Saturday, April 16, 2005

Queens -- or Princess Population Promises -- plus slimeballs at the UJF and elsewhere NewsFlash - Pennsylvania business news in brief PITTSBURGH (AP) — The city's mayoral candidates pledged to a group of women business leaders that at least half of the people they appoint to city board and commissions will be women.

The candidates spoke Thursday to members of the Executive Women's Council.

'It's very important to the economic future of this region that we are able to point to the leaders and chairwomen of various organizations and tell our daughters and women who want to move here from other regions that, 'Yes, there is a possibility of success for you,'' said Sara Davis Buss, an attorney and former member of the county's Sports & Exhibition Authority.

The promises came from Democrats Bob O'Connor, Michael Lamb, Bill Peduto and Hop Kendrick and Republican Joseph Weinroth.

We could get more women into the mix, no doubt. I wish a women was running for Mayor. I wish a woman was running for PA Senate. But,the field is without.

We need more women on City Council. When was the last women governor from Pennsylvania?

But, really, we need better people everywhere in public office. We need better men and women.

And futhermore, we need better actions out of everyone in leadership roles -- from every man and woman.

The next logical step on this pathway -- and a mandatory hurdle that we need to review at this moment -- is a long-standing pet peev of mine. In my not so humble opinion, the best way to get better people into our public life is to insure that ALL the people on the ballot get to speak at ALL the candidate events. Everyone on the ballot is qualified to speak at all the events where two or more are gathered. This is something we need to insist upon.

Otherwise, we play favorites. Otherwise, we tell women, they are not welcomed. We tell men that they are not welcomed -- so the message is loud, clear and repeated too frequently.

The UJF (United Jewish Federation) is hosting a debate on Sunday morning. They are holding the event without inclusion. All the candidates are NOT able to participate. All the would-be women candidates see the lock out. All the would-be superstar candidates see the lock out. And the city and county loose another 8,000 residents who vote with their feet -- yet alone stand up to be a candidate.

The UJF is putting a turd into our shared well of democracy. Foul. Shame on them.

Comcast is helping.

And equally guilty are the other candidates: Peduto, Lamb, O'Connor, Weinroth -- shame on you.

They promise women in service roles. But, they don't act with equality in their steps. They think it is okay to exclude. They think it is their right to be hand-picked and be favorites.

I'll make a better promise than what those fellows have done. I'll never allow a women candidate to be excluded from a debate opportunity without pitching a fit. And, to prove it, I'll not let a man be excluded either. This goes to races I'm in and races I'm not in. This is my town too. This town is shrinking due to the egos of guys and the departure of the senisble, just and community-minded.

I'll make another promise. Rather than appoint more females to authority positions -- I'll eliminate authorities. One women doesn't feel better because another women is her overlord. Let's end the overlords. Let's end the authorities. Let's be democratic. Let's vote for our leaders. Let's give the power in the ballot box and then take it away if needed. But, let's be certain that the choices are not made for us in advance -- by some guys at the TV stations who set up the debate stage or at the UJF, or the Pgh Downtown Partnership, or even Just Harvest.

Holding closed door debates creates an artificial ceiling. Those who are keen to the ways of the world can see it. Hence, they don't get themselves in those kind of situations.

I have a mother, wife, mother-in-law, and four younger sisters. All are talented and exceptional women in many ways. All of them would rather suffer years of torture than run for public office -- such as what I've done and am doing. Running for mayor or state senate would be the last thing in the world for each of them. I'm certain that the same holds true for another 100,000 women who live in Pittsburgh.

If we as a community decided to respect all candidates, give all candidates full entry into forums, debates, and media, we'd be on the right track.

Bob O'Connor is NOT our mayor today because he didn't follow my advice in 2001.

Bill Peduto won't be our mayor in 2006 because he didn't follow my advice in 2005.

Our city's worst days are still ahead of us because of these fundamental flaws in our ethos.

Pittsburgh can't flourish when we hold onto the rich getting richer mentality.

Pittsburgh can flourish when everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

Putting more women onto the boards of authorities isn't good enough. Rather, we need to rid our landscape of authorities.

We need to go to the roots of the problems. Then we need to dig and contend with the challenges.

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