City Paper On The Pittsburgh Primary

I'm getting ready for my journey to NYC, so I'm going to throw out a few first impressions of the City Paper's cover story ananlyzing the election outcomes, the potential for the three new City Councilpeople-elect, and, of course, where blogs fit into it all. 

* Interesting that Patrick Dowd and Bruce Kraus were interviewed together, but Ricky Burgess was interviewed separately.  Was that a timing issue? 

They also acknowledged knowing next to nothing about Burgess, the third challenger to win his primary race.

“I don't know much about his work,” confesses Dowd, though he notes that he was “moved” by Burgess' yard signs, which promised “The Power of Hope.”

“I really don't know [Burgess],” seconds Kraus, though he adds, “we've met a couple of times.”

This comes as little surprise to Burgess. District 9 is predominantly black and poor, and it “is not the focus of a lot of people,” Burgess says. “It's not surprising people don't know a lot about me.”

Taking things one step further, didn't any of the progressives working so hard for Dowd and Kraus make the time to get to know Burgess?  The election has been over for more than two weeks folks.  I read about Burgess on the Steel City Stonewall site and noted that he was good on some issues (DP bennnies, needle exchange, history of workign with PATF) and not good at all on others (gay marriage, right to choose).  But he's here and he's now and it just strikes me as odd that no one is taking the time to get to know him.  Reading yard signs and the City Paper article isn't the same thing as saying “Hey, Ricky, let's you, Bruce/Patrick, and I grab some coffee at Ritter's Diner and get to know each other.”    To be fair, I have to wonder if Burgess' people took the time, then or now, to get to know Dowd or Kraus — these things matter to me because I work in District 9 and a lot of my families live there.

* Blogs get a rap on the knuckles in this piece.  We feasted on the setbacks of the old timers.  Burgess thinks we don't pay enough attention to issues outside of our own purveuy, like the perspective in Homewood.

“The issues of some people, like those in the blogs, are not my issues,” Burgess says. “What's holding our district back is the education for our kids, the violence and lack of economic development in our communities.” Such issues, he notes, get very little attention from bloggers, who are much more likely to be set abuzz by the news that Ravenstahl was detained by police at a Steelers game in 2005.

Burgess admires the blogs for being an “unfiltered perception of some segment of the community.” But, he adds, “The authors of the blogs are talking about the perspective they live” — and “mostly, they aren't living in Homewood.”

Ouch!  <Surveying the landscape for political bloggers who aren't white or anonymously racially unknown — Hello Three Rivers Online …..Khari — why no updates?.>.  To be fair to myself, I live in Manchester which isn't a haven of white upper class sensibilities and I do blog about local issues, but my perspective on local issues is definitely colored by the privileges of being white and middle class.  I've most notably blogged about urban dumping, police indifference, political indifference and so forth, but I do think I've tried to consider the big picture. 

Please note that I do have a constructive plan on this particular issue, a plan I've been hatching with Maria and Agent Ska.  It will be anounced, hopefully, next week.  You will all, including Chris Potter, be invited to lavish us with phrases like “Pure Genius,”  “Revolutionizing the Burghosphere,” and “Damn, Those Chicks Are F***ing Brilliant.”

* It is easy to romanticize the “progressive bloc” backing Peduto, but the CP reminds that in politics, things are never romantic.  Dowd and Kraus are not clones and have philosophical differences <thank goodness they have philosophical anything>.  Burgess is keenly aware of the historical isolation of his district and staking territory as his own man.  It is not Peduto the progressive leader or Peduto the king-maker who is going to surge ahead with these gentleman in tow. It is Peduto's ideas — solid, smart and good governance policies — that stand a chance of winning the support of these gentleman.  And, to be fair, these gentleman stand a chance of winning Peduto with their own good ideas. 

* There's a really cute picture of Doug Shields in the story.  Not really relevant to anything, but I did honestly think,”That's a cute picture.”  He looks like a man who wouldn't light up in a public building.  Let's hope.

Alrighty then, I must go finish packing my carryon bag.  Ledcat and the woofers will hold down the fort.  The kitties will carry on as usual.  I will probably log back on tonight and look forward to the usual hundreds of comments. 

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  • Sue —
    Thanks for your thoughtful take on the story. You speak to a lot of the issues that we thought were important as well.
    You asked whether it was a “timing issue” that Burgess wasn't interviewed alongside Dowd and Kraus. The answer is yes. We wanted to get all three of them in the room together, because we thought doing so would highlight their similarities and differences. But there were scheduling conflicts that we only learned of late in the day. By that point, we were starting to feel deadline pressure, so we took advantage of Kraus and Dowd's mutual availability, and interviewed Burgess separately.
    Looking forward to your next amazing Internet feat,
    Chris Potter

  • Sue —
    Thanks for your thoughtful take on the story. You speak to a lot of the issues that we thought were important as well.
    You asked whether it was a “timing issue” that Burgess wasn't interviewed alongside Dowd and Kraus. The answer is yes. We wanted to get all three of them in the room together, because we thought doing so would highlight their similarities and differences. But there were scheduling conflicts that we only learned of late in the day. By that point, we were starting to feel deadline pressure, so we took advantage of Kraus and Dowd's mutual availability, and interviewed Burgess separately.
    Looking forward to your next amazing Internet feat,
    Chris Potter

  • My most recent feat was getting in and out of a 20 person Hummer limousine wearing a fitted dress in the company of five priests without causing a stir. Twice. I'm very thankful that has not been recorded for You Tube.
    Stay tuned …

  • My most recent feat was getting in and out of a 20 person Hummer limousine wearing a fitted dress in the company of five priests without causing a stir. Twice. I'm very thankful that has not been recorded for You Tube.
    Stay tuned …

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