Saturday, December 15, 2001
Advent is a time of anticipation and as long as we expect, as long as we hope, someone will light a candle against the revailing darkness -- and neigh the winds of hate nor the gales of evil will extinguish it (John A. Taylor)
In the midst of world crisis, there has been joy in the Palmer/Rauterkus household and we thought we would share a little of it with you. We hope you are finding joy in this season and hope to see all of you in the coming year.
Mark provided lots of new and interesting activities and friendships as he ran in the primary as a Republican candidate for the mayor of Pittsburgh. Although he didn't make it beyond the primary as a candidate, he transitioned this energy into being an advocate for many city related issues. Mark continues his involvement with the Unitarian Universalist church of the South Hills and currently is creating the web presence for the congregation. Mark made a new foray into being a swim parent (instead of head coach) this summer as Erik joined his first swim team -- Mark did a great job of cheering everyone on (with secret coaching of Erik during free swim).
Catherine received tenure at the University of Pittsburgh this year which was a great milestone for the whole family. Her work teaching, doing research, and directing the Audiology clinic in the medical school continues to keep her challenged and rewarded. Meetings this year included visist to Denver, San Francisco, Philadeplhia, St. Louis, and Chicago. The whole family made it out to San Diego and we combined Catherine's meeting with lots of fun visiting our friends (erik's godparents) the Bratts (from San Francisco).
Erik is a first grader at Phillips Elementary School where he seems to have a talent for math and is quickly learning to read. He continues his violin music and has performed in several concerts this past year. He also is now part of the children's choir at church and will be a singing manger animal in the upcoming pageant. Erik proved to be a terrific athlete this summer as he brought home ribbons from all of his swim meets (a ver fast six year old frestyler). He is missing both hit top front teeth this Christmas!
Grant just turned four and is enjoying a few days per week at the University Child Development Center (pre-schoo). Otherwise, he and Dad hang out during the week. Grant is well known in the political scene since he did much of Mark's campaigning with mim. Grant started violin this fall and also had a summer of terrific swimming. With a new pair of hockey skates for his birthday, Grant no is joining Mom and brother at the local ice rink (Schenley). Grant's curent passion is reading the bible; a few of his more interesting intrepretations include,
"I think Eve was just bored and wanted more ups and downs in life."
"I don't think anyone would name their son Cain."
"If Noah took tow of every animal on the ark and the first thing he did on dry land was sacrifice a lamb, hos is that we have sheep today?"
We'll cover the New Testament (or as Erik says, "the sequel") next Holiday letter.
Trips for 2002 include a visit to Maine in the spring to see Grandpa, a visit to New England in the summer to see much of the Palmer family and college friends, another great trip to Virginia to enjoy SUUSI, and a visit to California in the fall to see lots of friends. Hope to see you in our travels or here in Pittsburgh.
The flip side of the one page letter had a page from the past on my web site. It showed the results of the WTAE TV poll hosted at PittsburghChannel.com -- and gave my "winner's inishgts."
Friday, November 16, 2001
Thursday, November 15, 2001
Thanks for contacting the League of Women Voters with your concerns regarding the "political landscape for candidates". Since our Board of Directors does not meet again for two months, may I suggest that you put into writing your thoughts and experiences as a candidate in local elections. I'm thinking of a short position or white paper kind of document. I will be pleased to review it along with our Voter Service committee which I chair, and we can go from there with the whole Board.
I'll look forward to receiving something in writing from you. It's good to hear from you again.
V-P, Voter Service
Thursday, October 04, 2001
CONTACT: Jeff Cronin or Susan Quatrone, 202/736-5770.
CLEAN ELECTIONS COALITION TO SUE MASSACHUSETTS OVER LACK OF FUNDING FOR NEW REFORM LAW
LAWSUIT WILL SEEK IMMEDIATE REVIEW
BY THE MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT
PLAINTIFFS ALLEGE VIOLATION OF THE STATE CONSTITUTION
BOSTON, MA - A broad coalition of voters, candidates,
and organizations will file a lawsuit on Thursday
before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court over
the lack of funding for the Massachusetts Clean
The coalition will name, as defendants, the
director of the Massachusetts Office of Campaign
and Political Finance (OCPF) and the Secretary of
the Commonwealth. The lawsuit will allege that,
by not fully implementing the Clean Elections Law,
the defendants are in violation of Article 48 of
the Massachusetts Constitution. The plaintiffs
will seek an immediate hearing before a full
panel of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
"We are unified in our desire to see the Clean
Elections Law fully funded as intended by the
voters and as required by the State Constitution,"
says David Donnelly, director of Mass Voters for
Clean Elections, a plaintiff in the case.
"As venerable institutions and as scrappy upstarts,
as participating statewide candidates and as voters
who simply want our votes to mean something, the
plaintiffs of this case have come together in
unity around one simple idea: We are asking the
state's highest court to vindicate our
The lawsuit cites Article 48, an amendment to the
state constitution, which states that if a law
approved by the voters is not repealed by the
State Legislature, the Commonwealth must appropriate
"such money as may be necessary to carry such law
In November 1998, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly
approved the Clean Elections Law, creating a voluntary
public financing system for candidates running for
statewide and state legislative offices. On
August 1, 2001, candidates for statewide office
seeking to qualify for the public funds began
accepting small qualifying contributions and forgoing
larger donations, as is required under the new law.
While the State Legislature had set aside $10 million
in each of the last two fiscal years, that funding is
still unavailable due to legislative inaction.
In addition, the plaintiffs argue, the amount
currently bottled up in the Clean Elections Fund
does not represent "such money as may be necessary
to carry such law into effect," as is required
by Article 48.
With no money available from the Clean Elections Fund,
statewide candidates seeking to qualify in the new
system face the prospect of withdrawing their
participation and potentially shutting down their
campaigns. State legislative candidates will be
faced with the same level of uncertainty in the
very near future.
The lawsuit seeks a court order mandating that
OCPF immediately implement the Clean Elections
Law and disburse the necessary funds to all
qualified candidates. While OCPF may claim that
it does not have any funds to disburse, the
plaintiffs will argue that such a claim is
not an excuse for a constitutional violation.
"This case is about protecting our democracy
and our state constitution," says Ken White,
executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts,
another plaintiff in the case. "When our most
basic rights are being trampled, we must seek
redress in the courts."
In addition to Mass Voters for Clean Elections,
Common Cause Massachusetts, the other plaintiffs
include: the Massachusetts Republican Party, the
Massachusetts Green Party, five statewide
candidates seeking to qualify for public funds
(Warren Tolman, Democratic candidate for
governor; Evan Slavitt, Republican candidate
for attorney general; Sarah Cannon Holden,
Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor;
Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for governor;
and James O'Keefe, Green Party candidate for
treasurer); two legislative candidates (State
Representative Doug Petersen and Stephen Spain,
a Democratic candidate for state senator);
and individual voters from across the state.
