Crafting a Philosophy of Performance Through Politics Pittsburgh's People, Public Policy and Passions
Perspectives Linking Our Past, Present and Future
Prime Contributor: Mark Rauterkus, Republican Candidate in the Mayor's Race, City of Pittsburgh, 2001
Latest edition posted at: http://www.Rauterkus.com/communications/compelling-sense/
Version .03 alpha, April 2, 2001 Copyright, 2001 with the Digital Science License and Public Domain
Draft Introduction (giving a peek into the book)
Pittsburgh is distinctive. Pittsburgh is someplace special. Yet, Pittsburgh is still in the making, or depending upon your vantage point, Pittsburgh is still in the breaking. Either way, Pittsburgh is a living space. As life marches, time tugs at Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh moves into the future with grace — or with rust and gridlock. A struggle between the old and the new is unfolding.
The mission of Compelling Sense is a shared one. The task at hand is to create the foundation for a community-wide, sustainable discussion. Pittsburgh's civic wellness is to come into focus.
To introduce some unity into life, some harmony into thought, action and feeling, is a central achievement. To realize one's relation to others and guide one's own life thereby, is life's noblest rule.
To find vent for the capacities of feeling, of emotion, of thought, of action, is to find oneself. The result is not anarchy. The self so found has as the pivot of its life the power of control.
Concerning power, control and the delivery of messages, the mayor's race presents a ripe opportunity. Organized ideas coupled with organized people can garner power. Being fresh counts for getting media buzz. Having depth and scope counts more for getting the citizen activist to join our camp.
If the traditional Mayor's race campaigns linger in the mode of sound-bite and personality/popularity contest, we all lose. We can do better. Pittsburgh deserves such. Let’s interact and make it so.
The keys to Pittsburgh's success have got to include at least one plan that aims for success. This is a pursuit for excellence. These ideas start to map a collective vision for improving our civic landscape. Let's come to understand and ponder potential.
To thrive and to survive are not similar. Pittsburgh's overall condition is in serious decline. Our population base is dwindling. Debt runs high. Taxes have increased again. Our collective health is on the brink. The downward spiral continues. A public-policy noose binds us to an anchor of excessive corporate welfare.
Pittsburgh's present leadership seems to dwell upon various band-aid approaches. Too often our choices amount to selecting outcomes that are just slightly better than worse. Grant Street movements are not proactive and arrive in doses that are too little and too late. (Examples: the flood in Hays, the unified taxes, closing schools and budget deficits.)
Desired pathways for exceptional government can't be stumbled upon by continually pressing legal proceedings and waiting for the judges' decisions. Pittsburgh can't tolerate additional court-orders, consent decrees, city hall lawsuits, investigations, more independent reviews of the auditor's independent reviews. The negative tension on Grant Street is reason enough to cleanse and vote against the incumbents.
Our process of dealing with each other and with various community issues seems flawed. Our language is convoluted. We can't hope to thrive when we can't come together in the same space. Our aim is off the mark.
The hope for a reverse of the downward spiral arrives here, on the backs of the citizens with a
Pass the word. Mention: Freedom, liberties, justice, democracy, inclusion, the free marketplace, quality of life, infrastructure, respect, duty, shared interactions.
Vote for new leadership that blends the passions of Pittsburgh with its wonderful people.
We need to accentuate our character to a higher degree. Mindful actions that push and pull our distinctive edge can provide short-term benefits and fabulous new opportunities for thriving in the future.
To accentuate is to heighten for effect. To accentuate is to pronounce or mark with an accent or stress. To emphasize matters is critical. Stay bold, distinctive, determined and pleasant.
As parents, we raise our children to be proud, to communicate well (to use their words and express their ideas), and our boys are asked to be gentlemen. This campaign is partly about parenting, stewardship and trust. This is about sacred responsibilities. This is about governance.
Insights and ideas matter. Expressed inclinations on issues are on the internet. But this is more so about inclusion. A Free Market Republican values interactions. Interactions are idea transactions. Just as the free market itself values transactions, sustainable development and energy that springs from liberty, a free-market politician can enliven everyone's inclusion.
Imagine inclusion. Meanwhile, let's ignore corporations seeking subsidies. A free market approach is at the opposite end of the spectrum from a corporate-welfare approach. The heavyweight opponents include two corporate-welfare Democrats. I'm more with Libertarian views.
Great change is not caused by ideas alone. But changes can not happen without the ideas. Pittsburgh needs organized ideas and organized people. But at this juncture, Pittsburgh does not have either the organized ideas in a blueprint, nor are the people in ranks for movement.
We to need to build on two fronts. Pittsburgh needs an in-depth conversation of merit that goes far beyond the sound-bites and campaign promises. As we dive deeply into the Pittsburgh web of life and come to better understand the scope and magnitude of our surroundings, Pittsburgh needs to gather in ranks.
Knowledge of how the system works today takes a back seat to imagination of how the system of the future can be built for everyone's benefit.
On-the-job experience can be made into handicaps when we agree on the ideals in our aspirations. Solutions are not to be found, rather they are to be lived.
The dogmatic statements made here begin a shared foundation. This is a bottom-up and not top-down effort. To advance, our basic elements should be tightly described. The groundwork centers on heavy issues, truths, values and ideals. Meanwhile, the delivery of the specific steps that address the typical polarized issues are for later, in due time. Rather than giving nitty-gritty details about whether or not to renew the contract for the Chief of Police, let's explore and come to some understanding on the global situations.
