Friday, October 12, 2007

Bram at the Pgh Comment does NOT want you to read this post

All the candidates on the ballot should be in all the debates.

If you advocate the elimination of candidates from the debates, or if you are hosting a debate that isn't including the four candidates on the ballot, you are both:
-- a baby, and
-- helping to shrink the region deeper into its public-life despair.

Bram is wrong.

News flash: After the election on Nov 6, 2007, life will continue.

Adults have the ability to understand time. The debates are not only about November 6. Great community events and candidate debates are forums for pondering the long life we hope to lead. They are far greater than one vote. After November 6, life will continue and it might even include the arrival of a micro-credit in town, if you believe Mark DeSantis. The downside and downtime of inclusion is nothing next to wearing the shame of a lifetime of being a bigot for a moment.

The candidates on the ballot should be in the debate because the future of the region matters more than the November 6 election. The debates become bigger parts of a greater overall struggle when inclusion occurs. Without inclusion, the debates are just about the election on November 6.

News flash: Four people are on the ballot for mayor.

Not three. Not two. Not five. Just four. Not Jena Six. Four, like the four legs of a chair. A two-legged chair makes for a poor platform for building prosperity. A three-legged chair is a drastic improvement. But a robust economic engine is sure to shake, rattle and roll a great deal. Fortify the foundation by standing upon all the available legs. Every asset must be put into the mission. To choose to knock a leg or two from the chair is to choose to play only a delicate game with feather-like balance that isn't even fun to watch.

News flash: Life isn't fair.

However, the ONE place in life when fairness counts is here. Every person gets one vote. Every vote should count. Elections must be fair. Judges, courts, voting and the democratic process need to be the best place in life where fairness does count. Life isn't fair, except for this one sacred space. We go out of our way to make this ordeal fair. Fairness matters here most of all.
I'd also like to see some fairness in blood tests, SATs, the World Series strike zone and property taxing policies. But, for now, those issues can take a back seat.
As life's winds blow into and storm upon the sanctity of what should be "fair" -- it is called "crooked." Bent presentations by limited participation on the debate stage taints what follows, the election. Stop the spread of the slime here.

Corruption in our voting, democracy and public life kills. Wars occur because layers of corruption pile deep. Wars, killings, and other damages happen as other creative, constructive options dissolve.

I'd much rather have Ryan (of the Socialist Workers Party) on stage yammering as opposed to him (or others) hurling bricks and torching police cruisers.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant. And, the limelight from the sunshine has been known to melt those in 'bondage.' But, the bondage may melt too. The perception of "class" might go away, or else be bridged.

I expect Ryan would opt out and won't run for the full duration, as happened in the past with other socialist candidates. He is there to make a point. And, after it is made, life goes on. But, when he is not on the stage, the point (the system is rigged) gets made for him by others.

By excluding the socialist from the debate stage, the socialist point was trumpeted by the "boss class." Insert Forrest Gump saying here.

News flash: Elections are not like the TV show, Elim-a-date. Elections do not unfold like your college choice either.

For example, as you prepare for college, generally, the prospective university student eliminates other options and narrows the search and decision. However, the thinning of the field of options for you has no impact upon the decisions of your peers. Just because you don't want to go to IUP nor PSU does not mean that your buddies won't. If they go there, that's fine.

You are not to choose for others, even as you make up your mind.

Pennsylvania would be a more 'streamlined Commonwealth' if the state just picked ONE university to accredit and fund. Close all the others. They are expensive. NUKE the rest.

Case in point: In New Zealand, they had one engineering university, one medical school, one teachers college. If you went into that field, you went to that campus. Simple. Streamline. Efficient. What if we did the same in Pennsylvania? What if we said that there was only ONE University -- and you had to close down all the others because you didn't think that they were good enough for you and your interests.

I was glad when my best high school friends made choices to go to college in different places. They went to Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. Great, I had new places to visit. Those places were not for me -- but -- I could visit and celebrate the fit they had elsewhere.

Newsflash: This is America!

China is booming with its economy. Perhaps the USA could learn something from China's one party system. Look at the redundancy we could eliminate. Let's get away from the two-party system and just have one. Let's start by getting rid of the third party candidates and just have two.

News flash: This year's race for mayor is a special election and it isn't even for a four-year term.

