Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Mayor Issue

All 45 minutes of an Acklin/Reichbaum interview filmed on Sept. 10th are now on YouTube in five parts:

PART I: The legal challenge of the Dok Harris petition signatures. Later, growing up in a "machine Democratic" family and seeing "the bad part". A bit about having been a Republican in favor of civil rights.

PART II: Raised by "a single mother, on welfare for a number of years." The present mayor is "playing falsely with the hopes and dreams" of neighborhoods. Then his own pension plan, which involves reorienting the URA. Mayor "used the Act 47 process" to "take things off the table" with unions.

PART III: Answers criticism from Rob STEPHany (not Rob StePHANy, sorry) of the URA; remarks of its associated benefits to neighborhoods, "It's not happening". Criticizes a lack of sunshine and how decisions get made. Will restore "basic democratic values".

PART IV: Would grant the Council more formal say in appointing and in removing board members, department heads; would not commit to amending the Charter. Believes "we're in a bad place" if we're discussing ethics issues frequently. Also: public safety and the PIRC.

PART V: More on the PIRC. Forgotten areas like the West End. "I don't know why you'd want to be Mayor, if you're not going to be out there in the neighborhoods." Some campaign strategy. He's lost 25 pounds. Feels he "brings a lot of authenticity".

For the latest on the mayor's race, see the Slag Heap's Chris Potter. See also our two-part narrative about the Dok Harris interview of two months ago: Link and Link.


  1. What a race for Mayor. In lane one, we have the incumbent “Boy Blunder” and his mentor “Fat Man” (that’s verbanic for those scoring at home). In lane two, there’s the favorite of the EESB (that’s the East End Spoiled Brats) “Inaccurate Deception”. And rounding out the field in the far right lane is “Pick of Slick Rick”

    Any chance the starter could shoot all three???

  2. If the starter shoots all three, we get Doug Shields.

  3. Anon 9:24:

    Watch all 45 minutes of Bram's interview, and then try to argue that Acklin is "Slick Rick's Pick." Watch all 45 minutes, and then try to argue that Acklin is not the best of the three. By far.

  4. What's wrong with Doug Shields?
    He would make an outstanding Mayor.

  5. Acklin says he was on welfare as a kid, but what's the first thing he does when he turns 18 (in 1994, kind of a significant political year)?? He registers as a Republican. In 1994, the year of the Gingrich.

    He goes to Harvard, supposedly a center of liberal brainwashing, then on to a Jesuit law school, but he comes through unscathed and is STILL a Republican?? Sounds like a true believer who suddenly realized he can't win as a Republican in Pittsburgh.

    No, I think I'll pass.

  6. Dude? must be a Ravenstahl voter. (Which is ironic because Luke is literally the R candidate and arguably fits the R profile better in terms of ideology.)

    But for informational purposes I really must point out that Dok Harris ALSO WAS A REPUBLICAN from I believe before 2000 (kind of a significant political year) through forward from 2004. So he was part of it for all the high-octane culture war stuff, the tax cuts, just like Acklin. He just wasn't starting a political career then so he wasn't out making donations.

    Now, I don't buy into that whole line of criticism. I voted for DeSantis and am happy to vote for R's or former R's at the municipal level, where everybody's just people and we have apolitical challenges. But I am honestly getting a little tired of watching one individual get tarred and feathered for stuff the other individual slides on. There are legitimate reasons out there to prefer Harris to Acklin, but if your reason is "he's a wolf in sheep's clothing!", then you need to find a better reason because yours is illogical.

    Acklin talks about his reasons for leaving the R party when he did toward the end of Video 1. They sound sensible to me, although obviously I can't look into his eyes and see his soul. And Harris talks about his transition in the interview. Can we talk about what Luke did last night on stage please, or was that "off the record" and seriously forbidden among grown-ups to mention.

  7. Bram, this thread is about Acklin.
    But if you require it...Harris is equally suspect in his Democratic bona fides, true. Basically a typical rich kid/libertarian that likes to party, i.e. he doesn't want to pay taxes or have the gov't tell him he can't party, nor does he want to deal with the unfortunate after effects of partying.

    Harris is also, in my view, not a serious individual or candidate, and is certainly less accomplished than Acklin.

    Guys like you voted for DeSantis. Bully for you. Would you have voted for him (or consider voting for Harris or Acklin) if he was pro-life and against gay marriage? Your "Democratic" litmus tests may be different from mine, but you still have them.

  8. This thread is about the mayor's race. I should know. I wrote the post.

    Nothing else to comment at this time.

