Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Post-Gazette Mayoral Candidates Forum
All and all, the evening was ….. okay.
Both Luke and DeSantis did well in general. To my eye and ear, neither screwed up, neither hit the ball out of the park. Both came across pretty much as who they were. There were (dare I say the word?) policy differences between the two and these came across fairly clear as well.
Did any candidate win over any voters tonight? In my opinion, no. Did any candidate blow it and lose votes tonight? Again, I think not.
But it wasn’t all milk-toast and bland. DeSantis got big applause when he said, “Youth does not equal incompetence, but it’s not an excuse either.” And, “People in the neighborhoods need to be heard. If you call a meeting, you have to show up.”
The clap-meter shot up when Luke was asked 'What is the single most important thing to improve Pittsburgh’s image?' He answered, “Elect a 27-yr-old mayor.” He also struck a chord with the audience when he spoke disapprovingly about privatization of government services.
Even the PG editorial board received kudos from the crowd by asking Luke what he would say to those people who are critical of his intentions to “continue to do what 27-yr-olds do.” No surprise, Tony Norman got a round of applause just for being Tony Norman.
But the night did not conclude without its share of surprises. The Socialist candidate, Ryan Scott, cornered the market on all of them. He left the planet early on and continued his journey into deep space at an impressive Warp 10 speed. Some of Mr. Scott’s disjointed thoughts on various issues, whether or not they had anything to do with being the mayor of Pittsburgh:
o He supports the rights of all countries to develop nuclear energy.
o Even though no one in the room quite understood why, it seems the Jena Six has something to do with his credentials to be mayor, why a young mayor (he is 24) is a good thing, and shrinking the size of City Council to correspond with the shrinking population.
o His campaign was in harmony with nature.
o “Crimes and devastation against the planet” was the single most important thing to improve Pittsburgh’s image. (???)
o Cops bring violence into the neighborhoods. He wants no more cops on the streets.
o There will be no true education until Capitalism is overthrown.
For a PG podcast of the 90-minute debate in its entirety, go here.