For real, Luke — it's time to show your face
When you read the report in the Tribune-Review that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl hasn't made a lot of public appearances lately in Pittsburgh, I hope you remembered that he found time to go to Kentucky. And Shanghai, China.
He had time to go to Duke University and share the stage with Cory Booker, the New Jersey mayor who pulls people out of fires, saves abandoned pets and shovels snow from residents' sidewalks. (Ha! If only Ravenstahl wintered in Pittsburgh ... )
Hizzoner's failure to show and lead has led to a lot of speculation about where he might be. Maybe he's springing in Europe somewhere, some have suggested to me. Or he could simply be lying low within the city limits. Though this would be a really good time to show himself, what with the turmoil in public safety leadership n'at, he has pulled a virtual disappearing act.
Ravenstahl announced last month to much fanfare that he was withdrawing from the upcoming mayoral election but would serve the balance of his term. Since he did not step down from the position — a move he should have considered if he was going to make sporadic appearances — he is responsible for being here.
It's not acceptable for the mayor's office to refuse to discuss his whereabouts. Court decisions this week under Pennsylvania's Right-to-Know Law in fact show they must provide accurate details on his daily whereabouts. Even the president of the United States doesn't disappear the way our mayor has.
Ravenstahl has clearly been choosing his moments to say something, such as threatening to fight UPMC over its tax-exempt status. For a few moments, it almost made one think that being a lame-duck mayor was going to give him a newfound boldness. Almost.
It's not that Pittsburghers are faint of heart or need someone to hold their hand on a regular basis. Lately, however, we've seen several acts of gun violence that raise concerns, including a 24-hour spate of shootings in one of the city's worst areas. It might be time for the mayor to talk specifically about gun control.
When you're the mayor, you probably shouldn't ignore these things as though shootings — one of which injured a Pittsburgh police officer — are part of everyday life. This isn't Chicago, and that's not a normal course to take. (The course ... That's it! Maybe he's golfing?) The bombings at the Boston Marathon are certain to have at least a psychological effect on this city's upcoming race.
Right now, there are probably some people out there who are uncomfortable enough and maybe just terrified enough not to come to the race. Now is the time for a leader — the mayor perhaps — to reassure people that it's OK. Even if people are a little scared, a leader needs to say you can't just stop living because of a terror attack. We all need to go out there and be brave together, the leader will say, and then be there to show that resolve.
Maybe he's working on that speech right now. But a city that needs leadership doesn't want to play “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”
Hmmm ... Argentina?
Nafari Vanaski is on maternity leave. Other columns she wrote in advance will appear in coming weeks.
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.
- Steelers opt for youth, speed while revamping roster
- Steelers finalize 53-man roster
- Starkey: Pitt does its duty
- Carnegie Mellon grad’s tweak to tweets turns 7
- Timing of summer’s end a matter of perspective for Western Pennsylvanians
- VND roundup: Kiski Area wins boys soccer opener
- White House threat sparks call for wider immigration debate
- Pilot in Atlantic Ocean crash lost consciousness, Coast Guard says
- Chemical mix sickens two from South Greensburg
- High school roundup: Seton-La Salle captures Century Conference win
- Pirates’ Polanco runs into rookie wall