What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 28, 2007

Candidate Forum Tonight! (+ the back-story)

A reminder that five local grassroots organizations are hosting a candidate's forum tonight:

2007 Candidates Forum
Wednesday, Febuary 28th
6:30 pm at the Union Project (801 N Negley Ave)

Sponsored by:
Democracy for Pittsburgh
The League of Young Voters
The Getrude Stein Club
The Steel-City Stonewall Democrats
Progress Pittsburgh
Americans for Demoractic Action

Meet & Greet starts at 6:30. All candidates for the following offices were invited:
Pittsburgh Mayor
Pittsburgh City Council
Allegheny County Council
County Executive
Court of the Common Pleas
School Board
City Controller

Candidates will be on hand to talk with you about their qualifications.

The forum features 3 important races:
City Council District 7 - Bloomfield, Highland Park, East Liberty
City Council District 9 - East Hills, Homewood, Point Breeze
City of Pittsburgh Controller - citywide & impacts the whole region

6:30 - Meet & Greet
7:00 - Special Guest Mayoral Candidate Bill Peduto
7:05 - City Council District 7
7:45 - City Council District 9
9:00 - City Controller

The Back-story

You may have noticed that while mayoral candidates Ravenstahl and Peduto were both invited to speak, only Mayoral Candidate Bill Peduto is appearing, and that he's listed as a "Special Guest."

Let me state for the record that I am on the organizing Committee of one of the groups sponsoring this debate: Democracy for Pittsburgh (DfP). That said, this post is on my personal blog and any opinions expressed here do not represent the views of DfP unless otherwise specified. It should also be noted that due to my continuing illness, I have not been able to participate in the planning of this event since October.

As KDKA TV reported last week, Mayor Ravenstahl was invited to participate in this forum, but ultimately declined due to "multiple conflicts on that particular evening."

The article (and televised report) also featured Nish Suvarnakar of the League of Young Voters stating, "We told him that if the time wasn't going to work, we would change the day,”

Actually, the negotiations with Ravenstahl were lengthy (starting in January) and included offers to change the time and date. Ravenstahl seemed to agree to come only if he could speak, by himself, first, then Peduto. The Ravenstahl Camp only confirmed that Luke wouldn't attend a scant 10 days or so before the event.

According to KDKA:
KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano spoke to the mayor’s campaign manager who said the mayor had multiple conflicts on that particular evening, but they said they will be willing to reschedule at some mutually convenient time in front of these same organizations.
Well, isn't that special?

There's only one, or two, or twenty problems with that:
  • These five groups had already spent over $500.00 on the event (hall rental, etc.)

  • Most of these groups operate on a shoestring budget (DfP, for example, collects no dues from its members).

  • The forum includes many other candidates for many other offices and they have all had the event long inked in on their schedules.

  • There is no money left for another event.

  • There will be no other forum run by these groups.
  • Nice of him to agree to a rescheduled event that he knows won't happen...

    Now, I understand that the Mayor of Pittsburgh is a busy man. Like he said, he has many other places to go that night.

    For example, it looks like he will be making it to the River Club this evening for a "fantastic evening of networking" with the Pittsburgh Young Professionals.

    Guess it's better than "slumming" it out to East Liberty to meet with a bunch of scraggly grassroots progressives and the neighbors and guests who show up.

    Oh, and by the way, even though our Interim Mayor stated to Marty Griffin on KDKA Radio last week that he's ready to debate Peduto anytime, anywhere, he's still failed to agree formally to any televised debate.


    Matt H said...

    I also think that Mayor Luke will be on the Southside this evening to be at the meeting in regards to some Southside bar legislation.

    So it's not all just fun & games tonight.

    Anonymous said...

    I heard Bill looked pretty shaky tonight talking to everyone...tisk tisk.

    r said...

    I talked to Bill tonight and he seemed pretty confident to me. I can't wait til Sunday.

    janice said...

    I hardly think that Bill was "shaky" when he was able to get out his message and liven the crowd up with humor in spite of the fact that his opponent dodged the debate. Luke doesn't have time for the progressive base because he is afraid of them. I think Luke supporters should start picking up the price tag for all of his inept decisions rather passing it on to the city of Pittsburgh residents.

    Bram said...

    Word is, Councilwoman Carlisle showed up with just three minutes left in the District 9 forum, just enough to say her piece. Previous engagement, you see. Ah, the perils of incumbency...

    Anonymous said...

    There was a lot of talk about how Peduto performed tonight.

    3 people called me after it since I was unable to attend.

    1 said it was average and the other two were very much surprised by how bad Peduto looked up there. Begging people for help? In your own "hot area"? Not a good sign. The mo meter has gone to Luke at this point.

    r said...

    Luke, Isn't 10:44 past your bedtime?

    Anonymous said...

    Stay classy "R"

    Duck & Cover

    Anonymous said...

    People keep talking about how Luke and his boys keep making personal attacks on Bill, similar to the ones Yaroon makes in his comments above - guess that's what you do when you're outgunned on an intellectual level.

    Anonymous said...

    ravenstahl was somewhere also tonight ... mad props for taking audience questions ... but oooooooh weee, Tiara ... mo meter stays unchanged.

    Anonymous said...

    I moderated the discussion last night, and it is true that Councilwoman Carlisle showed up at the very end of the District 9 portion of it. She was given 3 minutes to answer a boilerplate question that had been provided to all the candidates in advance. She never had to answer a question from the audience, as the other candidates did.

    -- Chris Potter

    Maria said...

    Thanks, Chris.

    Sure wish I could have been there.

    Mark Rauterkus said...

    Podcasts or YouTube anyone???

    I was on the South Side. I've got Luke talking into the camera -- but it will be a few more hours / days until it gets onto the web.

    We had a full house at the Market House. The citizens did a great job of putting it to the city officials for the lack of enforcement on the South Side.

    Jennifer said...

    The League of Young Voters is already planning a mayoral forum. We welcome the other groups to cosponsor with us, regardless of ability to make a financial contribution to the event. We strongly feel it is important for our membership, and the entire city, to have the opportunity to see candidates for a given office side by side, answering questions from the audience. We hope the Mayor's office will live up to his promise to reschedule. We have reached out to his office and are trying to set a date for late March for this event.

    Jennifer said...

    Oh, and we taped the event last night and will be getting clips up on YouTube as soon as possible. No later than Monday, I expect. We will have links on our website www.pittsburgh.indyvoter.org.

    janice said...

    these anonymous posts smell like Luke minions trying to do damage control for their incompetent candidate. the shaky one is the one who is knows that HE can't think on his feet, so he dodges the debate. this reminds me of the sneaky phone call that i received from a luke minion attempting to discredit BIll' progressive record. luke, luke whre are you luke???

    Anonymous said...

    Luke is busy being the Mayor.

    janice said...

    That depends on what your definition of "being a maoyor" is.

    Anonymous said...

    "these anonymous posts smell like Luke minions trying to do damage control for their incompetent..."

    Really? This blog smells like the work of desperate Peduto minions (and donors) who are regularly trying to transform molehills to mountains to support their candidate.

    janice said...

    Fact is that i did receive a phone call. The call was full of lies. In fact, the phone call seemed to me to be desparation and a fishing expedition. Bill Peduto has supporters who are proud to support him.That is why this supporter is not anonymous. Ravenstal has minions who are looking for employment and favors.