto has a very long paper trail in the legislative branch. That is a potential vulnerability against Ravenstahl, as the much-maligned incumbent seeks to reverse criticism by picking out relatively obscure anecdotes suggesting hypocrisy. But against Lamb in terms of accomplishments, some of those bills Peduto wrote and sponsored actually passed!

The campaign finance reforms Lamb is presently laboring under with his colleagues, for example. Both stormwater regulations and prevailing wage regulations for public developments. Various developments in and of themselves within the thriving Council district he tends.

*-UPDATE: In fact, just as Lamb was talking about lack of accomplishment, Peduto was moving forward a bill that could raise $2 million annually for the City without raising taxes or fees.

As Controller, Lamb's fiscal and performance audits -- several of which we will begin showcasing in the coming weeks, so watch for the gutsy Fire Bureau audit soon -- are professional, thorough, easy to understand and very sound. Shame on the Mayor's office for six weeks for not heeding that guidance often enough -- but they are not "accomplishments". When you read those audits out loud, it is suspiciously indistinguishable from "a lot of talk".

Hey, man. Sorry. My hand has been forced. I'm not the one who violated the Yinzer Eleventh Commandment.

Louis "Hop" Kendrick's assertion poses a difficult question. How are we to determine base size? The number of people attending campaign events? Social media likes and follows? Fund raising? 2005 elections results?

One thing is clear: Lamb is aggressively and as conspicuously-as-you-please courting the African-American vote. That is good. That is crucial, despite the inherent difficulties. I'll be particularly interested to hear how Lamb (and Peduto both) respond to Councilman Ricky Burgess's blunt assertion that if you're a black Pittsburgher, "you would have to be insane" not to vote for Luke Ravenstahl.

Here is Michael Lamb's campaign website, Facebook page and Twitter account. Read up. Share what you think. Stay tuned.


  1. I was talking recently to an old city committee member, dem of course. He mentioned how his mom,,still alive and well in her 80's, couldn't understand why that Peduto guy had that young fella up there with the word " Dope" on his hat. Ad mom made her way thru her social circle speaking with other" yayya's and nonna's about how she could never vote for a guy who supports a kid like that. DOPEDUTO

  2. He contrasted that record with those of "an absentee mayor and a councilman who talks a lot but hasn't accomplished much."

    Based on the grammar and structure of this sentence, when I read it I assumed he was referring only to Luke, who was a mayor and councilman. Had he been referring to two individuals, there would be no "s" on the end of "talk"

  3. Ravenstahl FTW through the split backcourt...and it counts! By the way - at this late hour, "progressive" really means just about nothing in Pittsburgh, since the guy who's held the flag for so many years has been so ineffectual..for so many years. Also - Lamb's slogan ("Expect more") is silly, imo. Should change it to "will deliver more"...unless he's conceding the point right at the starting gun.

  4. Anon 1:15 --

    I think his use of the article "those of" instead of "that of" tell us he that Lamb was referring to more than one person.

  5. Lamb would be a contender if Bill wasn't in the race, not the other way around. Bill has no base outside of Shadyside and Luke will still get votes there. Lamb could pull votes in the North and South and Bill can't. Bill is killing Mike's chances, but neither has a real shot at unseating Luke. Incumbent + lots of money + Still looks young + City Doing Really well = four more years.

  6. Anon 1:01 - There can be no doubt, backlash to the Wiz Khalifa Day proclamation (which all Council Members signed but which Peduto clearly put together) was real, was passionate in several quarters, and seemed to outstrip even that of Sharon Needles Day brought to us by Councilman Dowd. In some ways it was a typical Peduto misstep to go ahead with it despite predictable results on the very week he announced he'd like to lead the City. However, it's pretty clear to me that Willie Nelson Day or even Mac Miller Day wouldn't earn nearly the same reception. Sad to say that committee members' mom is probably racist, or at least prejudiced against young black men in particular, in exactly the same way as my own dad and most Americans. So in that way it's also typical of Peduto courage. Hopefully for all of our sakes, the media will deem it a non-newsworthy non-issue unless one of the opposing campaigns makes it an issue, which would certainly be their right.

    Anon 7:34 - You write, "Lamb could pull votes in the North and South and Bill can't." Show your work!

    Or is this the return of the lazy, "Bill Peduto is a dork, and North Siders are too hardscrabble" argument. Dorks are adorable and sexy now haven't you heard? Smart and successful as well. And Pittsburghers (yes even the oldsters) can pick up on that like anybody else might. At the very least if you're going to make a geographic argument, hit us with some elections data please.

