Prosecute the torture.

March 25, 2007

On The Shields Campaign

Recently, I got a chance to chat with Pittsburgh City Council President, Doug Shields. The first part of our dicussion can be found here.

I asked him how his own campaign (for City Controller)was going. He said it's "going very well." He's happy with how the endorsements are going, he's happy with his fundraising (a recent fundraiser raised $30K). While he was late to campaign, he's happy with his progress.

He said he was happy with his polling numbers and said they'd found out that out of the 400 households polled, amongst those who voted, he came in first with 26% (followed by his opponents polling at 20% and 15% respectively). The P-G, though, reported slightly different numbers here (Shields at 19% followed by his two opponents polling at 18% and 16% respectively). My guess is that Shields' phrase "amongst those who voted" skewed the numbers in his favor. But that's just a guess, I haven't been able to see the poll's internal numbers.

The thing that I had to ask, though, was about his current seat. See, Doug's the current City Council Member for District 5. If he wins the City Controller race, he'd have to resign the seat on City Council.

So far, it's a complicated picture. His opponent for the council seat, Theresa Colaizzi, dropped out of the race this past Friday - so he's running unopposed there. Shields has a number of opponents for the City Controller position. While he won the party's endorsement for his council seat, he came in third in the run for the endorsement for City Controller. See? Complicated.

I asked him what would be gained and what would be lost with the change, if he were to succeed? He explained that he'd be able to bring a lot more to the table as City Controller.

The Controller, he explained, is a check and balance on the local level. At the national level the government's checks and balances are found in the three branches of government; The Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Locally, Shields says the tripartite system of checks and balances are found in these three; Mayor's Office, City Council and the Controller.

The Controller's office is, he says, a "fair witness" for the people - someone to keep up with the numbers. It's a position that can challenge the mayor's office in ways the city council can't.

His first priority (and I need a ruling from the judges on my use of the phrase "first priority." Isn't that a redundancy? Is there really comething called a second priority? If something is a priority, doesn't it, by definition, come first? I really need to know.) is a reorganization of the Controller's office. The software is easily a decade old (He said they had to run Window's 96 to operate it).

After Act 47 (and Shields pointed to Act 47 as the point where Pittsburgh "went down the toilet.") the city needs to elect someone to keep track of the numbers.

He thinks he's just the guy for the job.

I'll be contacting his opponents to for their views on the race this week.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I won't be casting my vote for a candidate who: (a) is owned by the democratic machine; (b) wants to be a watchdog, yet he has failed to call the interim mayor on a single one of his missteps - financial and otherwise - since his swearing in; (c) formed an alliance with West Virginia security guard Denny Regan during Bob O"Connor's illness and only began distancing himself from Regan after Regan screwed Doug over; (d) actively engaged in a cover-up of Luke's dismantling of the cost recovery program and his friend Denny's illegal overturning of police discipline by playing lawyer (despite the fact that there were 2 lawyers at the council table whose opinions were never pursued) and claiming that no one on council is allowed to talk about any issues relating to a settlement - of course, I'm sure his opinion will change once it suits the machine's political agenda. Shields is a fraud. The only hope of any modicum of independence is Mike Lamb.

Mike said...

Doug's a good guy. He was part of the reform part of O'Connor's coalition. He'd make a good Controller.

Anonymous said...

Doug was part of the Regan /Cassidy/Zober/Skrinjar
"reform" team. He's a snake. He's not a good guy.

Maria said...

Nice overview, Anon.

plumbo said...

I was checking out the websites in this race. Only Lamb and Shields have them. Shields' is like a shrine to Bob. Lamb's looks good but not a lot of issue content yet. He has started a blog and says he will roll out issues throught it.

Anonymous said...

doug was with bob waaay before the "reform team". I 'm not sure how you can be part of the machine but get get less dem endorsement votes than the oh so independent mike lamb, who is proud enough of his endorsement by the big bad party to put it on his lit.

Anonymous said...

You guys are way off.
If Doug was part of the "Regan /Cassidy/Zober/Skrinjar
"reform" team" and "is owned by the democratic machine" Wouldn't he have the Democratic endorsement? Wouldn't they have supported him for council president rather then Motznik?