  9. Harris registered as a Republican on September 1, 2000. Also a significant political year. He says in the first part of his interview with Bram that he did not like Al Gore or the Clinton Era. That must mean he registered to vote for George W. Bush. He was still a Republican in 2004 so he probably voted for Bush that year too.

    That doesn't make him bad or evil or not worth voting for. But Bram is right. It is illogical for people to say they will not support Acklin because he was a Republican and then support Harris, who was also a Republican and became one so he could vote for the Worst President Ever.

    It is also illogical for people to say they will not vote for either Acklin or Harris and then vote for Ravenstahl, who is the R on the ballot and may as well be one anyway.

  10. What did Luke do on stage?

  11. A couple things: I was vehemently opposed to Acklin's candidacy when he first announced, based solely on his Republican credentials. In recent weeks however I've met him in person numerous times and had a long, very engaging conversation with him. He is everywhere these days--door knocking (which he never fails to mention), meetings, picnics, Peduto's G-20 bingo at Cappy's, whatever.

    I was initially keen on Harris because I felt he was the liberal alternative in the race. But then I went to his kick off in East Liberty and was underwhelmed. I also talked with him in person at other events. Although he is a "close talker", he seemed to be not all there when I talked with him.

    After the G-20 police events, I am more determined than ever to get rid of Luke. After interacting with his opponents, I have a strong gut feeling, for whatever it's worth, that Harris is a dilettante and that Acklin is a very serious, sincere candidate. I'm still bothered by his Republicanism, but why throw the baby out with the bath water? As in most elections, we have to chose the lesser of 2, or in this case, 3 evils.

    Why can't Dok go anywhere without his parents? Big events I can sort of understand, but small community meetings? It's getting a little weird.

    And regarding who was where during the G-20, Dowd, Krauss and especially Peduto were out and about in their districts, getting a first-hand experience of the event and problems. It's inexplicable why the mayor and his two rivals didn't show equal concern and involvement, especially Harris with his pre-meditated get-out-of-town strategy.

    Finally, Krause and Peduto have told me that they are supporting Acklin, and a very close associate of Shields' has told me that Shields is in his corner. So much for Harris being the "East Enders'" candidate.

  12. I just finshed looking at the five interviews. What caught my attention was that the first one had 38 viewers. The second one had 27 iewers. The third one had 11 viewers. The fourth and fifth had just 2 viewers. Only 2 of the first 38 took the time to listen to all the interview. This is not saying much for the other 36 who didn't take the time to view the whole thing. Good job Bram.

  13. Anon 2:43 - Twitter has it, at the annual "Off The Record" charity shindig he donned a riot suit and sort of had his way with the ACLU.

    If that really happened it better have been damn funny, because nerves are still kind of raw. Too soon. Should've done a garbage can sketch.

  14. What a waste of time.

    The Mayors Race is over.

    Who is next Gov. of PA is race to follow...

  15. Why not ask Mayoral Candidates who they are supporting for Gov's spot? And why?

    Com'on Bram shake some trees...

  16. Answer to Gov. selection question…causes problems for all.

    Next Gov. is Corbett.

    Mostly because of Budget Impasse and Rendell’s arrogance concerning...

    ... 2nd Class Status of Pittsburgh.

    Rendell’s indifference to pension problem...ask yourself "what would Onarato do"? "What would Wagner Do"?

    What did they do as City Councilman?

    Know what Jack Wagner did as President of City Council and Pension Board Member...participated in firing of Employee Representative, Ray Wolfgang to procure job for brother Pete (19th Ward Chair) in Sophie's administration.

    Sold City Workers out...

    Next Mayor will have to deal with him. (Corbett)

    In that context, maybe it is desirable to have Acklin or Harris sitting on Grant Street Throne...

    Pesky Democrats looking out for our interests….?

    With friends like that who needs enemies?

  17. I looked for a review of the theatrics. Nothing doing. I guess we don't wanna waste that footage on the Friday the Pens open.

    Haven't plunged into the interviews, but did have an initial negative reaction to Dok's entrance into the race. Something about being taken in by all the great development in Lawrenceville. Kind of naive, I thought, buying into the surface over the substance. Then his campaign stuffed an AM 1410 un-scientific call-in poll.

    I like Monk's idea of asking them about the gubenatorial, and perhaps the senate race, too?

  18. ...I would be remiss if I did not draw attention to The International Union of Boilermakers Local 154 PAC and contributions to Auditor General Jack Wagner’s Campaign fund.

    Thinking Chelsa Wagner also received Union Funding as did Uncle Jack...

    No wonder Local 154 is ‘soooo’ comfortable in taking Alpark Homes from residents...

