Flaherty’s Invasion of Advocacy group betrays desperation

This is a good example of why people get disillusioned with the political system and turn to more constructive pursuits, like smashing windows.

“Ninety people submitted membership forms — and cash registration fees — to the Steel City Stonewall Democrats in the hours before a midnight Monday deadline, nearly doubling the group’s membership… The money involved, according to Mike Mikus, amounts to $2,580 that came from his political action committee Better Jobs, Better Future…” (P-G, Dan Majors; see also Trib)

Lo and behold, the Stonewall Dems discovered it had developed some very powerful convictions when it came to the office of Allegheny County Controller — and besides which that its own organizational and community members aren’t good enough to endorse for office.

I remember something similar happened eight years ago with the Young Democrats of Allegheny County endorsement. A difference is that YDAC is little more than a farm system for aspiring hacks to sharpen their knives, anyway, whereas SCSD had heretofore advanced a loftier goal to “advance equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”

The unforced error Better Jobs, Better Future committed here was breaking the 4th wall of politics: most of us rubes are actually invested in the illusion that our engagement with local political, civic and neighborhood groups means we are building something, that the process made up of all those meetings, e-mail chains and events are not always one political deal, stunt or executive “suggestion” away from being overturned. The Flaherty-Fitzgerald campaign, like Frank Underwood drawling into camera, disabused us of that notion.

How much does it matter? I think very little. It’s an interesting race to watch, but I actually do not think the outcome has been very much doubt. People know that incumbent Chelsa Wagner wants to audit all the hundred-million dollar County authorities from which she and all outsiders are excluded, and give Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald with whom she does not get along a hard time while doing so. Meanwhile, people know that challenger and prior incumbent Mark Patrick Flaherty wants to restore “honor and dignity” to the Office of Controller. But they do not know what that means.

Sure, people also know that Wagner is a Wagner and that her office is lately full of Ravenstahls (though I might have hired some gangsters too if I was getting politically assaulted by County officials every time my office sent a memo), so her claim that she’s not part of any “old boys network” is too cute by half. But they also realize she is not currently “In-Network”, which should be good enough to provide for a spirited check or a “second set of eyes” which is all Controllering really is anyway. I honestly think Allegheny County residents are all going to wake up on Tuesday May 19th, vote for Chelsa, go home, take a shower, watch returns, learn that she’s won about a million to 7, and go to bed happy.

18 thoughts on “Flaherty’s Invasion of Advocacy group betrays desperation

  1. infinitebuffalo

    not sure if it’s why people turn to window-smashing, but [redacted] like this _is_ likely why people turn to constructive pursuits like voting for Ralph Nader…

    1. bramr101 Post author

      That’s true. People smash windows in Shadyside because some of our public officials are fond of bashing that Pittsburgh neighborhood into microphone as enemy territory.

  2. MH

    Sometimes I think I should join the 14th Ward Independent Democrats, but mostly it seems like too much trouble. If there was more deviousness, I think I’d be more interested.

  3. Luscious Jackson

    More telling about the sham that is Stonewall, especially under it’s current president, is that only 26 “pre-existing” members voted. With all the publicity leading up to vote, that’s all the membership interest they could drum up? Or is that the sum total of the “pre-existing” ranks (hence, 100 percent turnout, to put a spin on it)? How representative of the LGBT community’s will can two dozen people be?

  4. Don Key

    The 14th Ward Club had its own member-packing episode in 1996, when Fitz paid for new club members to vote for Dan Cohen against Bill Coyne for Congress. That led to a bylaws rewrite requiring new members to sign up 60 days ahead of the endorsement vote.

    1. Gabe

      Yes, Fitz has been trying to revise the history on this but those around then well remember the horrible smear campaign orchestrated by Fitz and Peduto. Looks like they are back to their old tricks this year.

  5. Anonymous

    Great post Bram. Whatever we think about technical rules there is something more we expect from the spirit of democracy. The biggest loser here is the LGBT community. Their mission was hijacked by a bunch of political opportunists. Rather than forcing politicians to spend time filling out the endorsement papers and catering to the progressive mission the politicians just bussed in people to ignore the mission and gain an endorsement. It will take years to restore confidence in this process which is the real tragedy. whoever did that should be punished by the voters.

    1. bramr101 Post author

      Well, let’s not assume a stain is permanent. This was just an unfortunate mess, and if there’s anybody who knows about cleaning up fabric, it’s the gays. (Hiyo!) They’re already looking into their bylaws, they’re not just standing around they’re picking up sponges mops brooms.

    1. bramr101 Post author

      Participating… in what? Stonewallgate? She sought their endorsement, as she had in the past and as all should. We know she came up as Peduto’s ally, and thereby became aligned with Fitzgerald already two years ago. No big deal. But if she goes out of her way to elect a county controller or drill Point State Park, let me know.

      1. Anonymous

        This was not “Flaherty” pulling the stunt. It was Fitz and Peduto. Make no mistake. Clever though by Bram to frame Flaherty and absolve Peduto. How do i know this? Just look at the endorsements. It wasn’t just Flaherty over Wagner. It was every single Peduto backed candidate carrying this sham endorsement. Rudiak over Lamb. Deb Gross. Bobby Wilson. Who the hell even is that guy? Certainly not someone well known in the LGBT community. What a sham.

      2. bramr101 Post author

        “Frame Flaherty”, Anon 8:13? If any connections define the stunt-work which is the root of this issue, it’s campaign operator Mikus. And not just Stonewall: disparaging an uncle for supporting his niece, or hunting for minor tax delinquencies among his opponent’s rank and file to blow up on Facebook. If Gross or Peduto are ever themselves responsible for empowering such juvenile hackery, like I said we may have to reevaluate.

      3. Anonymous

        Bram – why don’t you just go ask him. JUst go and ask Peduto to condemn what happened. See what he says and then post the results. Real simple.

      4. bramr101 Post author

        I’m saying, “I don’t like this.” You’re saying, “Everyone affiliated with the County Exec has to tell us they didn’t like this.” These are very different projects. If a new project interests you, you should pursue it. Just hold off ’til midweek before calling out my biases, else it will look like I’m overcompensating.

      5. Anonymous

        I’m not saying “everyone affiliated with ACE” has to say they don’t like it. I am saying ACE’s number one and biggest ally – the Mayor – should say it. This is particular so because all of his preferred candidates won the Stonewall endorsement. That didn’t happen without his support and participation. Look Bram, you have done some good things and have a good forum to shed sunlight where needed. You have just been led astray by some people that want nothing more than power, more power and then some more power. They don’t care about who the best candidate is or transparency or pursuing progressive agendas any more than the next guy. All they care about is “their people” and gaining power.

      6. MH

        I think somebody has his head so far up Pittsburgh politics, he forgets to breath every now and then.

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