Monday, October 15, 2007

P-G coverage: Running is all uphill for Pittsburgh's 3rd-party candidates

Running is all uphill for Pittsburgh's 3rd-party candidates: "Running is all uphill for Pittsburgh's 3rd-party candidates CAMPAIGN 2007 Monday, October 15, 2007 By Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette David Adams has put up wanted posters accusing his electoral opponent of ducking debates.

Mark Rauterkus has filed ethics complaints against rivals.
We made the news today, oh boy.

There are a few points to make about the article, reposted here with comments throughout.

For voters, the Dave S, Dave A, Mark R, Mark R, Mark D makes for an interesting 'ticket.' There are only two names one needs to remember. I've been working with Dave A and Dave S on a regular basis. We're on the same page. I'm a team builder.

Meanwhile, the Republicans have never been cooperative -- even when I ran for Mayor as a Republican because I hated what Tom Murphy was doing to our city. By the way, my experience with the issues and throughout the years as a vigilant watchdog was overlooked.
David Schuilenburg has a Web site that includes a "Darlene Watch" listing what he views as his incumbent foe's missteps.

They're Pittsburgh's political insurgents, carrying third-party banners in uphill battles, hoping that unusual tactics and an unsettled climate yield Nov. 6 upsets. With no Republicans running for any city office other than mayor, they are the alternatives to the long-reigning Democrats.
I'm able to carry a third party banner, the LIBERTARIAN BANNER. Tony Oliva joins me in that effort. We have three slots for Libertarians. Dave S and Dave A are hardly holding a 3rd party banner. Dave A is 'no party.' Dave S is something like 'reform Democrat' or 'new Democrat' or 'Independent Democrat.'

To lump us all together under the "party banner" tag is a little weak. "Don't Put Me -- or US -- in a BOX." I tried to get them to join me in running as a "Libertarian" -- but each declined. They knew that goofy reporting would be forthcoming.
And they're eternal optimists.
Guilty. Furthermore, I think we are 'idealists' and mostly optimists who have faith in our fellow citizens and voters.

Only those who think that they can change the world are the ones who do change the world. Those that think make the first step. But we who think and have the energy of action are the real change agents. One needs to be an optimist to run for public office. One needs to be an optimist to stand and fight. One needs to be an optimist to live in the city, especially with a family.

By the way, I've helped to change the city in a number of ways. We have won some battles. We have turned the tide in some domains. I am optimistic that my involvement has made Pittsburgh a better city and region.
"If I can get 1,500 kids to come out to vote, I'll win this election," said Mr. Adams, the independent candidate for the seat being vacated by Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle.

Mr. Adams, 49, of East Hills, faces the Rev. Ricky Burgess, who won the Democratic primary in May.

Mr. Adams has tried to paint Mr. Burgess, 50, of North Point Breeze, as a pawn of outside interests and white gentrifiers. Both men are African-American.

"Mr. Burgess has the idea that other people can solve our problems," Mr. Adams said. "There's a plan to take over the 9th District, to push us out."

The Democrat has countered that his opponent is too polarizing.

"This district is not an African-American district," said Mr. Burgess. "This is a peoples' district. ... You want to bring more people into the district, not just black people."
Something further from the truth has never been said about David C. Adams -- and it figures it would come from a challenger like Burgess. Mr. Burgess is using double-speak. But, he won't show up for a debate. Mr. Burgess tells the Post-Gazette editorial board one thing. Yet, he tells neighborhood groups another.
Both say crime is the key issue in the district, which covers the city's northeast corner.

Mr. Burgess would use crime data to identify areas to be targeted with police activity and social services, the effort advised by churches serving as the "liaison between the police and the community. ... We don't want tanks and militia indiscriminately coming down the streets."

He wants to fight crime while encouraging job development and housing construction.
Not really. Burgess is talking about using POLICE RAIDS. The talk we given witness too from Burgess about crime is alarming.
Mr. Adams said before any new development or housing push starts, crime has to be cut by 40 percent. He wants teams of "surveyors" to canvass every city neighborhood identifying their needs, followed by police cooperation with five-person community advisory committees to craft action plans.

His proposal calls for effective social service programs to be advertised in a resource guide, offenders to be given second chances and efforts to promote healthy living.
Exactly. David Adams is pushing for and PULLING for real community driven interactions with the police. This is what it is going to take. The people have to get involved, and they need to trust those in charge. They will be able to know that Dave C. Adams is with them, for them and going to stand tall to the troubles, both within the force and within the streets.

David's approach is thought out. It is calculated. It is full of hard work. It is necessary. And, above all, it is a plan of change that cuts the the root issue. The cancer there now is the disengaged citizens. "Snitching" is negative. That has to change.