Those who must jump ahead to look at a specific element, check for replies with inclinations via the internet and ask questions from the campaign trails.
As a candidate for mayor, I'm inclined to enact a Living Wage ordinance, turn heavily to land-value taxes, eliminate the deed-transfer tax and institute an immediate hiring freeze so as to begin to contain costs. These details are on the campaign's website (http://Rauterkus.com).
Cookbook approaches make for a hollow base of understanding principles, ideals, and philosophies. The essence of Pittsburgh and our struggles for success in our shared spaces and relationships are much more telling. Let’s think again and then go into action on how to disassemble the Urban Redevelopment Authority, or not.
Thanks in advance for your attention, patient attitudes, feedback and involvement. Your reactions matter, and the success of our democracy depends upon your reactions.
A deep-rooted personal hope is to be known as the most inclusive candidate you will ever have the opportunity to vote for. My background and my ambitions drive me to become the ultimate team builder in this race. My team building is going to extend beyond this race as well.
Winning the Republican primary on May 15 is an obvious goal. And, in doing so, moving to the November general election provides opportunities and time to reduce skepticism for both long-term and short term gains.
As a Republican emerges from the primary season, there will be an inspired option. In the fall, no voters will feel that they are being asked to pick between the lesser of two evils. The November 2001 ballot will include a performance centric choice in the Mayor's Race, at least on the Republican ticket.
In the next seasons, volumes of issues and ideas are going into the public domain. We are going to gather ourselves. We are going to put forth a sustainable discussion. We are going to express visions. We are going to increase hopes and extend the conversations. We are going to decide to make choices so we can all THRIVE.
To keep our unique nature is easier to say than to accomplish. We need to understand Pittsburgh and the qualities that we value. Our distinctive Pittsburgh is a product of our unique civilization.
Pittsburgh and our government makes a combination product which is still in the making. Ways of being and historical ruts work upon Pittsburgh's character. To understand the new, which is our main purpose, we must glance at the old.
The thoughts within this pamphlet, it is to be called, Compelling Sense, aim to link Pittsburgh's past with the future. We are here to make history, not be a slave of it. To do so, we'll build bridges of perspectives.
At the time of the American Revolution, one immigrant patriot, Thomas Paine, produced a small book called Common Sense. That work, published in 1776, had a tremendous reach. In the colonies, one-out-of-five had come to know that book, by reading it, or having it read to them. Common Sense, just as is the hope with Compelling Sense, set the stage for independence. Reading stirred emotions and feelings. That book helped to motivate a society to choose a huge change. Paine's writings were actually read to the troops of George Washington on the eve of some expecting battles.
The Revolutionary War pitted an underdog, grassroots force against the Red Coats and the King of England. This campaign that we're in now has some common threads besides a similar sounding title to a book.
Incredible odds, “one-million-to-one” so it was said on KDKA by City Council President, Bob O'Connor on March 30, favor the heavyweights.
Rising taxes without earnest representation press upon the thoughts of the people.
The battle-ground of issues includes increased independence, enhanced democracy, accountability in government, and authoritarian rule:
Authorities and top-down attitudes in leadership cripple Pittsburgh: Does the URA, Parking Authority, Port Authority, Stadium Authority and Water-and-Sewer Authority help or harm? To a smaller extent, the neighborhood groups that live upon the handouts from the Mayor's office need to be questioned too. The corporate-elite (PNC, Mellon, Heinz, Alcoa, Lazarus and TIFs) sway office-holding, Democrat, leaders causing even greater harm to our civic-governmental landscape. Our attitudes in government have encouraged an endless parade of lawyers and consultants employed by a bloated government.
Many Pittsburghers call themselves, “liberal democrats.” The liberal legacy matters in who we are and what we've created for ourselves. But mostly, it isn't understood. The tag of “liberal,” just as the tag “conservative” — as well as the hundreds of other labels tossed about in our conversations are as clear as river-bottom mud. Our language gets twisted and does more to confuse than to soothe. We need a common base of understanding for our shared foundation in dealing with the future. Let's go back to common sense. And, as we get back to the basics, let's reflect and explain both the landscape and principles. Then we can move into better decisions with various campaigns. Let’s think again and not be so quick to assume all the terms, tags and labels are universally understood by all of our people in all of our converstations.
Pittsburgh's legacy of “liberalism” is going to change. We are going to concentrate upon the fabric of our civic place. Let's look at the big picture and appreciate our interdependent web of life.
Shouting, “The emperor has no clothes!" isn't becoming a lone voice. Heckling can't work when the goal is the advancement of the greater good. Rather, much more is needed. We'll wage our battle with scope and depth based on true meaning and dialog. We'll draw illustrations from within and without history. If descriptions fit and can prove a point, then let's dress the heavyweight incumbents in matching red coats -- just as the opponents wore in the late 1770s.
All-the-king's horses and all-the-king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again. In Pittsburgh we need the people plus the king, plus the king's horses, plus the king's men to put Humpty together again. Humpty isn't going to look the same. Yet Humpty can still evolve and remain distinctly Pittsburgh. But, the truth of the matter is, we are all going to come together and put our efforts into fixing our places. And, by all means, this is going to be a lot of fun trying.