The legal team representing the plaintiffs
includes the Boston-based National Voting Rights
Institute, a prominent legal center specializing
in campaign finance litigation, the Boston law
firm of Foley Hoag & Eliot, former Massachusetts
assistant attorney general Edward Colbert, now
of Looney & Grossman; Richard L. Neumeier of
McDonough, Hacking & Neumeier, and Donald J. Simon,
general counsel to Common Cause in Washington, D.C.
To view the full text of the lawsuit, please log on to
the Common Cause website at http://commoncause.org/states/massachusetts/100401ma.htm.
Monday, August 13, 2001
Friday, August 10, 2001
Three kids ended up going to the hospital. One broke a bone. One was shot with a B-B gun.
On the opening skate, after hearing about how all the park's users would need to have helmets -- about half of them didn't have on helmets. They were, upon objection, given a 'time out' -- then -- before long, all were back on the boards.
The city is about ten years too late with the opening of a skate park.
I'm suprised that the skate park isn't funded by Dr. Fu -- as he could get a lot of new business from those that play there.
Monday, July 02, 2001
Carnegie Library of Homestead swim lesson group. Erik, my son, is in the front on the left. These kids really enjoyed their lessons and made great improvements.
Weed and Seed is nice. But, these kids need to flourish. This was a middle group at swim lessons. I taught older ones and younger too.
Sunday, June 24, 2001
Volk's article on Carmine said, "Not only did the party pick Carmine largely because they had no one else, ... "
Wrong! I ran for the nomination and lost. Options were present. The "no one else" statement needs a retraction. Our contested primary made history. Volk's wrongness and ploy at revisionist history can't be tolerated.
Moreover, City GOP committees didn't pick anyone. Voters in the GOP Primary did. PARTY bosses spoke and opted to be neurtral, unlike the Dems. The party put the decision without strings nor pressure to VOTERS.
Pgh's Republicans acted more democratic and with greater inclusion than Democrats. Citizen activists and champions of principles are turning to the GOP side, especially in the city.
Tom Murphy and Bob O'Connor had four closed-door debates. Cronies in the Dem party always try to toss challengers off the ballot.
In the future, only cronies with $1-million PACs but without ideas and hope for self-government are going to be Dem candidates. The Dems killed themselves in 2001 by slamming the door to opposition, so un-american. That was the biggest news. Volk's political story missed what was most important, and in lesser matters, he scored the same.
Wednesday, May 30, 2001
I jotted down a few things I heard as best I could (in between phone calls, emails, etc. engineering equations) while listening at work today. Nothing here is verbatim, but I think I got the drift of the conversation for the most part. If you want the full interview or to confirm anything I might have possibly misrepresented then go to Quinn's show archives for today at:
** Offering tax incentives to bring businesses into an area often brings in bad businesses that wouldn't come in otherwise. This policy brings in outsiders at the expense of insiders.
** Tom Murphy is an arrogant man. He's subject to his vision overriding his common sense. All too often he gives away the farm to outside businesses in the form of tax breaks.
** It's bad to buy votes with public funds. Stadiums and a north shore "Disneyland" are examples of this. Democrats have sold out the black community time after time, but they still somehow manage to get their votes.
** The colleges and universities in Pittsburgh are a great local strength. (What would you expect a
local college professor to say?) He sees an opportunity for government to help to keep these
young people here. Quinn cautioned about adopting a "central planning" mindset and suggested just eliminating things like entertainment taxes, but Dr. Carmine didn't seem convinced that a more active government would be bad.
** Quinn said that he'd like to invite Dr. Carmine back for additional interviews to let voters know that there is another candidate out there.
Monday, May 21, 2001
20-minute hands-on demostrations:
- Noise reduction technology
- Directional microphone technology for hearing and noise
- Disposable hearing aids
- Assistive listening devices
- Video otoscope - come see your own ear canal and ear drum
Monday, May 21, 2001, 1-4 pm
203 Lothrop Street
4:30-4:45 Catherine V. Palmer, Ph.D., Director, audiology and Hearing Aids, UPMC Health System, Welcome
4:45 to 5:30 Mead C. Killion, Ph.D., President, Etymotic Research, Missing Dots: Audibility or Missing Inner Hair Cells -- It's All the Same to the Brain
5:30 to 5:45 Eugene N. Myers, MD, Professor and Chairman, Dept of Otolaryngology, Remarks
5:45 to 6:45 Dinner
6:45 to 7:15 pm Gail Dudmundsen, MA, Gundhear Inc. LOBAT-Standard or Option on All Hearing Aids
7:15 to 7:45 pm Robert Sweetow, PhD., Univ. of California, San Francisco, The Efficacy of Disposable, Entry Leval and Instant Fit Hearing Aids
7:45 to 9 pm, Dessert and reception in the newly renovated audiology and hearing aid department, Eye & Ear Institute, 4th floor
Wednesday, May 16, 2001
InPgh: Tribune-Review Causes Republican To Convert to Liberal Views: Antichrist consults publicist about future
Too late for the primary but far ahead of the general election, presumptive Republican nominee Jim Carmine has had a change of heart about the Citzens Police Review Board and the federal consent decree under which Pittsburgh police operate. He's now in favor of them. And it's all thanks to that bastion of leberalism, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which has not covered Carmine the way ti pushed James Roddey for county executive over Cyril Wecht. A Trib reporter (whom Carmine wishes to keep anonymous, lest the poor man lose his job) asked Carmine some challenging questions that proved a conversion experience shortly before the primary. "yes, indeed, we deserve the consent decree," Carmine now says. "we did some awful stuff in Pittsburgh. We did it, we got it, we earned it." The CPRB is a much more complicated animal -- limping and toothless actually -- but Carmine believes it could work with the right support from the mayor's office. He cites the Garrity warning, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which lets police testify without being prosecuted by such review bodies as the CPRB. "I would indeed be willing to coerce police testimony" using Garrity, Carmine says. "What is happening now is despicable. The police sit there with their hands folded" before the CPRB while the board hands out sentences unenforceable by Chief Robert McNeilly, Jr. under current police contracts. "Which means the mayor's office will be sued." Carmine concludes. "But it makes it very, very clear that the mayor is behind the CPRB." Imagine that.
Tuesday, May 08, 2001
Tuesday, May 08, 2001
By James O'Toole, Politics Editor, Post-Gazette
The men who would be mayor traded views on schools, public safety and transportation issues last night in the final debate before next Tuesday's primary election.
For five of the candidates, it was the only chance to share a televised stage with Mayor Tom Murphy and City Council President Bob O'Connor, the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination that has for decades been tantamount to election in Pittsburgh.
"Thank God for public television. We finally have all the candidates together," Democrat Leroy L. Hodge remarked as the 90-minute session opened.
