Monday, December 27, 2004

Next mayor must run with ball "Al Neri, editor of The Insider, a statewide political newsletter, said the perfect candidate will have to persuade voters that he or she is 'a different animal from Murphy and an agent of change for the better.'

An 'anti-Murphy,' Neri said.

Bingo! That fits me.

Knocking on doors, being able to be reached, holding and going to lots of community meetings --- are descriptions of what I'm about too.

'Mayor Murphy developed this whole administrative blockade so the average person in the community could not go to the mayor,' said Mary Ellen Hayden, lead organizer for the local chapter of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. 'It totally lifted the mayor up and away from the people, made him inaccessible.'

Murphy put up walls to protect himself as he couldn't rumble. He knew democracy was messy and he wanted to take the easy pathway with corporate welfare. It is easy to pick up the phone and talk to Rooney or talk to the Alcoa executive. It is hard to talk with the congregation of a church or twenty merchants along Fifth & Forbes.

Voters next year are going to want someone more like them to lead their city, political analysts say. -- Well, that's me in most instances. While I don't have season tickets, I do it one better. I've been know to be a vendor at the games and get in for free. I helped my Uncle Joe for a season or two, "Get your official, game day, souvenier, programs."

Hello: Voters still want a brainy leader, but one with the common touch. A Pittsburgh populist, in other words.

Have you been introduced to the campaign slogan, "We the people?"

Voters are saying: "Let's modernize Pittsburgh, but do it like a Pittsburgher does it," said John Verbanac, chairman of NeriVerbanac Public Affairs, which specializes in political issues. "They want a person who is a Pittsburgher, who understands our uniqueness and who can apply modern solutions and changes to who we are."

Right on.

Because the next mayor will need to answer to the oversight boards, and will have fewer resources, we can choose to pick a leader who has no intention of doing corporate welfare deals (there is no money anyway). I won't need to be sorry and make excuses to those seeking handouts. Plus, we'll be able to have the experienced oversight lords to lean upon on making the budget and finances tick. They'll be calling the shots anyway. And, we'll want someone who can get into the parks, get into play with the kids, get into volunteerism, get into sports and cheerleading and coaching and literacy.

We have toys here to play with among ourselves. We can make this place fun -- without building a downtown mall. I want to work with coaches, leagues, fields and families. That's the type of cheerleading we need.

A candidate will have to show he or she can deal with all that without being consumed by it. A viable candidate will be upbeat, a cheerleader who will lay out a program that excites residents about getting more involved in improving neighborhoods and solving problems.

Problem solving is about being creative and then being able to communicate. Plus, the communication goes in mini-cycles, not one-way.

"We could use a nice person with brain power," said Joseph Sabino Mistick....

I think that the "being nice" part is a little out of focus yet with JSM's comments. Murphy was too nice when it came to management of the city's contracts. He was too sweet with the corporate welfare. He was soft when he needed to be hard and hard when he needed to be soft. Personally, I'm not "nice" all the time. I'm hard in some instances. I'll be nice when I tell you -- you are off the team or your job is going to go to this other person because you're not doing what needs to be done. But, that isn't so nice. We need boldness. We need respect. We need tough-love. We need a coach -- Ditka like. We can cheer, but we can be down in the pit too and riding your back for another 10 reps or another set or more attention to detail.

When I expect this level of intensity, fair play, kindness, scholarship and effort from myself and my friends, then the same can be demanded from others that work with the system, operate in the neighborhoods and choose to live here and engage with our services.

It is about sincere respect. I treasure the worth and dignity of everyone. This includes the kids. Yes, kids, as in non-voters. And, those in the suburban reaches -- another non-voter population. Mayor Murphy has little respect for dissent and for the real treasures of Pittsburgh -- its people and its network of relationships.


Powerball said...

If Bob O'connor is elected all that will happen is the name plate will change. Let's hope some will step up and lead the city/

Anonymous said...

And how did you come up with that idea?