Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Mayoral Race, Part 2: The Conclusion

Well, it’s over, and if you remember in my first blog about the race, I was torn as to where my vote was going.

In the end, I voted for Luke, and here’s why:
No one had given me a good reason to vote for DeSantis. All I heard was, “Well, he isn’t Luke.” Yes, I think in terms of professionalism, he’d be a better candidate. But professionalism does not a city run. He seemed like a nice guy who urged people to think “outside the box,” as he said in his speech last night, but really, what does that mean for this city? People, his ideas were frightening. The city-county merger, one of the top issues on his agenda, would essentially fuck city residents—- as would the potential of doing away with residency requirements for city employees. As a resident of this city, my neighbors are the ones I want to see 1) make the decisions that affect us and 2) protect us.
I do not want cops who go home to cushy houses in Upper Saint Clair patrolling my neighborhood. I want cops who are raising a family in this city patrolling my neighborhood.
I do not, as I’ve mentioned before, want the Fox Chapel Yacht Club members deciding what happens to public transit. I want the people who USE public transit to decide. Things like that. If DeSantis had become mayor, I think that urban issues would have been largely ignored.
Furthermore, some of the sentiments on the Democrats for DeSantis site were actually frightening: "Some of these old people shouldn't be allowed to vote because, let's face it, they do not care about the issues that are important to you and me."
Are you kidding me??

And while he may have made some very public faux pas, many people forget that Luke has, in fact, submitted two incredibly balanced budgets, something this city had not seen since before the Murphy administration. The issues he cares about are the issues I care about. In fact, I feel as though many people who supported DeSantis just kind of bandwagon-ed it as a response to not liking the incumbent, and many of the DeSantis supporters I met were even more braindead than your average yinzer. That is a sad state of affairs for a campaign.

Whatever. It’s over, and the margin of victory was as expected. As Joe put it while trying to get me to come directly to Maxipads’ practice after work instead of going home to vote, “Fuck voting. Luke is gonna win whether you, me or all of Bloomfield votes.”
Thanks Pittsburgh, I think you made the right choice.* ** ***

*In publicly admitting who I voted for, I reserve all rights to bitch about political leadership from this point forward.
** I also reserve the right to continue referring to Luke Ravenstahl as “Mayor Doogie.”
***The Pirates hired a new manager. I didn’t even get a rejection letter. But that, my friends, is a whole different blog.


Kacyn said...

many of the DeSantis supporters I met were even more braindead than your average yinzer.

dear lord, cover your head on the commute home today! Thems fightin words!

Anonymous said...

No one's more braindead than your average yinzer.

Proof: 65% "accidental" Mayor who continually and constantly breaks laws, particularly ones of federal consequence.

BTW, I told DeSantis to his face that I didn't like the cops moving to Beaver, Butler and Washington County. That's where they'd go...criminals still attend movies and go to ice cream parlors in Upper St. Clair.

It's either a job to be a police officer or a lifestyle. The ability to move to far off counties makes it nothing more than a job.

However, I still voted for DeSantis. The city's still in a tail spin because of Murphynomics.


EdHeath said...

OK, let’s look at this. Point one: residency requirements for city employees, including police, are decided by the state legislature. Neither DeSantis nor Ravenstahl wanted to admit this because both thought they were getting something from this. Motznik said it in council, it was in the Post-Gazette:
Point two: Two balanced budgets from the Mayor. Remember, Luke took over in September of last year, so the first budget was essentially Bob O’Connor’s. Besides, we are in year four of the five year Act 47 plan, so we have to submit budgets with surpluses, as outlined in the five year plan which you can download from the city website. The Mayor, at this point, has very little control over this. And, by the way, did you read that in the this year’s budget, there is a five year plan, which project a three million deficit in year four and a 15 million dollar deficit in year five (largely caused by spiraling city worker health care costs):
“In 2011, though, the city expects to spend $3 million more than it takes in, and that deficit is projected to balloon to $15 million by 2012. That's largely because health insurance, pensions and workers' compensation are expected to devour $143 million by 2012, which is 30 percent of that year's budget and $23 million more than this year's bill.”
This Mayor is going to keep us in Act 47 forever. And the Act 47/ICA teams signed off on this budget, because they have to deal with the powerful state senator Joan Orie, the majority whip.
Point three: DeSantis wanted to reduce the city’s spending by instituting a hiring freeze. That would have been tough for city residents for a number of years, but it is better than the city having the state come in a second time and doing god knows what. How many times are you going to bail out your free-loading brother before you start making rules for repayment (and the state can enforce rules if it wants).
Point four: The Fox Chapel Yacht Club already decides about public transportation. PAT is a county agency. In fact, there is doubt that the Feds will let Pennsylvania put tolls on I-80, and there is doubt that Dan Onorato will get his drink tax/rental car fee passed, so there is a lot of doubt about PAT’s future.
Point five: City-County merger would fuck city residents … how? Or is that supposed to be so obvious I shouldn’t even raise the question? Look, Shadyside and Squirrel Hill, two of the wealthiest neighborhoods routinely do not have their streets plowed because they don’t have a lot of city workers living there. A lot of what happens in the city is based on where the democratic party committee members live, and a lot of them are city workers, and live in Summer Hill, Brookline, Morningside, Stanton Heights, Bloomfield, etc. So, as long as democrats are in the majority in the county (by a two to one ratio), a merger is not going to shift power to Upper Saint Clair. What a merger would do is give us a larger tax base to plunder. A lot of the city’s problems would go away.
All right, there are other points: DeSantis’ plans to improve the city's tax base by expanding opportunities for businesses by reducing taxes for small businesses for three year, his minority business microloan plan, his ideas for non profits contributions to the city, his thinking outside the box, all things available on his website, which you evidently never visited. Yes, there was no doubt Luke would win, because the democrats could count on you.

kT said...

