Saturday, June 23, 2007

Meeting of the Marks, plus, Bits & Bytes in Biz: DeSantis and Mobile Fusion's fulltime boss, now

Mark the occasion. I was able to visit with Mark DeSantis today. Two Marks. Two with strong political opinions. We agree and understand that our city, the City of Pittsburgh, is on the brink.

I took a few notes. But, a real interview with all sorts of fact-finding can unfold elsewhere. Mine, now, is a hype posting. We gathered. We talked. Little else is going to come of this update posting. We didn't do any 'Vulcan Mind Melt' nor even 'Have a Good Sandwich Tuna Melt.' Our schedules merged with face-time for an hour. Discussions began.

I ran for Mayor in the primary in 2001 in the GOP party. I gave him some of my insights. Meanwhile, I listened to what he had to bring.

We agree that the present mayor is out of time. The sky is falling. The city is half of what it used to be. He predicted that the city would be legally bankrupt in two or three years unless something is done. And, he doesn't see anything being done from Luke Ravenstahl's administration.

I said that we (naysayers and I) had been talking about the financial distress of the city since 1999. When Dr. Carmine and I were running (2001), we predicted the financial collaps of the city. Ours was a near term warning as well. But, it didn't resonate. We got oversight, thanks to Tom Murphy and the city's one-party rule, as we predicted, two short years later.

The city is going to go bankrupt. It already, nearly, has. Nothing is better. Ho hum. That prediction and situation is grave -- but it isn't going to win an election.

The city doesn't have any more tricks. Phantom budgets and phantom revenues are, we hope, a thing of the past.

We agree that things are bad. But, I'm not sure that the message of "Oh My Gosh -- Life Sucks for City Government" is going to convert to changes on Grant Street in the Mayor's office. It counts. Some votes will flip with the understanding that 'enough is enough.'

DeSantis is confident that he offers a range of experiences and maturity that isn't within our young mayor. Luke being Luke coupled with the condition of the city presents a formula for getting more voters. The mayor's office, in a time of pressing crisis, is not the place for on the job training.

I agree with DeSantis: Luke Ravenstahl will make serious mistakes every month. These blunders, big and small, will be visible and drag down his popularity. This city can't afford mistakes. City voters will tune into the trends from this administration's tenure.

Furthermore, doing nothing is perhaps the most serious mistake Luke Ravenstahl could make.

Thank goodness for the forward thinking City Council and its cat legislation, said DeSantis. (That's his joke. It was funny. Guess you had to be there. Having a sense of humor and history helps.)

He'll use history in his statement on Tuesday while launching his campaign at the central train station, The Pennsylvanian. Trains are important to me. He likes the rotunda. He'll announce that his race is 'on' then and there. I'll be at swim practice so I can't attend. I'm working with future voters, I guess.

My reflection of history puts today's Pittsburgh in the same situation as the people of Poland in the mid to late 1930s. Hitler was to the west. Stalin was to the east. There was no place to hide. Poland had no place to go. Change was bad. Mark DeSantis needs to convince the people of Pittsburgh that he is neither Hitler nor Stalin and moving his way will be a change for the better.

Mature managers with a sense of political duty in our beings are called to act. We both feel that we've got to do something. As a coach, I understand that the mind leads and the body follows. Well, there are many things to think about. Junctions ahead. Decisions are looming. Time will tell.
Bits&Bytes: Big-name investors betting on BubbleMesh GOP mayoral candidate Mark DeSantis confirmed he's taken over South Side-based startup Mobile Fusion in the absence of former CEO Ric Castro, who left the firm recently to 'pursue other business interests.'
Prior to becoming Mobile Fusion's president, Mr. DeSantis was an adviser to the young firm, which is developing a prototype for a softball-like device equipped with a camera and sensors that when tossed into potentially dangerous situations acts as the eyes and ears of "first-responders" and soldiers.

"We decided that it was time for a reorganization," Mr. DeSantis said of the shake-up at the year-old firm.

Mobile Fusion experienced a growth spurt earlier this year, securing an undisclosed amount from private "angel" investors in addition to roughly $300,000 from startup generator Innovation Works.

Mr. Desantis' quest to unseat Mayor Luke Ravenstahl won't distract him from manning the six-person firm, he said. "Mobile Fusion is my full-time job. My spare time is running for office."
This gadget that DeSantis and others are working on is a probe. It provides detatched eyes and vision in unsafe places.

I say that the mind-leads and the body follows. Humm. It would be nice to have a softball like device to toss forward to sense what the future holds. That's an extension of the body. The mind still has to think and understand when and where to chuck sensory devices.

On the campaign trails in the weeks and months to come, DeSantis might wish for the functionality of Mobile Fusion. He'll be walking into some awkward situations. But mostly, he'll be in a sea of nothingness. Community groups are not going to have debates. And, should Luke get put on the ropes in public, so to speak, I expect Dan Onorato to quickly rally to Luke's defense.

DeSantis sees a great divide between Onorato and Ravenstahl. Ravenstahl is baggage that Onorato doesn't want, he feels. Mergers are a wedge issue too. Ravenstahl is against mergers and Onorato is for them. So DeSantis sees the two going their own ways. I don't agree.

I see Onorato and Ravenstahl in morph mode. And, a third character in that mix is Rendell. I expect DeSantis is going to see a lot of tangled relationships as he tries to battle Ravenstahl. Ravenstahl won't go toe-to-toe, one-on-one because others will swoop in just as the bell sounds. And, the stage won't be set with the voters in their seats.

Oh, the webs we weave.

1 comment:

Smitty said...

soooo what do you plan on doing???