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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Today in political insurgency headlines ...

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 2:43 PM

Despite the misgivings of naysaying quislings such as myself, Georgia Blotzer is taking another shot at city council district 2 -- a post she lost in a special election earlier this month.

In a feisty press release, Blotzer noted that while she was compelled to run in the special election as an independent, this time around she'll "run as the Democrat that I am, representing the party of working families, job creation, and civil rights." She also notes that Theresa Kail-Smith, who won the special, "garnered just under half of the vote in an election notable for exceedingly low turnout."

Blotzer pledged to offer "specific plans for realistic improvement" in the district, and promised to conduct a "Listening Tour." I've fretted before that it may be a little late for such efforts, but Blotzer clearly has heard the "forgotten neighborhood" lament loud and clear: "Why is it that Pittsburgh's scarce development resources aren’t touching District 2?" her release asks. "[F]ar too many feel their particular neighborhoods have been ignored or forgotten."

In other campaign news, Patrick Dowd and Luke Ravenstahl are entering the debating-about-debates phase of the campaign, which by tradition follows close on the heels of the announcing-plans-to-announce phase and the actual announcement.

Dowd is playing this just right so far, asking for a series of nine debates -- one for each district, see -- and saying it's unacceptable that Ravenstahl "demands a near month-long gap (April 20th- May 19th) between the last proposed debate and the actual election ... Surely, if we instruct our staff to find mutually convenient slots of 90 minutes each week ... they will."

Give Dowd credit for not adding something like, "After all, there are no Steelers parades scheduled this spring, and I understand Snoop Dogg is busy recording."

Way to take the high road, councilor! 

But there is a slightly worrisome trend for Dowd backers. Just before Dowd formally announced his campaign, supporters began an online fundraising effort to scare up $5,000 for their guy. As I write this, the campaign is 58 percent of the way to its goal. Which sounds great ... except when I first checked the site shortly before hopping on the bus to Dowd's kickoff event, the campaign was already 42 percent of the way to its total. 

Which means that in the space of 4 days since Dowd's announcement, the campaign has raised about $800. 

Before Bram starts yelling at me, I counsel neither panic nor despair. At his campaign event, Dowd said that he didn't expect a lot of money to start rolling in until he proved his own seriousness. And for all we know, contributions are coming in by the bucketfull offline.

But if you believe that Dowd's campaign could -- like Obama's -- be kick-started by an internet insurgency, this total (along with some other signs) might be a tad worrisome.

In District 8, meanwhile, Bill Peduto has put out his call for volunteers to help with signature gathering this Saturday. Volunteers are urged to meet at Peduto's campaign office (5830 Ellsworth Ave., Suite 102) at either 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. A Sunday drive kicks off at 2 p.m. 

If you prefer your politics to involve as little human contact as possible -- and really, who can blame you? -- you might check out tomorrow's CEOs for Cities event, a discussion of stimulus plans and what they could mean for Pittsburgh. Peduto and others will be there, but you can watch it from the comfort of your basement in your fleece jammies by watching it here

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