Tuesday, April 26, 2005

FF Union's Joe King for Mayor?

This is Tom's posting / editorial.
It's been rumored that Joe King, head of the Firefighter's Union, will run for Mayor as an Independent.

That would be disastrous for the vast majority of the public, who are not city workers.

King is a "union only" type of guy. Which is good for his job. It's a terrible possibility for the city, as 98% of the population is not of a "special interest group." A list of the highest paid city employees recently printed in the Pittsburgh Business Times (I've heard that it was in the P-G as well) is flush with Firefighter hierarchy. Some argue that that's one of the reasons why the city's in its current financial mess.

Belt tightening, making "tough" decisions and making innovative initiatives (and having the wherewithal to pull it off) is the key to this race. I have opinions on the current field of candidates, but that's for another blog rant. However, Mr. King, while an excellent representative for his union (if the union wants him to continue in that role, that's where he's best served), has not publicly exhibited the ability to take "shots to the gut" with much aplomb.

And the next Mayor of Pittsburgh will certainly be taking shots to areas of the body lower than the waistline for many years to come.


Mark Rauterkus said...

I like the idea of Joe King running for mayor as an Indie. I like the idea for a few reasons.

#1.We need to break the done deal mentality. Conventional wisdom says that Pittsburgh picks its mayor in the spring D primary. We can think with half a brain, but that is WRONG. We have a primary AND a general election. The race that counts most is in November. Joe's entry into the race could kick up some extra cycles for the general election.

#2. Perhaps Joe's jump (rumor still?) into the race will call out others to do the same. We need great candidates. We need great options.

#3. Perhaps Joe's entry into the race will kick up some extra MEDIA coverage. Joe King is good in front of a camera. The last thing the media wants is a tv debate that is FLAT as an old newspaper or an old order of french fries.

#4. I know that the union has had some ideas as to what to do with the city too. Perhaps Joe's ideas can come out in full view for others to see. We need to put everything onto the table.

I do think many of the ideas and issues will be half-baked -- but -- I'm open minded. Let's see. I've failed to get the ideas out of their office and Joe in the past. Perhaps a public campaign will serve as a can opener. ??

I also doubt that my support for Joe's entry in the race would transfer into support for votes for Joe as mayor. Those are different elements in my view. I can favor the one and not the other.

Anonymous said...

King won't be running for Mayor.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Thanks for the feedback. Time will tell.

Thinking further, I expect Mr. King would need to take a break from his role in the union's leadership if he was serious about the race for that office.

I also have heard in the past that Joe Rossi, Teamsters Leader (in some capacity) was thinking about a run for mayor. But that was perhaps 9 months ago.

Thomas Leturgey said...

Don't particularly like the idea of a dozen "Independent" candidates, some with an ax to grind, or "special interest" candidates. There's no responsibility by the media to cover EVERY Tom, Dick or Harry of self-appointment.

Guys like Mark Rauterkus are breaths of fresh air who "shake things up" regardless of his race.

However, with the "heir apparent" Democrat and a so-far strong Republican (something tells me Joe's presence will strengthen in the Fall after the summer-long political vacation...that is, if Joe continues to stay active...this could be the most interesting Fall election the city has seen in some time.

Special Interests need not apply.

That said, a hypothetical situation: if Joe King and Bob O'Connor (for argument's sake, let's say he wins the Primary) blast at each other enough come November, the "neither of those guys" vote could fall onto the "other" Joe.

Sorry Mark: "#4. I know that the union has had some ideas as to what to do with the city too. Perhaps Joe's ideas can come out in full view for others to see. We need to put everything onto the table." THAT'S NOTHING BUT BAD NEWS.