Tuesday, February 08, 2005

An Open Letter to the voters in Allegheny County, and more

Voters in Allegheny County,
Politicians in Harrisburg, and
Loyal Opponents in the race for Pennsylvania Senate (42nd District)

Mark Rauterkus, Libertarian,
Mark@Rauterkus.com, 412 298 3432

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

The party switch of state rep, Michael Diven, from Democrat to Republican provided glee for some party hacks. Before David Jayson, (*) Republican from Scott Township, is elbowed out of the race, allow some time to think again.

* See comments as this is a fluid story.

I'm biased. I'm a participant in the race for the senator's office. I'd love to be the one to replace Jack Wagner, D., who is now PA's Auditor General. My perspectives are not rooted in selfishness. Already, a victory came by requesting the special election date as May 17, 2005. My hopes in a “dual election” (same day for both primary as special election) are curtailed. Nonetheless, this schedule saves $200,000 and nets thousands of hours of productivity for citizens of the region.

I aim to trumpet the best interests of the region's, not my own. So please, Republican friends, consider these points:

Diven, pushed away from the Democrats, figured he couldn't win as an Independent. Diven's attraction to Republican ideals and being a Republican is only an afterthought.

I watched Diven while he was on city council. Diven was my state rep. Plus, I have been a city Republican and experienced races for office from the R's camp. The new party for Diven comes because of his past campaign debt, his ambitions and a risk-free position. If Diven tanks in the state senate race, he still has his job and is flush with state Republican money in his campaign chest.

Diven's party switch gives city Republicans, as reported, a “toehold” in the legislature. Keep the gain. Don't dance away from the new responsibility with a senate campaign.

A Diven campaign in the spring takes him out of the power loop in Harrisburg. The gain is worthless. Diven has been on the back-bench among the Democrats in the house. He shouldn't be ejected from the realm of state affairs now. Lost time is gone forever.

Should Diven get lucky and win the senate seat for himself, that's good for Diven. He'd benefit and depart the House. But, no other Republican has much of an opportunity to reclaim the house seat.

Democrats are determined to drive Diven out of office and fill the races in the future with capable candidates. Diven can't lead as he bounces among offices and parties. Consider the void Diven could create. Diven might switch back after learning he can't play well with others in the senate.

Diven needs to do his part to hold the seat for his new party. Diven can educate other Republicans that aspire to that role. Diven's time to produce, not campaign, comes now. Diven's been a back-bench player in Harrisburg and in city council.

Perhaps Diven could lead a flawless race for senate if he was afforded two years to prepare. Extra time is needed to allow Diven to split from Tom Murphy and the backlash that brews in 2005. Diven and Murphy have been hand-in-hand throughout the past decade. Both are abrasive and with a list of detractors in Harrisburg. A Diven race in 2005 is sure to cement Diven connection to Murphy and land Diven in the private sector. The Diven and Murphy public records and issues are similar.

Diven's party change is but a fluke and not the tip of a romanticize red-state shift for Pittsburgh. The next politician won't run as a Democrat, win, and then switch to Republican too.

If locals choose to keep Diven in the house as a Republican, greatness could emerge. Diven, the R, could win the PA senate seat in two years as it comes open again if Diven does a great job in the house throughout 2005 and 2006. In two years, the Rs could have a great candidate ready to run and fill Diven's present seat. Diven needs local Rs on his house staff.

From his house position, Diven needs to be a player in the 2005 Mayor's race -- on behalf of Independent challengers sure to emerge.

My hope is that the local republicans give the nomination for the special election to David Jayson so he can learn, build contacts, and be an asset in the future. I'll teach Jayson about the city while campaigning. Jayson brings new money and energy to the landscape while Diven was just in debt.

The guarantee of support of Diven's Democratic voters of the past for a Republican Diven is a false assumption. Many Democrats in Diven's district were already against him. The expected clan war between the old-party candidates could get ugly rather quickly. Reform minded voters looking for depth and scope are going to break with me and newer, positive Libertarian perspectives.

Diven is not going to energize new supporters on the R side. Dismay could turn to outrage as Diven's record comes to light.

No glee would occur within the city's Republican ranks if Tom Murphy switched from Democrat to Republican and ran for the state senate. Murphy's high name identification can't overcome his acts in public office. Likewise with Diven.

As a Libertarian candidate, my chances of victory are much better if I face Diven. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Diven brings attention to the race. Diven's unmistakable past, his stance on downtown development and his buddy-buddy ways with Tom Murphy are golden opportunities for cast him as Goliath. However, for the sake of the greater community, I'd rather have David Jayson as the GOP contestant.

Harrisburg gave Pittsburgh two oversight boards, a bogus bailout, gambling, fleeting transit funding and budget madness. Harrisburg's half-baked plan with Diven's switch and senate run is sure to terminate Diven's new toehold. Michael Diven, please serve in the the house on the R's side and work for those who elected you.

Meanwhile, another wrinkle in the race comes from the other old party. Wayne Fontana, Democrat, is seeking his party's endorsement. However, a county council rule calls for its members to resign as one becomes a candidate for another office. That section of the charter was validated twice in recent years at the polls. When is Fontana going to step down?

I'm not in favor of restrictions on freedom for citizens. But, in the case of a public official, I think rules that limit powers are necessary.


Mark Rauterkus said...


Yes its true, Jason has dropped out. Joe Scoicia has entered the race. He is a Bellvue Boro Councilman.

Anonymous said...


…In the vacated State Senate seat once inhabited by Jack Wagner curb talk has the nod pointing more towards the direction of Row Office holder Eileen Wagner instead of the original choices; County Councilman Wayne Fontana or the other Row Office member, John Weinstein.  Now in case you are not up to speed in the Wagner family tree, Eileen is Auditor General Jack Wagner’s sister…apparently Fontana and Weinstein are looking less than attractive in those neighborhoods than first thought…and the word hitting the curb is that Jack is none too pleased about this turn of events in his domain... all of this inside trauma and turmoil is being created because of a wee little defection over the Beechview Wall by one Michael Diven.