Friday, November 2, 2007

Peduto Wants You to Vote for DeSantis

We don't want to put words in the Councilman's mouth ... but we must.

It is apparent to us from context clues that one-time Democratic mayoral contender Bill Peduto would rather see you vote for Mark DeSantis than for Luke Ravenstahl -- or even than for himself.

When we interviewed him back in June, here is how we reported the conversation:

Getting back to politics briefly, we mention Mark DeSantis. "No, no, no. I'm not getting involved."

Peduto had told us earlier "it would be hypocritical" for him to come out and support Ravenstahl, considering his recent opposition. Yet that was not what we had in mind.

We asked if it wouldn't break his heart, if he had to watch some of his strongest supporters, his web-based policy-action committee and his progressive reform network, come out in favor of a Republican for mayor.

He had to think about that for a few beats.

"Would it break my heart?" he asked. "No. Not in a non-presidential year."

That was significant enough. Then came the interview on WQED yesterday evening, which aired before the final debate.

Peduto was chewing the fat with a reporter in Bloomfield, when it just so happened that DeSantis walked past with a cadre of supporters (woops -- we meant reporters -- Freudian slip!) across the street.

Bill popped up and outside to holler, "Hey, find your own neighborhood!"

Hahaha. The thing was, he then crossed the street to make a joint appearance.

Of course when the reporters asked him if he was supporting DeSantis, he repeated his line of "No no no, I'm staying out of it" -- but he definitely allowed himself to get embraced by the challenger.

Mark teased him by saying into the cameras, "I want to thank you so much for all your support!"

Hahaha. This was an eminently avoidable situation, if Peduto was really that uncomfortable with DeSantis. Instead, they looked as friendly as siblings.

And why not? Both of them are geeks at heart. Both of them are good-government reformers. Neither of them are the biggest Luke fans in the world.


From a pure gamesmanship standpoint, when the Councilman makes his run in '09, the narrower Luke's margin of victory this year, the better. A vote for Mark accomplishes this twice as effectively as a write-in for Bill.

You may be thinking, what if Peduto can manage to make an impressive showing with write-ins? Unfortunately, that's not really possible. Anything less than 5% looks extremely negligible -- we all already know Bill has his partisans -- and anything greater than 6% is thoroughly inconceivable -- too few voters will recall his name on the spot.

Besides -- if Peduto was angling for, or interested in, write-ins -- we would have heard about it by now.

Some of the hard-core Pedutoites might still be itching to tap out the name of their hero. The Comet, however, is reasonably certain that The Man himself is looking forward to voting for DeSantis.

Last Call...

Here's a song we really like. We discovered it from Season 1, Episode 2 of the Sopranos, when Tony clocks the Bing's barkeep over the head with a telephone.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Logic of Luke

Luke is opposed to gay marriage, and opposed to gay civil unions. Presumably, this means he is also opposed to gay sex. Meanwhile, Mark is at least in favor of gay civil unions.

Luke is pro-life. Mark is pro-choice.

Yet for some reason, Luke insists that he is the one representing Democratic party values ... all the while clubbing Mark over the head with theocratic homophobe Rick Santorum.

Does. Not. Compute.

(It's not halfway done, but DeSantis is totally wailing on Ravenstahl in this particular debate. No fooling.)

Thursday: A Little Somethin' Somethin'

These guys said some stuff. It's actually pretty good. We can't figure out anything to add to it.

Tony Norman (P-G): But no story about Louisiana's politics would be complete without Huey Long's cautionary quip about reformers: "One of these days, the people of Louisiana are going to get good government -- and they aren't going to like it."

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm ready to "dislike" a Pittsburgh mayor for doing the right thing for once.

Ruth Ann Daily
(P-G): In fact, what Democratic stalwarts are saying to me, whether whispered in chance encounters or openly discussed over dinner, is that the mayor's mistakes have been so damaging and his accomplishments so slim that he'll be out in two years.

They're already discussing who his successor will be. The jockeying for position has begun.

That is terrible news for this city. If much of the Democratic machine already views Mr. Ravenstahl as a placeholder, then they're not going to work with him much.

Also, we caught most of the Roddy vs. Mistick edition of WQED's OnQ. There was little "versus" about it. Both gentlemen were openly salivating over recent DeSantis momentum, and the possibility of an upset.

