DeSantis must play hardball
Mark DeSantis was tossed a softball question that he could have -- and should have -- hit out of the park. But instead the Republican Pittsburgh mayoral candidate whiffed. Mr. DeSantis has the talent, time and treasure to mount a very credible campaign. But he must learn to play hardball if he wants to win.
DeSantis, a city native, has a killer resume that highlights years of experience and accomplishments in the private and public sectors. He dropped in last week to chat with the Trib. After listening to the sincere, number-crunching, policy wonkish, venture capitalist for about an hour, he inspired the following open letter:
The Republican Party is very fortunate to have you as a member, let alone its nominee. The guess here is that your I.Q. is greater than the sum of the nine members of Pittsburgh City Council. Your business acumen is reason enough to conclude you're the ideal person to tackle the massive financial problems of the virtually bankrupt 'Burgh.
Consolidating the government's disparate budgets and pension obligations, issuing balance score cards to quantify the accomplishments of city departments and creating groups of police officers and private citizens to better fight crime are all fine ideas.
And since you claim campaign donations of more than $100,000 with the likelihood of an additional $400,000, you appear to be the best financed GOP mayoral candidate in memory.
However, given the lopsided advantage Democrat candidates have in Pittsburgh -- Dems outnumber Republicans roughly 5 to 1 in voter registration -- to win you must inspire the voting public.
You listed your issues online at desantisformayor.com :
- Confidence in our leaders
- Fewer and fairer taxes
- Efficiency, effectiveness and transparency
- Greater personal safety
- Sustainable economic development
- Bridging the cultural divide
They are so generic that even your main opponent, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, could claim them as his.
When a question is lobbed about what Mayor DeSantis would do in the first 100 days in office, the electorate won't be electrified to learn that you'd want city employees to school you about how the government works.
But it could cause voters to wonder if you've done your homework -- especially since the position papers originally scheduled to be released by now won't be until the end of September.
Jake Haulk is president of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy. The local think tank seems to have a better understanding of Pittsburgh's finances than does the city. Mr. Haulk said he'd be more than willing to review the organization's studies about city finances to help you hit the ground running.
Since everyone knows that the city is a mess, just spell out what must be done to make it solvent. Chances are it will be the same strategy even if the city's finances are worse than they seem to be.
During your Trib visit, you mentioned Washington, D.C., several times but never mentioned the name of a Pittsburgh neighborhood. Mr. Ravenstahl likely knows them all and probably mentions them often.
You say "experience" is the chief difference between you and Ravenstahl, who's 21 years your junior. He's the one who has experience as mayor.
Mark, you can win. But you must play hardball just to get to first base.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers kicker Boswell puts best foot forward
- Stop by Stanley’s Bar & Grill in Ford City for Thanksgiving dinner
- Clairton no longer distressed
- Robbery nets stint in prison for Marion Center man
- Ford City executive sessions called into question
- McKeesport Area could bring back Air Force Junior ROTC program
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin not grooming successor to RB Williams
- Terror threat doesn’t keep Pittsburgh International travelers down
- McKeesport budget smaller; no tax hike planned
- Elizabeth mayor hails police department’s role in ‘major’ heroin bust in Clairton
- Some ‘food for thought’