  7. Bram,
    I find it interesting that your touting " Dopeduto's" 2 million dollars advertise on anything program when He has been an advocate against billboard pollution! “In no city has that [relationship] ever benefited the city in the long run,” Peduto says. “Over the years, what we have seen is a proliferation [of billboards] in places where you wouldn’t see them in other cities.” Yet, Do Peduto wants to have human advertising. Advertise on employees clothing. Isn't that demeaning to human s, asking billboards. Will the employees get a piece of the pie or a bounce in pay!! Ads on park benches. Talk about degrading our environment!

    And in regards to the old woman being a racist you sound like Obama outing his granny as a white racist. That's a progressive tactic, denigrate the messenger, and delegitimize their opinion. Is it racist that Barack Obama never mentions the black on black slaughter in urban neighborhoods, yet jumps to the pulpit for the tragic and senseless slaughter at Sandy Hook? Is it inherent in his lack of dialogue on the urban battlefield an acceptance of " that's just the way they are, you can't change them" mentality. Cornell West stated and I paraphrase, a black crisis in the community is a
    crisis for the entire community.

  8. All the advertise on anything credit needs to go to Les Ludwig. "Do more with Les."

    That was 2001 stuff.

  9. Anon 12:59 - On the sponsorship program: it's my understanding from listening to 90.5 WESA that the "advertising" is structured to be limited with the intention of it being "tasteful" -- more along the lines of plaques adorning buildings than giant flashing signs. Now, I have to say I'm not in love with the idea of utilizing space on worker uniforms necessarily, and overall there are legitimate reasons a person might oppose the program -- but the issue at hand was number of Bill's accomplishments. Well, score another one.

    On Khalifa Day and prejudice: we could take all day and maybe we should. For starters, to me the idea of calling out alleged racism or prejudice as necessarily being a "progressive tactic" is extraordinarily troubling. When you write about "denigration," I for one don't view suggestions of racism or prejudice as explosive, conversation-halting, beyond-the-pale insulting utterances; it's not a burning brand. Racism and prejudice are clearly all around us, in varying degrees. It's better to discuss where exactly and how bad we feel it is than to zip our lips shut for fear of giving offense. It is my contention that as we reflect on all the reefer-mad musicians we generally enjoy and admire, and the frequency with which many Wiz objectors specify that he's a RAPPER!, that anti-Wiz sentiment is steeped deeply in prejudice. The very same kind of prejudice I know I exhibit about things and people from time to time, but try to identify and discourage in myself and others.

    Meanwhile, I think your juxtaposition of the plague of urban violence in poor communities and Sandy Hook seems... confused on multiple levels.

    1. As for confused, you would! And like Obama, that confuses me. Where's Obama's outrage at the day to day slaughter in Chicago?
      What's more horrific living in a battlezone or having experienced one day of senseless tragedy?

  10. Say what you'd like about Lamb as a candidate, but I have to respect a guy that I see carrying a brown bag lunch through the front door City-County building at 8:30am the day after formally announcing a Mayoral campaign.

  11. Mark - Credit for the idea, for being ahead of his time? Absolutely. Credit for Getting It Done? Alas, not so much.

  12. Anon 1:34 - They require different sorts of responses, both rhetorically and as a matter of policy. I'll grant you there's room to criticize the President's attention to routine urban violence.

  13. Anon 1:26 - As I hope I can continue making clear, I also have the absolute highest regard for Michael Lamb. As a guy and also as a candidATE. It's his candidACY I'm frankly struggling with.

  14. How can a citizen get it done, unless his name is mook?

  15. Bram, it seems that the Lamb candidacy, based on what he said, is based on the notion that he is the person running that is most qualified to be Mayor. He probably is. Why is that a problem.

  16. Is there a more boring candidate out there than Mike Lamb? ZzZzZzZ

  17. As for Obama not using the presidential bully pulpit to advocate for solutions to problems that plague the urban landscape is a testament to the plain truth that to be President of THESE United States that he simply didn't have the luxury of speaking to the African-American condition.

    Rather, he had to fight to deal with problems that, left unaddressed, would have had far greater destructive impact on minorities and the poor.

    Keep in mind, however, that it was Obama's Justice Department's Civil Rights Division's Voting Rights Section that so successfully fought back the voter suppression in the Section 5 states (the South) that preserved (at least for the moment) the right of minorities (and lots of non-minorities) to vote last November.

