Monday, October 8, 2007

An Open Letter to the Editor of the Times

To the Editor,

There were some glaring omissions in Ian Urbina's sympathetic portrait of embattled 27-year old Pittsburgh mayor, Luke Ravenstahl.

For example, in the conspicuous litany of scandals you allowed he and his press secretary to list, absent was any mention of a $9,000 admission to a celebrity golf tournament and charity gala, paid for by a regional health care giant and a sports team, both in the midst of negotiating massive development footprints and other city business. For this, he was brought before our City Ethics Hearing Board.

Although the Board could take no action, it expressed its intention to begin amending the Ethics Code, so that these types of antics do not continue into the future.

You did however report accusations of the Mayor wearing flip-flop sandals on an airplane. Accusations which do not exist -- which have never existed -- but which serve to make the mayor's critics seem petty and absurd.

We are afraid you and your reporter got spun.

Take heart, though. It is in the best instincts of human nature to sympathize with a clean-cut young man struggling to endure unexpected challenges and incessant criticism. It takes longer to realize that this particular young man has thus far been a poor example of a 27-year old mayor.

His stubborn refusals to seize upon so many opportunities for city-county collaboration, for neighborhoods-based economic development, and for paying off our ballooning public debt are all very discouraging also.

To a certain extent, his spin doctors have made him appear active and engaged on these and other issues -- but cracks are widening in the facade of concern.

Dealing Pittsburgh's political prodigy some real adversity now, while he is young and can learn from his mistakes, may be the best thing Pittsburgh voters could possibly do for him.


  1. Let's move forward! I'll drink to that!!!

  2. "Dealing Pittsburgh's prodigy some real adversity, while he is still young and relatively impressionable, is the best thing Pittsburgh's voters could possibly do for him"

    This is exactly how I feel about Tonya Payne's antics in One Hill and any One Hill leadership who tolerates it.

  3. Bram, very astute description of the non-existent "flip flop" controversy, "which serve[d] to make the mayor's critics seem petty and absurd." It is unfathomable how the Times could have fallen for this straw man.

    Well said, old boy!