Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bill Peduto: Frustrated, Depressed

We were mulling over a post about how deathly quiet Team Peduto has been lately, when some news happened.

The Trib's Jeremy Boren (who it is safe to say is now out, proud and no worse for wear) revealed that Ravenstahl took a celebratory trip to New York with Penguins owner Ron Burkle. This caused him to miss several engagements in Pittsburgh, including a meeting with Hill District leaders. The mayor initially denied the trip, but now expresses regret for his handling of the media inquiries.

Which brings us to the loyal opposition.

When asked by KDKA's Fred Honsberger if either the trip or the lie indicates an integrity problem, Bill Peduto replied, "I'm not going to touch it." He said the whole story is "much ado about nothing in my campaign" and that "people have to come past these issues."

Maybe so, but will people get past these issues if he doesn't invite them through these issues?

Peduto readily admitted his frustration at how the media is succumbing to "Luke's PR machine," focusing on personality and style, rather than on issues of policy and finance. He complained that Ravenstahl is trying mimic his own policies, but no one notices and no one cares. He sounded resigned to finishing the race as a noble loser. He'd rather be right than Mayor.

Ravenstahl opted to celebrate the arena deal with billionaires, instead of discussing with community representatives how exactly that arena deal was going to work.

How hard can it be to use this to illustrate his opponent's top-down approach to community development?

Ravenstahl was less-than-totally-truthful in denying that trip to New York, and made the lawyerly excuse that at least he wasn't discussing Penguins business as asked. He was previously less-than-totally-truthful in denying the Heinz Field scuffle with police, and made the lawyerly excuse that at least he wasn't arrested as asked.

Would it be such a stretch to raise suspicions about his frankness and honesty when it comes to the city budget, or the feasibility of programs like the Pittsburgh Promise?

Bill Peduto's best weeks of the campaign were right after the revelations about the hancuffing at Heinz Field. He grew quieter in the weeks immediately preceeding the ACDC endorsement, and he totally fell off the radar in its wake.

We might conclude the media simply hasn't been covering him, but according to sources, Peduto is not exactly burning the midnight oil in terms of door knocking and O'Connor-style retail politics, either.

Somewhere in the city, Matt Preston must be either punching walls or popping Tums.

Bill Peduto must feel betrayed and disillusioned by his fellow Democratic Committee wonks. But if he fails to pull himself out of this funk, the race is going to slip away well before the debates -- which is exactly what Team Ravenstahl would prefer.

Instead of seething with frustration and disrespect for the local media -- and, by extension, local voters -- he should begin where they are now, and lead them by the hand. Which might mean his own hands will get dirty.


  1. Frustrated Bill SupporterMarch 20, 2007 at 7:04 PM

    I think you are right on. Peduto's commitment to running a clean campaign is great. But that and his commitment to "not going negative" doesn't mean he can't speak the truth. I support Bill wholeheartedly, but I can't think of one good reason not to raise some serious questions NOW, publicly, about a pattern of lies and a pattern of this acting Mayor to punish anyone who speaks out against him (firings, etc.) That's not going on the attack in a negative manner, that's raising the facts and then using that to contrast one's superior qualities as an honest and trustworthy public servant and leader.

    I don't see the energy or the strategy in the campaign right now AT ALL.

  2. I agree. Bill should be outside of Luke's office in a chicken suit for not scheduling those debates. He should have at least pointed out today that rather than drinking all night in NYC he was on the job. As far as the schedule not working out in NYC, I don't know what kind of guy Luke (except for the lying) is but having dinner in NYC at midnight would pretty much blow the next day for me.

    Bill - STAND UP! STAND UP NOW AND LET US KNOW! I guarantee if you call the media and say you want to have a presser about these things tires will squeal getting there. Get it done my man.

  3. Who said that Mayor Luke was out drinking all night?

    Were you there?

  4. Matt, where on EARTH do you see those words in this post or in these comments?

    Since you brought it up, Ravenstahl stated he had "dinner and drinks" with Burkle from midnight until about 2:00 AM; this is typically not a reference to Sprite.

  5. There was nothing wrong with the trip, except the lying. Like Luke or not, you can't help but be concerned about his responses when put on the spot.

    It makes a reasonable person wonder if anybody's hiding something when they tell a lie they don't have to tell about acepting what was most likely a legitimate offer almost ANYBODY would have accepted, provided they have the nightcrawler instinct.

    I certainly don't begrudge the Mayor's last-minute trip to the Big Apple, and it certainly couldn't hurt the City's interests for its political chief executive to rub elbows with a billionaire who counts among his close drinking buddies one William Jefferson Clinton.

    As for negative campaigning, I loathe it as well. But to quote Rush Limbaugh from 1998, "If you're telling the truth and your opponent calls it negative, then they shouldn't have DONE it!"

    The trip itself, even despite missing the community meeting, was at best a couple of lines of ink. Telling a lie (and a BAD one at that) and being caught (like the Trib would have asked that question without some inkling of what they were talking about, obviously) was a dubious call.

    Fibbing about the progress of the Penguins negotiations, in progress, could be viewed as a necessity, but then you CAN'T afford to develop the reputation of being a BAD liar, especially under pressure.

  6. Peduto and Company better get their heads out of their...the sand and start to run this race.Something has to be done to diminish Ravenstahl's mystique in the eyes of the electorate.As long as Luke is perceived as being cute and cuddly,like the kid next door,or"like my grandson"issues don't matter one iota.Knock Luke down a peg or two,make the playing field even,then trot out your issues.

  7. I couldn't have said it better, Smitty.

    As for Luke's trip - he lied about it because he knows he got on that plane having absolutely no intention of ever attending the 8:30 a.m. meeting. Also, he's confused about the rules of ethics (not surprising given his lack of moral compass) - free Pens tickets, a free ride on a jet, free dinner, free drinks, free hotel accomodations = a gift from Ron Burkle, an "interested party". It is a flat-out breach of the City's Ethics Code - will Luke be referring himself for an ethics investigation the way he did Twanda Carlisle? Oh, that's right, there is no Ethics Board!