January 17, 2004 - Pittsburg Post Gazette: Paraguay RPCV Tom Murphy is a dreamer

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Paraguay: Peace Corps Paraguay: The Peace Corps in Paraguay: January 17, 2004 - Pittsburg Post Gazette: Paraguay RPCV Tom Murphy is a dreamer

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Paraguay RPCV Tom Murphy is a dreamer

Paraguay RPCV Tom Murphy is a dreamer

Analysis: Murphy triumphs, failures a test in urban realities

Saturday, January 17, 2004
By Tom Barnes, Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau

Tom Murphy is a dreamer. A big one. Always has been. Proud of it.

He came of age in the 1960s, when John and Robert Kennedy ushered in "Camelot'' and encouraged young people to think big, dream big. Don't just look at things as they are and ask why, they said, but look at things as they could be and ask why not.

The Peace Corps was created and young people focused on what they could do for their country. Murphy, the son of a South Side steelworker, bought into the idea, joining the Peace Corps and going to South America for several years to help downtrodden people.

When he got back to Pittsburgh in the early 1970s, he threw himself into trying to remake one of the toughest sections of the city, the North Side. After several years as a community leader, he got himself elected to the state Legislature, where he often bucked the power structure and created some powerful enemies.

Then in 1989 he ran a surprisingly strong race for mayor, coming in second out of five candidates in a primary, losing to then-Mayor Sophie Masloff.

It seemed liked nothing could stop the optimistic Murphy, who trounced then-City Council President Jack Wagner in the 1993 mayoral primary on his way to winning the first of three mayoral elections in November 1993.

When he became the city's chief executive in January 1994, big-thinker Murphy continued to exude optimism. He looked at the decaying Downtown area around Fifth and Forbes avenues and asked why it couldn't be turned around. He looked at other bedraggled sections -- the North Shore, the old South Side mill site where his father had worked, Herrs Island, East Liberty, the slag heap known as Nine Mile Run -- and said we have to do better.

Here is a wildly optimistic assessment on the city's Web site about Murphy's performance:

By 1994, "The city was desperate for a leader who would direct a physical and psychological turnaround. After two terms in office, the Pittsburgh that Tom Murphy inherited is a dim memory. Replacing it today is a high-energy, cosmopolitan city that glows with optimism about its future.''

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Story Source: Pittsburg Post Gazette

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Politics; Service; COS - Paraguay



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