The incumbent was, as expected, the most frequent target of criticism, but the tone of the evening was more earnest than contentious.
O'Connor challenged Murphy's management of the police department, faulting the fact that the city entered into a federal consent decree governing police conduct. The councilman also criticized the fact that last year's police recruiting class had no minorities and only three females.
Murphy strongly defended his management and the department's performance while again criticizing O'Connor for his promise to fire Police Chief Robert McNeilly Jr.
"We've made big changes; we're batting 100 percent on the consent decree," Murphy said. "We've changed the culture."
James Carmine, a Republican candidate, saw a lack of leadership on Murphy's part over police officers refusing to testify before the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board.
Mark Rauterkus, the other GOP hopeful, said he would increase awareness on police issues by televising deliberations of the police review board.
Hodge said he would stress improved education and training for officers and do more to recruit city residents for the force.
In response to a question on the problems of trash and dumping in the city, Murphy said he was considering establishing a special environmental court to increase visibility and prosecution of environmental crimes.
O'Connor said the answer was not a new court but a larger budget for the city's Public Works Department.
"We don't have to reinvent the wheel all over again," O'Connor said.
Earl V. Jones Sr., another Democrat, said that the answer to the problem was personal example."I spent two years of my life cleaning up my neighborhood," said the Hazelwood retiree. "You have to show the people even if you have to do it yourself."
On transportation, O'Connor said that the completion of the city portion of the Mon-Fayette Expressway offered promise in easing congestion in city neighborhoods such as Squirrel Hill.
But Murphy sounded a distinctly skeptical note on the mammoth construction project, which is strongly supported by some of the same labor unions that support him in the coming primary.
"I have not embraced the Mon Valley Expressway yet," he said.
In elaborating after the debate, Murphy said, "The fact of the matter is if you're going to spend millions of dollars on highways, you're never going to have enough money to build a mass transit system like you see in other cites."
On another issue, Murphy said the city had "learned some hard lessons on Plan B," where what he termed "pass-though shenanigans" have allowed the circumvention of promises that a specified portion of the stadium construction work would go to minority and female-owned firms.
Democrat Joshua Pollock called the Murphy administration's record on minority contracting "one of the most disgusting things this city has done."
Tuesday, May 01, 2001
Roles: I'm a citizen. The professor has said that he started his political career.... Carmine ran for office in the past. I've never run for office. And, IMSHO, running for office does not make a career.
Cash: Professor Carmine thinks that big fundraising is ready to occur and serious contributions are expected after he wins the primary. Or, perhaps, after the primary season has ended. I don't. I'm ready to make a lot of waves with very little money. We don't expect to get more than $50 from any one contibutor. We need to bootstrap. We need to run the city on less money. We need to run our campaign on less as well. To spend 1/10th or 1/20th of what the Democrat spends will be a badge of accomplishment.
Role of the City Government: I think that we need to contract the role of city's long-arm and get out of the gross development deals. Carmine has said that government needs to do what the people want.
I think that the prime role of mayor's office is to follow the laws and administer jutice. I advocate a strong embrace for the constitution.
Taxes: Raise, Same, Lower? My answer is short: We'll lower taxes.
Let's start with the deed-transfer tax. There are some wreckless taxes that are holding us back. We need to take away those chains so we can reward and not punish the actions that we desire. To sell and buy your home needs to be rewarded and made easier, not more expensive. The deed-transfer tax hits hardest as it comes as an upfront fee taking money away from the down-payment.
Professor Carmine's long answer as to what he'd do with taxes made a fuzzy approach. He said, "We'll see when we get there," or after he figures out more of the details.
Notes were from from a 30-minute radio debate on the Jerry Bowyer show in the spring of 2001.
Thursday, April 19, 2001
Took a trip to Terje's home office too. He lives on the island and does impressive computer programs with LISP, mainly.
The dates: April 19 to 22, 2001.
Wednesday, April 11, 2001
Talking Notes from Mark's from April 11, 2001An event at the Downtown Carnegie Library auditorium was held with five organizations including Ground Zero, PUMP and Pittsburgh Next. Pittsburgh Young Professionals (pyp.org) was involved too.
The event's administration was bogus. Everyond did a fine job as far as being proper gentleman, but the event was silly from the outset. Strong objections to the format were voice weeks ago. All-in-all, the event was another sink and squandered opportunity. The organizers had plenty of clout, but they caved to the heavyweight candidates. They blinked. We all lost. So, these squeeking wheels roll for another day.
Ken Rice, you are a watchdog. You are part of the professional broadcasting media. You need to do your duties. Roles need to be filled. A bulk of the blame rests upon your shoulders.
The downside of the non-debate format includes the lack of will on the part of the young professional leadership for accelerated efforts in the next round. There is little hope that the group will get it right for the General Election if they so badly fumbled this round. This cycle was to be a dress-rehersal for events yet to come in the months of May, June, July, August, September and October -- getting set for the November 6th general.
My advice to the other organizations: Save face and plan your own events for the summer months. And, talk with the candidates or the ex-candidates in depth in advance of the program decisions.
Format Flaws:Give and take among the candidates is needed. We need follow-up questions. We need to hear each other's replies. We need to run a campaign that isn't in a vacume. We need to get to the issues, and those who prevent that from happening are part of the problem. The Mayor is not being held accountable. The Mayor's show-and-tell is going to unravel as soon as the formats are done with some hints of fairness. There is very little justice at work in this city when there is no justice in the campaign process. It is not fair to be told that I can not listen to what my competitors say. Being closed minded is never a good option.
The news director at KQV said that the event was "worthless." He is right.
As a candidate who is going to trumpet justice, I can not take part in events that are unfair -- such as the one being organized for the next week by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Alliance and the Warhol Museum.
Life isn't fair. But, we need to hold our government in the role of protecting freedoms, rights and fairness. It is the role of government to insure fairness in justice. That is the highest mission of order -- and the justice is lacking with Mayor Murphy and Bob O'Connor.
These themes are not new to my campaign messages. On the very first instance when I shared a podium with three of the other candidates, I made a big point to the hosting organization, then at the JCC, that I was not happy that all the candidates were not invited and provided with equal time. Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice does. At times 99% correct is 100% wrong.
OpeningYoung man, Young Man!
Your arms are too short to box with God.
My arms are too short to box with God.
The late, great, #8, Willie Stargell had powerful, athletic arms -- and they were too short.
Martin Luther King, Jr. -- his arms were too short to box with God.
Mayor Murphy -- He can't even climb into the ring.
Lone VoiceAs a single voice, it is impossible to make serious changes against the forces of tides. As a lone voice, they will break you like a twig.
A Struggle Brews within Pittsburgh
A struggle is in our midst.
This struggle is not between the Pirates and another franchise of million-dollar entertainers.
