How many Pittsburghers are wishing that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl would just grow up? Or go away?

I haven't surfed through the blogs for recent commentary on what we might call the American Pie incident (Luke and his pals drove a Chevy to the levee -- well, he drove a GMC to the country music concert). I know what it must say. Restated in polite terms, it goes something like this: In any ordinary business, a CEO who takes a company car for a joyride will face the wrath of the Board, and if he's unrepentant, the Board should give him the boot.

But the City of Pittsburgh isn't a business, and the voters of the City show little inclination to give him the boot.

Of course, they should. Focus not on the fact that the Mayor seems to be enjoying an extended adolescence. Focus on the fact that his antics in the role of Prom King embarrass the City of Pittsburgh in precisely the context where the office of the mayor may actually matter: Selling businesses on the idea that Pittsburgh is a place where local government is serious about helping them start and grow.

If Republican candidate Mark DeSantis has one thing to offer the voters, this is it: He's not just a grownup. He's not just experienced in public policy and private administration. He is the embodiment of credibility to an economic development constituency that wants to be sure that whatever the business risks, the government won't completely melt down.

Since I've said repeatedly here that this blog isn't about politics, I'll reemphasize that I like DeSantis not because he's a Republican (because I'm not), but because he actually seems to understand something about what the mayor's office can and should do, and what challenges Pittsburgh really faces, especially when it comes to the big economic picture. He's not alone; there are Democratic politicians out there doing very good things, too. Having rugged transportation to a Toby Keith show is not among them.


4 Responses to "Juvenilia"

Benjamin said... 10/05/2007 9:58 AM

Here's one.

Jonathan Potts said... 10/05/2007 11:29 AM

Well said, Mike. That's the most concise, clearly stated case for DeSantis that I've seen. And lord knows plenty of us have been making the case for him.

Too bad you can't actually vote for him.

Dave said... 10/05/2007 2:15 PM

While I don't live in the City, I understand and appreciate how the City and its politics impact our entire region. Stated simply, Luke is a jagoff. Plain and simple. His antics are not only immature, but reflect poorly upon our City and its people.

If most folks knew the real details of how Boy Wonder crashed the Tiger Woods corporate outing at Oakmont last Spring, they would be ashamed and embarrassed to call him a citizen of Pittsburgh let alone their chief representative. The people at Oakmont CC should be applauded for keeping that disaster under wraps for all our sakes.

And next time Jimmy Neutron, rather than commandeer the Homeland Security SUV, just hitch a ride to the concert or the game with a buddy. It stands to reason that if Mario, Ben, Hines and Sidney can all commute around town in their private vehicles, so too can you. And let's be honest, they are way more cool and a lot more popular than you.

In the world of politics, Luke was born on third base and thinks he got there by hitting a triple. That couldn't be further from the truth. But for the unfortunate circumstances that befell the late Mayor, Luke would thus far be a mere footnote in the book of Pittsburgh government. Unfortunately, for us, he was in the right place at the unfortunate, but right time.

His lack of experience and his immaturity are apparent every time he steps in front of a podium, a camera or a group of people. How in the world can you respect a mayor who publicly responds to criticism by stating that he and his wife will continue to go to bars and act like 27 year olds? Huh?

Luke, here's a tip: in politics (and pretty much everywhere else in life) there are inside words and there are outside words. Inside words stay in, and outside words come out. Telling your constituents that you want to hang out in bars and live the good life of a 20 something, are probably inside words.

Luke obviously has lousy handlers, but doesn't he have any friends from high school or college? Please, can't one of you be there for your boy and give the putz a head slap?

It comes down to this Sparky . . . if you're lucky enough to be the youngest mayor of a large U.S. City like ours, just don't act it.

EdHeath said... 10/08/2007 8:46 AM

I have to say that the comparison between private industry and city government is fairly misleading. Certain business give out company cars fairly freely, or at least used to. Particularly salesmen were famous for having company cars, but so were some upper lever executives. I don't know how business versus personal mileage was worked out, and the IRS may have tightened up on company cars, but to say almost no one else has a company car is ludicrous.
Besides, the Mayor is driven by a city detective. The city has an (insurance) interest in providing the detective with a car equipped with a two-way radio and that is maintained by city mechanics. That the Mayor seems to abuse the privilege is somewhat besides the point. He has to have a driver and by extension a city car.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at]gmail.com. Mike also blogs at Madisonian.net, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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