With fifteen (15) distinct weeks remaining before the election, The Tribune-Review's Jeremy Boren starts our week off right with a cup of hot oatmeal and an in-depth look at the differences between our mayoral candidates.
After an enlightening-to-no-one lead graph on age, experience, and marital status (being married doesn't count with voters until you have children how much would that kick ass as an April surprise?), Boren cites four votes as especially illustrative:
1) Act 47 state oversight. Ravenstahl, AGAINST. Peduto, FOR.
There is broad agreement that Act 47 has been beneficial, so the Mayor will have to explain this vote, and possibly admit an evolution in thinking.
2) A buffer zone for protests around abortion clinics. Ravenstahl, AGAINST. Peduto, FOR.
Will this issue gain traction? Will Peduto try? Can the Mayor make it a 1st Amendment issue, or does it contribute toward his "Bush Factor"?
3) Dealing with Twanda Carlisle's spending fiasco. Ravenstahl PASSED limits on discretionary spending, Peduto FAILED TO PASS an outright ban on walking-around-money.
This places Peduto even more fixedly as the reform candidate; but people like money, and like when it walks around some.
4) Tax Increment Financing for PNC office tower. Ravenstahl FOR. Peduto AGAINST.
Oddly, this would seem to align Peduto with the Trib editorial board (think, "Mr. Rohr, give back the public money"), which in turn would align Ravenstahl with the Heinz Endowments.
Finally, Dick Skrinjar chimes in with this one:
5) Ravenstahl for Council President. Ravenstahl FOR. Peduto FOR.
Just like Ravenstahl has some explaining to do on vote #1, Peduto at some point must forthrightly explain this, whether or not it's a Skrinjar trap.
Interesting: Much of the analysis in Boren's piece came from the Allegheny Institute -- a local conservative think-tank -- and it was mostly in Peduto's favor. If Bill Peduto can swing being the candidate of experience, and the candidate of reform, and the candidate of conservatives -- that is something.
BTW, the Allegheny Institute has a blog, which accepts comments, and is totally worth following.