Councilman Kraus is a big disappointment to me
October 7, 2008
Now that I have had ample time to grade Pittsburgh City Councilman Bruce Kraus' performance, the only thing that I can conclude is that he has been a big disappointment.
I worked on Mr. Kraus' campaign thinking he would do a better job than his predecessor Jeff Koch. Was I ever wrong!
We now have the "great moralizer," "the guardian of community ethics," as a councilperson.
A "my way or the highway" approach to solving public issues.
An arrogance that comes about because only he has the ability to determine what's the right thing to do.
A "crusader" for the public good who assumes that the public good comes to him through some revelation from on high.
An elected official who presumably speaks for his entire constituency not just those who make the most noise.
An office holder, who is supposed to broker differences among all residents, not be a mouthpiece for a select few.
A man who has the time to prowl Carson Street at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning in search of a sidewalk pizza peddler while crime explodes in other areas of his district.
An otherwise articulate individual on most issues who remained sphinx-like on when it came to transferring the police station from 18th Street to the Hilltop, afraid to offend anyone.
A councilman, who, on his own, decided to sue a major advertising company without getting approval from a majority of city council and then expected the city tax payer to foot his legal bills because he feels he is a majority of one.
A public servant who will not take a step across Carson Street to meet with property owners or shop proprietors to get accommodations on the problems that plague Carson Street, while those same business people tip-toe over a property line to sell goods.
Great cities all over the world have tables and chairs on sidewalks; a vibrancy that comes with living in an alive city instead of the sterile suburbs; vendors or street performers providing variety and entertainment so that we all can enjoy the excitement all successful cities deliver.
Some politicians pontificate, some produce. Some are do-gooders some are doers. In each case I prefer the latter.
(Mr. Phillips is a Democratic committeeman from the 17th Ward and ran against Mr. Kraus as a Green Party Candidate.)