Monday, October 22, 2007
Luke Ravenstahl Outperforms DeSantis in Pittsburgh Mayor Debate
I have terrible news to report, Dear Reader.
Mayor Luke "the Fluke" Ravenstahl will inadequately rule Pittsburgh for the next two years. During this evening's debate on WTAE [live-blogged by Bram at the Comet], Mayor Wunderkind exuded charm and confidence. He actually came across as likable and knowledgeable. He flashed a ready smile and gave butter-smooth answers for the silver-platter questions posed by moderator Sally Wiggins.
Although DeSantis was prepared for questions about his FOP endorsement, Republican affiliation, and half-baked plan to reduce city spending, he looked nervous. He made no prolonged eye contact with the cameras. He spoke with a stale delivery that betrayed his message of "courage" and enthusiasm for the city's future. I can't recall DeSantis grinning at all.
DeSantis' campaign has failed to adequately defend his FOP endorsement. The only way he can repair the damage is to get the policeman's union to state publicly that DeSantis did not promise to waive the residency requirement. At the debate, DeSantis said he believed that the residency requirement precludes the city from hiring the most talented employees. That's a reasonable position, and he may be right.
But city residents won't be happy if their policemen are living outside the borders. And Ravenstahl gave the taxpayers a crisp, red-meat rebuttal.
"To suggest that we can't find talented people inside the city, that's a slap in the face to city residents."
Smash your face, DeSantis.
The FOP endorsement might just be more trouble than its worth for the DeSantis campaign. Despite his protests to the contrary, it smacks of the kind of horse-trading DeSantis has been railing against.
I think Ravenstahl wins on the issue of consolidation, too. Whatever the reasons for the city's pecuniary problems, city residents are just as frightened of losing control to a county executive as suburbanites are of assuming the city's crippling finances. Quote DeSantis: "I hope I'm the last mayor of the city of Pittsburgh." Yeah. that ought to play real well in Carrick.
Ravenstahl showed he has no idea how to attract businesses to the city. He talked about cranes and downtown construction as signs of growth, either slyly or willfully ignorant of the 0% job growth and high commercial vacancy, both of which were cited by DeSantis.
The only moment DeSantis came across as humanly comfortable was when he retold the story of learning about Senator John Heinz's death and its affect on his career path. [Disclosure: I watched the debate at Cappy's with the DeSantis crowd]. Everyone, including the uninterested barflies, stopped and listened to his answer.
Much better than Luke's answer: my brother was in a car crash nine years ago.
Despite Luke's proclivity for obfuscation and replies that can be paraphrased as "hey, I didn't cause this mess. I just became mayor because the old charming guy died", Ravenstahl wins. Neither Bob Mayo nor Jeremy Boren, both indubitable if not unspoken adversaries of Raventsahl, failed to unnerve Hizzoner.
And with little time remaining, I hereby crown Mayor Wunderkind King Shit of Fuck Mountain for two more years.