We are electing a mayor for two years. Life will still go on after 2009. When you grow up and become an adult, you have a world of choices. That's part of being in a mature life.

Children are not as 'developmentally developed' and are often better when given limited choices.

Face it, Pittsburgh's political landscape needs to evolve, mature, grow-up, be open, be inclusive, be thoughtful. Perhaps the young people (PUMP) like dealing with baby choices. I don't. Grow up. Grab onto life. Grin and bear it for short periods. Adults behave with civility and patience.

Besides, Luke told us that one of his problems is that he goes too fast, as we have seen. Haste makes waste. Same too with the debate inclusion issue. Don't be so quick to rush ahead with only two on the stage because you've said so. That's acting childish. A childish mayor and a childish population could present troubles.

News flash: Pittsburgh is still shrinking.

I don't like the fact that dozens and dozens of neighborhood family friends of ours have packed up and left town. They didn't like leaving either. Uprooting is hard work and it hurts -- for all.

Our city is shrinking -- not growing -- and so goes the debate stage and the maturity of our political landscape.

I wrote about this to the Ethics Hearing Board. You don't fix ethics with unethical acts and unethical policies.

You don't fix a shrinking city by shrinking the debate stage to only those with deep pockets and labels you approve.

It is painful to listen to them all. Folks, the quality of our candidates is weak because of that whole 'crazy' thing. (footnote to Mark DeSantis saying something about being crazy for running.)

A person runs for political office and there are NO debates -- that's crazy.

A person runs for office and gets on the ballot and is excluded from a rare debate -- that is crazy.

We include everyone now, without question, because the next time we want better candidates. That is sanity and logical.

Newsflash: Schultz, I didn't run for MAYOR, because I KNOW that there are too many bigots in this town in high places.

If I would have run for mayor, or County Executive, I would have been getting very close to breaking my #1 rule of political engagement -- "Don't burn out."

Frankly, Tony Oliva did a better job at the PUMP / Duquesne Univ. forum than what I would have done had I entered that race. He went onto the stage and spoke for 3 minutes and gave the audience the best humor of the entire night. Tony Oliva was made into a minority, put in the back of the bus, but still made everyone smile. -- Mr. Bo Jangles.

I'm more like Rosa.

Shame goes to those who would choose to wear blinders. Shame squared for those who are baby enough to think they should be putting blinders on others.

This is a struggle for maturity.

Bram, you are a baby by crowing for the elimination of Tony Oliva from future debates. Grow up. Move beyond the bigoted behavior. Cope.

Tony is a intelligent, reasonable, impressive young man (as you posted) who also fought for freedom as a paratrooper. He has come to the ballot out of additional duty to community and public good so as to speak his peace.

You loose everything when you don't see the big picture. Pittsburgh is at the brink. Bigots will drive the final nail into its coffin.

What kind of fixtures should we leave for our kids?

Newsflash: I run because of my children and their peers in the city.

Frankly, I know that this city isn't good enough for my kids -- at this point. I want to give my kids "golden opportunities." Pittsburgh doesn't provide them. My kids are going to be competitive with anyone -- the world over. My kids should be free to be whatever they want. And, they should not need to settle for something inferior. Pittsburgh's landscape does not provide the liberties to be all you can be in any kind of pursuit. There are too many holes, too many sinks, too many gottchas. Most are institutional weaknesses. Many talents can't bloom here.

Too often we grow our kids and tell them, "it is time to leave." Pittsburgh's departures are painful and obvious.

Furthermore, my kids are not your typical children. No kids are 'average.' But, it is safe to say, we don't worry much about 'no child left behind' in my home. We don't leave our kids behind when we go to China (3 times), New Zealand, Canada, Chicago, California, or even to paddle on a canoe in the river. We are blessed. And, we stay in the city. And, we stay to fight the good fight.

So, when Bram calls for a departure from the debate stage -- he needs to realize that he is falling into the same rut. Pittsburgh does not need more departures. Brams wish makes it harder for our kids to stay here and shine no matter what label they choose for themselves.

Pittsburgh needs to be a place where we can explore different visions, new ideas and hear from different voices. Pittsburgh needs to garner its strength and passion by blending all its elements into a patchwork of diversity.

