What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 30, 2009

Why I'm voting for Franco Dok Harris

It ain't just a vote against Lil Mayor Luke.

A few months ago I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Franco Dok Harris. His campaign had invited a group of progressive, activist women to have a conversation with the candidate. Can anyone imagine Ravenstahl doing this kind of outreach? Yes, I guess that is rhetorical.

The endorsements that Harris have received are telling: gay rights organization Gertrude Stein Political Club of Greater Pittsburgh, the Veterans Alumni Association of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania National Organization for Women. They speak to a candidate who is truly progressive.

His platform is also progressive. First, he has a positive vision for the City of Pittsburgh, but one which recognizes the problems that we face including: violence in our neighborhoods, a [city with a] history of actively excluding strong professional women from City Governance and a current administration who is unwilling to listen to those who feel they have no voice. He also is a candidate who cares about campaign finance reform and transparency.

Franco Dok Harris is a candidate with actual business and entrepreneurial experience who promises to focus on creating family-sustaining jobs and revitalizing our neighborhoods by empowering small-business owners.

He has a vision for a Pittsburgh which is not just green buildings, but also creating sustainable businesses and sustainable neighborhoods -- an actual platform for our future.

During our sit-down, I found a candidate who is sharply intelligent, knowledgeable, funny and self deprecating -- a world away from our present mayor.

And Kevin Acklin? I truly appreciate his focus on the Ravenstahl Administration's personal and corporate favoritism. He also has a compelling personal story. However, that story reminds me that here is a person who faced great financial hardships growing up, yet somehow came to the conclusion to become a Republican -- can you say cognitive dissonance? And, yes, he supported Santorum and Hart and only switched party affiliations right before running for mayor. (He's also someone who couldn't even beat a candidate who dropped out before an election). Moreover, Acklin is anti choice and I simply do not trust anti choice candidates as having my best interests at heart "pro life" personally but pro choice practically speaking but won't call himself pro choice or something like that (see comments).

For all these reasons, I will happily cast my vote on Tuesday for the person who I believe offers the best opportunity to actually move Pittsburgh forward:

Franco Dok Harris


NOTE: The Other Political Junkie would like to add that he no longer lives in the City of Pittsburgh, but if he did, he would vote for Harris.


JenEngland said...

Don't forget he also has what I think is the only labor endorsement of the general. Iron Workers Local 3 endorsed Dok.

Mark Rauterkus said...

One day -- err, -- one year, a women will run for mayor again. Perhaps these guys and others that have gone before have improved the landscape so that we'll get better and better candidates and have better and better decisions as voters. I long for many vibrant campaigns with solutions and depth among strong civic-minded individuals. Pittsburgh's political future could use more than run baby running. The recent challengers may have helped. Time will tell.

carpetbaggery said...

Thanks for this take. I haven't made up my mind yet, and the PG doesn't seem to be helping any. Only thing that has bothered me about Dok is that rather sketchy TV commercial with Obama saying (out of context) "Where's Luke?" and mothers on the Hill crying for their children. Would we be able to blame Dok for shootings on his watch?

And yet, I agree with most of your takes on this. You've got me leaning...

Maria said...

I loved that commercial and didn't see it as sketchy at all because the truth is that Ravenstahl has time after time snubbed groups of African Americans and women.

See here.

I don't think the commerical blames Ravenstahl for shootings, but does blame him for his seeming disinterest in people who don't have lots of $ and influence.

As regards to Obama, he snubbed him something like three times and I am hard pressed to find anything he did to help him get elected after the primary. It was shocking to me then and it's still shocking to me now that a Democratic mayor of a large city did nothing for the Democratic presidential candidate.

Thomas said...

I respect that this is your blog, and you can endorse whoever you want, but you are just spreading lies about Kevin Acklin. He supports Roe v. Wade, and always has. The reason why he lost to McCollough in the Republican Primary for county commission is because he ran as a progressive against an arch conservative--never a winning position in the Republican party. Acklin also voted for Obama and Bob Casey...so to rebut your accusation about why he left the Republican party, he left because he was never that much of a Republican to begin with.

Endorsing Dok is one thing, but lying about his opponents is a little over the top.

carpetbaggery said...

"...Ravenstahl has time after time snubbed groups of African Americans and women."

Fair point. I just wish the commercial was clearer in making that claim, and a little less sensational. When it came on, I was with some people who groaned at its tone... and none had a horse in this race. For people who didn't know that about Luke, I'm not sure it connected.

Maria said...


"...so to rebut your accusation about why he left the Republican party, he left because he was never that much of a Republican to begin with."

For someone who was never that much of a Republican, he sure gave them an awful lot of support --thousands and thousands of dollars worth of support right up to last year.

And, as far as him being anti or pro choice, all I know is what I read in the papers.

Chris Potter said...

To clarify Acklin's position on abortion: He is pro-life, though he also says as mayor, he would do nothing to advance that cause, and says he supports "bubble zones" around clinics. As has been pointed out to me in the past, that's more than Luke Ravenstahl can say. Though actually, I'm not aware of any complaints about the status of reproductive freedom under Ravenstahl, either. If someone else knows of any, I'd love to hear about it.

Thomas said...

Maria, I love your blog, I just want to say that flat out. But I must insist that you are wrong on Kevin, and so is Mr. Potter (though I love Slag Heap too!).

This just came across my google reader this morning...


Here is Kevin's answer on choice:

As a lawyer, I have read and studied the Roe v. Wade decision. I believe it strikes a balance between protecting the interest of the state and ensuring the safeties and freedoms of its citizens. Though I am personally opposed to abortion, as Mayor I would not work to undermine the law as it stands today.

Like I said before, I respect the fact that this is your blog and you can endorse whomever you choose! But, I think it would at least be worth a mention that Kevin identifies himself as personally pro-life, but also as a supporter of Roe V. Wade--and that makes an awfully big difference at the end of the day.

It may also be worth mentioning that Dok was a Republican too, he switched before the 2000 election so he could vote for George W. Bush, who was (as is plainly obvious) pro-life.

JenEngland said...

Thomas, Dok did not switch parties to vote for Bush, he never voted for Bush. In fact the time he spent as a R was during college and he was not actively political.

And against abortion is the same thing as pro life and the same thing as anti choice. It's a matter of framing.

Wladek said...

Who ran these ridiculous campaigns? Luke is so easy to attack on so many fronts, yet the best the Acklin people could muster was the unfocused Verbanec crap? And Harris runs spots where hysterical black people are screeching about Luke's lack of support? Yeah, way to win over white Pittsburgh, which still represents the majority of the electorate. Maybe Peduto is right and Luke is bullet-proof, but these two campaigns didn't do anything to test that. Pitiful.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Let the Monday Morning Quarterbacking Begin, today, on election day.

So, what would YOU have done?

shelaghc said...

Thanks for this. I've been waffling a bit feeling like I'm trying to choose the least of the evils.

I *absolutely* know I can't vote for Ravenstahl and just don't feel comfortable with Acklin.

Your "review" of Dok makes me feel more confident that voting for him is less of a "at least he's not Lukie-boy" decision.

Maria said...

Glad I could help.