December 5th, 2006

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02:24 pm - on my exploratory committee...

Originally uploaded by chrismaverick.
So I've mentioned several times in the past that people should consider me automatically running for any unopposed offices. I always write myself in. But this weekend at dinner sui66iy and others started asking me why I don't run for mayor next year. You see, there's going to be a special election to officially replace recently deceased mayor , Bob O'Conner. The front runner right now is Luke Ravenstahl, the current acting mayor, and 26 year old kid. And it got me to thinking, maybe I could have a legitimate go of it.

I've always pretty much acknowledged that given my wacky politics and my refusal to join either party I couldn't win, but now I'm thinking if a 26 year old, with no real experience, can be mayor. Why not me. So I told Mike I'd form an exploratory committee to look into the idea. (no one just announces they're running for office. You always need to form a committee to investigate the possibility).

Welcome to the exploratory committee!

So there are two issues on the table. Feasibility and Electability.

Starting with feasibility. How hard would it be for me to even get on the ballot? What does one need to do in order to get that? I'd assume some certain number of signatures. How many? I've thought about running for city council before, but I figure any support I'm likely to get is going to come from the internet and maybe random crazy wrestling fans. In other words, I figure that my support base isn't geographically centered in any particular district or ward. But the internet covers all of the city of Pittsburgh, so mayor is probably actually easier for me than city council or a state congress seat or something. Anyway, someone needs to find out what I have to do to actually get on the ballot. Who wants to be in charge of that?

And now electability. Who would vote for me? I for one think I'd be excellent at the job. I mean look how mayoral I look in that poster over there. And if there was ever a man of the people, its got to be me. I mean, my politics are right out here online for everyone to read. And I'm right here conferring with the people on every single issue. And as I already pointed out, but its worth saying again... I mean look at me... damn, I'm pretty!

So anyway. Who thinks I should do it? Who would vote for me? Who would help me campaign. I'm really curious as to how well I could do. And I would definitely need help, so by all means feel free to post this in your blog and invite other people I don't know to come comment on this. Consider it lobbying.

Finally, in closing... NO DESK FOR KAYLIE!

EDIT: Also, what issues would you like to see me standing for?

(43 comments | Leave a comment)

on my exploratory committee... - graffiti.maverick

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[User Picture]From: fizzbang Date: December 5th, 2006 - 07:53 pm (Link)
As amusing as the concept is, I'm actively against the idea of "running just because you can". Now, if you can lay out an actual platform and why you'd be a better mayor for Pittsburgh than the other, more known candidates, then I'll listen, but otherwise, I'm against it.

Then again, I don't live there anymore, so my opinion on the matter doesn't carry all that much weight, now does it?
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 5th, 2006 - 08:04 pm (Link)
ah... you misunderstand... its not just "because I can." I have lots of political ideas. Anyone who reads anything I post here should be able to gather that. But this isn't a post about the actual campaigning. This is the exploratory committee. The "should I run" discussion and not the "I promise to" discussion. When and if I decide to run, those types of posts would appear here (and likely on an official campaign website, probably at Among other things, what I'm wondering is what people would like to see me standing for in such a campaign.

That's specifically why I invited people to reference my earlier posts instead of putting a platform out here at this point. This is the time when we formulate that platform.

In anycase, I just added an edit to clarify that.
[User Picture]From: sexcow Date: December 5th, 2006 - 08:31 pm (Link)
As far as your campaign...

Come off as the Pittsburgh boy who loves the Pirates, Penguins, and Steelers. Enjoy rides on the incline/gateway clipper and love the people of this greaty city.

Issues.. hmm.. will the Penguins new arena dealie be settled by election time?
[User Picture]From: sonbanon Date: December 5th, 2006 - 08:33 pm (Link)
OMG, I love your icon and want it.
[User Picture]From: sexcow Date: December 5th, 2006 - 09:05 pm (Link)
i can send it to you if ya want
[User Picture]From: sonbanon Date: December 6th, 2006 - 12:43 am (Link)
Ooh! Yes, please, thx!

You can email it to my username at
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 5th, 2006 - 11:50 pm (Link)
well, I'm an honest politician. I'm certainly not going to lie about sports affiliations. I'm a die hard Steelers fan, and though I love going to Pirates games and hope they do well, I'm a lifetime Indians fan. When I watch hockey, I root for the Pens. The issue of the Arena is certainly one that would have to be tackled.
[User Picture]From: sonbanon Date: December 5th, 2006 - 08:33 pm (Link)
I'd be interested in seeing what you stand for.

P.S. that's a neat picture of you, fitting.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 5th, 2006 - 11:52 pm (Link)
well, I have an opinion on just about every issue ever. That's one of the things that the exploratory committee is about. Finding out what issues the people want to know about. So, dear constituent, what issues are important to you that you'd like to know my opinion on?
[User Picture]From: sonbanon Date: December 6th, 2006 - 12:43 am (Link)
How would you bring more jobs to this city? What's your view on urban sprawl? Public transportation: obsolete or in need of a boost? How would you propose dealing with our city's debt?