Everyone has roles. We need the coal miners. We need the veterans. We need the sewing machine operators. We need the pickets from time to time too. We need to listen.

In the debates, there is a lot of chatter from both Luke Ravenstahl and Mark DeSantis about how the city does not listen to residents. "Did too. No way. Yes sir. No answer, etc." Public process has come under scrutiny. United this, neighborhood that, whatever. Luke Ravenstahl snubbed the hearing with the women seeking resolution to the promotion of police officers with domestic abuse matters. Luke missed a packed house of North Side residents raising demands in advance of the slots parlor's arrival. Being heard is important. Learning to listen is this global goal for politicians. Meanwhile, DeSantis didn't even campaign in the spring primary. Go figure.

Unless, of course, it applies to them and their election and their debates.

Well, this election is "OURS" -- not "theirs."

I'd love to see each campaign (Ravenstahl's and DeSantis) issue a statement that all the candidates on the ballot should be included in all the debates. That would move Pittsburgh forward.

I'd love to see every citizen of the region issue their own statements to all the media outlets and all the neighborhood groups that debates should be held for all the races and all the candidates on the ballot should be included.

Otherwise, the shrinking continues. Otherwise, the quality withers. Otherwise, those seeking freedom depart.

Jon Delano of KDKA TV said that only 30,000 or 40,000 people will vote in the election. No wonder. KDKA needs to hold its debate and have all the people on the ballot in the studio -- else Pittsburgh's silent majority is going to continue to vote with its feet by leaving the city, leaving the county, and leaving the region.

The Pittsburgh Comet: Eliminate the Libertarian and the Socialist (pt 4) Tony Oliva (L) seemed like an intelligent, reasonable, impressive young man -- who has not a single interesting thing to say.


Matt H said...

There seems to always be one or two minor party candidates in every election that matters.

Those candidates are have been turned away by the voters time & time again. Just watch the numbers that the other guys in the Mayor's race get.

The voters always have a choice to go against a mainstream candidate and rarely ever do so.

3rd party candidates have no chance here or really anywhere.

I'm all for getting people on the ballot if they want to be but the voters keep rejecting them.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Matt, 3rd party candidates are not rejected by voters everywhere. J. Ventura was a 3rd party governor of MN.

In TN, the rules there make it illegal to tell anyone your party affiliation from the office of Mayor on down.

Many nations have seen other parties spring to life and field slates of candidates depending on various issues and struggles of the day. They get elected.

The "turn away" moves happen by those in power and who are afraid of slipping their grip (or choke hold).

Mark Rauterkus said...

What has been proven:

#1. The voters reject the ones who are ON the ballot.

Pittsburgh has 30,000 voters who are going to cast votes for the fate of the mayor. Less than half. Perhaps less than 30%. That means up to 70% -- or MORE -- are on the side of NOT voting. That is a rejection of the status quo.

Mark Rauterkus said...

#2. The other turned away instance is in any opposition at all.

County DA, County Treasurer, County Executive, County Controller, many county council districts and city council districts -- NO OPPOSITION.

Citizens have rejected the notion that they will even RUN for office.

Schultz said...

I'm all for having 3rd party candidates in debates - as long as they are legitimate candidates who have some value to add to the discussion.

Oliva and Scott did not, they just wasted airtime, so I'm in agreement with Bram on this one.

Ross Perot did add value back in the 1992 race, but he was prepared, had money, and could talk intelligently on the issues.

Schultz said...

I didn't say you should have run for mayor, controller, and council all at the same time - but you should have picked one and focused on that race.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I tried to focus on one race. But, others won't run. I had plenty of recruitment conversations too.

Here is the focus -- no free rides by do nothing dominant party politicians. I wish they would do nothing when the get into office -- rather than spend so much with so little value. And, I wish they would do more as a candidate. We get the worst of both worlds with Lamb and Kraus.

In office they will hurt the city. In campaigns they will stifle discussions.

Mark Rauterkus said...

What Oliva and Scott talked about was different. Big money folks might not like what they bring to the discussion. But there are different voices.

Airtime was wasted!

Jeepers. We've checked the list and tomorrow is your day to stop breathing.

Airtime isn't a worry. That isn't the priority. Airtime is abundant.

Democracy is a worry. The priority is communications with all of the city.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Tony is a graduate of Pitt's Political Science department. You mean to say he was not prepared?

