Earlier this afternoon I submitted in the final pieces of paperwork in order to be on the ballot in November. The long hours and hard work have led to this first step being attained. I have many of you to thank for it. As I sit here contemplating my first bid for elected office I cannot help but reminisce about the past fortnight in which I met so many nice and colorful people. Of course some weren't nice but with the vast majority of those I met, the experience proved to be enjoyable and entertaining. I hope you don't mind but I think I'm going to share some stories of my first steps toward this campaign and the people I met along the way.
My first day out: I had 600 signatures to get and only about 5 days to get them so I hit the streets of Oakland, meeting up with friends and introducing myself to strangers. That worked to a degree but after 5 pm I decided to head over to Morningside and go door to door. I am a firm believer that I should go to all areas of Pittsburgh to meet and talk with people. By doing this I can learn the issues and concerns of all Pittsburgher's and thus become a better Mayor. This is the thought that kept me moving through the heat wave that met me on my travels and the nigh exhaustion I began to deal with around mile 150 (you should see my sneakers...worn right through the rubber soles). Anyways, my time in Morningside was proving a bit difficult with a series of empty houses and the task at hand began to look more and more daunting. Then I rang on a door and had the great fortune of meeting Mario. Mario was a younger gentlemen with a lovely family who took time out of his day to talk with me about who I am and what I believe in. The response that he gave me bolstered my spirits and steeled my resolve. It was my great fortune in meeting and talking with him because he lifted MY spirits and told me that I gave him hope. Hope that I can turn around the city we both love. I will not allow his hope to be misplaced.
Further along in Morningside, I met Gary who offered to his lawn for placement of one of my signs. To that I silently chuckled to myself. I hadn't even considered signs yet...this was still my first day. But once I get some funds together I plan on taking Gary up on his generous offer.
I can't forget Jeanne or Denise who volunteered their time and effort to help me in my goal. To them both I am greatly appreciative.
I also spent some time in South Side. I went early enough so as to not bother anyone when they were getting on with their libations. On a sidewalk cafe' style eatery I met George who was kind enough to volunteer to help me as well. The wellspring of volunteering that has come from the fine citizenry of Pittsburgh has been astounding. I thank you all.
Nearing the deadline I found myself in Squirrel Hill. I had some very nice conversations with myriad of people with a plethora of differing ideologies and views. As night was falling upon the streets I found myself almost out of steam. I had been at it for 5 days, I slept roughly 4 hours a night, walked about 150 miles and ate very little. All this while under the unmerciful summer hear and humidity that mother nature was throwing at me. I say this not to garner sympathy but rather to illustrate how fantastic it was to come across the final house on my journey.
I rang the doorbell and then my cell phone rang. I answered the call and slightly turned from the door. When I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that someone was there I turned back around and what I saw stole the words from my mouth. I barely uttered, "I have to go" to my friend on the phone before hanging up on him and just stood there, mesmerized by the sight I saw. It was a sheep's head. Not a real one mind you but at the moment I wasn't really sure. The face I had to have made must have been priceless because I hear a wave of laughter in the background. Finally the door opens, the sheep mask wearing gentlemen retreats to his female sheep mask wearing counterpart and a mask less woman greets me. She asks what I am doing and I point quizzically at the sheep couple. They all laughed and told me it was a long story. I quickly recovered and told her who I was and what I was doing. The next thing I know, I am being whisked into the house and being served the most delicious strawberry ice cream while talking politics to the 5 people in the house. It turns out that I have interrupted a "Bad Movie Night" party in which the movie happened to be "Black Sheep". A New Zealand film featuring killer zombie sheep. Well, more genetically mutated rather than zombie...but you can imagine the quality of the film. I have to assume that the wear and tear of the previous week showed prominently on my face because I was quickly offered a plate of food. What were they serving you might be wondering? Why, Lamb of course! At this point the sun had set, my door knocking, thus, had come to an end and the party invited me to stay to watch the rest of the movie. How could I refuse? So I sat down for what felt like the first time in days, at a delicious lamb roast with some tasty potatoes and a tangy salad. After such a week this was a meal fit for a king. Elizabeth, Thomas, Claire, Jeff and Faisal have my deepest gratitude for their kindness and hospitality.
It reaffirms the saying that: 'Pittsburgh is the last city heading east that still says Hello'
There are many more fascinating stories and people who have offered their time and efforts to help me and hopefully I will get around to thanking them all. I am grateful for everyone who took the time to talk with me and tell me their concerns because in order to be the best Mayor I can be, I need to know what the bosses think. And it's about time that the voters are put back in charge. As Mayor I answer to only one boss...the voters of this fine city.