Share This Page

Your mayor in 2014? Luke?

| Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

This shocker conceivably could spawn a sequel.

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has proven himself adept at the abrupt about-face, as a paraphrasing of his most significant recent public pronouncements attests. Let's compare:

• Ravenstahl, Feb. 18: “In formally kicking off my re-election campaign, I want to point out that Pittsburgh has made significant progress during my six-plus years as mayor. I want to continue to build on that progress.”

• Ravenstahl, March 1: “In formally ending my re-election campaign, I want to point out that I am not a target of the federal investigation into the Police Bureau. Don't take my word for it. Ask the defense attorney I've hired.”

Quite a contrast, no?

Ravenstahl's stunning exit represents a golden opportunity for city Councilman Bill Peduto and city Controller Michael Lamb, who were in the mayoral race. His departure further crowded the field, with state Auditor General Jack Wagner, city Council President Darlene Harris and state Sen. Jim Ferlo of Highland Park saying they will run and others considering entering the fray.

Even the sea otter at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is said to be mulling its options.

But contenders and pretenders alike should carefully consider the circumstances of the past several weeks before ramping up their campaigns.

Ravenstahl changed his mind and got out of the race. What's to stop him from changing it again and getting back in?

He no longer is a player in the Democratic primary. But at the moment, no reason exists why he couldn't run in the general election as an independent candidate, Allegheny County Elections Director Mark Wolosik confirmed on Tuesday.

Tactical advantages would appear to exist for him to do just that.

A few months could be enough time for investigators to prove or disprove the mayor's assertion he did nothing wrong in matters relating to the police department's curious financial matters. If he successfully distances himself from the probe that was crippling his candidacy, he might decide another abrupt about-face is in order.

Also, by sitting out the primary, the mayor lets the other Democratic candidates cannibalize each other. The survivor emerges battered, broke and having to face a revitalized Ravenstahl and his $900,000 campaign war chest.

Would his re-entry into the race be a shocker? Certainly. But no more so than his abdication announcement.

Perhaps the other shoe has yet to drop in this political soap opera. Ravenstahl tellingly did not rule out another run for public office. Who's to say it won't occur this fall?

As Election Day approaches, don't be surprised if pedestrian passers-by spot Ravenstahl on the roof of the City-County Building.

Don't be surprised if they look up to find him dangling a Florsheim over their heads.

Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or eheyl@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.