I'm sure I will think of more :)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 6th, 2006 - 03:27 pm (Link)
all good issues. Thank you. And yes, please, if you think of more, let me know.
[User Picture]From: akiramich Date: December 5th, 2006 - 08:42 pm (Link)

Things I would like to see from a potential candidate.

I dont actually live in the city, so unless you run for County Commisioner it wouldnt affect me directly. But here are some key issues that would be a positive for me, anyhow:

1.) Remission of the Occupation Tax.

2.) Reduction on the parking tax which is the highest in the country.

3.) A better use of public transportation, including more light rail service. Especially to the East End of the county.

4.) Having the PA Athletic Com. allow MMA events to be held [and taxed].


I will think of more. But allowing strip clubs to feature nude dancers while serving alcohol took away 2/3rds of my gripes...
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 5th, 2006 - 11:55 pm (Link)

Re: Things I would like to see from a potential candidate.

Maybe I'll run for county commissioner someday too. One of the things I hate right now is the blurring of county and city politics. For instance the smoking ban being taken out of the hands of the city.

But one thing at a time. Once I've served a term as mayor, maybe I'll move on to bigger things.
[User Picture]From: thebenedictine Date: December 5th, 2006 - 08:46 pm (Link)
Clean out corruption in the government.

Make luke ravenstahl and whoever else runs take you as a serious threat.

In the end, you will win on character and not on experience, so you have to get out and make yourself known. Shake lots of hands, throw big fundraising parties, go to lots of churches, kiss lots of babies.

You've got the pittsburgh history. If you want to stand for future pittsburgh, insert some inspirational phrase here.

Also, there has already been a play written about this:
[User Picture]From: sui66iy Date: December 5th, 2006 - 09:10 pm (Link)
As you know, public transit is a big issue for me. (You'll need to reconcile your fear/hatred of buses with some sort of transit platform. Perhaps light rail.)

Something that concerns me is that Pittsburgh needs to be perceived as a desirable and hip location. I'd like it to be easier to recruit top technical talent to my company --- right now, I'm finding the big selling point of Pittsburgh to be low property prices. This can appeal to the late-twenties early-thirties crowd who are starting to think about families, but there's still too much flow away from the Burgh and toward San Francisco, Boston, etc. I seem to remember reading that Austin managed to transform in the early-80s into its now-hip self. How did that happen? Might be a useful template.
[User Picture]From: jameel Date: December 5th, 2006 - 09:58 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: sui66iy Date: December 5th, 2006 - 10:11 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: jameel Date: December 5th, 2006 - 10:15 pm (Link)
But... but it's in Texas, the Ohio of the South!
[User Picture]From: sui66iy Date: December 5th, 2006 - 10:21 pm (Link)
What does that have to do with whether a fly and a bee could team up to beat Mav in the election? (They really dislike Mav.)
[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: December 6th, 2006 - 12:00 am (Link)
My people come from Austin. Obviously it must be an awesome place.
[User Picture]From: jameel Date: December 6th, 2006 - 12:31 pm (Link)
The fly has the backing of the sanitation workers' union, and the bee has a stinger. Mav, however, has pro wrestling experience, which is superior to both those things in the political arena. Mav ftw.
[User Picture]From: cuddlyd00m Date: December 6th, 2006 - 12:22 am (Link)
Watch it, boy. Don't make me come over there...

... and ... er ... get my ass kicked.
[User Picture]From: jameel Date: December 6th, 2006 - 12:34 pm (Link)
Hee hee! I messed with Texas!

Mav and I are both originally from Ohio.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 6th, 2006 - 12:00 am (Link)
As a note, I don't hate buses or public transport. That's a misconception. I have a phobia of riding buses myself, but I am all for making the bus system reasonable and in fact I've pimped buskarma several times myself. Light rail would be awesome.

Revitalizing Pittsburgh as a social, happening, city would also be a good agenda item.
[User Picture]From: alphabetically Date: December 6th, 2006 - 04:04 pm (Link)
Low property prices are great and all, but the job market sucks. A lot.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 6th, 2006 - 04:23 pm (Link)
I think it sucks. But I wouldn;t say it sucks a lot. I think there could be improvements made. There always could be. But there are many places where its much worse, too. It's kind of weird, because one of the things that makes the housing market good is that the job market sucks. One thing that would need to be done would be to improve one without harming (and hopefully continuing to improve) the other (as much as possible). Anyway, yeah, its a good issue that I should keep in mind.
[User Picture]From: sui66iy Date: December 6th, 2006 - 05:14 pm (Link)
That's what I'm trying to address!

There's a chicken-and-egg problem. Why aren't there cool tech companies in Pittsburgh? Because it's hard to hire good tech people. Why aren't there good tech people to hire? Because they go somewhere else where there are companies! You have to have some sort of a catalyst outside of the companies to cause people to want to stay, so that companies well set up shop.

Now, as it happens, I already have a cool tech company that wants to hire people. So the lack of a job market isn't exactly my problem, except inasmuch as it means that in general there are fewer good hires in the city (because they aren't already working at other cool places).