Truth is that Pokora is the Regan candidate and Lamb is the candidate of the republicans from the Allegheny Conference and the leftovers from the Murphy administration. Nice mix if you like running the city into the ground.

Maria said...

Shields was on TV today saying how there will be no PUBLIC discussion in City Council on the McNeilly case payout. Any discussion will occur away from the public in Executive Session -- just like in the last payout for $200,000.

stan said...

To me Doug Shields is the only candidate who shows any sense of integrity. He's the one you see on TV because reporters know they will get a straight, intelligent answer. No one works harder or has more experience than Shields. Just ask his constituency. He's always there. A great public servant that works overtime and would be a GREAT Controller.

Anonymous said...

Mike Lamb and his oh so proud endorsement won the thing by only ONE vote.
What a guy.

Anonymous said...

Regan lied to Shields - Denny told Shields that the machine would back Shields for Controller if he took the lead on the Regan/Zober coup during O'Connor's illness. Shields got in bed w/Denny & Zober, went on TV and radio and bashed the massacre victims - (Denny also told Motznik that he would be council prez if he hurled a few grenades). Denny needed to get rid of BJ Leber before she fired him or she and Malie convinced Luke that Denny is a cancer & a liability. Denny couldn't deliver on his promises, and all Ferlo cared about was sparing his boy, Zober, so Shields and Motznik were left swinging in the wind. Shields figured it out, and while he privately acknowledges the shady game that he participated in while in the company of Peduto supporters, publicly, he continues
playing the same games. He will do the same snow-job as controller that he's now doing in council. Lamb should call Shields on the carpet for his continuous cover-up of the McNeilly settlement. While there are certain things that shouldn't be discussed in public, since when is council not permitted to generally discuss settlements??? And who is Shields to prevent another councilperson from doing their job and voicing support or opposition to this legislation???

Shields may be more intelligent than the rest of the herd, but he's a snake.

Anonymous said...

doug is an intelligent public official with a handle on city finances and a vision to expand the wasteland of the controller's office into a economic think tank. trying to to him up in the same bundle with dennis the menace is a loooong reach. Can we at least elect the smartest & most qualified person for controller since we won't have a chance in the mayoral race? oh, by the way, lamb/murphy wants to be controller to snipe at luke & use it as a platform to run for mayor. not my definition of a watchdog for the people...

Anonymous said...

The controller's power is limited. The controller does not have the power to create budgets or even to object to the form or substance of a budget. His job is to make sure that budget and other legislation involving appropriation of funds, as developed and approved by the mayor and council, is adhered to. The "think tank" is supposed to exist within the administration and council; the controller can conduct audits - but it appears that Lamb is the only candidate w/the balls to conduct true audits and to "bark" as is necessary to draw public attention to wasteful spending practices. Shields is too closely aligned with Luke and, again, has made it abundantly clear that he is there to cover-up Luke's misspending, whether it's in connection with cost recovery programs, settlements or anything else, not act as a check on the young mayor. Intelligence is important (I happen to believe that Lamb is the more intelligent - he knew enough to steer clear of the O'Connor thugs), but independence is critical in choosing a controller.

Anonymous said...

From the City Paper - April, 2006, Denny Regan gives Shields a $100 donation. It's the only contribution by Regan that shows up in the database. Regan was hardly the power-broker he pretended to be - but this shows a relationship between the two.

Mason said...

The usual knock on Lamb is that he's angling for higher office. You know what? That's fine because in order to move on to higher office (and I don't mean county judge) he'll have to do a good job as controller first.

Doug is way too mired in his history with O'Connor and crew. There will always be strings attached to whatever Doug touches. Time to pass the torch.

Mason said...

By the way Stan, Doug's the one you see on TV because reporters know he'll talk a blue streak.

District 5 Constituent said...

The idea that Luke and Doug are aligned is laughable. Have you actually talked to Doug? Peduto dropped out of the race because he wanted to discuss "issues." According to Doug, "The Mayor is the issue." We need someone in the Controller's Office who can call these yahoo's on their phony facts. Doug is the best qualified and has the chutzpah and political capital to do it.