Sunday, May 01, 2005

PG Fond of Fontana

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has endorsed Wayne Fontana for the vacant Pennsylvania 42nd District State Senate seat over Republican Mike Diven and Libertarian Mark Rauterkus. No one should be surprised by this. In fact, I would be suspicious of Mike Diven had he received the paper's nod. He was still a Democrat just a few weeks ago and claims to have support from many members of his former party. A PG endorsement is my voter's guide of who not to vote for.

The mailbox on my porch (as opposed to the one in my computer) has been filled with fliers from both Diven and Fontana. While I have no problem with negative campaigning -- as long as you can articulate what is right about you, go right ahead and tell me what's wrong with the other guy -- these two seem to be rebutting one another's mailings almost as quickly as though they were responding to email.

Of these two leading candidates, Diven has been doing the most to attract as many voters as possible. He actively seeks bipartisan support, which is not a bad idea considering that Republicans are a minority in this district. Fontana, by contrast, makes a point of identifying himself as the DEMOCRAT running for the office, and his literature gives one the impression that Diven's first name is "Republican". Fine. Either you do not want bipartisan support, or you feel that you do not need bipartisan support. You will not get it anyway. Wayne Fontana also proudly displays his union cards on one campaign mailer, which to me is like boasting about your ties to organized crime.

The third candidate, Mark Rauterkus, has taken his campaign to meetings and public events as well as his own blog. Rauterkus actually keeps up with what's going on in the area and comments on current events.
That's a refreshing change, and it would be good to see other office seekers follow suit. Too many of those guys try so hard to stay "on message" that they give the appearance of not being able to see the big picture.

But it's Fontana's "I'm gonna win 'coz I'm a Dem" campaign that impresses our esteemed urban daily the most. Thank you, Post-Gazette, for narrowing my choices down to two.


Mark Rauterkus said...

Thanks for making me a "front runner."

How can I best show you how nutty Diven's solution talk has been?

He wants to create a new authority for downtown. I hate authorities. The authorities have gotten us into big trouble.

This new authority would then be in charge of turning all the gov buildings -- but not those of the state of Feds -- into loft apartments. Then in Fifth and Forbes he does a $50-M parking, retail and government center -- like a RIDC Park I guess.

More debt. Ticket to killing the city finally.

The $50-M is part of a larger $300-M project as the rest of the state is going to want to get theirs too.

It is a TIF on STEROIDS. I hate TIFs too.

I need your vote. I'd like your endorsement. Thanks for the kind words so far.


Nicko McDave said...

Loft apartments? Is that some kind of local welfare program? No one with an ounce of sense should pay any amount of money to live there. Vacating the buildings makes sense if the row office referendum passes, but they ought to be sold to private enterprise. Mike Diven may have more in common ideologically with Republicans than with Democrats, but he hasn't completely shaken off the old ways -- a sure sign of someone banking on bipartisan support, which he is going to need if he wants to win.

I won't go so far as to endorse anyone -- I am more on the fence now than I have been since the campaign began -- but I will reiterate what I said before: More candidates (and office holders) ought to start blogging in order to keep connected with voters. Most candidate web sites are little more than electronic versions of printed campaign literature. But I won't hold my breath waiting for them to follow your example.

Mark Rauterkus said...

My campaign CDs -- with the theme song, "Think Again," are going to hit the streets for the first time at an AM meeting hosted by the South Side Chamber at South Side Hospital. They are hosting a Mayor's Forum.

The CD has some music and other statemens from myself.

My campaign site is NOT yet life. Another secret weapon for the right time.