Obviously, lots of people have thought about this problem a lot. There's all Richard Florida's work on the "creative class" (oddly enough, as soon as he got sufficiently famous, he left Pittsburgh).

Who knows, maybe rather than give tax breaks to department stores and fund new stadiums, it might make sense to try to support art and music venues. That would make the city more attractive to creative people, which would make it more attractive to creative companies, which would feed a virtuous cycle. In theory.
[User Picture]From: vandebeast Date: December 5th, 2006 - 10:36 pm (Link)
Have you looked into what your responsibilities as mayor would be versus what power and influence you'd wield to determine if you really would want to do it? It seems that the exploratory committee should be looking into that question as well.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 6th, 2006 - 12:03 am (Link)
I'm pretty sure I'm ready for the responsibility. Despite my humorous ways of dealing with issues here, I actually do care about pretty much everything I rant about, and I'd love the power to affect change.

But you make a good point. I nominate you for research into the full responsibilities of the mayoral office. Up for it?
[User Picture]From: marsinthestars Date: December 6th, 2006 - 03:33 pm (Link)
I was curious about how serious you are.

I think it would be a fantastic thing for someone like you, who does take on many issues and not only puts out his opinion but puts it out clearly, and backs it up with news articles, other people's opinions, and intelligence, to run for Mayor.

But, knowing that people will google you if you run, I think you need a post that clarifies what this post does not - how seriously you do care about the city, and how seruiously you would take the responsibilities of Mayor.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 6th, 2006 - 04:03 pm (Link)
I'm seriously considering it, yes. I don't seriously believe I can serioulsy win. But that doesn't mean I won't seriously try.

And yeah, if I seriously do it, there would be a serious post with a serious platform.

From: ludimagist Date: December 6th, 2006 - 09:22 pm (Link)

Friends in high places are good!
[User Picture]From: vandebeast Date: December 6th, 2006 - 11:22 pm (Link)
I'll take a whack at it. But I'm mostly gonna be restricted to what I can find on the internet being a few states west of Pittsburgh.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 6th, 2006 - 02:45 am (Link)
Want my vote? Simple two things here::::

1) Make Pittsburgh not such a bitch to drive thru.

2) Someone pay me to do shows in Pittsburgh and I do mean PAID.

3) Give the Cincinnati Bengals the Vince Lombardi trophy that we rightfully deserve. -
[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: December 6th, 2006 - 06:11 am (Link)
Sweet, perfect opportunity to win votes by taking down a whiny bengals fan :)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 6th, 2006 - 03:31 pm (Link)
wow... I'm amazed you spelled it with an E
[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: December 6th, 2006 - 05:13 pm (Link)
That was a typo.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 6th, 2006 - 03:30 pm (Link)
Curious as you who this is.... I'm guessing a wrestler by the second comment. But who are you?

1) Traffic would definitely would be on the agenda.

2) Private sector. Not a responsibility of the mayor's office, but I'd be all for encouraging more events and stuff.

3) Ummm, I'm a Pittsburgher. But even if I wasn't, I'd know that the Bungals don't "deserve" the Lombardi Trophy. Let's not be silly.
[User Picture]From: wooble Date: December 7th, 2006 - 03:02 am (Link)
1) Make Pittsburgh not such a bitch to drive thru.

Sadly, the Parkways are run by the state, so the mayor really has no authority over the biggest problems. I advocate the state legislature instituting summary executing for idiots who slow down for no reason when exiting tunnels. That would solve 90% of the city's traffic problems.
[User Picture]From: drspooky Date: December 6th, 2006 - 08:08 am (Link)
The 26 year old has the support of a number of powerful local figures and organizations. A politician is not paid for ideas, a politician is paid for his ability to get things done. Ideas are worthless. Opinions are nothing.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 6th, 2006 - 03:32 pm (Link)
your point?
[User Picture]From: drspooky Date: December 6th, 2006 - 03:51 pm (Link)
My point is that having ideas without any plan, support, or ability to implement them doesn't qualify one for office. In an election, a politician isn't selling experience or ideas. The 26 year old may lack experience in an elected office, but he has the open support of state and local official and thus, the ability to implement his ideas. In addition to that, he has the financial and political support of his party behind him and I think that you grossly overestimate the impact and influence that the internet has over real-world issues.

Your idea for running seems to hinge on the notion that Ravenstahl isn't any more qualified than you are, and it simply isn't true. You asked about feasibility of running and your electability, and I'm answering you.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 6th, 2006 - 04:00 pm (Link)
ok, thanx. That's what I was looking for, yes.

for the record, I do not grossly overestimate the impact and influence. If anything I underestimate it. Lets be clear on something. I don't necessarilly believe I can win. For one thing, I adamantly refuse to be a democrat or a republican pretty much ever. And the chances of a non-Democrat winning the mayoral office here are pretty much nil. Even for someone more popular than me. But that doesn't mean that its not worth trying. So that's what we're exploring here. Whether or not its worth the attempt.

Thanx for the input though.

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