Thursday, April 18, 2013

When "Nobody's Boy" was Somebody's Boy

That's better ... Flaherty went rogue in 1969
and the club got on the bandwagon.
Before Pete Flaherty was “Nobody’s Boy” he was somebody’s boy, and the 14th Ward Democratic Club didn’t like it.

The year was 1965 and the future two-term Pittsburgh mayor was running for city council. Flaherty, a political novice, had been handpicked by party bosses to fill a seat being vacated by a man named Gallagher. In those days ethnic loyalties ran deep (even before St. Patrick’s “Day” was extended to a week in the city), and they often determined which candidates filled certain council seats.

The club backed all of the Democratic Party’s endorsed council candidates that year, except Flaherty.
As club board member Nat Hershey diplomatically told the press, "It was felt that [Flaherty’s] chief virtues were represented by party reliability and ethnic continuity."
In the end, Flaherty won the council seat but received the lowest vote total among party endorsed candidates in the 14th Ward.
Squirrel Hill was the epicenter of local political activity on April 26, 1965, with the club and both the 14th Ward Democratic and Republican committees meeting that night. [Click on image for larger version.]

In keeping with its mission, the club enthusiastically backed Flaherty a few years later when he dubbed himself “Nobody’s Boy” and ran for mayor as a party outsider.

Special Squirrel Hill Remembrance: One of the articles above notes that the 14th Ward Democratic Committee would be meeting at Bubbles and Sherman's Restaurant, 5841 Forbes Avenue. Here's a link to a picture of the classic eatery (maybe somebody can get Brady Stewart to donate it to this page?)

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