The Post-Gazette endorses Patrick Dowd for the Democratic nomination for mayor on May 19.
The editorial board starts off its approach to the primary the way most of us have:
By pointing out why you shouldn’t vote for Luke Ravenstahl.
The string of youthful missteps that marked Luke Ravenstahl's first months in office have evaporated and the mayor has matured in the job, but Pittsburgh still lacks a leader with a broad, deep vision for the city's future.
You don't lead by arguing that there is nothing wrong with city contracting practices, even if -- in the face of numerous examples of pay-to-play politics and an approaching election -- you eventually order a long-needed ban on most no-bid professional contracts.
You don't lead by announcing good intentions, as the mayor has done in backing city-county consolidation efforts, but then doing little to pressure legislators to support them.
And you don't lead by mixing politics with the provision of government services, as Mayor Ravenstahl did when he reopened a city police station in the West End, which didn't make sense given the zone's relatively low call volume.
With its shrinking population, impending contract negotiations with city unions and growing pension and debt problems, Pittsburgh doesn't have time to wait for Mr. Ravenstahl, 29, of Summer Hill, to gradually evolve toward more sound positions. The city needs a stronger, forward-looking mayor who can move Pittsburgh ahead now.
I can’t really disagree that the first conclusion you must reach in this primary is that Ravenstahl needs to be replaced (“needs replaced”?). And while the P-G goes on to point out a number of reasons why Dowd is a pretty good candidate to do the replacin’, I think that they hit on one of the biggest issues right off the bat:
In my admittedly nascent position as an observer of city government and politics, one of the main truths I’ve absorbed over the past two or three years is that possibly the biggest quality Pittsburgh needs in a mayor is leadership. Strong, willful leadership. While Ravenstahl is probably directly responsible for a fair portion of the nonsense and chicanery that has taken place and continues to take place around the city, a major part of the problem appears to be that there are plenty of people working throughout city government who have milked their positions for all their worth.
And it’s a lack of strong leadership that permits this kind of environment to fester and grow.
So, first and foremost, Pittsburgh needs strong leadership. A close second behind leadership in the city’s list of needs is accountability for that leadership. And to get the accountability, you need transparency in all city government acts.
Leadership. Accountability. Transparency.
Sounds like three Patrick Dowd talking points, doesn’t it?
If nothing else, the guy seems to get it, and I suppose that’s why the Post-Gazette - and me, and most of the local blogs I read - are on board with Dowd.