Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pitt News covers Tony Oliva and his race for mayor. Front page coverage

Pitt student in race for mayor - News: "Tony Oliva is a straight-shooter - a self-proclaimed non-politician. And he's running for mayor."
The news of the Libertarian was on the front page of The Pitt News today. The article gives some nice insights to Tony Oliva. He has plenty of good connections with Pitt.

The article includes a photo of Tony and a mention of myself.

Who among us have heard of ultimate frisbee?

The rest of the story:
Oliva, a 27-year-old Pitt student, is running on the Libertarian ballot on Nov. 6 against current Democratic mayor, Luke Ravenstahl, Republican candidate Mark DeSantis and Ryan Scott of the Socialist Worker's party. He replaced Libertarian Mark Rauterkus on the ticket.

In 1997, Oliva came to Pitt as a freshman football player. After a devastating car accident during his sophomore year, his injuries forced him to quit football and take time to heal. Now, he is back. He has replaced football with Ultimate Frisbee and is working on his second degree at Pitt.

"[The accident] really taught me the lesson that you can't just go through life thinking everything's going to be great," Oliva said. "You have to be ready to deal with and overcome adversity in any form."

In the wake of his injury, another tragedy struck. Sept. 11 inspired Oliva to join the army and become an airborne paratrooper.

But in 2003, Oliva made his way back to Pitt.

"I'm originally from New York, but something about Pittsburgh latched onto me, and I had no other desire to go anywhere else," he said.

This loyalty to Pittsburgh, coupled with Oliva's fatigue with the current status of the city, made him decide to run for mayor.

"We need some new ideas and new thinking because things are broken," Oliva said.

His Libertarian viewpoint gives tax cuts a significant position in his agenda - but Oliva is very specific about where he thinks Pittsburgh's money should be saved and where it should be spent.

"It's a party that wants to stay out of your pocketbook and out of your social life," said Oliva, who cites his inability to understand why the government keeps "needing money, but not changing anything."

"I like low taxes," he said. "I think that people can use their money in more productive ways than government can oftentimes."

Though an advocate for people controlling their own money, Oliva says he is opposed to cutting social programs - to an extent.

"A person may stumble or trip, and it's always good to have someone there," he said. "I just don't think we should carry someone for their whole life."

If elected mayor, Oliva pledges to make his priorities known. For example, he said that one of the ideas that had been run through Pittsburgh legislatures involved cutting funding for police and firefighting forces.

"Yes, the city could gain money," he said. "But it could also burn to the ground."

As a Pitt student, Oliva says he understands the post-graduation predicament that many face: stay or leave?

"Pittsburgh has become an old town," he said. "A large number of kids are forced to leave because it's not financially viable to stay in Pittsburgh."

His plan? To draw businesses back to Pittsburgh and jumpstart the flow of both jobs and money, thereby appealing to a younger generation. And again, this leads back to lowering taxes.

"We have driven small businesses out with high taxes," he said. "I want to draw them back so people can have opportunities to work in good, well-paying jobs."

And on the other end of the spectrum, Oliva also wants to appeal to the younger demographic by proposing an ordinance to keep bars open until 4 a.m. on weekend nights.

Oliva sees his age and his student status as a way of relating to the voters.

"I want people to see in me what they would always hope to see in their political leaders - not what they do see, what they hope to see," he said.

And if students see something they like in Oliva, he hopes they won't conform to the apathetic stereotype of a college student that "the old parties," as he calls the Democrats and Republicans brand them with.

"This isn't a national election," Oliva said. "Students have the power to change the face of the city, the face of politics. Hope comes with change."


Jason Phillips said...

Usually I am not the one to swear, but... are you fucking kidding me?

Has this guy even picked up a newspaper in the last 6 months to know that is not a good idea?!

"And on the other end of the spectrum, Oliva also wants to appeal to the younger demographic by proposing an ordinance to keep bars open until 4 a.m. on weekend nights."

Mark Rauterkus said...

Yes, Jason. Stick to your first reaction.

Don't swear.

I don't think he was kidding.

Mark Rauterkus said...

At first blush, ... and I'm not going to defend Tony and his policy ideas, generally, but ...

The new slots parlor is going to be open 24 hours a day. So, that will make it harder for the bars to compete.

The bars close at 2 am, generally. Then there are 'after hours clubs.' Those clubs are open later.

If the bars are able to stay open past 2 am, then the after hours clubs will find it harder to compete.

Quality of life in the city, near a bar, is not so nice around 1:30 to 2 am. As the bars exit, there is generally lots of noise.

It might make great sense to have the bars stay open to 4 am if the bars stopped serving at 2. And, it might be good allow people to stay in the bar for two hours, without more patrons going in.

There might be a way to flip the idea into something that works for neighborhoods such as the South Side.

And, it might be good to have the bars close at various times. Some at 1:30, some 2 some 2:30, some 3 some 3:30 some 4. Then there is not a flood of people on the street at any given time. ???

I'm open to various ideas.

I know that in New Zealand, the bars don't get rocking until midnight. Then they stay open to 5 or 6 am.

It is nice going home after the sun came up so you can see your way. But, it sucks to run past drunks on the way to morning swim practice. Presently we just see the vomit and beer cans / bottles.

What do others think???

Thomas Leturgey said...

First of all, pandering to "young people" who would rather stay out and drink until 5 or 6 in the morning doesn't do much to reverse the "brain drain." Perhaps he meant to "weed out the losers."

Ultimate Frisbee. At 27? That's a young dude's game. Dude.

Where would the taxpayer-funded Ultimate Frisbee Arena be located? Near the Jerome Bettis restaurant on the North Side? The South Side Ice Rink?

Mark Rauterkus said...

I don't think that there should be a taxpayer ultimate frisbee stadium -- but -- since you asked.

Tom Murphy had his sights on one and it would have been near the bike oval in Highland Park -- along Washington Ave.

The ultimate crowd was given a false promise that he'd build a field for them as part of the Citiparks system -- in return for support and the young people's vote.

Well, it didn't come about as Tom Murphy was filled with falsehoods. But, it got him some juice with the jet set crowd. And, that included Bram of Bram loves ultimate.

I like it too. But, ...

Tony picked up ultimate after football and after his knee was better. It is a young person's game, sorta. But Tony has some wheels, so to speak.

I'm thinking Bram, Tony and I -- and other 'running mates' should challenge Peduto and his team of Web 2.0 social media folks to a game of ultimate. Justine will need to wear the computer on her back and webcast the action, as a 'player.'


Who wants to be a part of that challenge?

I think we could play the game on the Schenley Park Plaza -- near where the food trucks used to be and by the Merry-go-round.

Thomas Leturgey said...


You get iJustine there, I'm IN. You get Peduto there, I'm IN.