Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dowd Takes to the Air; Fires SCUDs

As you know, Pittsburgh voters will be treated to this on all three major networks this evening:

If you freeze-frame it at 0:06, you'll see some blurry headlines about Ravenstahl's 2005 Heinz Field altercation with a police officer and his 2007 Tiger Woods stalking jag at Oakmont. Yet clearly the thrust of the ad is the overpriced garbage cans, the Water Authority bond deal, and false claims of tax-cutting prowess.

I asked some folks on the Dowd campaign gingerly whether this was the most serious artillery they might have fired at crunch-time, and the responses I've received have been variations upon, "Luke has done so much awful stuff over the past three years, it was impossible to fit it all in to a 30 second spot."

True -- but not "true enough". The ad was 30 seconds long, yet the campaign has lasted three months and we're still getting a steady diet of garbage cans and bond swaptions.

The rapid series of promotions of three police officers dogged by domestic abuse allegations obviously enraged Patrick Dowd on a personal level (I've got to get that footage of the public safety forum up eventually). And the Pat Ford thing, not to repeat myself, was kind of a big deal. Just to pile on, I think the Mayor's grossly cynical handling of Hill District development and his support of a wrong-headed North Shore land giveaway are overripe for criticism as well.

I suppose the three explicit charges and the two charges that only a blogger would notice all build upon the theme of "embarrassment", which is after all the title of the ad. It could be that the Dowd campaign has calculated that it's futile to inundate the public with new and complex information at this point, and would rather harp on a user-friendly theme that might resonate.

If "embarrassment" was the way to go, one might have photoshopped Luke's face onto a picture of an infant or juxtaposed it with a picture Alfred E. Newman, or maybe utilized something like the Baby Elephant Walk in lieu of the Generic Negative Ad / Law and Order Denouement music, but that's not the point I'm making.

The point I'm making was offered by a very generous commenter:

However, you suggest that if the facts of [the Pat Ford] mess were brought to light, it could pull support away from the incumbent and to one of the challengers. In fact, it could be argued this scenario is the ONLY way for one of the challengers to win ... I think this says a great deal about the quality of the challengers and an indictment of the campaigns they are running. That's why the mayor wins in a landslide.

I don't know about the "quality" of the challengers -- my criticism extended explicitly to the media, who after all is permitted and somewhat obligated to raise issues of their own accord -- but it does raise questions about how serious they are. There are certain places they evidently do not feel comfortable going for whatever reason.

Case in point -- during the WPXI debate, Ravenstahl's budget again came under attack, and the incumbent this time proudly and extensively used the state oversight board's "lauding approval" of his budgets as cover. This time Dowd finally attempted to interject, "and that's something we're going talk about, that's..." But he was cut off for time.

Will we in fact hear it? I'm interested to find out. There are rumors that State Sen. Jim Ferlo may be retiring after this present term, and I'm interested in whether Dowd is playing things safely in anticipation of that opening.

TANGENT: You want negative? This is some pretty awesome negative.


  1. I do not have a blog but I want to post this everywhere I have the chance. Theresa Kail-Smith personally made a visit to my house yesterday to talk to me about the race, I'm guessing she saw the Georgia for Council sign in my front yard. I had a conversation with her and listened to everything she had to say...once it was apparent to her that I wasn't switching allegiance she proceeded to tell me that Georgia Blotzer is a racist. Point blank, no sugar coat, nothing. Now I find this laughable. Georgia worked hard for President Obama's language, has an African American on her campaign staff who knocked my door HIMSELF, and is a very nice individual. I am sure I am not the only one she has spread this rumor to. It concerns me that our politics has fallen so much. Georgia was working for President Obama when Theresa was baking pies for committee men and women...what a scam. We have to stop this lady, please help stop her. VOTE FOR GEORGIA!

  2. Anonymous - I'm seeking comment from Councilwoman Smith about your allegation. I can understand your being hesitant to publish your identity to the web, but if you e-mail me at I can forward more specific info along to Georgia's campaign so that it might investigate and counteract the alleged damage.

    One of the very first things Georgia told me about herself is that she supports civil rights and she "doesn't believe in discrimination of any kind!!". She also supports pursuing CBA's in troubled communities where appropriate.

  3. RepresentedByLiarsMay 6, 2009 at 5:35 PM

    This type of behavior is what you should expect from a machine candidate who has Matt H in their corner. These people will do anything to win. Even if they have to spead lies about others to do it.