He has a B.S. in Poli Science.

Tony has been around the world with a parachute strapped to his back -- ready to jump into harms way. I think he has a clear notion of what it means to be prepared.

The value added might NOT reside within the DISCUSSION that night. That is what I mean by looking at the long term - and bigger picture. The value is added when the bigots are over-ruled.

The bar for inclusion has to be lowered to equal the ballot hurdle.

The ballot hurdle is high enough.

Bram Reichbaum said...

First of all, my blog is the Pittsburgh COMET. People often hear Comment, though, so maybe I'll change it one day.

Second of all, when Tony said, "I have a degree from the University of Pittsburgh in political science, so I know how the inside of government works," he lost us forever.

People have a right to campaign. They have a right to be on a ballot, if they get the signatures and do the paperwork. There is no "RIGHT" to be invited to a debate.

That is a privilege one has to demonstrate. If Mr. Oliva had presented an idea or two, or if Mr. Scott had paid lip service to the questions he was being asked by his hosts (although I liked some of his statements on Thursday), they would have earned that next invitation.

Worse for your ilk, Mark, is that neither one represented the concept of "third parties" very well. After watching that Tuesday debate, people left LESS inclined to be to take 3rd parties seriously. They may have looked BETTER during the 3-minute statements, and done their parties prouder.

I envy Tony's ability to jump out of planes (I got horribly nauseous the one time I did it), and to defend our country (which I have never done in any real way). But he's not a serious enough candidate to take time away from the candidates who did exhaustive research and preparation on city issues. He obviously did not do that.

Schultz said...

Again, I'm with Bram on this point, well said.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I know the comment mention is wrong -- as it is a dig.

The parade of bigots in town is not small. I'm also aware of that.

Also a dig.

The bigot bandwagon is something to jump upon. Group think provides that too.

It is NOT for Tony's benefit to include him. It is not for the decision at hand's benefit either. It is for the future of the city. It is for the future of the depth of candidates we get.

The DeSantis is crazy mention is why we put all who make the ballot on stage.

Hell, Tony is more qualified than DeSantis because Tony's signature count exceeded that of DeSantis on a write in.

Plus, if Tony isn't in -- and DeSantis doesn't go out of his way to make public statements that he should be part of the community discussion -- DeSantis will look like an elitist fool.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with a lot of what Bram said.

Mark DeSantis has no responsibility whatsoever to insist that a 3rd Party candidate be on the ballot. That's just simply hyperbole.

Mark DeSantis is a Republican candidate. Perhaps he isn't conservative enough on some social issues for hardcore GOP members, but he is the Republican standardbearer. He MUST only concentrate on his serious opponent, and in Pittsburgh that's the Democrat, our "interim" Mayor.

Jesse Ventura was elected the Governor of Minnesota by a fluke vote ONLY because of his celebrity, and the FACT that people could register to vote the day they cast a ballot. A record number of young people voted in that election because Jesse was a popular professional wrestler with a oft-conservative Ted Nugent-esque agenda that rang true with that voter base.

If Bruno Sammartino moved to Lawrenceville and ran for Mayor of Pittsburgh, he might win because of his celebrity. The Commonwealth would also have to change its laws to allow young people to register at the exact time they voted.

Is it too late to have Bruno purchase Dan Romeniello's house and be placed on the ballot?

You know, the more I think about it, perhaps there should be one debate that includes all of the candidates. Televise it. IF and only IF there's an overwhelming clamoring to have the fringe candidates on a second debate, invite them back.

Otherwise, to be serious candidates they need to raise money to be on television and/or radio. What if there was a member of the American Nazi party on the ballot? Should he/she have free air time to cast their hate speech?

Then again, there are candidates railing against financial success by giving tax abatements to folks who can't afford normally high-priced downtown homes, so some hate speech is already being perpetrated.


Mark Rauterkus said...

Connect the dots.

DeSantis is saying that the Mayor (Luke) is not listening to the citizens. DeSantis needs to be the anti-Luke -- and advocate for the voice of the citizens.

DeSantis did okay in the first debate to say that he'd take a 15% pay cut. That promise comes AFTER Tony, the Libertarian, expressed he would do so. That is ONE great example of listening -- reacting -- and advancing the agenda.