Not between the spectator and the empty seats and quotas of Nacho consumption.
Not between Bob O'Connor and Tom Murphy and a cast of sideline characters.
Not between the Democrats and the Republicans.
Not between the Liberals and the Conservatives.
Not even between those that "Have" and those that "Have-Not."
True, Real, Actual, Serious, Insightful, Wise battle / fight / wages / campaign
The Real Struggle comes down to The New vs. The Old.
As a Free-Market Republican, I'm going to claim that this struggle has on one-side: The natural marketplace forces. This is very organic and includes respect for the web-of-life.
On the other side is what is known as "corporate welfare." Government intrusion for the sake of a few corporate entities. It's eminent domain. authority-driven, top-down attitudes.
Simple Terms for this struggle I see:
Those who want to make history or those who are slaves of history.
The real struggle is about the process: Should it be Bottom-Up or Top-Down.
Distributed or Centralized power grids.
Email and Web-Site Campaigns or old-school backslapping.
Should leaders emerge from the ranks of the ordinary or should they be anointed?
Should officials act like humble servants or else like pompous incumbents?
Is the purpose: By the people and for the people -- or else -- to the people?
Do votes mater and should they even occur -- or -- should work happen with leverage appointments and Authority Boards -- URA, Water-and-Sewer -- Stadium Authority. To a lesser extent, the Mayor has been running a charade with Plan C Task Forces and Riverlife Task Force.
Are Grant Street actions for the flow and the means -- or - about the Ends? What about Results? Mayor Murphy says what gets done matters most. Murphy's talks say, "Look at the results." The key word in his campaign is RESULTS.
I care more about HOW things get done rather than what gets done.
Classic question: focus on the Destination or Journey? This is Government, not Business. When we look long and hard at things, the Mayor's story unravels. The ways, the being, the endeavors and the mingling count most -- not the end-result.
Mussolini got the trains to run on time. Maglev, more on that later.
Woops. I was going to have that be my "big line" of the night. It didn't get delivered. I'll have to use it in another setting later.
Citizenship or cronies, board-rooms, done-deals.
Open-source software or closed, proprietary, deals where we have to subpoena methodology from Sabre Systems.
I crave inclusion -- and the Mayor is quick to point out Naysayers.
Let's level-the-playing field, not perpetuate the status quo.
I want to heighten our mobility and extend our free flow of thinking. We need to better our decision-making models. Or -- do we want to spin our wheels in a rut?
A fluid, interactive approach or else dogmatic directions.
Sustainable development or Nordstroms, Subsidies, TIFs.
Being Free or being a subject.
Total wellness or band-aids and triage from the emergency room.
Proactive -- or too-little and/or too late.
Behind-the-scenes struggle:The struggle takes many perspectives. I hope to share hundreds of them with you all on the web and in a couple of books. We need to take some time and connect the dots. We need to illustrate and come to common ground.
Republicans and Dems
I'll deliver the sustainable discussion and content that can take us to new civic insights. That is the message of tonight.
Republicans, I want a landslide endorsement and support in the primary. Democrates, please read the book, make a donation, copy the handout.
First Clincher for Courage: Justice
Those who work on Grant Street have been lacking in their execution and respect for justice. The bulk of our problems center upon justice. When you boil it down, the justice in our lives is wanting. Justice can be the sole reason for toss them out of office.
Second Clincher for Courage: Imagination
Beyond justice, the heavyweighs are lacking in imagination. The creativity, the brilliance, the scope and depth of understandings and solutions have been wanting.
They both pale in both JUSTICE and IMAGINATION.
Once we engage all of our people in moment -to-moment justice and then inject some short-term and long-term imagination into the political landscape -- Pittsburgh will soar. Pittsburgh can thrive, not just survive.
We need a plan for success. What Bob and Tom deliver sustains and quickens our declines for opportunities and population growth.
Voting for Josh and Leroy Hodge is not a wasted statement. Not in the primary season.
This next session didn't get delivered. I closed with the metion of Humpty Dumpty.
Imagination for Solving Problems
Some say that it is not possible to solve problems. Rather, decisions trade one set of problems for another. Some say government has no business solving marketplace problems, rather it only needs to administer justice.
The Mayor's focus on results, says watch him solve problems.
When the Mayor becomes a developer, then the developers become the government.
Insightful leaders, those with great imaginations, choose pathways and make decisions from a long list of alternatives. It takes more imagination to develop that long-list of alternatives. It takes a great deal of inclusion to get all the ideas forward and flowing into the quilt of possibilities.
Leadership with lacking imaginations often feels that the list of possibilities is short. Our elected officials need to realize that the potential list of creativity and imagination is alive and well within the people.
There are plenty of other alternatives.
Courage to Campaign
To remove Mayor Murphy, we need big investigations into the alternatives. We need to know how the various candidates think and how they act. We need to know where they measure themselves on terms of justice and the matters that count the most.
Let's play some volleyball with the issues. Let's learn to bump, set, spike.Let's have a contest in this pursuit so we all can win.
Questions that came from the audience:
Questions about my experience:
I've never held any elected office. I'm not with a lot of experiences in stealing the tax-payers money. I prefer to be an open candidate and Mayor. I'm not versed in how to hide money from the public view and deceit.
As a coach, I'm confident that I can lead and manage. I know how to ask people to perform and work with them to get the best out of us all.
As a college educated person, I know how to communicate. I have a web-site. I'll use email. The one's who have graced the stage before me don't even have web sites.
What about the PAT Bus Fares going up?
Public transportation is a very big item in the city. That is one of the important aspects of making a more livable city.
The PAT set-up is an Authority. They are low accountability. They are appointed boards. I want to move away from those styles of government.
We need to get away from the corporate welfare and then we will have a lot of additional nickles in our pockets. The under river tunnel to service the North Side is going to cost some additional $600 Million. We don't need that type of spending.
Question: What would you do for small business so that my computer firm would be able to compete with another much larger firm? (i.e., Computer Associates)
I'd hope that if you can make a better widget than the other firms, the world will beat a pathway to your door. As mayor, I'd try to get the city to do some things -- such as cutting away red tape. We can look into ways to make the city vibrant so that you can recruit and retain employees. We can work to cross the digital divide with our citizens. We can provide better high-tech infrastructure, broadband wireless.
What about Charter Schools, Vouchers, Education?
The city has some choice in education now with the magnet program. That is good. More choice is better. We have a nice system of private schools. The city has a lot of home-schooled kids n the city as well. I think that there is a lot that the city and the Mayor's office can do right away to toss out some services for the home-school population within the city, such as with Citiparks. I want to retain those families within the city.
My opponent is going to talk endlessly about Charter Schools. That is fine. He can do it to a fault.
I think some Charter Schools can be great. Mostly, I'd love to open up 15-new Charter Schools because we have a million-people living within Pittsburgh again. We can open up the new schools with new arrivals to town.
