Monday, March 21, 2005


A number of points need to be challenged in Delano's story about the Mayor's race. Pittsburgh's Dems pick their mayor candidate for the Dem's nominee in May -- they don't get to embrace the next mayor until after the November 2005 general election.

Hop is an aid to O'Connor. Conventional wisdom from my perspective goes the othr way from what Delano reports. The concept is to divide and win. O'Connor would rather have a crowd in the field of challengers rather than a single opponent.

The flood of entries into the Dem's mayor race is a sign of discontent. When people are upset they'll be motivated to run themselves.

As for Lamb and Peduto, both have troubles. Lamb is in the wrong race. Lamb should have run for PA Senate. He'd make a better candidate than Fontana. Even Lamb as an Indie would do better than Fontana.

Michael Lamb has exactly one week to get his act together and pass the nomination papers so he can enter the PA Senate race as an Independent. To enter the race, the candidate needs nearly 900 signatures. He'd need to shoot for 1,000 or more to play it on the safe side. Given 20 volunteers, each would need to get 50 signatures. Lamb would be able to do the job in about two days. One rule of thumb is says 15 per hour makes a decent work outcome.

I'd welcome Michael Lamb into the PA Senate race, now. Lamb should have been putting his energy into this race months ago. The knock on the Lamb vision would make a hurdle. But Lamb could bypass the late entry with some interesting re-tooling and alliances as an Independent.

Lamb's been asked by others with more sway to switch out of the Mayor's race and go for the open PA Senate race. But I'm the only one in the PA Senate race who is doing the asking in public. Furthermore, I'm in the race where he should be.

Perhaps Lamb's unwillingness to switch to the PA Senate race is due to his brazen hope that he'll be able to win the Mayor's race? The Trib's numbers need to be replayed in a few other polls and formats to give more weight to the realm of possibility for Lamb in the Dem's Mayor's Race outcome.

Delano wrote:

With just eight weeks to go before Pittsburgh Democrats embrace their next mayor, nothing seems to be stopping the impression that former county council president Bob O'Connor has momentum in his race against county prothonotary Michael Lamb and city councilman Bill Peduto. The problem, of course, is that nobody really knows much more than a Tribune Review poll conducted by Susquehanna Polling & Research in early March. That poll gave O'Connor 51 percent, 14 percent for Lamb, 12 percent for Peduto, and 23 percent undecided.

Is the race for mayor of Pittsburgh over? Maybe . . . unless Lamb or Peduto does something soon that really shakes up the race. Last week Lamb tried by taking on O'Connor directly, alleging that the former city council president was partially responsible for the city's fiscal crisis. During a recent debate, Lamb said to O'Connor, “You say you have a ‘vibrant and far reaching’ new plan to put Pittsburgh on the right track, but in the past we have seen the Mayor and the members of City Council make decisions that have brought us to the brink of bankruptcy. While you were President of City Council, city budgets increased by $48 million. Why should the people of Pittsburgh believe that as mayor you will do anything to put the city back on the right track, when all we have heard from you is a proposal for an expensive new streetcar system from Downtown Pittsburgh to Oakland?”

If Lamb really wants city Democrats to hold O'Connor responsible for the city's mess, he will have to get that message up on television and/or out in direct mail pretty darn quick. Time is running out for Lamb and Peduto, not because eight weeks is too short a time to make a difference, but because there is no sense among the general public that O'Connor (who has been running for this post for eight years) is unfit for this office. This race has always been Bob O'Connor's to lose, but so far his opponents have not given city residents any compelling reasons why O'Connor should not be mayor.

By the way, the race for mayor now has an African American candidate: Louis "Hop" Kendrick. Kendrick tells me that he may be black, but he is not the black candidate. He is running to refute notions that Pittsburgh is the "most racist city in America" and that "Pittsburgh's blacks are the most docile blacks" in the country. He says both portrayals are false, and his candidacy will prove it. Kendrick, who has a weekly column in the New Pittsburgh Courier and works for Allegheny County as a consultant to the minority disadvantaged business program, says he will spend no money in this race.

African Americans make up just over a fifth of the Democratic voting electorate in the city of Pittsburgh and, if united, can have an important impact. Conventional wisdom is that Kendrick hurts O'Connor because O'Connor has had some support in the African American community over the years. Still, no one thinks a candidate who spends nothing can make much of an inroad.

Unless and until his opponents go on the attack on television and radio in a convincing and effective manner, Bob O'Connor will be the next mayor of Pittsburgh.

Neither Lamb nor Peduto will go on any attack of O'Connor. They can't because they are both too young. An attack could be effective -- or it could backfire. Lamb and Peduto are playing it safe and are expected to linger around the race to build their resumes and get practice in the race. For either Lamb or Pedutor to offend O'Connor and his pals before O'Connor steps into the mayor's race is sure to hurt in the years to come after O'Connor becomes Mayor, should that come to pass.

The yawn will sustain itself.

Furthermore, Hop got into the race to knock out two others who have more vocal expressions -- Mark Brentley and Harry Liller. Brentley toyed with a dual run, for city council and mayor. He let loose on a rant before city council as Dr. John Thompson got an award as he finished his tenure at Pgh Public School's superintendent. Meanwhile, Liller didn't get onto the ballot as pages of petition signatures evaporated in a Homewood church with Hop's arrival into the race.

Hop is a buffer with a government job and a pledge to spend $0. Hop makes a perfect wet blanket on the sparks of others.

I miss Leroy Hodge.

No comments: