Thursday, February 26, 2009

Luke: Telling His Story

Our Mayor is making his case for reelection via direct mail. Thanks to Matt Hogue we all get the scoop.

Here is what is being given top billing at this time:

Restoring Pittsburgh's Financial Health
I have moved the city from the brink of bankruptcy to three balanced budgets, no new debt and nearly $100 million added to the city's savings account.

If the city was on the brink of bankruptcy, it must have been very difficult to get it where it is today. Assuming that today is much less brinky.

Otherwise, someone would have done whatever it was beforehand, right? So what did he do that was so special? I know he submitted balanced yearly budgets, but the state oversight boards require balanced budgets. The true feat of strength may have been not allowing chaos to reign in the streets given our limited financial resources. Who cares if the streets themselves are like garbage.

But what did he do to get us from Point A to Point B? And again, where is this alleged "Point B"? Are balanced paper budgets showing a $100 million "surplus" in these years going to be good enough?

Given that our annual debt and pension payments are definitely going to skyrocket in the very near future, putting even more pressure on the city's operating budget (parking garage sales or no parking garage sales) are we doing things as well as we should be? Has Mayor Steelershizzle made any difficult choices to help us do any better?

That is a story I'd like to hear.

Image cap: Michael J. LeBrecht II (SI)


  1. Yeah, I thought about mentioning the rags to riches story (brink of bankruptcy to 3 balanced budgets) in my blog post, but I had a different angle.

    But two things come to mind. First, Luke is slamming Bob O'Connor here as his immediate predecessor (from the brink of bankruptcy). Could Luke have forgotten Bob O’Connor, who died only 29 months ago?

    Second, as you say, we have been in Act 47 status for some time now, longer than Luke was Mayor, and it was the Act 47 plan that envisioned a surplus, not Luke's vision. Meanwhile, we would chew through that 100 mill in maybe three years, except we are getting a new Act 47 plan. Which I predict will do only the minimum with our debt and pension shortfall to keep us afloat over the next five years.

    But we will have lots of amphitheatres. Come to see a show, stay to gamble your next rent payment away.

  2. "Second, as you say, we have been in Act 47 status for some time now, longer than Luke was Mayor, and it was the Act 47 plan that envisioned a surplus, not Luke's vision."

    If you're right about that, he's exploded.

  3. Did you all really expect anything less?

  4. Nathaniel HornblowerFebruary 26, 2009 at 11:41 PM

    No matter what you think, to most people (read: voters) this doesn't matter. He is going to be re-elected.

  5. Ya, but he's no Mike D.

    The single best record of 1986.

  6. Robert Matthew Van WinkleFebruary 27, 2009 at 10:50 AM

    I tend to agree with my friend Nathaniel. Go Luke!

  7. I didnt know what to think of the mayor but he's an embarrassment. I think he's a big steelers, pirates and penguins supporter, but his executive management and leadership skills are severely lacking. He seems in terms of development and being ad advocate for new business development... to be missing in action.
    To refute that flys in the face of the objective fact that more and more young people are leaving pittsburgh each year. A mayor should take that as a personal responsibility to address.

  8. the kid's gotta go, and take his inner circle too......

  9. Who is the Ravenstahl "inner circle" these days, anyway? Obviously Zober, now continuing ... ?

  10. Bram,

    You're a bright fellow. Connect the dots, as the names have been on your site before.

  11. Anon 7:56 - Are you talking about his predecessor's associates from the private sector? I was hoping by "inner circle" you meant persons who hold actual governmental or quasi-governmental positions. These "go-betweens" are tough to get in the viewfinder.

    If these kinds of folks were newsworthy 3 and 4 years ago, they're probably just as newsworthy today.

  12. The inner circle stretches from Ross Street to Lawrenceville. They laid the ground work for O'Connor and now have Luke in their clutches.