Mayor Luke like a train wreck
By Eric Heyl
Published: Friday, May 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Call him Captain Distraction.
The campaign to choose Pittsburgh's next mayor has been almost entirely obscured by the travails of its current one. The de facto election to succeed Luke Ravenstahl will occur in Tuesday's Democratic primary. Will anyone notice?
Ravenstahl abruptly abandoned his re-election campaign in March amid an ongoing federal investigation of city government that has brought down former police Chief Nate Harper. That Ravenstahl remains infinitely more interesting than the candidates vying to replace him shouldn't surprise; trains that derail attract more attention than those that remain on the tracks.
Still, the continued spotlight on Ravenstahl has to frustrate the two frontrunners, city Councilman Bill Peduto and former state Auditor General Jack Wagner. Two longshot candidates, state Rep. Jake Wheatley and community activist A.J. Richardson, must be moderately irked as well.
Eyes that normally would focus on them instead are fixed intently on the three-ring circus in the City-County Building in which Ravenstahl is the ringmaster. No wonder that the most recent polling indicates that nearly 20 percent of Democratic voters remain undecided.
It's been difficult for the candidates to gain sufficient traction to win when political discussions around many city residents' dinner tables probably resemble the following:
“Honey, did you see Peduto's latest campaign commercial? Looks like he can drive a street sweeper as smoothly as Dale Earnhardt Jr. can steer a Chevy SS. That's a skill that could come in handy if, as mayor, he ever has to lay off the entire public works department.”
“I haven't seen it, dear. But I did see that two of the mayor's bodyguards and his personal secretary testified before the grand jury. Probably a good thing he recently hired that high-profile criminal defense attorney.”
“Honey, did you know Jack Wagner once fought in Vietnam as a Marine? If you ask me, that's pretty good practice for the guerilla warfare he'll see from City Council if he's elected.”
“I didn't know he was a Marine, dear. But I do know that the mayor hired the same contractor that was awarded $2.3 million in city contracts since 2010 to perform work on the house he recently bought. He must have been impressed that the guy cleaned up a landslide on P.J. McArdle Roadway last year for only about twice the amount the city initially expected to pay.”
“Honey, did you see that Peduto and Wagner argued over tax breaks the city gave PNC to build a Downtown skyscraper in 2006?”
“Yawn. No, dear. But I did see that the mayor's press secretary just resigned.”
“She probably didn't want to face another seven months of performing the impossible task of trying to make him look good. So who do you think you're going to vote for on Tuesday?”
“Vote? Are you crazy? I'm not leaving the house to vote.”
“I might miss breaking news on the mayor.”
Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Motivated quarterback Roethlisberger fights to prop up Steelers
- Steelers notebook: Worilds loses sack; Big Ben gets 1st career catch
- Penguins center Sutter is thriving despite unsettled 3rd line
- Kovacevic: Why give credence to Heisman?
- Century III new owner seeks to reverse vacancy trend with new theater
- Pirates sign free agent pitcher Volquez
- Pirates not yet talking extensions with Alvarez, Walker
- Baldwin-Whitehall School Board eliminates controversial administrative position
- Pitt’s Donald wins Lombardi Award
- Health-insurance mandate poses potential hitch for volunteer fire companies
- Interpreter at Mandela event: I was hallucinating