When asked whether DeSantis has a chance of winning, Mistick opined that yes he does, but "it would take the perfect political storm." Where have we heard that before?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Council Delays Vote on Domestic Abuse Policy

Mr. Ravenstahl said he wants the city and women's advocates to "come together with a comprehensive plan, but I know we have discussed the issue internally about police officers having to relinquish their weapons in the event that they've been involved in a domestic altercation."

... Post-Gazette

The mayor & his administration did not want action on this issue until after the election. Today they got their wish. I guess that dragging your feet & refusing to act have their rewards, but not for the people of Pittsburgh.

... Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society

The delay comes after a flurry of e-mails to council reflecting a split among women's advocates about how to proceed. Several groups concerned with women's rights generally have advocated an immediate vote before Tuesday's general election, while some organizations which help battered women urged lengthier talks with the administration.

... also, Post-Gazette

Divide et imperia

... Various


Here is a link to the New Pittsburgh Courier. Not sure when their news goes online.

Confirmed via DeSantis press release, and by a report on KDKA News Radio AM 1020, h/t CapitolMAN.

Analysis on teh BURR REPORR.

Ravenstahl Outlines Pittsburgh Promise

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

City Council = Big Vote Tomorrow 10/31 (UPDATED)

It occurs to us we omitted all the good stuff, so we added Cloud Writer's missive to Forouzan at the bottom.


We received the following e-mail from Gloria Forouzan, and thought it merited your immediate attention.

Pgh. City Council takes a preliminary vote on both the bill and amendments tomorrow, Oct. 31.

As of this writing and as far as I know, the Mayor has not committed to supporting either Council's ordinance or the policy developed by the PD; other than Councilmembers Peduto & Shields, no councilmember has declared support for either the bill or the amendments.

In the meantime, people/organizations around this country are
watching. Here are 2 of them:

1. The fall 2007 issue of Ms. Magazine carries an article about
efforts to implement change in Pgh. Police Dept.

2. We rec'd the following, unsolicited, email from Tacoma, WA blogger
'Cloud Writer', whose blog, "Behind the Blue Wall", covers cases of
police involved in domestic violence...

This link will take you to the results of a search for the word "Pittsburgh" on the blog, Behind the Blue Wall.

Here is Cloud Writer's email to Forouzan, which can also be found in the comments of PWBS:

I wrote my Tacoma, WA Council an email asking them - with detail - to let the Pittsburgh council know what it's like when the worst-case-scenario happens within the police department and you find yourself in national news withOUT a police domestic violence policy... with a trail of events leading up to the tragedy that WOULD have been intervened on if there had been a policy in place.

I cc'd that email to your council and other folk of power in Pittsburgh.

I track officer-involved dv and have never seen in the four and half years I've been doing this, a community raise their voices together, and exert unrelenting pressure for their city to do the right thing in this area for victims and/or officers.

It's the right thing.

Cloud Writer in Tacoma, where our police chief committed murder-suicide on his wife after the city ignored her reports that he was threatening her life.

OH... which reminds me -- make sure your policy has what to do if the abuser or killer is your chief.

It's important.

I'm following Pittsburgh here"

WPXI / JCC Debate Analysis

We did not attend the debate this last Sunday morning, but we dispatched two representatives: Comet senior political analyst Morton Reichbaum, and Secret Agent Klezmer.

Agent Klezmer says if DeSantis could go back and change one thing, he ought to have taken a course in public speaking prior to his campaign. She felt the challenger had "a better idea what was going on," but too often he muttered his best responses under his breath.

She said that Mr. Ravenstahl proved himself to be a bright young man, very well prepared -- and an excellent public speaker. Her main criticism was that he seemed a little "out of his depth."

Surprisingly, Agent Klezmer also insisted that Mark DeSantis is cute. She hastened to add, "you know, like-a-geek cute, but definitely." She had nothing to say about Mr. Ravenstahl in this regard.

Comet senior political analyst Morton Reichbaum called the debate "boring." He said you knew what both sides were going to say ahead of time -- particularly Luke. He did however say that DeSantis showed he was the candidate that was "more up on everything."

That's when he said, "I'm telling you -- I think DeSantis is going to win."

This brought us up short; we had never encountered that opinion before. We started talking about the 5-1 registration advantage ...

"No, no I'm serious," he interrupted us. "People are turning on Luke. I think a lot of, lot of people are gonna be surprised."

"This DeSantis comes across as a decent guy," he explained. "I first saw him on that John Pintek -- who I can't stand -- but he was, you know, he was fine."

We asked what exactly he liked about what Mr. DeSantis had to say.

