Franco Harris for Pittsburgh Mayor?

I asked recently for names of real Pittsburgh leaders, and a voice responded: Franco Harris.

After Ravenstahl beat DeSantis in Nov. 2007, I wondered whether the future would bring Pittsburgh an African-American mayor. I was far from the only one.

Now we have African-American mayoral candidate Franco Harris -- Dok Harris, son of the Steeler, but a Franco Harris nonetheless.

I'm not going to endorse anyone, but folks who are disgusted and/or disappointed by the Ravenstahl administration should think long and hard about which candidate gives them the best shot at winning. Dok Harris is young and inexperienced, but he is a smart guy and (check me on this, please) a Pittsburgh native. If he can raise money, it will be an interesting campaign.


13 Responses to "Franco Harris for Pittsburgh Mayor?"

Schultz said... 3/09/2009 3:20 PM

Ravenstahl still get through what will be a tough primary, tough not only because he will have to spend a lot of his money but because at least one of his challengers, Patrick Dowd, is a good campaigner who won't go down without a fight.

Now, if Ravenstahl does win, Dok Harris won't the only threat he has to worry about in the general election.

Anonymous said... 3/09/2009 3:46 PM

I'll vote for any "carpetbagger" on the ballot. As a taxpaying, extremely left-wing, Desantis-voting citizen of Pittsburgh not born in the Burgh, I'm sickened by the nativist chauvinism peddled by the Dem machine.

But, I think I could bring myself to vote for a local as long as he or she has some bold ideas to make the future Pittsburgh better than the old one and the will to implement those ideas. Not to mention at least an outside chance to win....

JenEngland said... 3/09/2009 4:07 PM

"I think I could bring myself to vote for a local" is exactly the attitude that Dowd supporters have to lose if he is to have a shot in hell of not only making a showing in the mayoral primary, but of retaining his seat on city council. That arrogant, we know better than you ignorant oafs, attitude that comes through from Dowd and his supporters is an ism you know. A prejudice just like racism or sexism. Its offensive and ugly but because you think you are better than the ignoramuses you think its just "true." While I abhor the machine and its perpetuation of mediocrity, I don't think that you offer a better alternative with that kind of prejudicial rhetoric.

Schultz said... 3/09/2009 4:40 PM

How does that "come through Dowd" ? His supporters are one thing, but I haven't heard Dowd talking down to anyone since he started this campaign, and unless you have heard it yourself I don't think it is fair to paint Dowd's attitude as one in the same as people who support him.

Anonymous said... 3/09/2009 5:22 PM

That was kind of tongue-in-cheek but the internet doesn't have a sarcasm font, sadly.

However, as much as attitudes like mine may anger you, I frankly am sick of feeling like a second-class citizen in this city because I'm not from here, and even worse I'm from West Virginia. I hated that nativist attitude when I was in WV (and it is probably even more prevalent there) and I'm not going to stop hating it now that I'm on the receiving end and not merely watching other people suffer from it.

I received a damned mailer to my house from the Mayor of this town saying that we shouldn't vote for DeSantis because he's not a true Pittsburgher. I disapprove of that attitude and you want to tell me I'm the bigot?

I love Pittsburgh. I've lived here for four years. My partner is a born-and-bred Pittsburgh native from a blue collar family. I understand that all places have their provincialist and xenophobic attitudes from one extent to another, but that doesn't mean I'm going to excuse it when the local government exploits nativism as a wedge issue.

Maybe you should examine why the local culture is susceptible to that kind of rhetoric. And perhaps examine who it is that's really doing the "other"ing in these kinds of interactions.

Anonymous said... 3/09/2009 5:52 PM

"tough not only because he will have to spend a lot of his money"

Ravenstahl won't spend as much money as you think he will. He doesn't need to.

Schultz said... 3/10/2009 9:01 AM

Sure Matt, how much did he spend last election when he didn't need to?

Anonymous said... 3/10/2009 9:55 AM

I'm not sure but I will find out.

In the general against DeSantis?

Burgher Jon said... 3/10/2009 11:29 AM

Dok Harris is running as an independent, which at least will allow Dowd and Dok to take on Ravenstahl one at a time. However, even that will not stretch the war chest thin. Ravenstahl has the better part of a million at his disposal and hasn't even started raising money seriously for the campaign yet.

The only way I could see this even resembling a close election is if Dowd campaigns hard and effectively and gets within 20% of Ravenstahl then throws all of his support and his machine behind Dok. That's still unlikely though. As much as I hate to admit this, in this city of white democrats, can we actually imagine a black independent winning a mayoral election? I think that's like stepping to the plate with the count already 0-2 (notice that I'm not saying 0-3).

My realistic hope for his election is that Luke learns enough and is fire tested enough to avoid the mistakes that have plagued his first term. I honestly believe his heart's in the right place and that he has the tools to someday be a good mayor for the city... It's just a shame he has to do most of that learning on the job. btw... Dok would too if he somehow gets elected.

EdHeath said... 3/11/2009 8:27 AM

Burgher Jon, I think Ravenstahl will be the eventual winner, but I disagree that he will then learn to be a better Mayor. On the contrary, I think his continued victories will convince him that his style of leadership and his practice of accepting high levels of contributions has been validated by the public. The PWSA debt package that Dowd is talking about right now (and the Mayor’s reaction) is sort of a case in point. In short, I think Ravenstahl will transition into Sharpe James, not Dick Calguiri (sp?).

But this city of white Democrats voted for Barack Obama when the Mayor, County Executive and Governor were all for Hillary Clinton. Dok Harris might have a chance if he picks up the DeSantis vote as well as the African American vote. That’s assuming Republicans don’t vote for the other independent - Kevin Acklin. Presumably Acklin is running as an independent to avoid losing in the primary to Ravenstahl (to whit, the Pittsburgh practice of having a couple of thousand Democrats change registrations to get the endorsed Democrat on to the Republican ticket).

Dok would have to learn on the job if elected. But with an education at Princeton undergrad, Pitt law and CMU business, at least Dok is practiced in learning.

Burgher Jon said... 3/11/2009 10:39 AM

Ed, I hope this is close enough and that people really challenge him hard enough on some of his bigger mistakes (particularly campaign finance), that he realizes if he wants to win again in 4 years he has to run a tighter ship during this term.

I have my doubts whether this will happen, but I'm much more optimistic about that scenario then one where a better candidate actually wins the election.

Anonymous said... 3/11/2009 11:19 AM

Speaking of Democrats getting on the Republican ticket, a couple of weeks ago I was asked to sign to get my school board member on as a Republican. That's more up-front than what Ed is mentioning. Even though I haven't even heard of a Republican challenger, I declined.

Anonymous said... 3/11/2009 11:31 AM

Speaking of Dems getting on the Rep ballot, I was asked to sign to get my school board member on as a Republican. I declined.

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