Politically Savvy Friends

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Apology Issued to Luke from ICMA

Dear Politically Savvy Friends,

Ho-hum. Believe it or not, we have an election four weeks from today. Yes, a few lawn signs have started to sprout around the region, but the radio and television airwaves have been surprisingly quiet. That won't last for long. I understand the DeSantis for Mayor campaign will launch its radio commercials later this week with television ads soon to follow, probably early next week.

Last night, I watched the Post Gazette editorial board's mayoral debate between Luke Ravenstahl and Mark DeSantis (along with a Libertarian and Socialist Worker). The format did not lend itself to a back-and-forth between the two major candidates, but both did manage to get a lick in on each other. Truthfully, I was not overwhelmed by either -- and that, ultimately, turns out to be a plus for Ravenstahl. DeSantis needs a stronger performance if he's to have any chance in upsetting the incumbent. (Of course, who watches these debates but us junkies).

On an unrelated note, Luke deserved -- and got -- an apology from the International City/County Management Association for, inaccurately, confirming that the mayor had snubbed 4,000 city and county managers gathered in Pittsburgh this week for their national convention. Early this year, the ICMA invited Luke to give brief remarks at their opening session on Sunday (same time as the Steelers game). When Luke didn't show, Marty Griffin of KDKA Radio heard from a city source that the mayor was a no-show, pissing off a lot of folks at the convention.

On Monday, Michele Frisby from the ICMA confirmed Marty's source (through me) and he reported it on his morning show on Tuesday. Later that morning, Ravenstahl called in to dispute the charge and pointed to an email his office sent on September 7 declining the invitation. Turns out the mayor is right. Here's the text of the apology sent directly to the mayor's office: "I am writing to acknowledge that at no time did Pittsburgh Mayor Ravenstahl formally agree to provide greetings during the conference opening general session of ICMA, the International City/County Management Association. The information I provided Jon Delano earlier this week was incorrect, and I apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused the mayor’s office." Michele called me personally and apologized to me. In reality, the apology is owed the mayor, and I am pleased the ICMA apologized to him.

In the scheme of things, this is hardly an important issue. The mayor should be free to choose what events he wants to attend or not. He told Marty that he was not at the Steelers game but spending some quiet time with his wife. I'm all for that, too!

The larger issues of Pittsburgh -- its financial health, its lack of jobs, its crime and vandalism, its management, and its future -- these are the legitimate items to debate, not whether the mayor attends a particular conference. So let the real debate begin. Pittsburgh deserves it.


Mark Rauterkus said...

Jon, let us know what you think of the DVD I delivered to you weeks ago.

Let's the debates begin is right. A controller's race debate would be nice too.

And, buzz about the Ethics Hearing Board is needed in advance of Friday.


Bram Reichbaum said...

Your comment of being overwhelmed by neither of them, and of DeSantis needing a stronger performance, is dead on. I will say for DeSantis that he seems to be a quick learner.

Thanks for the explication of the apology, too. Looks like the Mayor was ill-treated by the ICMA, and perhaps even Marty Griffin.

I do think certain meetings and events rise to such a level of civic import that a Mayor has to say, "This is something I need to attend. Personally." I'm not speaking of any one event, and won't now judge any particular instance.

Certainly there is a pattern of absence already. Not to mention a pattern of miscommunication.

Matt H said...

Media jumped too fast with the ICMA story.