    Where is representation? Corbett has already ruled on ‘water rights’ dispute between Alpark Residents and previous owners…will he back up decision now that Union owns property?

    Tough question for Corbett.

    One that I raised with Local 154 in writing...a questioned ignored.

    Residents were gouged by Union despite Corbett ruling…


  19. No use at all asking mayoral contenders who they support for Governor or Senate. Why would they alienate anyone? They have to stay neutral and answer, "I look forward to working with anybody!" Of course the Dems can always say they'll endorse the eventual Dem nominee, and vice versa. Besides its a terribly inside-baseball question.

    This week's City Paper also has a good status report on the Community Benefits movement; it had been lying dormant but seems to be gearing up again.

  20. For yunz that don't know me...

    Spent life in foxholes, with folks like Sen. Ferlo...Mike Healey (Lawyer currently representing protestors) and a host of some very good company...

    Eyebrows are singed and eardrums no longer vibrate...

    Voice once robust on pension issues is merely whisper...

    The calendar is my enemy...

    Will fight until knuckles bleed.


  21. Does anyone here agree with me that Dok Harris and Luke are working together on this race? Not to start rumors, but I have heard from a committee person who hates Luke that their campaign managers have been seen together on several occasions, which is weird if true. I watched these videos and see a passionate and populist candidate in Acklin. I get the whole thing about Dok being smart and rich and going to an Ivy League school, but there just doesn't seem to be any real reason why he is running or any experience or passion for the job. Are there any insiders who can shed some light?

  22. There is no race. Luke will win with 70% of the vote. The main reason is that Pittsburgh is on the right track and most people know it. Go around and ask people. Don't ask them about Luke or Kevin or Doky, just ask them if they like living in Pittsburgh, if they think it is doing well, etc. The answer will be a resounding "yes." The only people that are complaining are bloggers that all read each others blogs and the East End liberals that want everyone else to live by standard they themselves do not. Luke has broken up that power structure and the spoiled brats can't stand it. Just watch Shields lose it pretty much every council meeting. It drives them nuts that they can't put together a winning team in any ward except the 7th and 14th. The cycle continues when candidates like Acklin jump on their playbook and sign up with the wrong team in pretty much every other neighborhood because Shields tells him who to go see. It was over before it started.

  23. Anon 11:48am (Yarone?) -

    You must not spend a lot of time South of the rivers.

    Go talk to people in Carrick or Overbrook or Beechview or Sheraden if they think the city is doing well. When you're done, go back to the North Side and Homewood, and see what they think.

  24. Anon 11:48 wrote:

    "The only people that are complaining are [people on my Enemies list] that want everyone else to live by standard they themselves do not."

    To what standard/standards are you referring? Serious question.

    I never bought into the idea that voters can only vote against incumbents if they don't like their city/state or whatever. Perhaps they'll like it so much, and will recognize it's on such a terrific upswing, they'll decide it's time to trade up? You know, like when you get a new job and are like, "Ugh, I'm still driving around in this juice box?"

    And didn't Luke only notch 59% percent of the vote in the Dem primary? Where was the love then? Or are you anticipating that most of the support propelling him to 70% will come from his Repub face?

  25. The Comet Blog died with your last entry on October 3, 2009 4:20 pm.



  26. The real thread behind the thread is what I call our "done deal mentality."

    Look to 2010 because 2009 November is already here and gone.

    Say what?

    Screw you, done deal slime balls. And, the horse you rode in on too.

    Are we free or not? I say, 'be free.'

  27. "What's wrong with Doug Shields?
    He would make an outstanding Mayor."

    That's funny.

  28. Anyone but Jack/Pete Wagner for Governor.

  29. Bram, go South or North and you will find that Luke is wildly popular. It is you that has no clue. Again, this is my point. When you go to the North or the South you are directed to a few complainers that have been cultivated by Shields and company. You are set up to talk to a very small minority. The vast majority of the other regular people out there support Luke - plain and simple. To answer one of your other questions - yes - Luke did get 60% of the vote, a wide margin in almost any election. He will get 70% of the vote this election because Democrats will support and yes some Republicans. I suppose you think Republican voices don't count. That is what I mean be asking others to live by a standard which you yourself on not willing to live by.
    Let me throw the question back to you, what percentage of the vote did Rudiak get? Had either Coghill or Reilly not been in the race, Rudiak would not be a member of council next year.
    Luke will win because he is doing a good job and most people know it. Like I said, even the people that don't like him, know that the City is doing well and on the right track. They just result to petty insults and crying games because they don't like Luke or Yarone (and no, this ain't Yarone). Keep talking to the same 20 people in each neighborhood because they are miserable and take it out on the Mayor (and will take it out on whoever the next Mayor is). Get real, you ain't changing anything.

