From the time he was little, Luke has known the value of money. When I would give him a dollar to go to the candy store, he didn't waste all of it getting candy for one day, he would stretch that dollar so that he could have candy for a week. I've watched proudly as my son carries those same principles into running the city. (P-G, Cindy Ravenstahl)
Luke Ravenstahl is 29 years old.
Let's assume Luke could not have been permitted to travel the outdoors himself to transact business until he was eight years old -- which is still on the young side but we're in a generous mood. 21 years ago it was 1988.
There were no "candy stores" in 1988. There might have been that one high-end Monroeville Mall candy boutique next to the food court, but that's about it.
But let's put even that aside and say America's last "candy store" was in Summer Hill, and the rest of us simply didn't know about it.
The price of a standard Hersheys chocolate bar in 1988 was 40 cents; competition would have demanded (and memory confirms) that all similar candy bars -- Milky Way, Almond Joy, Kit Kat -- and prepackaged, boxed candies such as M & M's would have been about the same price. Figuring in sales tax, $1 would have garnered just two candy items in 1988; hardly "a week's worth" by any credible standard. If Luke wanted to spread out this meager dollar's worth of candy over seven days, he would be have had to break off individual squares of Hersheys bars or sticks of Kit Kat, and painstakingly re-wrap the remainder. Even if he really was that anal-retentive about his candy, that method in the end would have made far more sense than pocketing the spare change from a dollar bill towards additional trips to the store. But that's not what Luke's mom is claiming in her very specific attempt to illustrate being "smart with a dollar".
Besides which, by 1988 no parents could get away with giving their kids $1 per week in allowance. I was getting $5 per week by the time I was old enough to earn allowance, and my dad wasn't a district magistrate.
In short, Luke's mom's story doesn't add up -- but the image of our future mayor, no doubt in short pants and a wool ivy flat cap, scampering down to the candy store on Main Street for handfuls of Beeman's Gum and Chuckles Licorice must surely be familiar and heartwarming to Pittsburgh's sizable elderly population.
If the local media had any self-respect at all, they would be calling Mrs. Ravenstahl right now and asking: was that anecdote scripted by Yarone Zober, or John Verbanac?
*-UPDATE: Reg Henry is also outraged (Post-Gazette)
*-UPDATE, THE DEUX: Mike Madison, unamused (Pittsblog 2.0)