Thursday, March 5, 2009

What I Like About Dowd

After combing through the last year's articles on Dowd in the Post-Gazette, I've discovered that I do like what Dowd's been doing. That I had to comb through the Post-Gazette's online articles to discover this, I'm not too happy about, but hopefully this will save others some effort while Dowd and company complete his new website.

1) His role in the ICA/Debt Reduction debacle. He's taken a stand on putting our piggy bank in a safe place. That's cool. A real outcome remains to be seen. It surely helps my good opinion of him that my buddy Lamb is in agreement with him on this one.

2) His awareness of all those pesky city authorities and his consistent complaints that the city is not following its rules, especially regarding the very important parking authority status given the mayor's grand plan to lease the garages and potentially give us a respite from our very serious pension woes.

3) His class in cancelling a taxpayer-paid mailing with his face plastered all over it. If only Luke had shown that much class on trash cans. (Though I can see a lovely anti-Luke campaign involving "taking out the trash.")

4) His position on campaign finance reform. Dowd is one of the majority of council to vote for campaign finance reform. Unfortunately, the current mayor vetoed that bill. Maybe next year?

5) His negotiations with Lamar. The Post-Gazette gives credit for Dowd for settling with Lamar out of court and re-instating the proper board approval process. Also, I appreciate that while he joined fellow council members in appealing the original zoning board approval, he did so as a private citizen.

6) His grass-rootsness. This summer he planned a series of neighborhood meetings as coffee shops. His entire council campaign was based on "grass roots" support. He also appears to be quite popular on Facebook, which while not a ringing endorsement, shows that he has popular support and probably some charm and charisma to go along with it. If I may reach out to those supporters, I might remind you that you're not a private club. You might want to spread the word to folks outside your own circle.

I think all that adds up to looking pretty good on paper. So, why do you like Dowd?

Stay tuned. Maybe tomorrow, I'll address the incumbent.


Schultz said...

You might want to spread the word to folks outside your own circle.

We are, and we have been. He isn't a well known commodity in most parts of the city, so these things take time. Don't you remember me commenting about Dowd on her a week or two ago, when I suggested you may want to consider a temporary party switch to Democrat if you like Dowd enough to vote for him over the mayor. I think Bram mentioned this before but Patrick's old campaign website has a list of press clippings. Campaign, especially ones that are late to the game, have so many things to work on - that is why it is taking some time to get the website up. By the way, unlike Luke, who hired an out of town firm, Dowd hired a local web design shop to create his website.

illyrias said...

Perhaps, I should word my recommendation differently. For two weeks, I've been bombarded with news that Dowd has entered the race. I am well aware of his status as a candidate. However, it wasn't until today when I did some real digging and figured out exactly what he's been up to over the past year since he's been elected to council.

So tell people why they should vote for Dowd if you believe in him.

By the way, why did you take the time to nitpick my post without taking the time to answer my question? Why do you like Dowd?

You may note that Carmen Robinson also chose a local firm to design her website. (

Bram Reichbaum said...

A nice post. I'll add one thing for right now: he fought long and hard in getting UDAG grant money being returned from Parkway Center Mall (which was being diverted towards URA staff salaries) into a properly constituted "UPIF" fund that is now ultimately being used to spur accessory development near Children's Hospital in his own council district.

I think that blends both abstract concerns as to how the City is run with concrete concerns with what he has been able to do for his own constituents.

Schultz said...

There are many things I like about Dowd and you listed a number of them already, but the primary reason I like Dowd for mayor is because he is first and foremost independent minded. Unlike the current mayor and most politicians in these parts he isn't and won't be beholden to anybody except the citizens of Pittsburgh. Right now the city and the region need a leader who will do what is right for Pittsburgh - not what is best for the county executive, not the governor. Secondly, unlike the mayor, who I have met and who I have asked questions to, Dowd can not only hold an intelligent conversation but he exudes a passion for his job and role as a public servant. He loves to talk about issues and when he doesn't know something - like city finances when he first came onboard as mayor, he will put in the time to make sure that he understands the situation. This is the complete opposite of the mayor, who only does things when they are political expedient. When he has the opportunity to meet great leaders and mayors like a Mayor Bloomberg or Mayor Daley he asks them about golf and other nonsense instead of asking particulars on how they did this or that to make their cities better off. Another thing - Dowd is passionate about education and therefore he cares deeply about improving the city schools. Education will be one of his top priorities in office because without a strong school district the city will continue to loss residents and fail to attract enough new residents to maintain its population.

Jerry said...

He has an amazing mind for details and policy. I was at his first house meeting when he was running for Council and I remember thinking that it was like being in an economics lecture, it was so detailed.

That doesn't work well for campaigning, and I think he has changed his style some in that area, but it's exactly what Pittsburgh needs in a mayor. We need somebody who can understand the details of complex issues (like the pension fund) and come up with resolutions. Leave the sports-hero worship to radio talk show hosts, and give us someone who can manage the city.

Schultz said...

Leave the sports-hero worship to radio talk show hosts, and give us someone who can manage the city.

Amen to that!!!