Friday, May 13, 2005

Final Thoughts on Pittsburgh's Mayoral Race (Pt. II)

So, given the previous discussion weighing the merits of the various candidates, all three of you that read this blog regularly are probably wondering who I'm throwing my weight towards. It is not an easy decision, but not one that I feel means a whole hell of a lot. Grab a drink and let me explain:

The City of Pittsburgh is suffering from a systemic crisis, namely a long term operating deficit of a city built to hold 600K+ people. That structure is no longer viable, but the governmental, social, and physical infrastructure that exist perpetuate it. In the long run, unless changes are made to these infrastructures or the existing model is changed, the City of Pittsburgh is doomed. The mayor can try all he wants to patch the City, but, in the end it is a lost cause.

Is there hope for the City? Yes, but it cannot be accomplished in the Mayor's Office or in Council Chambers. It needs to happen in Blawnox, in McKees Rocks, in Wall, and in all the 130+ municipalities... as well as in Harrisburg. The best that the Mayor can do is to make small incremental changes to the City structure, give us time to lick our wounds, and push for some sort of assistance from outside.

Which is part of the reason that the Post-Gazette endorsed Bob O'Connor, whom, I believe, will be the next mayor of the City of Pittsburgh. Bob willingly admits his biggest asset is that he is great with people; if these people include the State Legislature, he will be very successful.

But I'm not going to vote for him as I do not believe that he's seeing the larger picture nor is he equipped with the correct tools. I wish him the best of luck in the next four years, but I'm voting for someone else.

First, let's forget about Ludwig, Repovz, Kendrick, and Henderson. They are too marginal to be elected and are too close to the "bat shit insane" disqualifier. Sorry guys.

Second, the "Young Thinking Person" in me, one would assume, would vote for someone like Peduto. His campaign has worked hard to tap into the "progressive new yinzers" out there by focusing on arts, culture, and generally bringing down the existing political establishment. It's hard to find anyone outside this young, idealist urban set that is even considering voting for Peduto.

But that young idealist in me was crushed a long time ago through a combination of hard living, classical philosophy, operations research, and reality. As I've said repeatedly, I don't buy Peduto's general platform or holistic approach, nor do I think that he is equipped with the experience necessary to move from 8th District Councilman to Mayor of Pittsburgh. I'm not impressed by his pied-piper-like hold on my friends and colleagues, and instead believe his policies to be extremely divisive against the lower economic classes. Peduto may be good in theory, but as I like to say: "In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice there is."

Which brings me to Mike Lamb. Mike is being coached, it seems, by the same people that I talk to on a regular basis. As such, I can hear echoes of my own thoughts wafting over the airwaves. I like to think that someone out there is listening too me.

But more than the ego-stroking, I think that Mike has actually thought about some of these pressing technical issues, if he hasn't hired someone to do his thinking for him. I am continually impressed by his grasp of minutiae as well has his working knowledge of the mechanics of government. I feel that the policiesthat he is espousing are a good balance between the traditionalist approach of Bob O'Connor and the radicalist approach of Bill Peduto.

That, and he seems to be an Angry, Drunk Bureaucrat.

I heard an apocryphal story that Casper Weinberger or Al Haig or some Reagan era functionary used to take a couple shots of scotch before signing off on the massive amounts of paperwork he had to complete every day. It was the only way that he could get through the depressing chore of signing his name 1000 times.

In a similar way, I'm going to the polls drunk.

God help us all.


Ol' Froth said...

And of course, Lamb is the "professional bureaucrat" candidate!

That said, I think Lamb or Peduto would be fine mayors. My money is on Peduto. Unfortunatly, I think its going to be Bob "the Anointed"

O said...

I agree: It's definitely going to be Bob. I'm willing to make some sort of outrageous bet on it.

I'm hoping that no one takes me up on that offer.