PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — City Controller Michael Lamb is no stranger to politics or government.
He led the effort to reform county government back in the 1990s. He served as Allegheny County’s prothonotary, and then urged voters to abolish his office.
Twice, city voters have elected Lamb their fiscal watchdog as city controller.
Now, he says he’s the most qualified to reform and re-energize city government, tossing his hat in the ring against Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and City Councilman Bill Peduto.
“I’m running for mayor for one simple reason — I love this city. I love Pittsburgh. I was raised here, and I’m going to die here. But between now and then, I want to devote my life to making this a better place for those who live here. I want to work for you, the people of this city,” Lamb told a group of 75 supporters at a Brookline coffee shop.
Lamb said the last seven years under Ravenstahl have been a series of reduced expectations.
“For the last five years as city controller, I have had the opportunity to be in every city department. And everywhere I go, I see the same thing — missed opportunity,” Lamb told the crowd.
“We’ve gotten so used to failed leadership that we’ve forgotten what good leadership looks like,” said Lamb.
Lamb told KDKA political editor Jon Delano that he puts the blame squarely on Ravenstahl.
“Missed opportunity to save money, missed opportunity to improve services, missed opportunity to improve the quality of life for people here in the city — and that’s the result of one thing — failed leadership,” Lamb said.
Lamb dismisses the notion that a three person Democratic primary race helps the mayor.
“I’m in a race right now with an absentee mayor and a councilman who talks a lot but hasn’t accomplished much,” he said.
And the controller hopes voters will focus on his own record.
“I bring to the table my record of accomplishment, my sense of leadership, and how to lead this city — and when I look at the race today, I feel like a front-runner,” he said.
Both Ravenstahl and Peduto will dispute that.
But the question remains, does a three-person race help or hurt the mayor.
We won’t know the answer to that until Election Day.
In the meantime, other candidates have until March 12 to decide to join the fray.