Or should I have titled this post Hook, Line and Sinker? Before a any challenger to Ravenstahl was announced, both Ferlo and Doyle were publicly backing Ravenstahl. Why? I suspect it is for reasons of a vacuum of leadership in the mayor's office. While reading yesterday's PG article on the mayoral race I thought about Sen. Ferlo's comments. When characterizing Peduto's withdrawal from the race, Rich Lord states that:
Some say that's bad for democracy and will allow issues to fester, while others argue that it gives a city shaken by turbulence a chance for some smooth flying.The latter of these characterizations is championed by Sen. Ferlo. He was quoted in the article as saying, "I just thought we needed to take a collective breath and enjoy some stability". And, I mean, how can you not respect Ferlo. He came to the political scene from a background in community organizing, always advocating for progressive social issues, and staunchly antiwar. That's why it's so difficulty to digest why he was such an early and strong supporter of Ravenstahl on this election, 'the' guy who argued against the bubble zone ordinance as city councilman and for eliminating the shade tree fund. In November, Ferlo stated:
Mr. Ravenstahl "has quickly won me over as a convert and I will be working to support his election with all the resources I can muster."Convert? I'm not sure. Opportunistic choice? I'd agree. Ravenstahl's chief of staff, Yarone Zober, was previously an aide to Ferlo. Yarone is board chair of the URA. Ferlo sits as a board member. Ferlo can pick up the phone and directly influence any issue in the city. For any future plans in his political career, Ravenstahl remaining in office is his choice to consolidate a wider base of voters for any future political moves he might make. Any change in the mayor's office would entail a potential threat to his and Zober's position in the URA and also his influence in the city. Ravenstahl's social values reflect a conservative Catholic position and not the progressive humanistic Catholic values embodied in Thomas Merton or the Berrigans. You think Ravenstahl's personal values are what appeal to Ferlo? No, I think a vacuum of leadership and an opportunity to influence the Pittsburgh political landscape are much more likely reasons for his support.
And Doyle, another representative from this region who any progressive would have to admit, at least for the most part, reflects their views on his voting in congress. Back in Dec. he said:
"We have seen the consequences when we have somebody who can't work with the state and federal delegation," said Mr. Doyle, D-Forest Hills, in an obvious reference to Mayor Tom Murphy, who criticized legislators. "I don't see any reason to break up a great team."I guess the unprofessionalism in taking that late night trip to NYC, $285,000 paid out of city revenues (with another couple hundred thousand to come for McNeilly's lawyer's fees) to clean up corruption regarding the mayor's wisdom in choosing appointees, lying, and co-opting other's ideas are good enough reasons to back this young man. For Doyle, the argument is slightly harder to make on opportunism but the motivating factor has got to be for future political aspirations. I'd welcome any perpective on this one because I've been struggling to figure it out.
What is clear is that Ravenstahl, Ferlo, and Doyle are hook, line and sinker. Ravenstahl's smile pretty, "move Pittsburgh fahrd" and Ferlo's and Doyle's supporters forced to question what these guys see in Ravenstahl culminated in a mayor's race that was less about issues and more about shooting fish in a barrel.