Adam Reger | Freelance Writer

Pittsburgh-based freelance writer

Tag: A.J. Richardson

This ‘n that

Updates to several recent posts:

-I wrote about the fascinating case of A.J. Richardson, the candidate for the Democratic nomination for mayor of Pittsburgh whose face is covered in tattoos. Others did not find him quite so fascinating, as he came in dead last in Tuesday’s primary election, with a vote total described, variously, as “in the triple digits” and “a smattering.” (Yikes. I’m no politics wonk, but I know you’ve got to get more than a smattering of votes.)

Some interesting links on Richardson:

*A Pittsburgh City Paper (blog) interview with him after the election.

*A City Paper blog photo of Richardson with his tattoos “removed.”

*And here’s the City Paper‘s cover for this week:



-Following this post, about my struggles with plantar fasciitis: this week, I got a cortisone shot in my heel to hopefully get me over the hump by reducing inflammation in my plantar fascia. As mentioned in the prior post, I really did not want to get a shot, let alone have surgery, but over time that opposition eroded enough that I basically asked for the shot.

So far my foot has felt better. The reduced inflammation has allowed the stretching to be more effective (I think), and I’ve done some increased activity. Nothing major: standing up while doing some weightlifting. I’ve been tempted to run over the weekend, but I think I need to hold off.

-And finally, I went ahead and secured the domain name, unfortunately, is taken by another Adam Reger who has had the domain since at least 1998; I had the bad luck to have the same name as an internet-savvy tech guy.

As far as I can tell the new domain name has meant no changes to anything or anyone, and hardly seems worth mentioning except that it feels like a step toward greater permanence.

The Fascinating Case of A.J. Richardson, the Candidate for Mayor of Pittsburgh Whose Face Is Covered in Tattoos

Pittsburgh’s in the midst of a primary campaign for mayor—a Democratic primary, anyway, which in this city is the de facto general election—and so far the greatest storyline to emerge has been A.J. Richardson. He’s originally from Brooklyn, he’s working at present as a bus monitor on the city’s North Side, he’s never held elected office, and, last but not least, his face is covered in tattoos.

Seriously. This is A.J. Richardson:


I’ve mostly been reading about him through mainstream media—here’s a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review profile; here’s a CBS Local piece on how he’s not an underdog; and here’s a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette piece on his decision to plead guilty to DUI charges after a Tuesday night incident—and so I can’t say with any certainty whether or not—

Wait, what? Yep. This tattoo-faced dude was found in a green minivan, engine running, passed out or in a deep stupor in the middle of a road in Pittsburgh’s West End late Tuesday night. Cops honked at the minivan and when there was no answer they pounded on the window. Richardson declined a breathalyzer test but failed the cops’ field sobriety tests. Asked about it the next day, Richardson said the arrest was part of a conspiracy; “It’s a weak, feeble attempt to discredit me.”

I can’t tell if this twist makes me enjoy the A.J. Richardson saga more or less. No one was hurt, but still drunk driving is never funny. But then again it has made it all the more strange to see various media reporting on Richardson’s comments and debate appearances with entirely straight faces.

To be fair, nothing I’ve heard Richardson say is unreasonable. His angle is that he’s never held office, so he’s a fresh voice, will be a fighter for the working man, will sweep out corruption, etc. His campaign website is appropriately vague and positive-minded, and his “Project X”—a plan to ID areas where heavy drug-dealing is happening, to help the police target those areas and not entire communities—is certainly better than some policies.

But man. I just can’t get past those face tattoos. It’s almost like he’s adopted the most extreme body modification I could think of, that is usually associated with white supremacists, prison inmates, rappers with checkered pasts, and basically no one you would characterize as at all wholesome or respectable, and now is also demanding earnest consideration for his adoptive city’s highest office. And, God bless them, most in the media and in the political machinery seem to be doing their best to give it to him.

It’s like everything I love about Pittsburgh is wrapped up in this one news story: weird people, a sort of small-town quality that invites this sort of quixotic campaign, and a widespread niceness, or at least politeness, that has prevented the masses from laughing this guy out of the room.

Anyway, I hope I haven’t been too harsh on him. He seems, on the whole, like a nice guy, and you’ve got to love these kinds of grand, doomed gestures. He has zero chance of winning the Democratic primary, but I’d like to think that the city will measure each candidate by his positions, his record, and his actions, and that it will be these things—his lack of a record or any relevant experience, his unconscionable DUI arrest in the middle of a campaign—that cause him not to be elected, and not all the shit inked into his face.