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Monday, January 4, 2010

Dowd tweets tweak diversity issue

Posted By on Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 7:41 AM

I'll make a small confession here: No matter what my position on an issue, I'm a sucker for a well-crafted political position. Especially if it's laden with the kind of irony that is sure to make the other side's head explode. Some people watch cage-fights; I do this. 

Patrick Dowd's weekend Twitter posts certainly qualify. On Saturday afternoon, he noted

The next City Council session -- Pgh's 136th -- will be the first in which women and minority members outnumber white men. Great news 4 Pgh!

Who could argue? Not this white guy. And six hours later, Dowd built on that notion by pointing out

The last female city council president in PGH was Sophie Masloff & that was back in 1988 when there was a Berlin Wall.

Of course, the punchline came yesterday

Tomorrow, when City Council opens its 136th session, I will be proud to vote for Theresa Smith as the next Council President.

So there you go: To Dowd, supporting Theresa Smith in the battle for the council presidency isn't just about creating a more collaborative, less antagonistic relationship between city politicians. It's also about diversifying the city's leadership. 

It'll be interesting to see what the folks over at the Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society make of this argument: They just objected to the fact that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl had overlooked women in his latest round of personnel moves. And what about such longtime Dowd supporters as Gloria Forouzan, who has campaigned to get more women in office? Hell, I praised Smith's potential as a bridge-builder just last week, and have taken a long look at gender-equity issues as well. Hard to argue with a guy who sounds a lot like you.

But of course there's more than a little irony in all this. After all, no one else on council did more to shake up the roster than Bill Peduto, Dowd's nemesis. Peduto actually doorknocked for Robert Daniel Lavelle, and Natalia Rudiak got plenty of help from the Peduto crowd (including campaign support from longtime Peduto ally Matt Merriman-Preston, and a ton of money from the East End, where Peduto and Doug Shields hold sway).

(Please note: Not trying to say Lavelle or Rudiak "owe their election" to Peduto. Just that he worked harder than anyone else on council to get them in office. He paid a price too: One supporter of Tonya Payne, for example, showed up at a council meeting last year, and during the public-comment period denounced Peduto as a snake. Even began hissing at him.)

So politically speaking, Dowd's tweets are like grabbing an award from Peduto's progressive trophy case -- and hitting him over the head with it.

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