    He pumped billions into low-income communities across America through Choice Neighborhoods, Promise Neighborhoods, billions more through the Recovery Act (stimulus), he saved Detroit, Toledo, Lordstown, Youngstown, where the auto industry employs a good number of minorities...

    He invested more into schools, fought to protect college students and graduates from predatory lenders/collectors.

    Obamacare will disproportionately benefit the poor, young and old, by expanding Medicaid access by raising the eligibility threshold.

    All in all, the President, while not holding up the clenched fist of Black power, kept things from getting worse and made a number of things better.

    That is why he got my vote in November.

    1. Obviously you have read Race matters by Cornell West

  18. Anon 5:07 - I suppose it's debatable whether the County Prothonotary, who successfully shut the lights off in the Prothonotary's office and thereby earned the role of City Controller, and the City Controller who compiles financial reports of his own timing and choosing is more qualified to run the City than a guy who's had to master and make tough choices on every single important issue that passes through a City for a dozen years. It's a problem because it causes a bottleneck on the road to an accident scene.

    Anon 5:10 - Well, Prothonotary and Controller aren't the most exciting of occupations. I'm looking forward to seeing how he lights things up as a candidate in these early months.

  19. Bram I don't think the issue with Wiz is that he is a rapper or the fact he is black - the issue is that he was wearing a hat in City Council chambers on tv getting a big award and proclamation from Peduto and that hat was promoting drug use. So Bill the reformer and keeper of all things pure and sacred in our house of government stood there praising a guy advocating drug usage

  20. @Shawn Carter.. Your response *has* to be one of the most inane and mis-guided diatribes I have ever read. What did you do? Copy from an Obama Website or Messina's e-mails.

    I'd spend some time responding to you, but you're a lost cause. I know this because there is no way any *intelligent* person would look ay the previous 4 years' unemployment stats, anemic economic growth, nationalization of the student loan business, nationalization of 2/3 of the auto industry, nationalization of the health care industry and say - Damn! That's good!

    Oh - Absolutely NO effort to offer or have voted on a Budget. Barack Hussein Obama is like a teenage with Daddy's credit card who cries when the limit isn't raised.

    Me? I'm going to continue working hard to keep my Company in business. After all, I have to pay employees, suppliers and, (surprise!) myself and my business partner. The business environment SUCKS in case you didn't know.

    You? Sounds as if you need to go upstairs. Your Mother says Dinner is ready.

  21. Oh sweet mother of mercy, everybody clear out of the saloon...

  22. Bram,

    You know I've always enjoyed CM's rants...

    And I did stray the conversation off of the titled course...

    And if he's really from West Virginia, well, Salena Zito has a thought from the past on this:

  23. Anon 7:46 - Just in case there's some confusion, Wiz got a proclamation. There's no "award" attached. And you know, you invite rock stars to Council Chambers, you take your chances with rebellious expression... Sharon Needles dropped an F-bomb in her acceptance speech, by comparison Wiz was a perfect gentleman... let's not take ourselves too seriously. At least he didn't wear sewer boots.

  24. I propose a Josh Wander Day in the City of Pittsburgh, based on his star turn last month on Nat Geo's "Doomsday Preppers".

    Not as famous as Wiz, but at least as attention-grabbing and Pittsburgh-promoting as Needles.

  25. Bram, I just hope you are consistent and give everyone else the same pass for minor acts. I mean, it isn't like anyone criticizes Luke for hanging out with Big Ben or anything.

  26. Anon 3:56 - I try my best to stay away from the inane, insignificant stuff. For example, in response to TobyKeithgate, I was immediately bored and wrote at the time:

    "We think all anybody will take away from this is that Luke enjoys SUVs and country music, which as we know is ample evidence that he's a swell dude, and that his political opponents who are raising objections are just effete intellectual hippies."

    Turns out it became one of his favorite anecdotes for characterizing the nature of his missteps and his critics:

    "The same year, he caught flak for driving a publicly funded homeland security SUV to a country music concert. Some of that scrutiny was probably connected to his age, Ravenstahl says, but he also admits that he didn’t fully understand the attention that comes with being mayor in those days."

    So, yeah. Give me stories about the Parking Authority and the URA any day.

  27. And does he really hang out with Ben Rothlisberger? 'Cuz sometimes when my melatonin hasn't worn off I still get them confused.