"Nothing, really," he conceded. "But next to Luke -- people are getting tired of Luke's -- shall we say -- his gaffes."

Video clips from that debate have been organized here. Another debate will air this evening on KDKA ch. 2 at 7:00 PM.

Tuesday Links

The Burgh Report (having evolved into Pittsburgh's version of the Drudge Report, h/t Early Returns) is featuring the first of a series of posts by the anonymous blogger Richmond K. Turner: The Ravenstahl Retrospective.

That's really it. It's not like this is any kind of news.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Look Behind the Contributions

The DeSantis campaign sent us a response to our post titled Cease Donating to DeSantis.

Press Secretary Meghan Jones-Rolla writes:

1) Campaign contributions are regulated. You will know what happens to the donations.

True, but that doesn't stop the money from getting anywhere.

2) Here is a list of everyone Mark donated to with the specifics on the year and amount for the conservative republican candidates.

George W. Bush-1999 - $1,000.00 (He did not donate to his 2004 campaign.)

Yeah. Word.

Rick Santorum -2000 - $400.00 / 2006- $250.00

The number went down instead of up. The Comet feels comfortable that $250.00 is within the envelope of a "token" contribution for a U.S. Senate seat.

Mark has also donated to the following:

Arlen Specter;
Doug Shields;
Valerie McDonald Roberts (Lt. Governor) campaign; and
Mark held a fundraiser for Michael Lamb in 2005 when he was running for mayor.

Senator Specter (R-Pennsylvania) is a moderate who is regularly assailed by his own party as a traitor.

Doug Shields is our very liberal Democratic City Council President (to whom Mr. DeSantis donated $150, not $250, h/t C-P)

We don't know much about Val, but to hear her talk OffQ, she is also quite the liberal Democrat.

Michael Lamb was and continues to be the strong Democratic voice for reform who is not quite so closely aligned with the froo-froo progressives. Throwing a fundraiser for Lamb's 2005 mayoral run, more than anything else, ought to offer a window into Mark's ideology.

Or lack thereof.

We asked the DeSantis campaign if it would consider returning unspent campaign money to those contributors who request it, as Bill Peduto did for some in April. Press Secretary Jones-Rolla offered this response:

I believe that giving the $ back is a little unusual. However, Peduto voluntarily dropped out of the race.

Mark is not dropping out of the race and we still have many bills to pay. In fact, you can expect some new ads from DeSantis this week. We also have an election day party and payroll to meet. I don't know whether there will be any money left and I don't think anyone has thought about what will happen if we do have any money remaining in the account.

Monday Links

Amendments have been added to legislation concerning open government records in Pennsylvania, and some are displeased.

The amended bill "is a significant step in the wrong direction and would result in less access than the public has today," said Tim Williams, Pennsylvania Newspaper Association president. Pennsylvania "would be the only state in the country that has such a broad e-mail exemption," he added. (P-G, Tom Barnes)

The Busman has been exercised about changes to the "Sunshine Law" for some time. This is not good news for readers of the Comet who enjoy corruption.


Residents of something called "New Homestead" have been complaining about real-estate developers getting effective "carte blanche" to work exactly as they see fit, without proper oversight and enforcement, and despite numerous letters, 311 hotline calls, and community forums. You read now. (P-G, Rich Lord)


The Comet infers from this article that the members of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board went into their big meeting knowing one thing: they all wanted to give the Pittsburgh slots license to PITG Gaming, presumably for the same reasons outlined previously.

The rest of the decision-making was crazy. (Trib, Bumsted, Conte, & Reilly)


There's our streetwise Hercules. (P-G, Edit Board)


The P-G and Timothy McNulty describe last night's debate moderated by David Johnson as political "bloodsport."

The Trib and Jeremy Boren say the candidates traded "partisan shots."

The Burgher has assembled a list of video clips posted by WPXI. The selections as a group display a more civil, substantive, even Socratic discussion about the City of Pittsburgh -- by both sides.

We highlight an exchange in clip #3, Sparring Over Nonprofits. The challenger won some laughs with this line:

If you think an RFP process is creative, Luke, you need to think again.

An RFP is a Request for Proposals. That is when you ask contractors or service providers to come up with their own ideas, and then select a winning bid.

No matter how "clear and transparent" an RFP process is, it very different from coming up with plans of one's own -- hopefully taking into account the city's unique situation and some intangibles. DeSantis faulted the mayor for not showing "creativity" with the nonprofits.

We would have called it leadership.