In the year 2005 I was a candidate for mayor, and I never believed that I could possibly be elected numerically. However I will always perceive my campaign as a winning campaign. Why? It was impossible for me to allow a campaign for the mayor to take place in the city of Pittsburgh where Black people made up 30 percent of the population with not one Black man or woman willing to run. I had no expectations that Blacks would vote for me in record numbers, because I know the persons who have always put the Democratic Party before the welfare of the overall Black communities.
I started in politics when I was 17 years of age, because at that period of time I really believed that sophisticated voting was the answer to the problems of colored persons—we were not Black yet. Colored persons often challenged me, because I had the nerve to attempt to change a system that was choking them. Over the years I have often been disillusioned, disappointed, disgusted, but I was understanding of what we, as a people had been exposed to. Many Blacks often ask me why I never got angry with so call Black leaders who failed to support me in my campaign for mayor, and I simply reply I don’t have the energy to waste. I hope my readers remember who they supported and once he got elected failed to appoint one Black to his cabinet.
On April 1, 2013 I attended a press conference hosted by Pittsburgh City Controller, Michael Lamb. It was the press conference where he announced that he was withdrawing from the Pittsburgh Mayor’s primary and that he was asking his supporters to support Jack Wagner and he gave his reasons why. I was a supporter of Michael Lamb, because I believed that he was the most likely candidate to truly make the city of Pittsburgh the most livable for Blacks and Whites.
I had a conversation with State Representative Jake Wheatley about how the Black communities could have the greatest impact on the mayor’s election, and that would include just two candidates running, and he preparing himself or some other Black man or woman to run four years from now. It never ceases to amaze me how many try to compare a Black running for the Mayor of Pittsburgh with Obama running for president. There is absolutely no comparison.
It is now my belief that if this campaign becomes a campaign of two candidates, Bill Peduto and Jack Wagner, then the Black communities can unite behind one candidate thereby increasing that candidate’s opportunity to be victorious. The Black communities will be able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Black voters were definitely instrumental.
A disturbing factor is that we—the Black communities—once again fail to understand that conditions should drive us not circumstances like Ravenstahl resigning. Don’t we realize the mayoral election is every four years?
If three candidates run Black votes will be divided three ways and if the wrong White candidate becomes the mayor he will state, “I don’t owe you anything.” We have been in this situation before, too frequently.
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(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum page.)