The Mayor can do a few things for education. For starters, the mayor can look into taking the older buildings that are closing off of the hands of the School District. We can look into making plans for their use in better ways -- sustainable ways.
Tuesday, April 03, 2001
Mayor's Race Candidate
Some Ideas to Ponder
Dear Neighbors of the South Side and Citizens with Interests in Phillips School,
Tonight, I'd love to start the process rolling where we could plan serious quality time together in the near future. In this Mayor's Race, very few opportunities have been afforded to the citizen-candidates. Our messages are not being covered by the watchdog journalists in town. And, on-the-trails conversations are getting trampled by heavyweight opponents who refuse to "debate."
If the process of the campaign is only that of a personality contest -- then we all are going to suffer into the future. Nobody wins. Our democratic landscape suffers. The success of democracy depends upon the reaction of the people to the opportunities presented.
This formal request goes beyond the School Board vote, also a very important matter. There is much to do in that endeavor as well, and I'll help there as well. But, my burden now centers upon the Mayor's Race.
Requested Action Items
Let's sponsor a serious, in-depth, forum for a full-fashioned policy address about education and public policy. I would love to have the podium to give a 45-minute address about what we as a community should do and focus upon.
The Republican opponent could also be involved to give his policy address too. It could be the same night, or afternoon, or else at a second night. So, I'd like to be "fair" in this treatment of the topic as there are plenty of great ideas that would flow between my opponent and myself.
The School-Board Members, as well as others in government, as well as others who are candidates could be engaged in this event as well. We could have minor roles for them to play in the event. They could ask questions. They could give shorter emphasis talks. They could meet and mingle with the audience. They could provide campaign literature.
The Republican Party in Pittsburgh, and this is more than 8,000 members, as well as the Republican Party in the County, could also be invited and play a role as to filling the audience, creating excitement. This would allow the school and the neighborhood to showcase itself to plenty of visitors.
A various media outlet, perhaps a Radio or TV station, perhaps a newspaper, could use the event as a way to promote and be engage in the community. This is possible, but we'd have to get the process started quickly. Perhaps PCNC Nightalk would be able to tape the event and play the highlights for others to see later. Perhaps there is a PC21 show that would want to have an exclusive access to the broadcast rights?
The school administrators, teachers and union workers from around the district should have more access and opportunity to get in-depth awareness from the various candidates and ideas.
The home-schooled population, the private school parents and teachers, as well as the other minor groups that exist in the greater community -- such as the charter school advocates -- should all have an opportunity to gather and mingle with neighbors and share ideas on various educational issues.
An event(s) that is visioned, if done well, can be a joy to organize. Most of all, the event can be a dress-rehersal for the next season's general election cycle. And, given the resources of who is in the area, our central locations, and the buzz of local politics starting to re-energize the city -- these events can become long-term opportunities for Phillips to make meaningful contributions with the ideas and nonprofit cash flow. Yes, these events can make money.
Let's set in motion a sponsorship for serious, in-depth, forums for full-fashioned public policy talks and gatherings for the general election cycle. I would love to be sure that the winners of the Primary Election Cycle (as well as any Indies) have plenty of opportunities to cover the issues of the day in the General Election Cycle as well. Presently, that opportunity is wide open.
The other party members need opportunities. I'd like to be "fair" in this treatment of the topics as there are plenty of great ideas that would flow between my opponent and myself.
Thanks for your interest and feedback.
Wednesday, March 28, 2001
The Progressive Technology Project is pleased to announce its Spring 2001 grants pool. PTP plans on making 15-20 grants of up to $10,000. These grants are to be used to help grassroots groups strengthen their social change efforts through the use of technology.
Please note the process will be highly competitive. PTP is likely to receive between 300-400 proposals for this round. PTP's funding is targeted to grassroots groups working to address the systemic causes of poverty and injustice. See the RFP for more information regarding organizational fit.
The Progressive Technology Project (PTP) seeks to strengthen citizen action, increase public participation by under-represented communities and build stronger grassroots organizations by supporting the effective use of information technology. PTP provides capacity building technical
assistance and grant making to assist grassroots groups in the use of information technology to strengthen their social change efforts.
Sunday, March 11, 2001
The JCC (Jewish Community Center) activities room held a meeting at 11 am on Sunday March 11, 2001. Former mayor, Sophie Masloff, was in attendance.
I'm a coach. I've been a swim coach most of my life. I think like a coach. I'm going to approach this campaign much like my style in coaching. I'm the team builder on the ballot. Perhaps I'm one of the best team builders throughout the entire community. I think Pittsburgh needs a team builder at this time.
As a coach, all the practices begin with a drill, and exercise called the Perfect 50. This is one of the first activities taught to the team and it is repeated daily.
Practice Makes Perfect
We've all heard that "practice makes perfect." That slogan is popular. I think it is untrue. Only perfect practice makes perfect.
Without Bad Habits
Positive coachspeak demands perfect execution for the charges. We shoot for the stars. We want the best for ourselves. In this campaign, the others are the ones with the experiece. But they are the ones with the bad experiences and bad habits. You can't to perfect results by building upon bad experiences and bad habits.
I'm going to be the one who asks us all to soar. I want Pittsburgh to be the best. Our potential is not being realized.
Another important point I deliver to the teams that I coach is contained in the concept: Ninty-nine percent correct is 100-percent wrong.
The easy way to illustrate is to get onto an airplane in Pittsburgh and hear the pilot tell the passengers that this flight to Chicago is going to go 99-percent of the way. The plane trip would end in a fire-ball outside of Joliet and it would be 100% wrong.
Certain elements in life need to be 100% correct. Government offers some of those instances.
To have some of the people included is not right. We all need to be included.
Line up of Speakers
I'm happy to see that both of the Republican candidates, 100% of the line-up, is present today. I'm disheartened to see that only two of the Democrats are here. None are in the room now. Five are on the ballot. All of the candidates need to be a part of the process.
The success of democracy depends upon the reactions of the people to the opportunities presented. The success is important to understand. We want to succeed.
The process matters. How we do things is important. I'm going to focus upon these elements for Pittsburgh. We need to have a bottoms-up style of government, not a top-down style that excludes others from the process.
For Pittsburgh to soar again, like an eagle above all the rest and to be in the clouds, we need our wings to stretch out to the right, another wing to the left, and some tail feathers. I'm a liitle more like tailfaithers, perhaps. But, we need all the parts in our political landscape to soar. We are not there now. We've got a one-winged beast.
Pittsburgh's population fell by 10-percent in the past 10 years. We lost some 30,000 people. We lost about as many people in the past decade as for those who voted for Mayor Murphy in winning his last election.
