Archive

ShareThis Page
Pittsburgh councilman Dowd resigning seat to head new children’s nonprofit | TribLIVE.com
News

Pittsburgh councilman Dowd resigning seat to head new children’s nonprofit

Tribune-Review
| Monday, June 17, 2013 10:15 a.m
PTRALLIES061813
James Knox
Pittsburgh City Councilman Patrick Dowd anounces both his resignation from city council and his acceptance of the executive directorship of the newly formed Allies for Children advocacy group Monday June 17, 2013 at a press conference in the CAPA building downtown.

Patrick Dowd, a father of five, never stopped helping kids, even after leaving his job as a teacher and his seat on the Pittsburgh school board.

An ardent supporter of the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program as a member of City Council, Dowd on Monday announced he will resign from council next month to head a new nonprofit, Allies for Children, on the North Side.

“There are great (child) advocacy efforts going on. We need to power up that effort,” said Dowd, 45, of Highland Park.

Dowd is serving his second, four-year council term. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2009 and served on the school board from 2003 to 2007. He was a teacher before being elected to council.

Plans for the group are sketchy, but Dowd said it would work to advance President Obama’s platform to expand early childhood education.

“The time is now to support all children at every age,” said Michelle Figlar, executive director of the Pittsburgh Conference for the Development of Young Children, who attended an announcement of Dowd’s plans at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts High School, Downtown.

Dowd stressed that Allies would partner with other groups to broaden their voice. One could be A+ Schools, a watchdog for Pittsburgh Public Schools.

“We’re looking forward to working with Patrick,” said Carey Harris, executive director of A+ Schools. “He’s been an ally on City Council, the school board and as a parent.”

Based in the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Allies will receive funding from The Heinz Endowments, United Way of Allegheny County and the Grable and Pittsburgh foundations.

“They’ve gone about the work of getting an outstanding candidate to lead Allies from its start,” said Gregg Behr, executive director of The Grable Foundation.

Dowd’s departure will leave a key opening on council. A vocal opponent of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, he represents Lawrenceville, Highland Park, Morningside, Stanton Heights, Polish Hill, Bloomfield, East Liberty and Garfield.

“I think he can take the experience of his work on the school board and mix it with the politics of City Hall and put that to work,” said Councilman Bill Peduto, the Democratic nominee for mayor.

Ravenstahl set aside political differences to praise Dowd’s passion for children.

“He was an early supporter of The Pittsburgh Promise when few of us fully understood the magnitude of the impact it could have on our students and their opportunity to achieve success,” the mayor said in an email from spokeswoman Stephanie Sikora.

Peduto said he could think of 12 possible replacements for Dowd but would not identify any. Lauren Byrne, executive director of the community group Lawrenceville United in Dowd’s district and a former Ravenstahl staffer, said she was surprised and saddened to see Dowd leave. She would not say whether she is interested in the post.

Former City Councilman Len Bodack, Democratic chairman of the 10th Ward, declined to say whether he would seek the seat again.

If Dowd officially resigns July 9 or later, a special election could be held on Nov. 5, the date of the municipal election, said Allegheny County Elections Division Manager Mark Wolosik. Peduto expects that City Council President Darlene Harris will try to schedule the special election on Nov. 5 to save the city money.

Harris declined to comment before receiving official notification from Dowd that he is resigning.

The last council member to resign was Twanda Carlisle, who left in 2007 after being convicted of taking kickbacks.

David Conti contributed to this report. Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.