DeSantis said he'd cut the mayor's staff already. Hats off to that, FWIW.

The free air time isn't an issue.

The lack of air time for DeSantis because of a shared stage isn't the issue either.

That airtime is already being given by the station.

The airtime by DeSantis is already being earned by DeSantis due to the obvious media bias in his favor.

The American Nazi Party isn't on the ballot. And, I'd hope that not enough folks from Pittsburgh would lend them signatures to get onto the ballot. So, my point is proven. There is a HIGH bar for participation. Getting onto the ballot is hard work.

DeSantis needs teamwork to win. If he fights as a lone wolf -- he won't be a success.

Schultz said...

FYI - DeSantis said he would halve the mayor's office staff before anyone even knew who Tony Oliva was.

If the only thing you can highlight from Tony's showing Tuesday night is Tony stating he would take a 15% pay cut, well, that's too bad and it proves our point.

Oh, and I'm still breathing.

Mark Rauterkus said...

So, Tony did say something of merit. It was posted before that TONY said NOTHING.

So there.

The French bloggers are being much more logical. It is a nice day. Take a break and come up for air already.

I also gave credit to DeSantis for saying he'd cut the mayor's office budget. I mentioned that. That's why he got the hats off from me.

DeSantis can be making more powerful statements like that -- throughout. He should and he could be playing off the others -- to pile upon Ravenstahl with more gusto.

You can't just replay exactly what I said and use it to prove YOUR point -- without changing your original point.

I wrote out dozens of valid reasons why Tony should be in the future debates.

And, because YOU don't know Tony Oliva -- who's fault is that? You don't even live in the city. There are thousands here that do know him.

Plus, sadly, tens of thousands here, in the city, that won't get to know him because the Trib would rather spend its photo ink showing the back of Tony Norman's head.

The Trib can do whatever it wants with its coverage. And, it is fun to call them fools by using their own folly for all to see.

Tony does not have a "RIGHT" to be in the paper. But, it is the right thing to do.

The right things are not being done -- when nobody is watching. Oh yes, that's another great line from the debate from Tony Oliva.

Mark Rauterkus said...

In Presidential politics, the candidate for President needs to look "presidential." SO, the vice-presidential candidate turns into the attack dog.

This is one reason we have had GWB for 2 terms.

In city government, there is no 'vice-mayor' as a running mate. Duhh...

This is one of the reasons we had 3 terms of Tom Murphy.

One of a big-time DeSantis supporter, outside of the campaign staff, talked on the radio this week about the debate and said he didn't like how DeSantis served up a few underhanded, cheap shots to Ravenstahl. It was a 'turn off.' He was talking about Tuesday's debate. He was there.

For DeSantis to win, he needs Oliva in the debates.

Anonymous said...

No way does DeSantis need Olivia in the debates. Olivia MIGHT get 4%-5% of the vote. That is NOTHING.

DeSantis wins only by getting a large number of Democrats to vote for him, as well as a super Republican turnout.

Olivia's importance is nothing but silly talk.

DaveP said...

**Crossposted to the Pgh Comet**

Wow, you guys don't like democracy and free speech very much do you?

Bram - what right, sir, do you have to demand the exclusion of other points of view? Who gets to decide which are "acceptable"? One thing is for sure, it won't be you. Or me. Or anyone who shares any of the concerns of "normal" people. These decisions would soon be made by the moneyed elite, if they aren't already. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

So let's see, where has this two-party duopoly gotten our city?

We are one of only a few cities in the whole country that is *losing* population (and has one of the oldest), one of the most heavily taxed, and we owe a billion+ dollars. We will not be able to tax our way out of this, we must grow, and this means for instance, opposing the "Pour Tax".

Tony Oliva is indeed a serious candidate, he is a smart and capable man, and is doing his best to address the issues. Since he is not part of the power structure, it's a little more difficult for him to cite specific budget items he would cut for example, as Shultz seems to expect.

Plus, it's a little hard to relay an entire platform when given 3 minutes to speak at the end of a debate as an afterthought.

But you don't have to specify the exact number of degrees to say "Turn the car around" do you?

This country was made great by having a diversity of ideas, and I hope you folks will give other points of view more of a chance in the future.

-Dave Powell
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Allegheny county