Thursday, January 19, 2006

Shit rolls downhill and other comments about the big time stumbles from St. Clair's candidate forum

"Shit rolls downhill!" was stated on a couple of instances from a citizen as many other grumbles were expressed as the 24-year old, Green Party Candidate for city council presented at a candidate forum before a packed house in St. Clair. Jason Phillips even said, "Don't nail me to a cross here."

Jason's campaign went poof. Others to lesser degrees got cooked as well. There were a number of show stoppers to dwell upon.

All in all, it was a great night for me and my campaign as I didn't get beat up at all. People were most respectful of the stances I displayed and were opened to further discussion and exploration. Everyone in the audience was given a CD package for later listening and/or playing on their home PCs.

I'm sure Jason was suprised at the negativitity and blunt force dispair that was slung his way. For him it might have been like one of those nightmares you have when you were an adolescent and dreamed you had to take a big test in high school -- but didn't have anything on execpt a bow-tie.

To bad the writters from the tv show, The Art of News, were not there with the film crew.

But really, Jason deserved it. And, the block watch audience was very civil. They were polite. They just lit him up like a christmas tree by tossing a few switches and gave the appropriate "ohhs, and awwes."

This wasn't a total melt down by Jason, but he is now running on four flat ties in a pick-up truck with Ohio license plates. Since it rolls downhill, I'm sure he was able to drift home after last night's bar-b-q.

Blow-by-blow: First, Jason patted himself on the back for being the media star that he is. (gulp) Then he jumped into the hole he dug by taking all the credit for getting the college kids the option of voting in the booth on March 14. That went over poorly. Second, to add insult to injury, Jason framed the issue about community wide understanding of drug sales in the neighborhood. Jason has some first hand experiences as he lived on a near-by street. Upstairs in another apartment, visitors at all times of the day and night would come and go. Everyone knew they were dealing. So, Jason voted with his feet. He moved to the South Side flats apartment, lower rent. Yeah, right. Hence the name of this post.

Jason removed himself from a bad situation. But this situation is home for the people at the meeting and throughout St. Clair. Jason hit the problem square on the head of the nail -- and then punched the listeners in the gut with his solution.

It does (or did) roll downhill. Jason didn't buck up.

Jason is young. He'll live to fight another day. He might be a Jedi in the future.

The air left the room when Pat Sweeney offered a bit of voter number insights from the back of the room. The students at Pitt turned out in good numbers to cast votes for the Presidential election. But only 34 of them voted when Bob O'Connor was up in November. So, Bob O'Connor got something like 1.5 to 2 percent of the sway that John Kerry delivered over at Pitt's Towers. Jason might have some buddies in Oakland, being the media star that he his, so we hear, but given Patt's technical history of trends, we're left to think that the spring break end run might net 30 votes for Jason.

Interestingly, Pat Sweeney, an attorney with the public defender's office chimed in with the voter numbers in response from an audience question -- on behalf of the case being made with Jason. Pat defends the bad guys. Pat gets them back out on the street. Those points were not lost upon the people in the audience -- and Pat got his share of heat from the crowd too.

Mr. Sweeney is a big boy who makes a few good ethical, legal and spin-mister shots. He wins a lot of cases, I'm sure, so getting these bad guys into jail and off the streets is a whole lot harder given the attitudes and short-handedness of the police, the retired institutional knowledge that hit the force recently, and the shake-up of the zone commanders.

The citizens and the other candidates are beating up on the police because of crime and the little crimes -- like getting beat up. People don't feel safe in their homes yet alone on a walk to the neighborhood business district that isn't really there anymore.

Pat didn't win any votes from his realm as a public defender. Not in my opinion. He might have earned a few leads however. One woman said, "Hey, I might need you one day." She must have been thinking about how she would like to score a revenge on an absent land-lord or a rude renter/pusher/blight-builder. So, Pat, it is good to have you stay put in the public defenders office -- as revenge is sweet. And, with you there, getting off the hook is more probable and affordable.

Then comes the clincher of the night, when it comes to police. Bruce Kraus. Bruce, Bruce, Bruce. Yes, there are two in the race.

Bruce, so we are told, fought vo-sif-er-is-ly to keep the Zone 3 Police Station where it was three years ago. Okay. Now that parking is totally a mess (something he had a big hand in creating too) he thinks that the police station should be moved. So he's doing this flip flop on the police station because of equipment and because he remembers it being built way back in the early 60s. Bear with this as it gets better, beyond the twists in logic. The place he'd move the station to is, (drum roll please....) Mt. Oliver. Yep, we'd annex that building and put the Zone 3 police station behind that big parking lot ex supermarket location. So the city is going to acquire a piece of Mt. Oliver for the police station for Zone 3. Of course, there would be a lot of town hall meetings.

