Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Media Has Some Questions

Trib columnist Eric Heyl:

Let's gently place the mayor's explanation in the pond of credibility and see if it floats.

(Split-second pause.)

Whoa, look how quickly that thing sank! Might take days of dragging the pond bottom before the recovery team locates it.

Trib editorial:

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has a problem -- obfuscation.

They also run an unflattering "PinLukeyo" cartoon by Randy Bish.

From the Trib story by Boren & Conti:

"I think probably he should have just stayed here and dealt with what he had to deal with here," said City Councilwoman Tonya Payne, who represents the Hill District.

"If he insists on following this pattern, I believe down the road he will have a credibility problem," said Jerry Shuster, a political communications professor at the University of Pittsburgh. "These things more reinforce the questions people have about his maturity."

"He's such a neophyte, it seems he doesn't realize that the truth will come out," (CMU professor) Strauss said. "He ought to be taken out to the woodshed by his political supporters and reminded he's a public official."

"Dave Lawrence would have never done that," said (Ravenstahl campaign contributor) Aiello, who owns Commonwealth Warehouse & Storage in Lawrenceville ...

From the P-G's Rich Lord:

... when someone offers the mayor tickets to a sporting event, he recalls the city's limits on such gratuities -- but does not keep a tally to ensure that he's complying with them. And in regards to the use of his image on city mailings and media during campaign season, he takes the view that if it's legal, it's OK.

"Here's a company that was recently seeking millions of dollars in benefits from taxpayers," said Barry Kauffman, executive director of Common Cause of Pennsylvania. "You don't want them treating public officials to travel or entertainment."

The mayor has taken a minimalist approach to reporting financial information required annually under the charter. Where the city's Disclosure of Interest form asks for "all your creditors and debts ... in excess of $1,000" he has consistently indicated "none." He and his wife, Erin, have an $87,000 mortgage and a $10,600 line of credit.

WPXI's Rick Earle, via the Busman:

Q-re: I don't care about where you go, but I'm more concerned about the fact that, with the Heinz Field incident, when we questioned you about that, you weren't truthful about that. You weren't truthful to Mr. Boren about your trip to New York. What about your integrity? What does this say about your integrity? What do you say to the people of Pittsburgh about your integrity in light of these two situations?

A: We can agree to disagree about our conversation, and myself and Mr. Boren can as well.

Q-re: That's twice, now.

A: I understand that you may feel that way. This is something that, when I'm asked a question, I've been honest with the media, from day one.

Q-re: You weren't honest with me...

A: I was honest with you...

Q-re: You weren't honest with Jeremy Boren.

A: I was honest with you: I told you I was never arrested at Heinz Field.

Q-re: Come on, you're splitting hairs.

A: That's fine. In your opinion, I'm splitting hairs.

The Comet:

What time do you have to arrive at an airport in New York, to have a reasonable expectation of purchasing a ticket, getting through security, boarding a plane, arriving in Pittsburgh, collecting your baggage, and driving downtown in time for an 8:30 AM conference?

Could this possibly have been his real intention on Wednesday morning, after retiring for the evening between 2:00 and 3:00 AM?

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