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Mayor makes time for former president, but not vets

| Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, 11:57 p.m.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl addresses the media from Crane Avenue Wednesday Nov. 13, 2013, near the scene of an afternoon shooting close to Brashear High School.

The Tribune-Review is chronicling Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's service until his term ends in January.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl skipped events honoring veterans and police last week, but he showed up to welcome former President George W. Bush to Pittsburgh and made brief appearances in City Hall and at a crime scene.

Tony Filardi, the adjunct treasurer in the Federation of War Veterans Societies of Allegheny County and organizer of Monday's Veterans Day Parade, said Ravenstahl planned to march in the parade but canceled a few days before it. He said Ravenstahl marched in 2012.

“We should have those public figures in our parade,” Filardi said when asked how he felt about Ravenstahl's absence.

Ravenstahl spokeswoman Marissa Doyle didn't respond to an email asking why the mayor missed the parade.

Mayor-elect Bill Peduto, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, state Sen. Jay Costa, state Reps. Mike Doyle and Harry Readshaw, and other public officials, including council members Bruce Kraus, Corey O'Connor and Darlene Harris participated in the parade.

On Tuesday, Ravenstahl made quick work of one his last official duties as mayor. He delivered his annual budget address to City Council in fewer than five minutes. He said his administration delivered balanced budgets, retired $250 million in debt and improved city services during his time in office.

“We have taken the city from the brink of bankruptcy to financial recovery, and we have done it together,” he said.

The mayor on Wednesday missed a promotion ceremony for police officers at the department's North Side headquarters. Police spokeswoman Diane Richard announced he would attend, but Doyle said the mayor never committed. She wouldn't say why he ditched the event.

That night, he saw some police officers when he appeared in Beechview to reassure the neighborhood that was rocked by a shooting of three students outside Brashear High School. His brief appearance occurred hours after Peduto and other officials issued statements on the shooting.

On Thursday, Ravenstahl met informally with Bush before the former president addressed a natural gas industry conference in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.

The mayor's whereabouts were unclear on Friday, and Doyle declined to provide an explanation.

“As I've said before, I will not be providing the mayor's hourly schedule. He continues to make daily decisions about city business and is very much engaged with those in his administration,” she said.

As of the weekend, Pittsburgh residents have paid Ravenstahl about $95,500 this year. He makes $108,000 annually.

Did you see Ravenstahl recently? Send photos and details to wheresluke@tribweb.com.

Staff writers Aaron Aupperlee and Mike Hasch contributed. Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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