The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat has an observation worthy of almost full reproduction:
I was thinking random thoughts while walking by the Greyhound Bus Terminal, when it occurred to me that we haven't talked about the whole LED Billboard kerfluffle in awhile. It further occurred to me that we haven't talked about contracts, take home cars, Ron Burkle, street paving, media blackouts, purges, community benefits agreements, tax breaks for non-profits that contribute to the Pittsburgh Promise, Pat Ford, interdepartmental mergers, ethics boards, vacant "interim" positions, operating efficiencies, getting arrested outside Heinz Field, more purges, city sponsored campaign advertising, casinos, missing meetings, demotions, and Dennis Regan in awhile either.
That's a pretty thorough and useful accounting. Don't forget cost-recovery for police officer secondary employment.
I will add that as a reader of blogs, it sure seems like the public is familiar with a lot of these topics. Some of them seem to us like ever-present, why-won't-you-drop-it-already old saws. That's a dangerous dynamic, because the fact of the matter is that the actual professional media covers news as it breaks and then largely moves right on -- hardly ever looking back.
Not that that's an easy job. If my educated hunch is correct, one day there will appear one article in which many of the above topics are briefly listed -- under an appropriate headline like Ravenstahl administration has had its hiccups or Ravenstahl says missteps come with the job -- in which each scandal will get half-a-paragraph's worth of reexamination and perspective. You'd better be in town that day, or you'll miss it.
In a political race it is the challengers' job to make issues out of issues, but there are certain things of which the public deserves to be fully and deeply cognizant regardless. Barack Obama did not have to inform his audiences of a war being fought in Iraq, originally waged to halt Saddam's weapons programs and what have you. The news media continually relayed to the public the several stories of the incumbent administration because to do so was vital in itself. Obama, Clinton, Romney and McCain then offered their own thoughts on how they might have handled things differently, and the democratic process took it from there.
For example, one can't really make an argument that the mayor's own personal hand-selected development, redevelopment, planning, zoning, public housing and parking czar having left the city in scandal to be "investigated" by the state, then blasting the mayor for corruption, and then apparently having his silence bought by the administration isn't something that the voting public deserves to understand as well as possible regardless of the course of the positive conversation about Pittsburgh's future.
And that's just the cheapest example. Frankly the purges, vacant "interim" positions, casinos and demotions all sound like great avenues of exploration. And I really like the formulation "city sponsored campaign advertising". Might as well throw this in.
*-UPDATE: I should add that none of us have delved into this Sunday joint yet, which might have been headlined City's economic situation very very complicated (P-G, Rich Lord)
Tangentially Useful: Busman's Holiday.