But of serious trouble is to hear how those numbers and our decline is going to turn around in 2010. That makes no sense to me. Pittsburgh has many seniors. Lots of these seniors are not going to be around in the year 2010 and these seniors are not having babies at a rate that they can replace themselves. Pittsburgh is not going to turn its numbers around in another ten years with the pathway we've been traveling. Theirs is a false hope that makes no sense.
Pittsburgh is on the brink. We have dire times ahead. We are with huge debts. We are losing our people. Our citizens vote with their feet. We have confusions in the tax structure.
As a stay-at-home parent I tell the story of Humpty Dumpty. Humpty took a big fall. The king's horses and king's men could not put Humpty together again. But, the people, along with the king, the king's horse and king's men could. Humpty won't look the same. But we will have fun trying.
One way to get everyone involved is with the internet. We can get on-line. We can get sustainable discussions. We can reply with email.
In a recent WTAE TV poll held on the internet, I was the top vote getter. But, the day I took the lead in the poll, the poll was taken off the web site. Those are other matters, but it is important to note that my reach with the internet is going to have extensive powers. We are going to run circles around the others with our use of the net.
The straw-that-broke the camels back for me and got me to run in the Mayor's race brings in one more swim coaching story. I've been a coach for six years at the NCAA Division I level. I've coached in six states, published books on the sport, traveled and worked at many Olympic Training Centers. I know a great deal about swimming and coaching, at all levels.
My little neighborhood swim pool is on the South Side, right near the foot of the Birmingham Bridge behind the library. There is a Citiparks swim team there.
Two weeks before the summer swim season I wrote a letter to the pool manager, Andre, asking to be a volunteer swim coach. My son, age 6, could swim accross the pool. I'm a stay-at-home dad. I could be at practices every day from 12 to 12:45. I wanted to contribute and help with my talents.
I was forbidden from coaching. I was told, "The pool is Andre's pool. He can do what he wants."
I said, "No, I don't think so. That is our pool. The taxpayers own that pool. Andre works for us."
This went on all the way up through channels, to Mike to Dwane. This ends one level below the Mayor's office. That is an attitude that is not very close to even 80-percent correct. I am sure that it is 100% wrong to have the big hand of governement coming between my and my son.
Friday, March 09, 2001
Secretary of Administration, Martin Horn, and Deputy Secretary for Information Technology, Charles Gerhards, will be testifying regarding the Governor's technology initiatives and accomplishments. This will include, but is not limited to, the Justice Network and Public Safety Radio System, the Keystone Communications Project, Commonwealth Connect and the PA PowerPort.
result of a year long study on the future of information technology in Pennsylvania. The report was produced with the assistance of Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc. an international management and technology-consulting firm.
Saturday, March 03, 2001
September 14th to 23rd, Pittsburgh, PA
The Black Sheep Puppet Festival is seeking artwork that redefines, expands, and explores the boundaries of puppetry.
Submissions are now being accepted for the third annual Black Sheep Puppet Festival, which will run September 14th - 23rd, 2001. The event will be held at the I.A.C. Garage, Brew House, an artist run facility, which is located on the South Side of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. The festival showcases outrageous acts performing in a wide variety of styles, featuring local,
national, and international artists.
We are seeking proposals in the following areas:
1. Performance ˆ shows geared for adults, children, or all ages.
2. Films ˆ Films or video related to puppetry for The Black Sheep Puppet
3. Workshops ˆ Workshop proposals in the subjects of puppetry, puppet
making, etc. for children and adults.
4. Gallery Exhibition ˆ Artwork relating to puppetry for exhibition.
The Black Sheep Puppet Festival welcomes experimental performances as well as traditional forms of puppetry.
Send to: The Brew House, 2100 Mary Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203
perform @ blacksheeppuppet.com -- http://www.blacksheeppuppet.com
Thursday, February 15, 2001
Word came to me in a phone call from one of his office workers that Roddey would NOT be signing my petition. He turned me down because of my stance on WQED and WQEX 16. They wanted to sell of the public TV station to a religious broadcaster. I don't think that is a good idea. Roddey has been on the board at QED. QED is in a lot of debt now. QED wanted to sell off the broadcasting rights (public airwaves) and keep the money itself.
Tuesday, February 13, 2001
To run as an Indie for Mayor, City of Pittsburgh, one needs to submit 1,644 signatures gathered from March 7, 2001 to August 1, 2001.
Saturday, January 27, 2001
Sat, 27 Jan 2001 10:35:49 EST
A quote from your article:
"Now in 2001, it's Mark Rauterkus of the South Side, an unemployed swimming coach and political neophyte."
As a fellow stay-at-home-dad I take offense at Mr. Rauterkus being described as "unemployed." Staying home to raise your children is a noble and courageous decision and should not be derided in the press. I hope you will apologize to Mr. Rauterkus and issue a correction.
Tim is from the great state of Minnesota and is a conservative Republican that in no way voted for any of the following: Jesse Ventura, Paul Wellstone, or newly elected Mark Dayton.
Friday, January 12, 2001
News Source: Mark Rauterkus
Participant, Mayor's Race, City of Pittsburgh, 2001, Republican
Campaign Headquarters: 108 South 12th Street,
Pittsburgh, (South Side) PA, 15203-1226 USA
Local Poll about the Mayor's Race by KDKA-TV News and Political Nightmares
Date: Jan. 12, 2001
With the primary election four month away and the heavyweight candidates still unannounced as official contenders in the race, Pittsburgh's media elite is releasing polling data.
Republican challenger, stay-at-home dad, Mark Rauterkus, is calling foul and ringing alarms.
The poll asked voters about two candidates. Neither are on the campaign trails yet. The real candidates who have been making appearances got ignored.
The poll only asked about Democrats. The legacy of the city should not spoil the opportunities for new candidates in elections months in advance.
Today's faulty polls present only one slant could provide reasons for debate exclusion in the future.
Poll result listings that are devoid of challengers make it nearly impossible for political newcomers to raise campaign funds.
The voters should not be asked to choose among the options before the candidates are introduced. Putting the cart before the horse isn't prudent.
The success of democracy depends upon the reaction of the people to the opportunities presented. The advance poll is a ploy to squash viable opposition candidates. The well of democracy and our civic interactions are tarnished by this advance poll.
Celebrity or Politics
Polls centered only upon celebrities are not political polls. A popular poll isn't fair to the process of citizen engagement in the election process.
Job Approval Ratings
Perhaps KDKA TV News should have done a job-approval poll of the existing mayor. Those polls would have been valuable throughout the course of the mayor's career.
Republicans and Democrats
A poll conducted on only one of the political parties is without balance. Republican questions needs to be included in future polling. More than one race is happening.
