When you fish, there's a really easy way to make a picture of your catch look huge. Hold it out in front of you and the fish (in that perspective) appears much larger than it is actually. This is a little trick that adds to the storytelling of fisherman. When Ravenstahl claimed his budget 'surplus' he demonstrated that he can tell the tall tales that us fishermen take as our recreative liberty. Well, DeSantis is bringing the picture of the fish back into focus. Trib reporters Brown and Boren sat down with DeSantis and wrote, "Pittsburgh mayoral hopeful urges frank talk".
DeSantis boldly pokes holes in Ravenstahl's budget:
"So fudging numbers or coming up with phony or phantom numbers, or giving extraordinary estimates on revenue from gambling, and all those other fun things, all the tricks you can play -- let's stop doing that," he said. "Let's give people ground truth to what our situation really is and work off that."I'm glad that he is doing so. I wrote on the fallacies of the budget 'surplus' in a previous post and I'm happy to see DeSantis taking public the difficult issues our city faces. And that is a demonstration of the type of transparency he would bring to the office. Making information public.
"As a private citizen, I cannot get good numbers, and I know how to get good numbers, and I can't get them, so right away there's a problem. Informed speculation: probably bad numbers."In the previous post, I had to do some acrobatics to estimate how much Ravenstahl overstated his surplus and the problems that came with it. Numbers aren't readily and publicly available. One point he raises that is very interesting:
Consolidation of the budgets of the city's major authorities such as the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Water & Sewer Authority and Housing Authority under the city's annual operating budget to demonstrate the city's "true debt" and spending.Now that is a point I never considered. The city's debt is considerably larger when one includes the financial health of the city's authorities.
The trick here is if DeSantis can whip public sentiment over the city's debt into a frenzied froth, and make Burghers listen. This would be his strength as a candidate. However, with the Peduto campaign we learned that the public didn't want to hear about issues, the CP offering an interpretation that the city was still grieving over O'Connor and tired of thinking about mayors for two straight years. With his several crashes, Ravenstahl may have re-interested the public in who is serving them as mayor. At minimum, I don't think they are buying the picture of the kid with a huge fish anymore.