What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 23, 2007

Now that's what I call a rally! Peduto makes it official

Bill Peduto had been promising a blowout rally when he made his official announcement to run for the office of Mayor of Pittsburgh so I was expecting something big, but the actual rally far exceeded my expectations.

As I looked around the room before the candidate entered I blurted to a friend that this looks like a rally for a winner. But later that evening someone said it looks like Pittsburgh -- and that was the winning remark.

Because despite the nay-sayers on some of the blogs who say that Peduto can't get beyond a boho or "cupcake class" base, what I saw was a remarkably diverse group of supporters in terms of age, geography, class, race, sex, etc.

It looked like Pittsburgh.

(And it certainly didn't hurt that there was a nice percentage of ACDC members there too.)

It couldn't have been more of a contrast to Luke Ravenstahl's own announcement which was limited to Ravenstahl, his wife, his minder County Chief Executive Dan Onorato, and Rep. Mike Doyle.

The audience was jazzed and ate up Peduto's speech.

The Post-Gazette got it right when they said that Peduto's most popular line was when he called for the need for "independent, responsible, experienced leadership," and said that the city "needs independent leadership to dismantle the political machine."

That, my dears, was the issue to a lot of the folks who came to cheer Bill on.

Not a bad one in my humble opinion . . .

Now as to the local television coverage of the event, WTAE best captured the size and excitement of the group. KDKA was barely adequate. I did not catch WPXI at 11, but I did catch their coverage on FOX 53 News and all I can say is "WTF?"

Look guys, if the truck got lost on the way and you were only able to get footage of the hall after most people had left, maybe you have an excuse but you should let your viewers know that. The only way they could have misrepresented the evening more was if they had waited until the hall was entirely empty and actually broadcast an empty room. (I gave up being a regular WPXI News viewer after they repeatedly reported that the 2004 Kerry rally at Pitt had "hundreds" in attendance when everyone else correctly reported it as thousands.)

I did take some snaps, but be forewarned that I am still unable to access Photoshop, so these pics are uncropped and entirely unlovely (I had to email them to David just to get them resized for the blog). Also, I'm still quite ill and had no business being out tonight so I confined myself almost entirely to a chair on the side of the room.

With that said, here they are:

Trying (unsuccessfully) to capture the size of crowd.

Trying to capture Peduto as he made his way to the stage. Yeah,
it was to the theme from "Rocky" and, yeah, it sounded just right.

The Man of the Hour

Halfway through his speech, Peduto invited the audience
to join him on the stage. This is the view from there.

That's all Folks!



PtBreeze said...

It's going to be tough to dismantle the machine while your courting Ben Woods and Jeep DePasquale. Bill is as phony as ever.

Anonymous said...

You mean courting Ben Woods like every politician in Pittsburgh has, including the likes of Dan Onorato, etc.? Bill is as real as ever, and playing the Ben Woods card is getting old.

Matt H said...

ACDC members will show up for anything they are invited to whether or not they are going to support that candidate or not.

pghlesbian said...

Sorry we missed the big event. Even untouched, the photos are nice. Thanks for sharing Maria.

Mike said...

This is going to be a tough election for both sides. The committee will have its say. So will the unions. So will the reformers. So will the doctors. So will the students. So will the PAT riders. So will the Denny Regans and Ben Woods of the City.

And you know what, that's a good thing. It's a democracy, and everyone is entitled to their say. No one person will determine the outcome of this election. With that in mind, here's my say:

I expected more from the Mayor, who I knew in passing when I was in college. I also expected more from the people around him. Despite the flack he gets here, Yarone Zober is a talented, progressive, and qualified professional person.

To be fair, when I was in Pittsburgh, these people were on the outside. But I know that they hoped to change Pittsburgh for the better. Now they're part of the system.

And their plans for change have gone no where. Substitute the police department for the fire union, and a new arena for new stadiums, and we're back in the late 1990's. Murphy's gone, but not much has changed.

Ravenstahl has the better part of five months to chart his own course. But we've been stuck reading about politically motivated demotions; misleading information about why PAT cuts are "needed" (they claim that it's because people are using student ID's, but the authority gets a big time chunk of money from Pitt/CMU as payment); a budget that is heading towards a cliff; and a government consumed by inside machinations.

Ravenstahl has essentially been a caretaker Mayor. His budget was reminiscent of Murphy's too-rosy-to-be-true jobs. And the opportunities for real reform have been drowned out by Ravenstahl's mistakes, which led to scandals.

I don't agree with Peduto on everything. But he has legitimate ideas on reforming government a city I am fond of.

From what I can tell--and I observe this from 200 miles away in Maryland so I'm an outsider--the city needs a politician who will work within the system to change things, and solidify the city's financial foundation.

The bureaucracy needs to be held accountable with a CitiStat-like operation. In time, this will save money, jobs, and perhaps city government itself.

The current government is consumed with their own image. They're politicians, so that's understandable. But when that political vanity starts to get in the way of progress--and it surely has--it's time for a change.

So with that, I hope that residents of Pittsburghers elect Peduto.

Smitty said...

dimantling the "machine" was an acknowledged faux pas by Bill P...the dismantling has to do with the Ravenstahl/Regan/Zober machine....