Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dowd Responds on Ravenstahl: No Apologies Necessary

[Mayor Ravenstahl's overwhelming primary win would have made Patrick Dowd's campaign old news -- but the mayor says he's looking for an apology from Dowd. I blogged about the mayor's remarks here. He said "I think Patrick crossed the line in this campaign. I asked for -- a couple of times -- an apology, he didn't want to offer it. Hopefully, in the very near future he will so that we can continue to work together, ideally, to move the city forward."]

Here are some Q&A highights and notes from my interview with Councilman Patrick Dowd. In it, Dowd responds to the mayor's post-election claims about his conduct and describes his attempts to reach out to Ravenstahl on election night.

Q: Did the mayor ask you for an apology?

A: "I don't think I've even had the opportunity to talk to the mayor. I haven't heard any requests for an apology; maybe he's made them in public. I've not heard them and he's not made them directly to me."

Q: Do you owe the mayor an apology?
A: "I'm really pleased with the campaign that we ran. We ran, I think, an issues-based campaign... despite being outspent almost ten-to-one -- probably close to ten-to-one when everything's calculated up."

Q: Do you have anything to apologize for?
A: "I think we ran an issues based campaign, so I don't. It's a public event, it's not something where you take it personally. These are not personal attacks, they're public attacks, they have to do with policy matters. We talked a lot about campaign contributions and the way those contributions contributed to contracts and the letting and giving of contracts in certain ways."

Q: Did you depict the Ravenstahl administration as engaging in pay-to-play politics?
A: "Yeah, absolutely. And I think the record will show that there's a relationship between campaign contributions and contracts. But that's not a personal matter. that's a policy matter."

Q: Did you allege that the mayor was personally corrupt in any way?
A: "Well, to the extent that his administration engaged in unethical or inappropriate pay-to-play politics, then yes, absolutely, as an administration. I think to see this as a personal attack is, I think, to belittle what it really is. We're talking about policy issues and how decisions are made here in the City of Pittsburgh."

Q: Did you cross the line in any way?
A: "No, I think we talked about the important issues. Campaigns are about holding people accountable: a candidate as a challenger , a candidate as an incumbent. It's about holding people accountable, and I don't think we crossed the line."

Dowd told me that he offered Mayor Ravenstahl a sincere congratulations on election night.

Q: Did you call him to concede?
A: "Oh, yeah, absolutely."

Q: You spoke with him?
A:" No, no. He's not returned my call."

What happened? Councilman Dowd says he'd previously proposed that he be given the mayor's cell phone number for an election night call -- but that the Ravenstahl's campaign did not provide it. Dowd says that on election night his campaign manager called Ravenstahl's campaign manager:
"We were told at that time that he wasn't available. They didn't know where he was."

The councilman says his campaign manager waited, then placed a second call to the mayor's campaign manager -- again with no results. Dowd says they eventually tried reaching the mayor's chief of staff, Yarone Zober, because they presumed he would know where the mayor was. Dowd says that Zober did not answer their first call.

Dowd says Zober did pick up their second call.
"He was obviously at the Hofbrauhaus. You could hear the music; it sounded like you were in Bavaria. He said he didn't know where the mayor was, and I said 'could you have him give me a call'. He said he would see."

The councilman says that Mayor Ravenstahl never returned his calls.

Councilman Dowd says he will "reach out again to congratulate" Mayor Ravenstahl and "to try to work with him to make sure that we can help move this city forward in providing the collective leadership that it needs".



WDOphotography said...

wow - what else can you say.

EdHeath said...

To be fair to the Mayor, Pat Dowd did outline some of the Mayor's personal shortcomings which make him less fit for the job. But that is the game of politics. We need not simply people who have good ideas (although we do need that) but also people we can trust a) to provide leadership if there was ever a crisis (flood, terrorists, what have you) and b) to administer the city government in a manner that is fair for all residents, not simply people who donate money to his campaign. That is the way the game is played in the adult world, although so far the Mayor has been able to pout and sulk and not be penalized for it. But it is embarrassing for the City.

You get the best stories within stories. Great job, as always.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Ed!

... sour grapes makes good whine...