The Brief: Doug Oliver Doubles Down on Being Vague

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Last night, I interviewed long-shot mayoral candidate Doug Oliver at Venturef0rth[1] as part of Citified’s new Candidate Conversations series[2].

Going into the Q&A, my big question was: Does Oliver deserve to be in the major leagues?

He’s never held elected office before. His exploratory committee had only $1,085 in the bank [3]at the end of 2014. And yet, former Gov. Ed Rendell has called him “enthusiastic,” “refreshing” and “charming.”[4]

During the interview, I found Oliver to be energetic and honest and passionate about the city. But he was also stunningly vague at times, and perhaps more surprisingly, unapologetic about his lack of specific proposals to fix the city’s problems. Toward the end of the Q&A, I told Oliver I thought the mayor’s race in general has suffered from a dearth of ideas. (You can watch the full exchange above.)

As a candidate who has pitched himself as someone with “fresh eyes,” I asked him what his big idea is for the city. He doubled down on being vague.

“I don’t know what it is. And when I say I don’t know, I don’t mean to say I don’t care. What I’m saying is, I’m not the only one with ideas. … If the mayor is the smartest person in the room, he needs to find another room. There’s too many ideas coming from too many different places and if there’s pride of ownership, we’ll never get to them,” said Oliver. “So when I say I don’t have the answers, I don’t mean to say that I’m not going to find them. I’m meaning to say that I will find them, but I’ll get there by inviting as many people as possible into the conversation.”

For more, you can read[5] Citified’s live tweets from the event or watch[6] the entire interview on YouTube.

Our next Q&A in the Candidate Conversations series will be with mayoral contender Nelson Diaz. Please RSVP here[7]. Get more information about our upcoming interviews with the other candidates here[8].

Don’t Miss …
On Twitter …

@DO2015PHL[15] has 2 pick a FIRM platform if he wants to be a formidable opponent in this race. 2 many established players 2 deal in vagueness.

— Daria Morgendorffer (@erinnTALIAH) February 24, 2015[16]

impressed with answers I'm hearing so far from @douglasioliver[17] @phillymag[18] @venturef0rth[19] Candidate Conversations

— Bob Moul (@bobmoul) February 23, 2015[20]

Why doesn’t @DO2015PHL[15] have big ideas for #Philly[21]? Mind boggling, you have nothing to lose, GIVE US IDEAS #YoungPHLvotes[22] #PHL2015[23]

— Mike Thomas (@MikeThomaspsu) February 23, 2015[24]

Tough questions,real answers from @phillymag[18] @CitifiedPHL[25] to @DO2015PHL[15] #PHL2015[23] at @venturef0rth[19] 's community space pic.twitter.com/L6UsgvCd1l[26]

— Yuriy Porytko (@Yuriy_P) February 23, 2015[27]

Points for transparency, I guess.

— JoshCornfield (@JoshCornfield) February 24, 2015[28]

Endnotes:
  1. Venturef0rth: http://venturef0rth.com
  2. Candidate Conversations series: https://www.phillymag.com/citified/2015/02/15/philadelphia-magazine-candidate-conversation-series/
  3. had only $1,085 in the bank : https://www.phillymag.com/citified/2015/02/02/philadelphias-dollar-store-election/
  4. “enthusiastic,” “refreshing” and “charming.”: https://www.phillymag.com/citified/2015/02/18/ed-rendell-endorse-long-shot-candidate-doug-oliver-mayor/
  5. read: https://www.phillymag.com/citified/2015/02/23/live-candidate-conversation-doug-oliver-holly-otterbein/
  6. watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9mEc0fwouE&feature=youtu.be&list=UUtKwo-xp_THLCOH-oY5JuJw
  7. here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/philly-mags-candidate-conversation-series-nelson-diaz-tickets-15814655059
  8. here: https://www.phillymag.com/citified/2015/02/15/philadelphia-magazine-candidate-conversation-series/
  9. slammed the practice of electing judges: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/trending/Watch-John-Oliver-slams-former-Philly-Traffic-Court-Judge-Willie-Singletary.html
  10. wrote his own take-down of the practice: https://www.phillymag.com/citified/2015/01/06/judicial-elections-coffee-can/
  11. interviewed former City Councilman Jim Kenney: http://planphilly.com/articles/2015/02/23/q-a-jim-kenney-on-public-transportation-pedestrian-safety-and-south-philly-s-organized-chaos
  12. KYW reports: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2015/02/24/nutter-not-yet-saying-if-new-budget-will-answer-latest-district-request/
  13. have appealed: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150224_SRC__district_appeal_ruling_on_teachers__benefits_to_high_court.html
  14. ruling: https://www.phillymag.com/citified/2015/01/22/court-rules-src-cant-void-teachers-contract/
  15. @DO2015PHL: https://twitter.com/DO2015PHL
  16. February 24, 2015: https://twitter.com/erinnTALIAH/status/570013516113031168
  17. @douglasioliver: https://twitter.com/douglasioliver
  18. @phillymag: https://twitter.com/phillymag
  19. @venturef0rth: https://twitter.com/venturef0rth
  20. February 23, 2015: https://twitter.com/bobmoul/status/570006243940691970
  21. #Philly: https://twitter.com/hashtag/Philly?src=hash
  22. #YoungPHLvotes: https://twitter.com/hashtag/YoungPHLvotes?src=hash
  23. #PHL2015: https://twitter.com/hashtag/PHL2015?src=hash
  24. February 23, 2015: https://twitter.com/MikeThomaspsu/status/570009448753844224
  25. @CitifiedPHL: https://twitter.com/citifiedPHL
  26. pic.twitter.com/L6UsgvCd1l: http://t.co/L6UsgvCd1l
  27. February 23, 2015: https://twitter.com/Yuriy_P/status/570005015970091008
  28. February 24, 2015: https://twitter.com/JoshCornfield/status/570051856594026497

Source URL: https://www.phillymag.com/citified/2015/02/24/brief-doug-oliver-doubles-vagueness/