"The question is, do our police officers understand the youth of this city?" [Ravenstahl] asked, [repeating the question]. "One way they're going to understand the youth of this city is having the opportunity to enforce the curfew" which has been in abeyance for five years since the closure of a prior center. (P-G, Rich Lord)
This is pretty typical snapshot of the discussion. Mayor Ravenstahl either doesn't buy into the touchy-feely, community-oriented, root-causes side of the public safety coin as much as the other candidates, or he just doesn't speak of it nearly as convincingly. Ravenstahl wants more cops with more tools and newer technology including cameras and curfew centers, whereas the community "needs to understand" this and "needs to understand" that.
From an electoral aspect that may not hurt him at all, but from a public safety standpoint it's a little chilling. I would prefer actions that work to those that look or sound tough.
I was surprised that yesterday's announcement about high powered rifles getting loaded into police cars as a way to deter crime didn't come in for discussion, for example.
Ms. Robinson criticized the lack of progress on the Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Crime, or PIRC, an effort modeled on Boston's successful anti-gang push. (ibid)
She specifically pointed out that the Mayor had said it would start making a difference in March, though now obviously it's the beginning of May. Ravenstahl responded by explaining that there are lots of people and pieces to talk to and organize.
The timeline may not be as important though, since Robinson also criticized the PIRC, or the "Botson Plan", for being run by a Caucasian out-of-towner with less than stellar credentials. In my own interview with Robinson, she also pointed out that the Boston plan was designed for large organized gangs, whereas in Pittsburgh she alleged what we have is dozens upon dozens of of tiny, barely-organized-at-all gangs.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said that one of the proudest accomplishments was establishing more stringent policies for handling domestic abuse by city police officers. True enough. But as challenger Patrick Dowd pointed out shortly afterward, Ravenstahl only ushered in that policy after promoting three officers with domestic-abuse allegations in their past. (CP Slag Heap)
Dowd could have twisted the knife even further by recalling that the Mayor first promoted one of those officers -- which itself blew up into a nice-sized domestic abuse scandal -- and then a week later the Mayor promoted two more officers with past abuse allegations without apparently bothering to check into their histories. Then Dowd could have added that during the hearing to explore these contentious issues, the Mayor went golfing with celebrities .
But that probably would have been too much.
I like how Ravenstahl begins many of his answers with a 20 second warm-up about how he'd love to have even more time to talk about this, and then ends with another 20 second cool-down about how his time is running out and he wishes there was more time to list the many examples that are bursting out of his noggin. It's kind of like a student using a 16-point font and triple-spacing to fill out a four-page term paper.
Oh, and Doc Harris was a part of things. He proved that he can hang in this atmosphere and with these folks in this type of discussion. It'll be interesting to see how much more closely and frequently the local media covers politics once he enters the race formally.