Tuesday, April 21, 2009

4 Reasons to Vote for Ravenstahl and 1 Reason Not To

I have a confession. I voted for Lukey last election. I didn't think DeSantis was the person for the job and I'm still not convinced he was. He was different from the status quo, but different isn't always better. I also didn't watch last night's debate - though I hope it's available on youtube sometime in the future, and my excuse for this one is that I'm in Peru. As an aside, I also wrote this post while sitting on a bus in Peru, so please pardon the lack of supporting links.

So why would I consider voting for Ravenstahl again?

1) Publicity. Pittsburgh suffers nationally because of a lack of publicity. Lots of mid-sized cities share this plight. But Ravenstahl seems to appeal with some sort of national boy-wonder charisma - getting lots of media attention with his stunts. Is there anyone else running for mayor who has the ability to launch us onto the national stage? When's the last time a former president fund-raised for a Pittsburgh mayor? Of course, if he were running against John Fetterman he'd be dead in the water on this count. Maybe after John fixes Braddock, he can move on to Pittsburgh?

2) Grand Ideas. Ravenstahl has lots of grand ideas. He says things off-the-cuff like windmills and redd-up, government transparency and sweeping crime-fighting programs. It's good to have these grand ideas. However, our incumbent has failed on follow-through on most of these items, as many will state and I assume brought to light in last night's debate.

3.) Pittsburgh Promise. One particular idea that seems to have been successfully accomplished during Luke's tenure is the Pittsburgh Promise. While it's funding is currently shaky, it is there and it has already assisted hundreds of Pittsburgh high school students with their college education. This is a very worthy goal.

4.) 311. I admit it. I'm lazy. I hate looking up phone numbers and scrolling through lists of archaic city departments. It's so much easier to call 311 and tell them my problem. Unfortunately, as it stands 311 is a one-way system and needs to be improved upon. If a problem is not resolved to your satisfaction, there needs to be potential for feedback. Currently that is not happeneing and there are lots of 311 calls repeated wasting the time ofo ur citizens and city workers and ultimately our tax dollars.

Why I won't vote for Luke (again)

1.) Superficiality. Luke favors the superficial rather than the down-and-dirty. He'd rather pay millions for security cameras or buy $250,000 of trashcans to install on streets littered with relics of old trashcans than deal with major issues the city faces like PWSA bonds, the pension crisis and crime. Instead, we get witty press releases and manicured joint statements with Dan-the-tax-man. Voting for Luke is like voting for the football captain as the home-coming king back in high school.

Carmen Robinson, one of his adversaries, skewers the mayor on his stance on crime. A former police officer and current lawyer, she's someone who knows a thing or two about crime. She thinks security cameras are a waste of money and wants more better-armed beat cops walking our streets. Sounds good to me. Thanks to the Comet for his solid interview of Carmen.

Councilor Patrick Dowd, the mayor's other adversary in the up-coming election, wants to deal with the pension crisis and the PWSA. I could go on about him and why I like ideas, but I've already done that.

Councilor Bill Peduto has grand ideas that are well-researched like commuter rails and energy efficient street lights, but he's decided to stay out of the ring this time around.

I want a mayor and council who work together to create a stronger Pittsburgh. I don't want a mayor who looks good, but fights with council, says rash un-researched ideas, refuses to compromise, refuses to admit his mistakes and certainly doesn't learn from them all the while profiting from his status as mayor while Pittsburgh stays on the same path.


Jami said...

I will NOT vote for someone to get PUBLICITY. Attention is not a good reason to vote for anyone. And besides, what publicity has Ravenstahl brought to Pittsburgh since his first week as being elected Mayor? NONE. NONE. No national attention whatsoever.

Pittsburgh doesn't need publicity; it needs leadership. If we had the right leadership to take us in the right direction, the publicity would follow.

Your last paragraph sums up the leadership problem pretty good. In fact you could break down your last paragraph into 5 reasons why you are NOT voting for Ravenstahl.

As for Grand Ideas? What grand ideas? Redd Up was the previous mayor's idea. He can't even state how he would improve the school systems and get middle school kids prepared for college. He says "hopes and dreams" will get us there. Wrong. We need a PLAN, not just hope.

Either of the other two candidates would make a better mayor, though I am throwing support behind Dowd, as he has more experience with working with the council to accomplish objectives, and more leadership experience. I also met him in person while canvassing for Obama 2 years ago, and he is a very nice person with a very nice family who didn't mind having his Saturday afternoon interrupted. Not sure if he ended up supporting Clinton or Obama, but he was open to learning more about both candidates!

Bram Reichbaum said...

I remember somebody wrote about your point #1 once. It's not totally without logic, but boy this argument takes me back. I think the response went a little something like this:

"One thing I've heard people say about Ravenstahl's candidacy that I think is just irrational: having a 26-year-old mayor somehow makes the city special.

I call this the Unicorn Fallacy.

Electing a Unicorn would also make Pittsburgh special.

If the Unicorn doesn't have the experience, vision or toughness to make the necessary changes to the city, than the Unicorn shouldn't be Pittsburgh's Mayor.

Talented young adults aren't going to stay in Pittsburgh because the city has a Unicorn mayor. They'll stay if the economic climate provides them with high-paying entry level jobs.

Pittsburgh deserves ideas, integrity and vision, not fabled horned equines."

Paz said...

Bram hits the nail on the head. Pittsburgh has been generating a lot of good press lately irrespective of what the current administration is doing. If we were looking for the publicity, then we would have elected someone from the Steelers as mayor (which, given where Luke was riding in the parade, he very well may believe he is). The gimmick of a young mayor is past. Plenty of young guys and girls are doing impressive things with their cities (see my post on Fenty, Booker, et. al).

Bram Reichbaum said...

Word. I wasn't the author of that, though. Hat tip to the original anonymous author.

As to the yearning for pragmatic government -- not to single out Public Safety -- but this all started around the time of police officer secondary employment cost-recovery program reform. Something Mayor O'Connor began.


illyrias said...

Just to clarify here, you all know that I'm NOT voting for Lukey, right?

But the publicity thing is true. Luke put himself in the center of the whole Steelers fanaticism. I had friends around the country who knew about the embarrassing yet somehow newsworthy "Steelerstahl" gimmick.

I think however that Fetterman in Braddock is doing a lot better things with his publicity.

And I certainly don't think that having the ability to get yourself in the paper is justification enough to get elected (except maybe in California). Otherwise, Paris Hilton would be our president.

Bram Reichbaum said...

Oh totally, no. Fab post.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Electing a Libertarian, mayor or otherwise, is going to generate far more publicity and good press than another Dem or even an Indie.

Grand ideas: Like personal liberty, freedom, pedestrian bridges over the rivers?

Pgh = the best place to parent. That's a better promise.

Furthermore, the 3-1-1 idea for Pgh was mine. See the P-G for proof.