    Hell, their leader lies all the time - Why shouldn't they?

  4. You all act like Matt's stamp of approval is needed or something. He's a 23 year old punk with a blog. He's had a job at an authority for 2 years and now he's the the campaign manager for an unendorsed roofer. That's it. No more and no less. Who really gives a crap about the little turd?

    The will use him up and let him go. Just like they did at the HACP.

  5. RepresentedByLiarsMay 6, 2009 at 9:17 PM

    The only reason I mention Matt is because he is a known supporter of Theresa Smith. In fact, during a West End council candidate forum he verbally attacked Georgia Blotzer as if he was the one running against her, not Theresa Smith (Bram was there.)

    Ms. Smith was perfectly capable of arguing her own points, but Matt chose to act as an attack dog for the machine candidate. The same candidate who apparently feels it is necessary to spread lies about Georgia Blotzer in order to win a seat on council.

    Additionally, Matt has used his blog as a conduit for the Ravenstahl campaign - spreading lies about Doc Harris and making immature videos about Patrick Dowd.

    Bamboccioni Matt and his girlfriend Theresa Smith have proven themselves to be lying supporters of our lying mayor.

    Lying is unacceptable. It is as simple as that.

  6. I love how Matt H comes up once again in the comments section.

    Why is this? Why does his name always seem to creep up in discussions around these places?

    Is there some serious jealousy going on here? I think so. Some of you are showing the same obsession of Matt H as you have shown towards Zober, Luke and whoever else supports the Mayor.

  7. I contacted the Councilwoman by e-mail and by voicemail today and invited her simply to deny the ugly allegation. I have yet to receive a response from the Councilwoman but will inform you if and when I do. Maybe some of you will have better luck; no one wants to talk to me during campaign season. :(

    The Blotzer campaign has already heard a couple stories and seen a little evidence that would seem to corroborate the rumor. But it is what it is, and even if it's true, it's only evidence that the contest in D-2 is tightening.

    I agree that dragging Mr. Hogue into everything is counterproductive. Let's worry over the bigger fish.

  8. "I love how Matt H comes up once again"

    Why not just log in Matt? We all know it's you.

    "whoever else supports the Mayor."

    What blogger supports the mayor? Perhaps you should stop hanging around the bingo halls.

  9. On topic with the post, there really seems to be an echo of what Bill Peduto was saying two years ago that going negative against Ravenstahl somehow plays bad with the little old ladies in the retirement towers. Peduto dropped out rather than risk offending Democratic voters in this town. Now, some of the shine has rubber off of the boy Mayor, but not that much. He still believes he can smirk when he accuses Dowd (nonsensically) of being on three sides of an issue. Guess what, that sort of behavior worked for George W Bush, at least in sense of serving two terms.

    Let’s be realistic here. Only a truly exceptional Mayor could change our situation right now. Pittsburgh could cut its discretionary expenses to the bone and it would likely not help in any significant way. The state would likely not allow us to renege on our pension obligations (and if the State didn’t act, the retirees would likely bring major lawsuits). We would have to go into bankruptcy to do anything more about our debt obligations, and again the State might have something to say about that. We could raise taxes, property or income, but I think that would be like trying to get more blood from a turnip. In short, although the Mayor could do more, maybe a lot more, there is a practical limit to what (s)he can do. And while being more transparent would be nice, it doesn’t really help the City out with its major problems.

    I don’t understand why the challengers have not gone “all in”. Maybe being an effective Mayor of Pittsburgh is a political death wish, at least the way I am characterizing the scenario. But I think the voters sense that this Mayor has been criticized by the media, and yet is not really coming in for serious criticism from his challengers. Peduto-esque hints of problems with this Mayor didn’t cut it two years ago, and aren’t going to cut it now. If you can’t tell the public why they should vote for you over Ravestahl, they aren’t going to. Actually, you need to scare them into voting for you, but that’s another discussion.

