Sunday, October 14, 2007

The transcript of my speech from last Thursday's debate

Tony Oliva: Good evening. I'd first like to thank the outpouring of support I got to actually be here tonight. I wasn't initially invited to this debate, nor any of the upcoming debates. It's going to be pretty interesting when I actually win this election. Some people might have some egg on their face, but that's quite all right.

Now, the way I see Pittsburgh right now -- or the way I see the two candidates to the left of me -- I see it as a choice between painting a bare room. And you have a choice right now of people who debated here tonight, between painting it eggshell-white or mother-of-pearl white. They even look like they have the same tailor. Now, maybe a splash of color is just what this city might need. I listened, I sat up there and listened to what they had to say, and I've heard things like this before. I've heard it all before. It's the same political rhetoric that Republicans and Democrats spew at each other. And I think it's time that we hear a different voice.

With me, I can safely say that the buck stops here. As mayor, if the city continues to stay in trouble, I wouldn't accept my full pay because any sane person who doesn't do the job shouldn't get 100 percent of their own benefits or a pay raise. And that would extent to city council and any appointed official. That's just a personal little quirk of mine.

Basically my idea for the city, put things back on track. Lower taxes for the working people, lower taxes for small businesses to increase the ability for small businesses to work here, or to start and have better jobs. Right now, even if you have a job in Pittsburgh, likely after coming out of college you're under-employed. You're not getting paid what you're worth, and what you paid $40,000 for that little piece of paper called the diploma for. Now, people say, "Tony, you talk about the young college graduates too often." And I do. But it's not only them that my ideas will benefit. It's also older Pennsylvanians, because if the younger people keep leaving, then the tax burden will pass on to older Pennsylvanians, people near retirement, people who are retired. People on a fixed income. And when you're on a fixed income and you're being taxed more, you have to get another job or leave the city. Now me, I'm 28 years old, and getting a second job -- no problem. I can take care of that. But when you've worked 40 years of your life, and you're enjoying the golden years and have your grandchildren you should be playing with, you shouldn't have to go be a greeter at Wal-Mart in order to cover up city government's mistakes and squandering of your money.

As a city, we need to be more inclusive, be more welcoming to new ideas, to all peoples. A big complaint I've heard about Pittsburgh is we're an old, white town. We need to offer more opportunities for more diversity in our city, and be welcoming to all peoples. Because right now, that will make us a better and stronger, and more welcoming place for everyone. We can start by including a Libertarian in the next mayoral debate. Thank you.

Caruso: Thank you. And thank you all for coming tonight.