Home > election, humor, Pittsburgh, political > Interview: Dok Harris for Mayor

Interview: Dok Harris for Mayor

dokharrisCapture from Dok’s site … click to go there

Here is Dok’s interview with SWB. This was done quickly over about 20 minutes (SWB had to pick up step-kid so his note taking wasn’t immaculate). Dok agreed to reply to our e-mailed questions to him as time was available so you get his true views from his own typing. Those will be posted when we get ’em. SWB would like to thank Dok for allowing us to be his first blog interview. Anyway, here ya go:

Standard Questions:

1. Since favors (or what some like to call political bartering) seem to be a mainstay in all parties, and at some points can be seen as acceptable for getting business done, what is your take on this attitude both politically and personally?

Dok believes that big government should not run the city and insists on an open door policy. A favor for a favor (networking for example) is something that can be acceptable, but a favor such as a place in a political office or a government job is something that is not acceptable.

2. There are two projects that come to mind where Pittsburghers were of the opinion collectively that those projects were a possible waste of money and indicated they did not want them started (two stadiums, instead of one for the Steelers and the under-river North Shore connector project) due to major lack of benefit to the city overall. Whether the citizen’s opinions may or may not be right, would you make sure that those opinions would be considered heavily along with what you would consider the best plan of action and how would you do that?

Corrected at 9:20pm 10/10 due to bad cut-n-paste: The two areas need to looked at differently as later successes may not be apparent at the beginning. A project like the north shore connector could have been done easier with reusing existing infrastructure. Explaining of projects better to the residents and not going forward with doing a project just to get funding before examining that project more closely would make residents feel more comfortable about the projects the city does.

3. With of of the haute (sometimes meaning high-class) living options appearing more and more in Pittsburgh, would you create a plan for affordable (not subsidized) living options to be available in or near those same areas? In other words, would you set the city up to give middle class residents the same chance for contacts and opportunities as high class residents?

Dok indicated that without federal and state funding can be hard to accomplish. The possible burden on the city may hinder this happening without the said fund. He felt good landlords, etc are more important to attract more tenants into the city opening up rent opportunities at various levels. Sophisticated renters do encourage better properties to be opened. You need bid developers to bring in money for that and small business development is more important to bringing in all levels of living space.

4. How would you encourage all political parties to weigh in productively (not just trash talking) on issues for the purpose of compiling the best plan of action to resolve city issues?

Dok is running as an independent for this very purpose, but believe strong leadership at the top and the ability to converse even with those that did not show any support or did not contribute funds to the election campaign is important.

5. Pittsburgh has always had the ability to reinvent itself by attracting new industries, but it has not always been as successful in retaining those industries after the perks to the companies are gone (no taxes, deferred taxes, etc) – how would you change that?

People and businesses moving away after the perks are gone may be an indication that they did not feel like the established a real “home base”. A smart tax structure is needed to keep people and businesses, not drive them away. That is also needed encourage people to live in the city – not just vist new stores, etc.Smart tax structure to keep people living in the city. It is important that every project gives the best possible economic benefit to everyone – residents and businesses.

6. Would you consider offering perks to students that have attended colleges or universities outside of Pittsburgh to move back? And how would you do that? (for example in some other countries, students may receive such perks as repayment for their education, and free housing for a period of time, etc as a reward for bringing their new skills back into their home city)

This works well in a developing economy, not necessarily developed ones as in the United States. This would actually be a huge burden to the city and would be better accomplished with things such as available good jobs, good transportation, a great art community, a vibrant night life, and of course lots of coolness in the city.

Light-Hearted “SWB Style” questions:

1. Would you consider making Parma Italian Sausage the official Pittsburgh city food, and if not, why?

Dok can’t remember if Isaly’s contract for that has run out or not, but actually feels the *big* fish sandwich is really Pittsburgh’s favorite.

2. Since we have always had a pigeon problem, would you encourage residents to feed them in a way that attracts them away from Pittsburgh and to a more appropriate place like the Cleveland Browns stadium?

Dok feels that Pittsburgh has it’s unique attributes, but indirectly indicated that the pigeons might add some color to Cleveland (this answer was paraphrased by SWB – so don’t go hating on Dok).


Candidate Specific “SWB Style” question:

1. (for Dok Harris) Since you have a fairly good contact with a prior and famous Steeler, will you be using free Steelers tickets as bribes (or shall we say “inspirational promotional materials”) to get residents to vote for you?

Dok said he just wouldn’t have the space, although he admits to having great seats – and honestly feels that sometimes Steelers football is just better and more fun to watch at your local bar with friends… so no – plus he doesn’t like bribes. Sorry, fans 😦
Candidate comments:

n/a — will come later when Dok responds via e-mail

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  1. March 11, 2009 at 7:22 pm

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