Democracy Has Prevailed.

May 18, 2009

Patrick Dowd's Good Call

I received a call at 7:05PM on Saturday night and on comes the recorded voice of Patrick Dowd and I assume it's a typical campaign call, but it turns out to be anything but typical.

Turns out it was a virtual town hall. Once I signaled my agreement to participate I was connected to a live telephone conference with mayoral candidate Patrick Dowd and thousands of my fellow Pittsburghers. The moderator said that 2,000 people were on the line over the course of the event (the number of folks participating ebbed and flowed throughout the hour-long call).

Everyone was invited to ask questions of the candidate and Dowd had time to take about a dozen of them.

The questions asked were wide-ranging and included pensions/debts, employment, air quality, city/county consolidation, ending waste, youth curfews, and community development.

Those asking questions came from areas that included Westwood, Brighton Heights, Mt. Washington, Greenfield, Oakland, Lincoln Place, North Point Breeze, the North Side, and Park Place. There were multiple Southsiders who asked questions because we are a mouthy bunch (I was in queue to ask a question on pensions but a city cop beat me to it).

It was an interesting use of campaign resources. I've grown accustomed to participating in these types of calls by various issue-oriented groups, as well as the primary telephone pressers that the Hillary Clinton campaign held (I received email invitations to Obama pressers during the primary but would never get the confirmation code needed to call in). However, the issue group calls (and media/blogger-only pressers) were by email invitation and you called them. The Dowd call was an unannounced call that you accepted on-the-fly.

Dowd sounded intelligent, reasonable and well informed throughout the call. I have to say that I thought it was pretty cool idea.

I hate to say it, but I believe that Lil Mayor Luke can't be beat this time around. However, I've been wavering between voting for Dowd and voting for Carmen Robinson. The town hall on Saturday pushed me into the Dowd camp.

Good call, Patrick.


Chris said...

I was also on the fence between Dowd and Robinson until I had my first conversation with Dowd Saturday night at the 14th Ward Club fundraiser (which included a very funny 5-minute bit on local politics from Chris Potter).

Dowd mentioned the call-in and was very relaxed yet passionate in his brief remarks following a performance by Squonk Opera. Afterwards we talked about the possibility of starting clubs similar to the 14th Ward's in other wards, especially 11 and 7.

Bram Reichbaum said...

Potter does bits?

C. Briem said...

I believe there used to be a 7th ward IDC.