KDKA News Desk 2: 412-575-2245
KDKA's Main Switchboard: 412-575-2200
Wednesday, January 10, 2001
01.10.01 - 01.17.01
There are several things that differentiate mayoral candidate Josh Pollock from his two likely opponents in the May Democratic primary. He's 18, much younger than Mayor Tom Murphy and Council President Bob O'Connor -- in fact, Pollock is still in high school -- he plays in a band and he is an active member of the effort to free Mumia Abu-Jamal. "Also, I'm probably the only guy in the mayor's race who rides a PAT bus because he doesn't have a driver's license," Pollock muses.
"It's been strange," he adds, since word broke that the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts senior was going to take a run at Grant Street. "People walk up to me on the streets because they recognize me from the news and offer me money for the campaign. And then I walk into school and someone is giving me a message to call [WTAE-TV] Channel 4 because they want to interview me."
Pollock, who says he is more than a little displeased by the way Murphy has conducted himself as mayor, is very serious about his campaign. He doesn't have a platform, but his ideas include creating youth centers throughout the city and starting a task force to study alleged racial bias and profiling by the city police department. Pollock didn't expect this much attention.
Republican candidate Mark Rauterkus has been in the race since August and only got his first sniff of mainstream press last week -- as an afterthought in a story about Pollock. "Maybe this will also help Mark's campaign get noticed," Pollock says. In fact, he adds, nothing would make him happier than a November run-off with Rauterkus.
Pollock will gather signatures to get his name on the primary ballot -- even though it is questionable whether an 18-year-old can legally hold the job. A Post-Gazette story last week cited a state law that requires the mayor to be at least 25. Pollock contends that because Allegheny County's home rule charter doesn't carry an age limit, he can run, and is investigating a possible legal challenge to the state law.
He's hoping the other candidates in the race show "good will" and don't challenge his candidacy: "Let the voters decide if I am old enough," he adds.
Regardless of whether he wins, Pollock's candidacy begs the question: Which makes an 18-year-old guy more attractive to women, being in a band or running for mayor? "Sadly, neither," Pollock replies. "The opposite sex used to see me as that loser in the band. Now, I'm that loser running for mayor."
Written by CHARLIE DEITCH
The Buzz Continues
The writers at In Pittsburgh (now defunct) did not fall into the same trap as the elite, daily newspapers. Mentions of the candidates were not inserted into the news coverage.
A Rauterkus vs. Pollock run-off in November would have been wonderful.
Josh was promised that I won't challenge his right to be on the ballot.
Saturday, January 06, 2001
I didn't buy anything.
I wonder what it will be like when the Civic Arena closes. They recently put in new seats in the Civic Arena. There was a bit of a scandal too. Why didn't they sell the old seats?
Any new arena deal should also have a seat license income stream. That fetches good money as well.
Friday, January 05, 2001
Understanding begins with a true awareness:
I'm Mark Rauterkus, son of a retired teacher from the Pittsburgh Public Schools, Leo M. Rauterkus. But, be assured from the get-go, this campaign is not about me. Sure, we need to post a candidate's bio. A face-lift to the site is past due, and it is on the way. But there is more, much more to share. The bulk of what follows isn't centered upon me. Being a South Side, internet advocate, with a German sir-name (the first letter of my name matches my party's ticket) matters little.In the future Pittsburgh, in my more ideal Pittsburgh, we'll better concentrate upon what is being said and less upon who that person is when it is said. But now, sadly, a time for an introduction and some personal grounding is in order.
I'm a citizen. I'm a Pittsburgher. I'm with time on my hands, a chip on my shoulder, and thick skin. I've got two sons and a great, brilliant wife. I'm white, 41, and a big-brother to four sisters. A cousin party in our clan can hit 100 people, average age is 5 -- but my math and spelling skills are suspect.
I'm entering this Mayor's Race because I'm not happy with what we got nor with the options unfolding in the future. Our potential is so much better than our existing execution allows.Many other Pittsburghers can fill these shoes. The Mayor Candidate role isn't intimidating and many others can do just as well, if not way better. We all need to shoulder the load and take the roles that need to be filled. If you want this spot, please step forward.
I'm not here to fight for you. I'm here to fight for ourselves. This is our town. This is our battle. This is our future. We want certain things and expect certain behaviors, and frankly, they are not happening to our satisfaction. Let's work to make ourselves and our outlooks and our spaces much better.
A call to this endeavor exists to a smaller degree than the call to community. I'm fortunate at this juncture to be one of the few who are more insulated than most. I'm a stay-at-home dad. I've got no assets to protect. I'm not a business owner with a payroll to cover. Ours, now, is a mission to grow equity, not protect equity. I can enter the fray in the Mayor's race, expecting some attacks. Vengefull attacks will come in vain, unless they are targeted at ideas, the platform, and things such as the budget proposals we'll be making Then, we all win when those public-policy attacks are considered and delivered.
Teacher's kid, professor's spouse, boys' father, and former swim coach are roles that now blend with candidate.
Sports are games of space, time and relationship.
I think like a coach. I've been a coach most of my life. Coaching and sports make a connection to who I am and to others in the community. Pittsburgh calls itself a sports town. To understand my nature and roots, witness my thoughts about sports.
I hope to govern like I coach. I consider myself a great coach. Inspring perhaps. I can manage people. I'll take folks out of their comfort zones, and we'll improve greatly.
After athletes understand the true meaning of sports, and all the details of the four components of the definition, then great focus and inner strengths can be found and mastered. The purpose blooms. Efforts are justified.
Yes, Leroy Hodge, I am not in this to "win." I told him that the other day and that just could not be understood. I'm in this campaign to do the best I can do. I'm going to try my best, and then hold my head up. It isn't if you win or not -- rather it is how you play the game. I say sportsmanship matters. Leroy says he is a coach and he is in this campaign to win.
Yep, I'm a little soft on the "fire-in-the-bellie" routine. However, I'm quite hot when you look at my soul. The fire isn't in my bellie -- it is in my soul.
Candidate's Lesson:is about space, time and relationship.
Life and sport are similar, except life is not a game. The elements of space, time and relationship matter.
Politics is part of life. Politcs has its own flow with its own space, time and sets of relationships. The talk of politics and sports is often similar. For example, the USA Swimming Core Objectives are:
A political party would do well to hold the same values dear. The promotion goes to the public policy ideals.
- Build the Base
- Promote the Sport
- Achieve Competitive Success
Holistic outlooks, global views, big-picture ponderings and just plain-old "getting it" is to be expected from our politicians and our civic leaders.
Life isn't fair. However, there is one place where we need to insist upon fairness, justness, freedom and due process -- and that is with the actions of our government. We need moment to moment justice in Pittsburgh. That is where my campaign is going to focus for the next few weeks. Watch for the next chapters in the book, Compelling Sense.
Is it really possible to live our lives, moment to moment, as if life were a work of art? In sport, it is not only possible, we are called to it.A calling to politics tugs now.
