So, something of a gearshift from my usual nationally oriented posts. Last week I got a flyer saying Pat Dowd is running for City Council in my district. Being who I am, I noticed right away there was no website address. There was an email for Mr. Dowd (not his campaign, supposedly, him), something like Patrick @ dowdforpittsburg.org. No “h” on Pittsburgh. So I tried www.dowdforpittsburgh.org and there it was. There were other problems, though, in email addresses on the website itself that bounced.
But what was sort of cool was that Pat Dowd went door to door in my neck of the woods (Stanton Heights) on Sunday, so I got to meet him. And he remembered me from one of the emails I had sent. And he had already fixed at least the flyer.
So we chatted for a while, he got going and then suddenly exited himself (I expect he had a lot of ground to cover and couldn’t afford to stay any one place for too long). What we chatted about was not that impressive. He is running in part on his record on the school board. I gotta to say I don’t see the connection. He talked about the level of long term debt the city has (its high, I’ll take his word for it). He didn’t mention a specific solution, but referenced the notion that outside entities are more likely to help you when you have a more professional council. He made the connection between the school board before he came in and its troubles with the foundations and now. This is the way he is running on his record. He talked about metrics, about getting more information out about the city. And we talked a bit about the 311 number. He agreed Mayor Luke had done some good things, but maybe we need to do better.
I have to concede, I may not have gotten all or any of the points Mr. Dowd was making, or where he was going or trying to tie things together to. He may have been more subtle than I was ready for.
So I’m not totally convinced, but I’ve never even met Len Bodack, he has not gone door to door in my neighborhood. I don’t know that I agree with all of Mr. Dowd’s positions, actually I don’t know hardly any of them. But I don’t know any of Mr. Bodack’s at all. Dr. Dowd has a doctorate, I believe Mr. Bodack did not finish an undergrad.
What I would like to see Dowd do is step up to some politically neutral but technically smart *policies*.
Let’s see the city alter it’s healthcare plan by requiring employees, retirees and any family covered to get a yearly physical, and also to participate in a healthy lifestyle program that examines health factors like cholesterol, weight, exercise and whether you smoke, and rewards those employees with parameters considered healthy. The reduction in absenteeism and possible increases in productivity would be well worth it.
Let’s see an expansion of the 311 lines hours, and expand it to take non-emergency police calls.
Let’s look at whether adopting the European style of road work, where the road bed is more extensively prepared than it is here, might yield a long term cost savings.
Let’s have the city set what examples it can, with maybe hybrid cars (maybe just the Ford Escape, since we need to buy American) and what ever other green technologies can be found. CMU and Phipps could provide input.
So there’s stuff Pat Dowd can do, and I will do my part to nag him, if he gets elected. But it seems pretty likely he is going to get my vote anyway. I hate politicians because they always break your heart, but in the end I can’t claim to be any better of a person (and usually a worse one). There might be high expectations for Pat Dowd, and that might mean a bigger letdown. But at the end of the day he is still preferable to Mr. Bodack.