Sunday, December 30, 2007

Comments from another blog as to a post from another person as to what Patrick may have written

Get a grip on this concept, that came from, so we are to think, Patrick Dowd, a new guy due to take the oath to uphold the consitution, on Jan 7, 2008. - CommentsI cannot, however, reach out to some folks without breaking confidences. Thus, I am stuck being silent and taking lumps for falsehoods. ...
Say what?

Here is a novel idea, speak for yourself.

Another idea, break confidences! Don't hold any secrets.

Furthermore, Dowd does offer a pie-in-the-sky approach for council. He wants a 'legislative agenda.' And, after that is detailed, in public, he'll decide who should get his vote for city council president.

How nice. But, it is also filled with irony. How can a member of council reveal something as important as a 'legislative agenda' -- yet be worried about 'breaking confidences' should he speak in public AND need another citizen to post his messages for him.

To tip-toe and then worry about 'secrets' gives two big steps in the wrong direction. And, he's not even on council yet. His last act as a school board member was very bad. And, his recent interview on KDKA about the Pgh Promise didn't wash either.

Since there is a shortage of public policy directions and leadership from members on council, and since they all have a hard time sharing those thoughts (if they exist at all), we might need some citizens to come foward and be front folks for members of council.

Jim Motznik is the chairman of the Citiparks and Youth Policy committee on city council. Motznik has held that role for a few years now. Motznik is bucking for the job as city council president in 2008. In my not so humble opinion, Motznik makes a great case for getting the nod for city council president by doing such a poor job in his role as chair of the committee on Citiparks. As far as I can tell, Motznik's big splash of leadership with his Citiparks duties is his willingness to hand out popcorn and huggies (drinks) at the movies in the park in his neighborhood.

What kind of 'legislative agenda' has Motznik advanced in recent years in his recent positions when he was a chair of a committee?

What have these other members of council done in their roles in council when they are 'at the wheel?'

Looking into the past is a good way to predict what to expect in the future. But it is also prudent to ask people what they hope to do in the future too. Politics is about the future.

What would Jim do?

What would Tonya do?

What would Doug do?

What does a 'legislative aganda' look like?

What was the promise of a 'legislative agenda' for city council in 2007? What there ever such a statement or set of objectives in the past?


Char said...

I don't think any of those bodes well.

Anonymous said...

Updated statement from Patrick:

-----Original Message-----
From: "Patrick Dowd"

Date: Tue, 1 Jan 2008 16:19:54

Subject: Council Presidency

A happy 2008 to one and all. Please feel free to circulate as you wish.

I want to make as clear as possible my position regarding council presidency.

First, council presidency is an elected position. For two years the council president is the lead legislator in the City of Pittsburgh and, as we know very well, potentially the next mayor of the City of Pittsburgh. As an elected official the council president should have some publicly articulated list of “priorities” or “agenda items” or “goals,” things s/he hopes to accomplish while serving in the capacity of council president. That is what you do when you run for an elected office.

Second, when I have spoken with members of council, the mayor, the media, my supporters and anyone who has asked about my position on council presidency, I have said the same thing. I want to elect a council president who will end the politics of personality. The election of the council president should not be a popularity contest; instead it should be focused on policy and action. Furthermore, the council president must be someone who can build a council that works as a team. S/he will lead the body in discussing and debating vigorously all legislation. These deliberations must be about what is best for the city rather than about who gets credit or who is running for mayor in 2009.

I have also been absolutely consistent, saying that I want to elect a council president based upon a publicly articulated agenda. Again, when running for office candidates should articulate a clear list of priorities or agenda items or goals. These would be the things they hope to accomplish while serving. These must be articulated publicly for important reasons. The public should know this list, especially given that this person would be the lead legislator and potential next mayor of the City of Pittsburgh. Also, by articulating it publicly the level of accountability inside council increases. Additionally, transparency here provides an accountability tool for the public. Finally, transparency around priorities, an agenda or goals for council decreases the necessity for speculation and increases the potential for meaningful discussion which is one of the core functions of a legislative body.

I am not running for council president but it seems obvious to me that the 2008 legislative agenda should have two long-term objectives. First, every priority, agenda item or goal should be directed to reversing population decline in the city. Second, every priority, agenda item or goal should be directed to improving the quality of life for those who live here. More specifically, the goals should include addressing the current and future financial challenges facing the city. The incoming council must tackle the problems of long-term debt and pensions and pledge itself to not leaving these problems unresolved for another council session. This council must also look at other governments, most obviously the Pittsburgh Public Schools, to see where operational efficiencies can be achieved. This council should also get very serious about examining the question of city-county merger. This council should set as one of its broader goals moving city government from patronage to performance. This can be accomplished by looking at all aspects of city services and determining how best to utilize data in decision making. Council should set goals around “greening up” the city. Transportation and parking are core issues yet council has no committee dedicated to examining these. Housing and economic development are also obviously important and council must have clear agenda items for these.

In the end, leadership of a legislative body is about bringing together the individual concerns of the members and finding ways to articulate and act upon them as a collective body. It is not too much to ask that council president candidates articulate their respective visions and pledge to work with the members of council and even the mayor to craft the final agenda. This is something that council could call “The Pittsburgh Agenda.” If council legislated it for 2008 and the mayor signed it, we would have a city government that theoretically would be moving in the same direction, rather than at cross purposes.

At this point, no candidate has articulated publicly an agenda or list of priorities. That means that for the moment, the council presidency race is still just about popularity, not about policy and not about improving life in Pittsburgh.

Patrick Dowd