This is where a lot of people in the city have a difference of opinion as to what would happen with the merger.

You say, "A lot of the city’s problems would go away." I say, "You have no way of knowing that." I think that yes, it could solve some things, and that it is also a can of worms I'd rather not see the city open.
Therefore, I'd rather go with the devil I know than the devil I don't.

Of course I visited his website. Don't insult me. I spent a long time looking at both candidates, and I believe I made it very clear that I DID NOT vote along party lines. As I said in the entry previous to this one regarding this election, I don't particularly care what political party the mayor is affiliated with. Even DeSantis' voting record didn't bother me much because it's not like he could have privatized Social Security within city limits, so for you to say, "Yes, there was no doubt Luke would win, because the democrats could count on you" is completely incorrect. Yes, many people in Pittsburgh voted the straight Democrat ticket. But I didn't, and I made that clear, so shove it up your ass.

Sorry your candidate lost. I'm also sorry that you spend your time looking for blogs to cry about it and insult people for the decisions they made.

Someone call the waaaahmbulance.

EdHeath said...

Well, I looked at your blog because you were linked from the PG's early returns. My mistake. I guess I should apologize for saying you didn’t look at DeSantis’ website, but you only talked about residency requirement and merger, and you could have gotten that from the debates or the paper. (isn’t it funny that a republican is trying to make local government bigger, btw).
You’re right, the merger thing is not clear and would be particularly difficult in Allegheny county, with 130 different governments. But to the extent the city and county governments could share tasks, there could be economies of scale. Both city and county might layoff employees if they became more efficient, but they may happen anyway (to the county, anyway) and in fact that’s sort of the idea. Fewer people for your taxes to apy for. We’ll see what the Nordenberg study group says in a month or two.
I don’t see where on your post you said that you did or did not vote the straight ticket. Nor do I see where that matters, as the Mayoral race was the only one seriously contested. You talked about wanting to be open minded in your choice in your July post. But I suppose my *democrats counting on you* comment was a bit of snark, and I should apologize for that too.
Still, I think I will refrain from shoving it up my ass.

I plan to be here in 2011. FWIW.

kT said...

Fair enough. I didn't realize my blog had been linked from the Post-Gazette, and I guess I never explicitly stated that I didn't vote straight party. Sorry about that.

Politics is such an "agree to disagree" arena. So let's do as such, and you can happily shove absolutely nothing up your ass. Cheers!

amy said...

I'll admit, I'm not happy that Luke won, but I probably wouldn't have been happy with DeSantis, either. It was a choice between the lesser of the two weevils -- and while I may bitch that those of us on the outskirts of the city aren't allowed any input into the choice of mayor, I'm glad I didn't actually have to pick.

Anonymous said...

This is a common misconception: suburbanites DO have a choice of Mayor. IN YOUR OWN TOWN.

If you want a choice in someone else's town...move to that town. It's that easy.

KDKA's sometimes conservative Fred Honsberger often cries about taxation without representation. Nothing is further from the truth. Become a Pittsburgher instead of pretending to be one.

Nuff said.


amy said...

I did live there. And work there. And while I know that no one has the right to make decisions for other people when they themselves will not be affected by such, there are those that work in the city, those who are still affected by the mayor's actions, whether they live in the city or not. I don't actually want to vote for mayor; I have enough political problems in my own town. But someone, somewhere should realize that mayoral impact doesn't stop at the city line.

Bram Reichbaum said...

Alright, arriving late to the game. I followed a link from Ed's blog, which he in turn discovered from the P-G's blog. I doubt you're even still reading this.

The only part of post that made me wince was "two incredibly balanced budgets." I know that Luke certainly said the words "two structurally balanced budgets" many many MANY times, but two thing I wished people knew were 1) those budgets were balanced on paper only, using all kinds of funky Enron tricks and 2) those budgets must be balanced by law, thanks to Act 47, so it's not really an accomplishment of Luke's but rather a rule he would have been spanked if he did not (only technically) follow.

Number two, your city-county merger and PAT transit and police residency issues are certainly well reasoned ... but I think Luke played on "us vs. them" fears of city vs. suburbanites to an insane effective but TROUBLING degree. One of the problems in these parts is that we have about 200 local governments per capita, and a lot of money and manpower is wasted on them. One of these days the city and the suburbs will have to get together and realize they are a symbiotic REGION, and I think Luke exploited those fears expertly, but as I said, unfortunately.

That's it for my beef. Stay in touch with local government between elections, and keep reading those local news blogs which you can stand. One of the things I learned recently is that the longer one stays in touch, the more one's perspective on these things shift.

kT said...

Thanks for the comment, Bram.