All that 'hands on vision is getting us right where we don't want to be' if you ask me.

I was floored. I stood, made a parting comment and departed. I hadn't packed a boogie board for my campaign manager to surf home upon. There was a tidal wave of deep brown stuff about to swish downhill. I was ready to hop upon my ironing board as a surf-board -- but she would have been awash in that crud of empty promises.

On top of all this, Bruce Krause, as a city council member, you can't control the mayor nor the mayor's decision to relocate a police station, yet alone a zone commander. As proof, Alan Hertzberg was on council in a district when the Zone 4 police station closed. Hertzberg didn't want that station to close. They had legal standing to keep it open as well. But, it didn't matter.

Tom Murphy, mayor, the guy who mentioned Ed Jacob name from the podium at the budget address, closed the police station. City council couldn't do squat. Same too for the story unfolding about the re-shuffling of police captains.

Some citizens groups (Lawrenceville United, Citizens in the Strip) love their captain and don't want a new one. They've made strides in recent years and don't want to turn back the clock with a shake-up and new stick-ups -- like 3 and 4 years ago.

Council folks who don't see the big picture are going to keep digging a hole for the city. We need to lay the shovel down. We need a big-picture person on council now -- as our 9th councilman.

Another question was asked to Kraus, a Ricciardi knock off question: "Will you (keep) bring(ing) ice-cream to the seniors?" Kraus said, "If that's what you want." So far, Kraus has been bringing sheet cakes. He had better get on his game. There were plenty of sweets in the room last night. The politicians were not needed to provide them. The people, themselves, did a fine job of providing for their sweet tooth.

Oh, there was more. I've not even talked about my opening. I followed the other guy with the bow tie and lit into his statement in the first breath. He had just spoken. He was WRONG, so WRONG. And, that reply I made cuts to the big issues here.

I live on the South Side. The South Side gets everything. I'm not happy. I have not been happy. Go figure.

I got to get the kids to school now.

The room was filled with skeptical people, angry at the way things have gone. They feel as if they have gotten the short end of the stick. And, they are right. I agree with their skeptical positions. I agree and stand with them in distain for situations of the present and recent past. We are not better than we were.

Where I part company with others in the field of candidates is HOW we deal with real solutions.

Case in point: The "winner take all" attitude and statement is WRONG. Case in point #2: I was the ONLY one to mention the $18-million TIF to PNC for a downtown office development.


Anonymous said...

Really no need for the shocking "shit" references time and time again.

No one knows who Jason Phillips is and fewer are going to vote for a Green Party candidate, so any added press for a nowhere candidate is non-productive.

Do we have an updated debate schedule on this site?

Can't find my proper username or password anymore. TL

Anonymous said...

How is that shocking TL?

Anonymous said...

Mark is a smart guy who doesn't need to use the "shit" phrase over and over.

As we all know, anyone who depends on vulgarities belongs in the 98-IQ crowd.

Peppered ocassionally (especially for punctuation or comedy), yes. Using it in this context, just plain dumb.

Still can't find the password. TL

e b bortz said...

Cheap (as in unfair) shots at Jason Phillips and the Green Party
will do nothing to offer clarity
on the critical issues confronting Pittsburgh. Maybe it's ignorance, or just deliberate dismissal, that lets you think that the Greens had no track record on opposing TIFs
(Tax Incremental Financing) previously. Not true. Greens
across the country (even the more
than 220 elected officials) have had plenty of experience and credibility on this issue. In fact, look no further than our recent mayoral candidate Titus North...he spoke many times about TIFs and other forms of corporate welfare. We have called for the large non-profit corporations to pay their fair share toward Pgh's fiscal survival...UPMC for example should be contributing funds or services equal to what they might pay in property taxes which they are exempt from. What's your position on this idea Mark (and others)?
Ed Bortz
Secretary, Green Party of Allegheny County

Mark Rauterkus said...

The shots are fair as that is what happened. And, the those shots were not of my making.

The candidate who is now a Green and not a Dem has NOT talked about TIFs. He didn't that night. He is welcome to do so. Perhaps you should come hear him speak or perhaps you should coach him.

I am aware of the Green Party's track record on opposition to TIFs. I walked in those shoes too. But, the problem is in this dance, that candidate isn't in the groove.

The Green creditability on this issue isn't being earned in this candidate.

Titus isn't in this campaign.

As for UPMC, I fought against their land-grab on the South Side in 1999. I would halt all non-profit land expansion in the city and then make a shrinkage of the footprint in a year-by-year basis.