Mr. Rauterkus, a 48-year-old volunteer swim coach from the South Side, is running for both City Council and controller as a Libertarian.
I'm a volunteer who has been a paid coach. Rich Lord took a cheap shot there. "Rauterkus is a professional swim coach that also volunteers to lead his son's school swim team." We had practice last night (Sundays from 6:30 to 7:30 pm) with 19 kids at the Oliver Bath House. I've stepped away from coaching this fall to run full-time campaigns. In September I was offered another job with another team to return to the day-to-day coaching.

The repeat candidate faces two Democrats, Allegheny County Prothonotary Michael Lamb in the controller's race and interior designer Bruce Kraus in the council race to represent the South Side, nearby hilltop neighborhoods and parts of Oakland.
Now the P-G calls me a repeat candidate. Both my opponents are 'repeat candidates.' I ran for mayor, so did Lamb. I ran for city council, so did Kraus. Wonder if Kraus is a 'volunteer painter' when he covers graffiti.

One does what one is called to do in life. Kraus does wallpaper and paints. That makes him good at painting, rose colored glasses optional. I work with kids. I'm called to recreational leadership and to volunteer as a coach. Voters get to choose.

Meanwhile, Lamb is a gentle bureaucrat from the dominant party. He'll be happy to have others on the Ethics Hearing Board tell him what is right and wrong. He'll be happy to report to the party bosses or foundation wire pullers as to what to do, who to hire, and when to make waves -- or not. I think we need someone in city hall where citizens can get a grip on this town's policies. We need a controller who cares about PERFORMANCE.
Though neither Mr. Lamb nor Mr. Kraus is a city employee yet, Mr. Rauterkus has filed complaints against both with the Ethics Hearing Board, which is empowered to review actions of city officials and workers. Both say the complaints are groundless.

Mr. Rauterkus accuses Mr. Lamb of a conflict of interest by being involved in the A+ Schools reform group while running for a post that oversees city and school district finances.

"If I'm fortunate enough to win this election, I plan to seek the advice and opinion of the Ethics Hearing Board on what a conflict is and isn't," Mr. Lamb said. He'll resign from any board that conflicts with his office, he said.

Mr. Rauterkus complains that Mr. Kraus has tried to keep current Councilman Jeff Koch, who lost the Democratic primary, from getting another city job.

Mr. Kraus called that "rumor and innuendo," and said he hopes Mr. Koch gets "any job he is qualified for, for as long as he chooses to work."
Rich Lord must be upset at the editor's editing of this section. I know he'd never do such a hatchet job with gross omissions. I put THREE complaints to the Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board.

The main target was the Ethics Hearing Board itself. They are the most unethical with the confidentiality aspects and damages that can be delivered against citizens that have the courage to raise a complaint.

My complaints have now come into view with the board. They gave fleeting mention of how the code needs to be overhauled and the confidentiality elements need examination.

Without the other examples where Kraus and Lamb were targets, my compaints could have been knocked out without the necessary 'standing.' More needs to be done with ethics in the city. I have the mindset and capacity to stand and fight. Others told me that the Ethics Hearing Board was a joke. I have to agree. But, to let the joke linger without pushing it into a serious discussion would be equally troubling.

The complaints I filed are clearly visible at However, the coverage from the Post-Gazette only went into the P-G blog, Early Returns, not into the newspaper. The City Paper covered the story. (add links)

As to the Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board scope, I feel that it needs to be willing to examine cases that deal with candidates, not only employees. Candidates and campaigns are perhaps the one area where the most mud and trouble unfolds. And, it is the one place where voters have the upper hand to oust bad politicians and parties. If the Ethics Hearing Board only has a mandate to focus on employees, then it is only a puppet of the regime in power, not the people.

The Ethics Hearing Board needs to be 'proactive' and not only 'reactive.' Heck, the golf saga with Luke Ravenstahl won't be settled until the first of the year. If two days of golf tie up the Ethics Hearing Board for more than six months, how responsive can they be with more pressing issues. We can't lead by only looking into the rear view mirror. We need to move the city 'forward' -- so to speak. Let's not make 'ethics' and 'end of the day' experience. We need to consider ethics in real time: morning, noon and night. We need ethical discussions to dive into the future as well as the past.

I want a city that can be 'proactive.' Watchdogs are proactive tools. A controller can be 'proactive.' We need to get a grip on this city in proactive ways -- before the assets are torn down, before the money is spent, before the kids are shot, before the jails are overcrowded, before our vets return home from Iraq to rehab.
Mr. Rauterkus' primary platform plank is improving parks and youth programs. He wants to create a new city-county parks district, with elected trustees who would take parks leadership "off of Grant Street."

