Monday, April 20, 2009

Ravenstahl Briefly Submits to Real Questions

You'd think that'd be good enough, right? Especially since the forum was sponsored by the NAACP, B-PEP, and the WPBPA?

Dowd criticized Ravenstahl for showing up one hour and 45 minutes late for the forum. Ravenstahl addressed the forum separately without appearing on stage with his rivals. (Trib, Bill Zlatos)

That awful Patrick Dowd. How dare he criticize the mayor for something that he did? Dowd should immediately apologize to the families of Luke Ravenstahl for suggesting that our mayor is fundamentally uninterested in confronting real questions in an uncontrolled atmosphere.

Our Mayor, who at length did prove himself gracious enough to speak at a roomful of minorities in his trademark bored, surly and borderline hostile manner, offered a preview of his debate talking points (KDKA, Bob Allen):

You all know in 2004 this was a city on the brink of bankruptcy. This was a city that was laying off employees, closing facilities, et cetera. You fast forward to today, this is a city with $100 million in our savings account, we've balanced our budget three years in a row.

Yes, by all means let's fast-forward to today.

Let's fast-forward past the fact that those layoffs and closures resulted in the very seeming-financial recovery for which today he seems to be taking credit.

Let's fast-forward past the O'Connor administration and its plan for ceasing new borrowing and its financial strategy for the future in which we currently live.

Let's triple-time fast-forward past the fact that the City Code requires balanced budgets, that state oversight gives that requirement real legal teeth, and that no mayor could possibly submit an unbalanced budget if he or she set out to do so.

And let's totally fast-forward past the fact that the budget of which he speaks is a nonsense goofball document.

To wit: Here, give me a minute. [Takes a minute]. There. I just wrote up a budget showing that I will have $10,000 in my "savings account" at the end of the year.

It is true that several expenditures which we know I will be making (rent, utilities, food) do not appear anywhere on my budget document. And it's true that my budget relies upon revenue I expect to collect from my dad, who feels sorry for me and knows I can't survive without it. And it may be true that I've included some revenue I hope to generate in future years into this year's document without being clear on what that is, because hey, why not. And it's technically true that I'm $150,000 in debt, which even makes an imaginary $10,000 pale in comparison.

But hey! I'm showing $10,000 in my "savings account"! Do you think if I take this document to a bank, they'll be impressed? No? Then why should voters be impressed with yours?

Past two years, we've seen record amounts of investment in the City of Pittsburgh when it comes to economic development, record amounts of building permits issued, there are people working.

Just about all of the development of which he speaks is enormously subsidized by taxpayers. It cannot be held as evidence of anything regarding the investment climate, save for the willingness of persons to accept money when it is offered to them by the government.

And as to the success and viability of those enterprises: it is all prospective, potential, projection, wishful thinking.

That is, except for the casino: a privately funded enterprise being constructed because Pennsylvania only recently legalized gambling and reserved one of its few licenses for the City of Pittsburgh. Unless he'd like to take credit for legalizing gambling.

What else you got?