Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Behind the 'Sphere: The 5th Floor Shakeup

We slept in last Friday, failing to tackle the morning news-check until mid-afternoon. Halfway finished, we noticed the Post-Gazette had added an item to its "Breaking News" banner: Dick Skrinjar got canned.

We sprung into action, trying to find the perfect image of Darth Vader hoisting the Emperor overhead before tossing him down a ventilation shaft.

Have you ever run a Google Image search for "Darth Vader"? There are better uses of one's time.

A useless half-hour later, we received an instant message from The Burgher, asking if we had heard the big news, and providing a link to his fresh new post.

The Comet and the Burr Reporr rarely collaborate directly, but much like He-Man and She-Ra, when we do the results are often impressive and memorable.

During our brief chat, the Burgher avowed that Yarone Zober "was on a rampage" that morning, and claimed multiple sources testifying to said rampage.

We would have liked nothing better than to provide you with the casus belli -- but nobody was talking. Our stalwart compatriots throughout the MSM seemed to fare no better. The new mayor was doing some routine housecleaning to make room for his own loyal patrons. Nothing to see here.

The ironic thing is, although we don't know any better, we are positive most of you do. Many readers of the Comet are themselves local political and media cognoscenti, and the last six months of blogging have taught us that there are a lot of open secrets in this town.

Apparently, "everybody" knew about the Heinz Field incident before "anybody" did. We have heard rumors of personal peccadilloes that would make your toes curl -- but never on record. Rick Earle deserves a Pulitzer for identifying Denny Regan as Marlene Cassidy's "boyfriend"; heretofore the pair were always referenced caustically as "sharing a residence."

Fine, then. Keep your dirty little secrets. The Comet will move on to raking muck where the raking is good.


As to the shakeup itself -- the Comet has heard it said far and wide that "Luke is a good kid," but nobody cared for "the people around him." Tops on that list was always Skrinjar, closely followed by Cassidy. Zober occasionally made that list, but with nothing like the regularity of the former two.

In addition, the secretive and paranoid attitude of the Mayor's press office was becoming too great to handle.

We remember during the Ron Air kerfuffle, Ravenstahl's statement that "You (the media) have your jobs, and we have ours."

We are mindful of ethics board nominee Penny Zacharias getting hustled through city hall to escape reporters, for no discernible reason.

And we continue to despair that the Mayor always looks and sounds like he is suffering through a prostate exam whenever a microphone is placed nearby.

If the personnel changes made last Friday serve to break up this poisonous dynamic, and bring a little more innocence and joyfulness to the Mayor's office, we are all for it.

It took us five days to make the mental adjustment, but this denizen of the blurghosphere is ready to give the Mayor a gold star. And if it required a rampage by his chief of staff to accomplish it, we look forward to more such rampages as necessary.


  1. That's a lot of big words in one post. Have you been studying for the SAT?