Jeremy Boren of the Trib reports that Mayor Ravenstahl was attending a celebrity golf tournament while the Great Women's Hearing (for lack of a better term) was taking place.
This probably would not have been news, had Ravenstahl not conspicuously refused, on multiple occasions, to divulge his whereabouts when asked point-blank.
"What's astonishing is that if he was really trying to raise money for charity, he was trying to hide it from people by not answering the question," said Jeanne Clark, a member of the Squirrel Hill chapter of the National Organization for Women, which petitioned to have City Council hold the hearing.
Heather Arnet, who you will recall took a conciliatory and forward-looking approach at the hearing, responds to today's news:
"We thought that his coming to the hearing would be a strong showing of his commitment and support," said Heather Arnet, head of the Western Pennsylvania Women and Girls Foundation, Downtown. "We were disappointed that he wasn't at the hearing."
Editorial Comments: The Comet never faulted Ravenstahl for declining to attend the hearing. Not for one moment.
It does not seem to be standard practice for a mayor to attend council hearings, and for good reason -- it is likely that such a session would devolve into sensational political sandbagging.
Besides, where would he even sit? In that ornate dais at the far end of the chamber? Would he have to wear a wig?
However, we are troubled by two aspects of today's revelations:
1) Luke had just written, "I have made a firm commitment to dedicate myself in total to my responsibilities as mayor. It is my first and foremost responsibility, and its scheduling requirements are enormous."
Ravenstahl went on to attend both days of a golfing event, smack in the middle of the workweek.
2) Luke attended the event as an amateur, not a celebrity. This implies, as the Burr Reporr points out, that he would have owed a charitable contribution of $27,000.
CORRECTION: $27K would cover a group of three golfers for the two days, so his cost would appear to be $9,000.
It would be worthwhile to discover if anyone "staked" him this considerable entry fee, thereby affording him the opportunity to network with some very wealthy benefactors in a relaxed setting, and also to be seen in public rubbing elbows with celebrities, in the midst of a heated electoral campaign.
In light of these real concerns, the Mayor's accusation against the Tribune-Review of "crass politics and yellow journalism" rings pretty hollow.