Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tuesday: Returning to our Labors


The Go Soak Your Head, UPMC Labor Day Parade was enthusiastically well-attended, and looks set to become an annual tradition. (P-G, Steve Twedt)

Speaking of which, twenty-six employees of that purely public charity make more than a million bucks a year, although the CEO's daughter modestly earns not quite half a million. (PBT, Kris B. Mamula)

Pittsburgh Quarterly asks the question, Who is Bill Peduto?

"I'm a student of cities," he explains. In a radio interview sandwiched between appointments, he namedrops Prague, Ljubljana and Gaziantep. The latter, an eds-and-meds metropolis in Turkey, is Pittsburgh's newest sister city, thanks to an agreement engineered by the councilman last year. He responds to the questioner with intensity, tumbling together East End accomplishments and international ideas. Then he stops short.

"I don't want to get all Richard Florida on you," he says with a grin. (Pgh1/4ly, Christine O'Toole)

Turns out Bill Peduto is someone who has always wanted to be mayor and who has prepared extensively for it. That much should be refreshing.

Peduto recently revisited his major campaign plank of finding a way to provide quality early childhood education as a new feature of the Pittsburgh Promise. He showcased a new poll (pdf) indicating "overwhelming" public support for investing in such programs (during an epoch when public investment in anything whatsoever is highly controversial).

As the candidate's 100 policy papers were being paraded out day by day, a common critique was, "Sure, but how is he going to fund this stuff?" In the coming years that emphasis is likely to shift to, "Wait, you're actually committing funding for this? Like, out from other things?" Obviously federal, state and nonprofit resources would have to contribute, but in order to access those there would inevitably have to be a real local commitment.

Peduto continues to indicate that the return on investment makes this one a worthy priority.

Council District 7 candidate Deb Gross has withstood all legal challenges to her claim on the Democratic party nomination. She is now reaping the rewards of endorsements by the 'Burgh's biggest labor unions (Early Returns).

This has not deterred rival Tony Ceoffe from mounting an active and feisty challenge as an Independent, posting his own collection of lengthy but as-yet noncontroversial policy positions to Facebook and...

The pair have continued to tangle over debate plans. Mr. Ceoffe unilaterally scheduled two candidate forums in September, which all other the candidates other than Ms. Gross are planning to attend.

Ms. Gross will debate in other forums organized by community groups, including two set tentatively for October in Bloomfield and Highland Park. (P-G, Tim McNulty)

Behind-the-scenes: On Monday Aug. 19, the Gross camp sent out a media release "inviting" the other candidates to four candidate forums "hosted by neutral, recognized community organizations and/or media outlets" and adhering to "best practice standards" as determined by the League of Women Voters -- at times and locations they might all later agree upon. As if on cue*, on Wednesday the Ceoffe camp issued releases for and broadcast the dates and locations of two candidate forums "sponsored by Ceoffe for District 7," at which the Pittsburgh City Paper "has tentatively agreed to participate." Then on Friday the Gross camp responded with a release chiding the Ceoffe camp for hosting "staged campaign events" and "without consultation with any community organizations." *-CLARIFICATION: Tony's campaign chair requests it be made clear that they knew nothing of Deb's Monday release before issuing theirs on Wednesday (which indeed was my impression). The Comet regrets that the chosen idiom "As if on cue" leaves room for interpretation.

Still, the announced events appear still to be on, and a third "Ceoffe & Donuts" meet and greet this evening guarantees even more voters will know how to pronounce the candidate's name.


  1. The white text and blue background just make this hard to read. Is there some technical reason for doing this?

    1. It was to make updates more eye-catching. Let me try another shade and tell me if there's an improvement...

  2. It is awful early but at this point it seems that Ceoffe is running a more active grass roots campaign while Gross appears to be relying on her ties to the Peduto-Fitzgerald grass roots operation. And this tie she now has to the Laborer's Union is not helpful.

    1. Is there schmutz concerning the Laborer's Council of which I'm not aware? Hadn't heard anything.

    2. I am sure she will go with the same technique of having out of town SEIU reps do the leg work.

  3. Being a student of cities is fine...excellent, actually. Name-dropping Richard Florida is all well and good, but it can't be imagined that dexterity in the Twittersphere automatically translates into successful Pittsburgh citybuilding. I do not doubt that Peduto reads and understands everything that he retweets, but it remains to be seen what all of that has inspired him to formulate in the way of a workable plan for this city (this one!) starting in Jan. 2014.