Wednesday, January 10, 2001


In Pittsburgh reports:
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."



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.

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