February 3, 2009

Pittsburgh City Council District 2 Special Election TODAY

It's not hard to agree with everyone that special elections aren't a big draw in general and today's in particular -- add temps in the 20's, snow, and a big frickin' Steelers Super Bowl Champions parade to the mix -- and you're likely looking at an exceptionally low turnout today in District 2.

That doesn't mean things haven't gotten heated in blog world, but I'm more concerned with this postcard from Allegheny County Democratic Committee (ACDC) Chair Jim Burn.

Let's agree from the get go that it's Burn's job to get endorsed democrats elected. Fine and dandy. But, I would like to think that he would want to do that in a way that is honest and does not demonize candidates other than his own.

The postcard reminds voters that Theresa Smith is the only candidate (currently) running as a Democrat. Fine and dandy and true.

However, it also states this:

She is running against a Republican and two third party fringe candidates.
Words have meaning. Here's the meaning of a couple:

2 a: a major political party operating over a limited period of time in addition to two other major parties in a nation or state normally characterized by a two-party system

3 a: something that is marginal, additional, or secondary to some activity, process, or subject b: a group with marginal or extremist views.
1) Georgia Blotzer, candidate for Pittsburgh City Council, is running as an independent (small "i"). Running as an independent means that you are non-affiliated. It does not mean that you belong to a "third party." Additionally, most people know that Blotzer has been a Democratic Committee member who has long campaigned for Democratic candidates and who chose to run as an independent in this race which -- while having no democratic primary election -- could only have one candidate listed with a big D beside their name.

2) Georgia Blotzer both far outstripped her opponents (including Smith) in fundraising and she received the endorsement of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. This means that she is not "marginal" or "secondary."

3) Given that Smith and Blotzer have nearly identical issues (Smith: "She plans to advance her efforts to develop programs to unite communities, maintain a strong police presence and reduce neighborhood blight." Blotzer's issue page: Safe Streets, Viable Housing, Responsible Development and Campaign Finance Reform.), Blotzer's views seem neither "marginal" or "extremist."

That is, unless of course, the ACDC -- being the only game in a one party town and clinging to their death grip on the purse strings -- believes that campaign finance reform is extremist.

Barring that, perhaps they can use their monies to buy Jim Burn a dictionary.


Obligatory Disclaimer: As mentioned before, I've been paid by the Georgia for Council campaign to create and maintain her web site:


Bram Reichbaum said...

Nice. Although according to filings Blotzer "far outstripped her opponents" in terms of fundraising, other candidates held significant fundraisers after the most recent filing deadline. It's probably a little more even.

Infinonymous said...

Jim Burn should have been more careful, because his wording was misleading at best. Ms. Smith was the only endorsed Democrat on the ballot, but not the only Democrat.

And given the way in which the city Democratic Committee has wrecked the city, the city endorsement isn't much to crow about.

Ms. Smith appears to be a fine small-scale community advocate. But is she ready to make decisions about hundred-million-dollar pension plans, huge city employee contracts, sophisticated development issues and the like? Is she up to the task of making important decisions with city-wide impact? There is not a speck of evidence to support a "yes" answer. More small-time thinking, another overwhelmed elected official, a continuation of failed policies and practices. Just what the city needs.

A few small-vision bloggers and local political hacks are happy; a couple of planters and a bench are on their way to the West End, maybe someone's nephew will get hired by Public Works. Meanwhile, the rest of the city continues to weep.

Unknown said...

Smith is going to be great on council.

Infinonymous said...

Ms. Smith seems to be a fine person -- indeed, her record on community issues appears to be exemplary. She appears to be a standout in that regard.

But the likelihood that she will overcome her inadequate resume -- her limited experience, her apparently limited education, her myopic perspective and her ties to a political machine that has wrecked the city -- to become an adequate member of council seems remote. The city is in the intensive care unit, and there is no evidence she is up to the job of improving the situation as a member of council. Pittsburgh needs a heart surgeon; the voters of the West End just hired a neighborhood watch volunteer.

Unless one possesses evidence about her qualifications that has not been provided to the public yet, or one's standard of "success" is a continuation of the failure that has been Pittsburgh's city government and city Democratic Committee for decades, predicting "great" performance for Council Member Smith is about as persuasive as a seven-year-old's declaration that he is going to be a cowboy . . . and an astronaut . . . and a Jedi Knight.

Or maybe you're the guy who plans to sell the city the park bench she will bring home to her easily satisfied neighborhood as the "great" symbol of her "success" in office?