Friday, July 20, 2007

Tribune-Review gets Golfing Story Straight

CORRECTION: Earlier headline once read Story Changes. That was unfair and inaccurate. See the Busman for discussion. We can only speculate as to how this all looks from the Trib's perspective.


From the Trib's Jeremy Boren:

The team paid $27,000 for a two-day golf package that allowed three golfers to play during the tournament June 27 and 28 at the prestigious Laurel Valley Golf Club. Ravenstahl played with the Penguins group only on the first day.


On June 28, the second day of the tournament, Ravenstahl played on the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's dime with two of the hospital system's executives.

The story may have changed, but Mayor Ravenstahl's tune has not.

"I don't think there's much difference between the UPMC event and the Penguins event," Ravenstahl said yesterday. "When you're the mayor, you have to have discussions with those individuals, and that's sometimes how business gets done."


By the way, when did the One Hill CBA Coalition get to take Mayor Ravenstahl out golfing at a "high end" event, in order to present city residents' concerns about arena development? Or is that equally important side of the coin still in the planning stages?

Because Luke is right about how business gets done -- waiting patiently in a government office has not done the trick in the past.

Ethics Board Chair Patrice Hughes:

"The Penguins don't have a contract with the city," Hughes said. "I don't think it's the same thing as UPMC. There's a nuance there."
With respect, we feel any nuance is tissue-thin. The Penguins are also deep in negotiation with City of Pittsburgh over a very large-scale and controversial development.

The conflict of interest may be even more apparent in this case.


FWIW, the P-G Editorial Board this morning took a dim view of Ravenstahl's acceptance of the golf outing.

It's one thing to be an invited guest by a charity to extend support for its mission and purpose. It's something quite different to show up as an invited participant by a corporate contractor that has paid your substantial price of admission -- in this case $27,000 to sponsor the mayor and two other golfers.

The Comet will have more on the various counter-arguments we've heard cropping up on the blurghosphere next week.


  1. Great argument here Bram. SAT questions/syllogisms arise:

    $$$ = access to public officials
    UPMC/Penguins --> $$$
    Therefore, UPMC/Penguins have access

    One Hill --> no $$$, therefore no access.
    Business meetings on golf courses? That's how the privileged white male political class handles their affairs. Given the hard-working blue-collar ethic in this town, I'm surprised there isn't more uproar regarding his statements about how he conducts his official 'business' on golf courses.

  2. What really galls us is that the current Mayor hasn't so much as acknowledged / hinted at / paid lip service to this type objection AT ALL.

    There's nothing wrong with golf. There's nothing wrong with discussions. We all get that.

    There IS something wrong with conducting city business while well-heeled interests are PAYING FOR the good times, while other interests you are supposed to represent can not touch this type of access.

    Really. If he has even alluded to those objections yet, somebody please let us know.

  3. All great business deals, as you know full well, really take place on the Ultimate field.

  4. We know this guy Henry Thorne who's been playing ultimate for about 25 years -- he has his own company called Personal Robot. If you are interested in the product he has to offer, google it or send us some email.

  5. Someone should've told those 150 people who attended the police promotions hearing that all they had to do was pay Luke's greens fees and meet him on the golf course.

    I'm disappointed in Sr. Hughes' comment about the Penguins not being an "interested" party because they don't have a contract with the City. Sure, the building of that new arena won't implicate ANY of the City's permitting processes...I guess Joe Edelstein isn't an interested party either...