"What works for me is freedom and liberties," he said. That means no subsidies for skyscrapers or home rehabilitations, a return to the city's pre-2001 system of taxing land at a higher rate than buildings and no security camera systems in neighborhoods.
The "home rehab" quote isn't 100% complete. I say that we should not do tax breaks for home fix-ups in certain neighborhoods and not others. No unfair, special interest tax breaks. However, the policy that I advocate, the land tax, is all about a city-wide home rehab tax break. Everyone gets a tax break for fixing up their properties when the taxes are only calculated upon the land. I don't want to tax the buildings. I only want to tax the land. That is the direction we should go and return to.

If one has a house and adds an addition, a sun-room, a new deck, a new porch -- whatever -- great. They'd get a tax break under my plan. The home owners who fix up properties under today's plan get punished with higher taxes. That's wrong.

The land tax is all about home rehabilitations for everyone, including tax breaks. The taxes stay the same because the land hasn't changed.

Furthermore, I'm not saying 'no security cameras in neighborhoods.' I'm saying that we need security cameras. However, I want to point all the security cameras at the politicians, public meetings, treasury, police, public works employees and all authorities. We'll need a lot of cameras to cover that. We've got to get away from the back-room deals. We need to cut through the 'smoky city' legacy. Then, after all the government elements are fully monitored, then let's talk about pointing cameras at citizens.

"If all of the cameras that arrive in town are pointed at the public officials, as well as the public treasury, then I would welcome them," he said.
Like other third-party candidates, he's running on the cheap.
Cheap. Yeah, right. Cheap shot. I'm prudent. I'm not going to run a campaign that costs lots of money and racks up a lot of debt. Likewise, I'm not going to govern in a way that generates debt and costly spending.

I'm running a campaign that is visible. I'm hyper in my presence and willingness to debate. I'm able to leverage the internet for outreach and to sustain discussions. I'm not hunkered down doing as little as possible such as my opponents -- and Ricky Burgess.
He's a regular speaker during council's televised public comment periods, an Internet blogger and a dogged distributor of campaign DVDs that, he said, cost him around 23 cents each.
I also speak to county council, state hearings, Pgh Ethics Hearing Board (not on TV), unions that will have me, and other community meetings -- not on tv.
Mr. Schuilenburg, 34, of Summer Hill, is a city 911 dispatcher trying to unseat Councilwoman Darlene Harris, who won the seat in a special election a year ago. He finished sixth in that race, and is again running as an independent.

His Web site promises detailed plans on attracting homeowners, combatting crime, reforming government and encouraging development, but details were not posted by Friday.

His campaign seems focused on painting Ms. Harris, a former school board member and longtime Democratic Committee ward chairwoman, as old school. His Web site proclaims that "the status quo will no longer be tolerated by citizens, and change to what has become the norm in [traditional] leadership in the City-County Building is now desired."
Go, Dave, Go!
From people & vips
The insurgents see hope in May's primary election, which saw three incumbents losing Democratic primaries. If that tumult continues, it will be the unexpected result of unusual tactics.
Unusual tactics -- give me a break. Well, I guess it is 'unusual' to stand tall, to be so confident because the others are so weak at heart and mind, and to champion citizen candidates working for everyday opportunities.
Rich Lord can be reached at or 412-263-1542.
At least the article didn't have a mention of the other 'third party candidate' seeking to win a seat on Allegheny County Council, David Tessitor. He is another Dave. He is NOT a member of either the D or R party. It will be interesting to see if he gets any coverage for that at-large seat on Allegheny County Council.

Click image for a larger view.
From Mark Rauterkus


Anonymous said...

Fact check:
1. You stated that it is an unfair characterization to call David Adams polarizing, but does he have plan for improving the quality of life in all the 9th council districts? Additionally, one of Adams major initiatives is "cultural pride." Is that meant for all of district 9s neighborhoods?

2. I believe Rev. Burgess has agree to participate in a debate later this month, so saying he won't show up for a debate is a bold-face lie.

3. You say Rev. Burgess is engaging in double speak, but how would you know that? Do you live in the neighborhoods in the 9th district? have you been in meeting were Rev. Burgess has been contradictory? I may be mistaken, but I would imagine not.

4. Can you take Burgess at his word? If the man says he wants to build a relationship between communities, community stake holders, and the police, who are you to say that he is lying?

In the future, please be a little more careful about your characterizations of our cities residents and candidates.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Cultural pride works for everyone.

The host, date, time, and location of the debate is news to me. It is a belief. And, unfounded until we get specifics and he shows.

I've been to D9 debates. I don't live there -- but go there. Imagine again.

And, imagine what he said to the PG editors is in conflict to what he says to the neighborhood groups.

I'm not sure I can take Burgess at his word. We couldn't take Twanda Carlise at her word. We can't trust city council. We can't trust them with our money. I'm going to be right more than not by being skeptical.

And, I'm sorta careful as to what I post. I care. And, I am open to more insights that are detailed.