The Mayoral race was supposed to be the referendum on politics as usual versus reform. But then Peduto decided he couldn't compete with the self reinforcing national popularity of the boy mayor in celebrity-starved Pittsburgh.
But (at least) one council race picked up a lot of the elements of reform versus usual politics (probably two, but I don't live on the South Side). As we all know, Pat Dowd positioned himself as, among other things, a forward-looking reformer. Now, I think the endorsements or Pat Dowd's considerable door knocking will be more important factors in deciding this race. But there is that subtext that affects the exchanges between the two campaigns, and the way they present themselves.
I think it is reasonable to say the Dr. Dowd never met an issue he wasn't ready and eager to discuss (his disappointment at not being able to debate Mr. Bodack was through the campaign was obvious). Clearly being a teacher was a good choice for him. He seems to delight in obtaining, filtering and providing information. This is, of course, an essential part of being a progressive, reform-oriented candidate.
I don't know Len Bodack, and he seems determined to keep it that way, at least if you look for him on the internet. But his defenders want to say that if I did need him, I would come to appreciate his talents. Apparently they include hiring a community service oriented staff, and finding ways to help the district, in some sense (maybe the best sense) being an old fashioned community fixer.
I think it is fair to say that Pat Dowd thinks that if the city thrives, District 7 will too, while Len Bodack puts his district first in all that he does.
I do think we need people on council who will look past their own district's borders. The city will face new financial issues as we move through Act 47 status, that will require hard choices. I also think the combination of Bill Peduto and Pat Dowd on council could create a dynamic of new ideas, ideas that might put Pittsburgh in the national spotlight not for having a boy mayor or losing only a few less people than New Orleans, but because our policies are so innovative. It's kind of a "let them eat cake" kind of pipe dream, but all the pieces are actually in place. If district 7 wants it.