Standing in relationship to a task in space and time we must be present, radically aware and in the flow. Standing in relationship to others we must be prepared to give fully of ourselves with gratitude, respect and appreciation. Standing in relationship to ourselves we must be willing to know, accept and express ourselves in all of our varied capacities. And, in doing so, we stand in relation to the Divine, at an intersection of two flows, and become capable of creating art and cultivating soul in everything we do.
The dance continues. The process evolves.
Kevin DeForrest, coach, athlete and author of The Treasure Within, provided some of the above quotes. In prior years, various insights and skills were developed by publishing titles (such as the swimmers' logbook by DeForrest), crafting ideas, and managing the content and its delivery. A spectrum of education and interactions with diverse people is understood, respected and perhaps, even mastered, with our team at Rauterkus.com. We'll be able to craft and deliver our message. Our vision and platform will take shape and get out. The people of Pittsburgh and throughout the region are going to come to understand and consider the issues and the personalities associated with our political landscape and the Mayor's Race, 2001.
My political legacy has not been established, yet, to the degree of tenure of others. Existing bureaucrats and incumbants are sure to have an edge in experience in terms of red-tape wranglings. Life experiences are another matter.
The entry into our public policy realm needs to be open. This race is made possibile by rights afforded to all citizens. Furthermore, the scope and depth of the issues at hand for our community are welcomed discussions in this campaign. Standing steadfast as a clear communicator and an artful, principled, empowering leader is our nature and duty.
We hope to see you around town. More so, we need to get together on-line and at some political gatherings in the very near future. Find out what's happening by bookmarking our web page. Jump in and contribute. There is a place for everyone here, guaranteed.
Wednesday, January 03, 2001
Unless, he says, there's anyone else better qualified.
It's fascinating to watch mark Rauterkus watch the political process.
As he sits in a council meeting or in a public hearing, this stay-at-home dad and inactive swimming coach is constantly observing what is going on around him while taking care of his children -- who may have a better attendance record than some current council members.
Rauterkus assists his oldest son, Erik, who is coloring a picture he just drew, while helping his youngest son, Grant, build a car out of Legos. All the while, Rauterkus listens to citizens' concerns like a man with the power to help them.
But he's not that man -- at least, not yet.
Republican Mark Rauterkus wants to become mayor of the city of Pittsburgh so the next time he hears someone complaining to city council about a problem, he can do something about it.
"That's all I've been doing since August," says the 41-year-old between bites of a tuna sandwich at Mario's on the South Side. "I've been listening to as many people who will take a moment and talk to me."
It was, in fact, the current administation's inability to listen that prompted Rauterkus, a political rookie unknown to the Grant Street contigent, to enter the upcoming mayoral race.
"This city needs a new mayor, whether it's me or somone else," he says. "They need a myor who will listen to their concerns and then actually do something about them."
Rauterkus was upset at Myor Tom Murphy's refusal to listen to anyone concerning Fifth and Forbes development, but something more personal prompted his decision to run: the city's refusal to allow him to serve on a new task force designed to study how best to use the city's 32 swimming pools. He says he was rebuffed despite his knowlege and ideas.
In fact, Rauterkus announced his mayor candidacy at the very August city council meeting at which we was turned down for the pools committee. And since that one public forum, his candidacy has been ignored.
The mainstream press, along with political watchers and insiders, has only been touting the upcoming primary clash between Murpy and Council President Bob O'Connor, the guy who fell short in the primary four years ago.
"The Post-Gazette may as well just sponsor Tom Murphy's campaign," Rauterkus muses. "And the Trib?"
Shortly after Rauterkus announce his candidacy, a Tribune-Review reporter intervied Rauterkus and a Trib photographer took pictures of him at home. But don't search through the paper's archives looking for the peice, because it has never run.
"I don't know when or if it will ever appear, but it's been done for months," Rauterkus says. "When I asked the editors about it, all they did was offer to sell me ads. It is hard to run a campaign when the city's two major newspapers refuse to give you any coverage."
But that doesn't mean he plans to stop. His campaign homepage -- www.Rauterkus.com -- is up and running and full of his views on city happenings. The site is so comrehensive that it linked to this article weeks before it existed.
In the meantime, Rauterkus is still in the listening stage. There are many problems facing the city, he opines: if elected, he says, he will have a lot of ideas on how to make things better. Bu for now he is spending time in the streets, time talking to people and of course time in council chambers, addressing its members.
When he does speak before the panel, he's not just sonding off, he's proposing solutions so that others can listen -- unlike, say, the recently decessed half-billion dollar Downtown plan Pittsburghers found themseves shut out of.
"Nothing ever seems to be organized or planned out," he explains. "There is no political will in this city to do the best thing. We find the worst option and then do one step above that."
That's why Rauterkus says it's important to pose solutions, not just to harp on problems. At a council meeting last month, for example, Rauterkus noticed tension building among several residents who had to come to address council members. Several emotional speakers were upset over what they called harassment by officers assigned to the meeetings and by a perception that council members, who constantly start meetings late, didn't respect them or care about their problems.
Rauterkus took to the podium in their defense. While it may have seemed trivial to political insiders used to grandstanding, it seemed genuinely important to Rauterkus.
He suggested a resolution be passed that the cable access cameras be turned on at the regularly scheduled 10 a.m. meeting time. Whether the meeting had officially started or not, to 'let the people speak for a while. I guarantee after one meeting you guys will start getting here on time."
Would his idea redevelop Downtown or fix the city's multi-million dollar structural deficts? No. But by actually reacting to the will of the people, Rauterkus has shown the characteristic most lacking in many current city leaders.
He is no readying his campiagn headquarters on the ground floor of his home -- an old South Side shoemaker's shop on South 12th Street. Hi snext step is deciding how he wants to run the campaign.
A former Democrat, Rauterkus is trying to decide wheter to make a run under the GOP banner or to go under the flag of one of the third parties. None of these options is the ideal way to take a stab at unseating the city's Democratic machine and a two-term mayor in prosperous times.
Ideally, Rauterkus says, O'Connor would defeat Murphy and become complacent about a November showdown with the Republicans, who usually aren't worth fearing in a citywide election. That's where he says he will need public support and every bit of the $100,000 he hopes to raise.
O'Connor would be better than Murphy, Rauterkus says, but having any consummate politician ack in the driver's seat would just lead to more of the same in city politics. And change is what Rauterkus' campaign is all about.
"I've said all along. I don't have to run for mayor," Rauterkus says. "If someone else came along who was better qualified and wanted to make a serious run, I would step aside in a minute and work diligently for them.
"We need a new mayor a whole lot more than I need to be mayor."
Photo showed me holding Grant, my son, in our home/office. Caption: Mark Rauterkus' only political experience has been dealing with teh lobbying of his kids, like three-year-old Grant, above. Apparently Rauterkus can handle the pressure.