  10. What a crock! Anyone who knows Theresa Kail-Smith knows there is not one ounce of truth to this post. She works endlessly in the communities for all the people and is running on her abilities, not on Georgia's shortcomings. Mrs. Blotzer is so busy campaigning she doesn't seem to have the time to consider the needs and wishes of her voters. She has campaigned at events that were definitely not political and yet even though she was asked not to, she continued to pass out her literature with total disregard to the request to cease. How is Ms. Blotzer going to address the needs of the communities if she won't consider the wishes of the people and works only to further her personal agenda? How can she address the issues in the diverse communities of the West End and parts of Mt. Washington? Theresa not only works in these neighborhoods, she lives in one of them. She is not in an ivory tower in a gated community,like her opponent. Take a look at these 2 ladies, see what they stand for. Theresa doesn't need to play the race card, she can win on her own merit. She has done a tremendous job in a short time and deserves 4 more years to continue to bring about positive change in District 2. Theresa is uniter not a divider. She will unify District 2 and work for the betterment of all the communities. She has worked to gain the respect and support of many community leaders. Her leadership is moving District 2 in the right direction. She is the force we need.

  11. Ok, if you have say she has done a tremendous job in a short time, what the hell has she done?

    Let her be judged on her record.

    I say this beacuse all I have seen her do is eat cake and be a bitch. If she thinks she is better then the rest of the residents of Elliot and the west end then why did she even run?

  12. Anon 11:16 - I still haven't heard back. A denial for the record would be nice. The silence makes it seem she's afraid of something.

    On the issue of your complaint about Georgia's "gated community" (Chatham Village is not gated, it has speedbumps, let's all burn her at the stake) and how Smith on the other hand lives in one of the "real neighborhoods" of the real District 2 -- since it repeatedly and obnoxiously came up in the Special Election, we actually did a little research on which neighborhood is really the most wealthy neighborhood in District 2.

    Turns out it's not Chatham Village after all -- not by a long shot. All the most expensive homes and the highest incomes in District 2 are in Westwood. Remind me, which candidate lives in Westwood again?

    I could go on about your comment, but I trust readers are taking it with as much salt as the ocean.

  13. Ok, if you have say she has done a tremendous job in a short time, what the hell has she done?Well, She has voted the way the mayor has instructed her to on every single issue. That is someting. Isn't it?

    Speaking of rubber stamps, apparently Mr. Steelerstahl feels that a roofer is the most qualified candidate to represent the residents of District 4.

  14. It seems to me a denial would lend credibility to the allegation, why deny what is obviously fiction? The best response is no response. One doesn't need to deny an untruth.

  15. A roofer? Does the committee give this any thought?

    Oh wait. they do.

    That's why he's not endorsed.

  16. Anon 1:32 said, "One doesn't need to deny an untruth."

    Ah, yes. Only deny truths. How silly of me.

    It's not like we don't have a friendly relationship. She's done interviews not just on my blog but with several others, so it can't be an anti-blog thing. Since becoming the Councilwoman, we've chatted about thus and such in the hallway on several occasions. She even honks and waves cheerily when she drives by in her car. I made clear in my reaction to the orginal comment and in my querries that these are only "allegations" and "alleged incidents" et cetera. So I'm confounded by this.

    I guess it's election season and maybe I'm supposed to know that stuff happens.

  17. Bram, people have been alleged to have put bricks through their own window(s) just to claim dirty tricks by the opposition. Weirdness happens.

    The front window at our home/office is still broken, BTW. Hope to get it fixed shortly, perhaps after the primary. (Not so funny but true.)

    I'd like to think a drunk put his head into the glass.

  18. love how coghill & matt h come up in this when it had nothing to do about or what?

  19. I just think that to justify a comment so blatently ridiculous is unnecessary. Anyone who knows Theresa knows that race has never been an issue. She works for all of her communities and race has never been a motivating factor nor a deterrent to doing what needs to be done. How can she be perceived as a racist. As far as that alleged comment, anyone who knows her knows that it couldn't possibly be true. Theresa just is not that way. She considers community needs and supports programs that work for the community. By moving neighborhoods in a positive direction, the city moves in a positive direction. It is "community first" with her. As far as what has she done, I am seeing roads repaired, working relationships with community groups and active participation and support for community efforts. She is working with the schools to bring much needed youth programs. Theresa was an active member of all communities in District 2 prior to her campaign and election. She didn't just start showing up when she decided to throw her hat in the ring. Mt. Washington knew Theresa before she ever ran for public office. The West End communities did not know Ms. Blotzer prior to her campaign. Theresa has been very proactive in her short term and I, for one, see District 2 moving ahead with Ms. Kail-Smith. To allege she is a racist seems to be a cheap campaign ploy to me.