  30. Tom Murphy was wildly popular in suburban Pittsburgh too.

  31. anon 1:27, there may be no change in the Mayor, however you are wrong about the South of Pittsburgh.

    It is and has been neglected. It has received via URA and Housing Authority many of the people who were removed from the High Rise Low income housing that once was located in the East End. It has not received any of the Urban Redevelopment money to handle that influx. If you live in the South Hills, and you ask the Housing Authority or the URA where all of those people went, you get the pucker factor, and no answers.
    Please don't discuss how pleased people are in the South Hills with the state of the city.

  32. anon 1:27,

    Rudiak put together the best campaign in recent memory that took advantage of the race as it unfolded. You haters might try to continue to marginalize her by trivializing her victory, but it's not going to change the results of that race.

    What was most surprising was not that she won, but that the mayor's candidate did so amazingly awful, IN SPITE of the tremendous amount of resources that the mayor's campaign pumped into the area. When Ravenstahl's canvassers told voters that the mayor NEEDED them to vote for Coghill, they told him where he could stick it.

    It's a really tough road for any challengers, and Luke very well may take South Pittsburgh in this race, but if that happens, it would NOT because of any great amount of affection for him; it would have much more to do with the institutional challenges that face anyone trying to take on an incumbent.

  33. Anon 1:27 - I am North, and I go South. No one ever 'sets me up' to talk to anybody.

    I think anyone with sensory organs can tell there is hardly any particular Ravenstahl enthusiasm, only a lack of interest in and information about municipal elections and about other candidates -- which is attributable to several things (not the least of which is institutionalized blackmail). Remember that Pittsburgh hasn't ousted an incumbent mayor in literally over 100 years. I don't think that's because we've enjoyed a century of extremely popular mayors.

    And why are you caterwauling about Natalia Rudiak? I thought Ravenstahl and his whole team now supports her, didn't they all just co-chair her fundraiser? Or was that only 'cause they're terrified?

  34. What even funnier then this was Coghill's campaign this spring. What a has been. I would hate to be associated with that joker.

  35. Pittsburgh hasn't ousted an incumbent mayor in literally over 100 years -- IF YOU IGORNE that TOM MURPHY was ousted, in large measure, by citizens.

    Sure, he didn't re-up -- but he couldn't. Murphy won the 2nd and 3rd time because he only had to beat a guy who assisted his agenda in recent years as an opponent in the D primary.

    Tom Murphy was spent on the campaign trails and in the neighborhoods as mayor and was ousted to a large measure.

    This is where DeSantis blew it fully. He didn't build a team. The team is NOT for himself, but for the greater good.

  36. Vote for the person not the party. Just because someone is a registered Democrat doesn't mean they walk on water.

  37. clearly if Reilly or Coghill wasn't in the race Rudiak would have lost.

  38. Did anyone else notice that Dok Harris was pissing on Bob O'Connor's grave this morning?

    "His homage to Bobbo?!"

    First he tried to gain from the death of the five year old boy on the North Side. Now he's trying to profit from the memory of a dead Mayor.

    He should be ashamed.

  39. where can one find the acklin budget literature?

    I would love to know how Acklin plans on delivering on these promises?

    200 extra cops?
    no layoffs of any union workers?
    millions for this and millions for that?
    saving the pension system without the sale of assets?


  40. Anon 2:22 PM: What is the difference between this and what boy wonder Luke has done? Is it because he has "no right" to imitate Bob? About the only person I know that actually "pissed on" Bob's grave was Matt H because he used the man for personal gain.

    That being said - What the hell did Bob O ever do for Pittsburgh anyways? I for one don't give a crap.

  41. Anon 5:48, ask and you shall receive.

    You can look on the front page of his website and see the budget plan. Press release, remarks, and plan linked right there.

    The budget plan links to this:

  42. I don't think it is so far off the mark to think that Dok Harris is the spoiler in the race. All disgruntled voters turn to the "other" candidate and there are alot of disgruntled voters in some areas of the city. So who do you vote for? The qualified candidate? or the Steeler hero's son? Unfortunately in Pittsburgh some people will choose football over knowledge. If Dok is not a spoiler he should withdraw and give Kevin a chance to really win this thing. The city would benefit.

  43. how in the hell did Matt H piss on Bob O'Connors grave? are you out of your mind?

  44. I think what Matt did was disrespectful as well. It's obvious he used his death for his own gain. Read the article.