Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mayor Ravenstahl Snubs Paddlefish

You may recall the brief history about the Paddlefish community of the Lower Hill District in a previous post. Today, Jeremy Boren reports that the mayor initially lied to the Trib about traveling to New York on a billionaire Ron Burkle's plane to be treated to a late dinner and drinks at a posh Manhattan hotel.

After last Tuesday's announcement, Ravenstahl attended the Penguins game against the Buffalo Sabres at Mellon Arena with team co-owner Ron Burkle, who invited him onto his private jet and treated the mayor to a meal at the Gramercy Park Hotel in Manhattan.

Ravenstahl initially told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Monday morning that he did not travel to New York, but he changed his story in the afternoon after the Trib confronted him with more details about the overnight trip.
Well, the story has confirmed Skip's suspicions that:
  1. Ravenstahl isn't aware of the important and delicate issue about the arena and the Hill.
  2. Ravenstahl feels that a meeting with Ron Burkle outweighs the opportunity to meet with Hill District community leaders.
  3. Ravenstahl lies.
  4. Ravenstahl is NOT in charge.

To point #4 above, Ravenstahl admits:
"Unfortunately, I wasn't in town at the time," he said. "Yarone was there. He handled everything on our side."
Well, that's not exactly true. His passive voice, "I wasn't there" actually doesn't express that he made a decision, he chose, to not be at the meeting. Danny O met with community leaders and he's the boss, right? Yarone was there? and handled everything? Board chair of the URA who cares for community driven development, right?
The men arrived in New York City about midnight. Ravenstahl and Kinross [friend of Ravenstahl and deputy director of Rendell's Western PA office] had dinner and drinks with Burkle and some of his friends. Burkle picked up the tab, Ravenstahl said.
When asked about the evening, Ravenstahl said he did not know where he ate.
Ravenstahl and Kinross went to the home of a friend of Kinross to stay for the night.
The mayor said he did not remember what part of town he spent the night.

Didn't remember where he ate or what part of town he spent the night? Is that because "we were fuckin' drinking Miller Lites n'shit all night dude - we were fuckin' fucked up!" or is it because no one told him where he ate or where he slept? I mean, he doesn't know anything unless someone tells him so, first. Smile pretty, "move Pittsburgh fahrd". Apparently Mr. Boren knew these little details because he simply asked Kinross.

To point #3 above, Mr. Boren points out another lie Ravenstahl told the press and public.
On Jan. 18, after denying it for months, he acknowledged that police handcuffed and detained him before a 2005 Steelers game at Heinz Field. He never was charged.
We could add that there is no police report to document that incident. And that he's lied on a number of other occasions, at the 14th Ward candidate's night for instance.

Finally, we get a picture of how politicos and business owners fraternize and form the good ol' boy network that runs much of our, and every other, government (and I refrain from saying democracy).

Ravenstahl said he would report last week's free plane ride and dinner on his campaign finance forms and is considering whether to reimburse Burkle for the cost of the flight.

"Quite honestly, it's not common for me to speak with the media about my campaign activity because it is something that, you know, is strategic and it's not something that I necessarily wanted to share," Ravenstahl said.

So, this is what campaign activity looks like. Riding in billionaire's private jets, living the good life in Manhattan, and talking politics. You think Burkle just likes Luke and wants to share his wisdom? You don't think he wanted the ear of this young impressionable but powerful head of the city that hosts the hockey team he owns? And what does this political consultation cost - in dollars and to the taxpayers?

Paddlefish community- I'm sorry. I'm sorry we have a mayor who isn't concerned about showing you he wants to prevent yet another colossal injury to your community. I'm sorry that your anger isn't represented in the local media - that Rev. Johnnie Monroe thinks it's OK that your mayor chooses to not attend your meeting. I'm disgusted. Hopefully you'll be heard.