VIDEO by Kalea Hall with a piece at the P-G provide a good look at the Wagner for Mayor campaign effort -- which, lest we forget, is to be understood as comprising an already and credibly UNITED FRONT:
The Firefighter's union rep at the beginning of the big press conference listed Jack Wagner's Purple Heart earned in the Vietnam War, and his successful elections to City Council, Council President, State Senator and Auditor General, and said, "This City needs that type of leadership.
"It is that type of leadership that will continue us on the road that we are, and our rightful place, as we continue as America's most livable city."
To hear it from them, things are very good indeed, and let's go for more of the same. Not a surprise considering where they and the others (such as Ferlo) stood months ago:
“Tell us what [Ravenstahl]'s done wrong over the last six years in running this city?” [Firefighters rep Joe] King said. (Trib, Team Effort)
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has put himself behind us.
|P-G, Michael Henninger|
And does it have anything to do with the seething, defiant emotional passion, or the grim gravitas of that press conference?
These gentlemen don't seem to be the type to be impressed by a long resume. And as canny officials representing ruthlessly for their memberships or constituencies, even a Purple Heart only gets you so far. The alternatives are all Democrats, they all kiss the ring of organized labor, do they not? So what is it about Jack Wagner that makes him so different from the other candidates?
Wagner took a few calls on PCNC's NightTalk with Ellis Cannon last night, and I recorded the answers I think very fairly:
Jack's failure to share any special wisdom on pensions is especially troubling, given his latest role in government and municipal pensions being the statewide tidal crisis on which Pittsburgh "hangs ten".
Is Wagner not a details guy? Is he still playing catch-up on Pittsburgh issues? Does he not have a fundamental interest in urban policy? Or was it all just a bad egg salad sandwich? I don't know what is going on.
But it makes one recall that also his recent answers on social issues questions were unfleshed-out and disappointing. In several ways already, this is seeming like a ginormous step backwards from Luke Ravenstahl.
So, no big surprise. The muckraking blogger does not favor the candidate which has been embraced by the City's traditional sub rosa power structure of socially powerful city workers and economic development go-betweens. I don't get the feeling Jack Wagner is a bad guy, in fact, by every account he seems to be a "great guy" (just like Nate Harper?) but so far he seems like a good-but-not-great, bad-but-not-awful career politician who wants a crowning swan song.
Good for him! But I feel that would not be an optimal move for Pittsburgh, on the brink of so much that might be positive or negative -- especially with so many other qualified statespeople of political courage, experience and knowledge to choose from.
On working together, Wagner said:
"...and the people in government: just not the people that represent this building, but other levels of government. I believe that I bring that to this race, and hopefully to the future of our city. Our city needs that."
I should like to hear more about that.
BONUSES: Apparently Bill Peduto is the Parking Reform Candidate. Once upon a year ago, parking was a big deal in city politics, and had something to do the pension problem. Also there is a short, sweet video of Rich Fitzgerald reintroducing Peduto to some southron city supporters. Michael Lamb is standing up for marriage equality with some organizations, but other than that he's been low-key recently.