Patrick Dowd formally kicked off his mayoral campaign today, before a crowd of about 50 supporters atop Polish Hill. Dowd maintained that the blustery February weather was proof that "winds of change" were blowing ... but trust your correspondent on this one: It was just freakin' cold.
Dowd offered at least a partial answer to a question he expects to be asked a lot in the weeks ahead: "Who is Patrick Dowd?" He also suggested a rough outline of his vision for the city -- pledging to create a fiscally transparent government that would be tough on crime. Perhaps a bit more esoterically, he promised to overhaul the city's planning efforts, which he contended were suffering from "decentralization." He said he would scale back the use of tax incentives to entice developers, even as he would seek to lure new residents and businesses from overeseas.
Dowd also invoked the spirit of former Mayor Pete Flaherty, claiming that just like Flaherty, he would be "Nobody's Boy". As proof, he pledged that his first action as mayor would be to prohibit no-bid city contracts from being awarded to anyone who had made a campaign contribution to a city official.
Some have fretted that Dowd won't be tough enough on the mayor, and that he lacks the stomach for a two-fisted political fight. Dowd gave a sense of his willingness to take on Ravenstahl when, in response to a question from KDKA's Jon Delano, he repeatedly asked "where was the mayor?" on a series of key issues over the past year.
The media turned out in force to witness Dowd's remarks, and the crowd supporting him skewed young and enthusiastic. But the campaign kicked off on an improvisational note: Organizers had pro-Dowd stickers to wear, but the poster for the podium was drawn in magic marker. Perhaps because of the wind, or because the campaign realized it looked a little silly, the poster was removed before any of the real reporters showed up.