  20. To allege she is a racist seems to be a cheap campaign ploy to me.Nobody said she was racist. They said she was telling the citizens of district 2 that Georgia B was racist in order to gain their support. Go back and read the comments again.

  21. Yes, 9:08, read the first comment above again and proceed from there. You misunderstand or you intentionally misinterpret to try to confuse people about what's happening.

    I'm also done buying this "everyone who knows Theresa knows that..." line. Ever since December it keeps appearing exactly like that: twice in the same blog comment, five times in the same conversation, and again identically in a letter to the editor: "Everyone who knows Theresa know that..." Guess what, just because her paid campaign staff or her paid office staff (assuming there is a distinction!) repeats it often enough doesn't make it so.

    Hopefully, enough people in District 2 have *in fact* gotten to know Theresa well enough during the course of the campaign that they can form their own opinions. Meanwhile, stop trashing the other candidates at every opportunity, stop trashing their neighborhoods (I thought you were about "the whole District"), stop trashing things in general, and stop condescendingly insisting that "everybody who knows that Theresa knows that..." TELL US WHAT SHE'S DONE.

    By the way ... what's Smith's official, final position on pro-life vs. pro-choice? Because it seems like different audiences keep coming away with different impressions of her position.

  22. I have no idea what Theresa stance on abortion is, but I really don't see it as pertinent to a local election. That is such a personal issue and not one that I feel would in any way impact ones ability to function on city council. She will not be voting on Roe v. Wade. I have never heard her say a single word about Ms. Blotzer being a racist. I think if she were truly saying those things I would have, at some point, heard about it from someone other than the poster. I do know that in elections, lots of rumors are spread. I would much rather see debates and ads about what a candidate CAN do rather than what the opponent CANNOT do. That is what I hear from Theresa, her ability to bring about positive change to the neighborhoods. As far as what she has done let me repeat myself, "I am seeing roads repaired, working relationships with community groups and active participation and support for community efforts. She is working with the schools to bring much needed youth programs." She has also been working to develop a walking trail and has been working with community leaders to address community revitalization programs. I live in the community and I see her out in the meighborhood working, meeting and addressing issues. I know we all want to see an instant fix to the issues in our neighborhoods but, just like the decay took time to develop, the solutions will be a process, not a quick fix. We want sustainable development and unfortunately, the wheels of progress move slowly. I guess you have to live in the district to see what she has accomplished in a very short time. Some of these things might sound minor but to our communities they are great.

  23. "I have no idea what Theresa stance on abortion is, but I really don't see it as pertinent to a local election."

    Neither do I, but at a candidate forum at a church in the District she maintained that it was a VERY pertinent issue. In fact, it was her chief of staff who asked the question from the audience, so that should give an indication of how pertinent it is to her.

  24. Everyone who knows Theresa knows that she will step on on and over you if you get in her way. And everyone also knows that she is just a talking head from the mayor's office and will not represent the district.

    I ask again.

    What has she done? Just point to one thing. Just one.

  25. what has the racist blotzer done?

  26. But I see your true colors
    Shining through
    I see your true colors
    And that's why I love you
    So don't be afraid to let them show
    Your true colors
    True colors are beautiful,
    Like a rainbow
    Can't seem to come up with anything can you Anonymous 11:00am?

  27. For the record, the person who called Ms. Blotzer a racist is not the 9:17 or 10:32 am poster. I do not believe that either candidate is racist, nor would I resort to childish name calling. I support Theresa without reservation and, again, to see what she has done, I guess you have to live in the communities.

  28. "I support Theresa without reservation and, again, to see what she has done, I guess you have to live in the communities."

    It's so wonderful you can't even put words to it?

    I still just want to know, Theresa Smith, the messiah, wonderwoman.... What has she done besides eat cake?

  29. I don't have a particular position on Theresa Smith, but what is the obsession with her eating cake? She eats cake to celebrate her first day on council and she is the cake-eater for the rest of her life? Please, let her eat cake.

  30. Search me, Anonymous. I've got no problem with cake or with roofing for that matter. I think that's just one random random out there.

    I've got problems with liars and with politicians that look out for the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of weak and the meek, that's about it.

  31. what is wrong with being a roofer?

  32. Are we really sure that guy Coghill is a roofer? To me, he seems to dress too well to be a roofer.

    I am sorry, it is all the talk of cake that has gotten to me.