What Fresh Hell Is This?

July 28, 2006

City Hall Firings: Views from both papers

Both papers, the P-G and The Tribune-Review, have editorials on yesterday's City Hall firings. It should come as no surprise that the two editorials don't exactly see eye-to-eye.

The Trib fails to include any context in its editorial (it's here). So if a Trib reader were to only read the editorial he or she would not know why the three were fired. Only that they were "disloyal machinators" in some sort of power struggle over at City Hall.

The Trib seems to be in favor of the firings. Their editorial ends with:
To paraphrase the Chinese proverb, the mayor used power to curb power. After all, Bob O'Connor is the mayor. And B.J. Leber, Susan Malie and Paul Leger weren't. [emphasis in original]
The P-G, on the other hand, does fill out some of the details. They state the case up front. Here's the very first paragraph:
Two weeks after Mayor Bob O'Connor became hospitalized for brain cancer, it's clear who is running his office. And it's not a pretty sight.
Interestingly, the Trib starts in almost the same manner - but take a look at what's missing:
Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor, hospitalized for brain cancer treatments, appears to have answered the $64,000 question about who's running things on Grant Street in his absence:

Bob O'Connor.
See that? Anyway, the P-G sums things up nicely:
Apparently trying to head off the appointment of little-known aide Yarone Zober as deputy mayor. Mr. Zober -- the mayor's policy director, a lawyer and, most important, an ally of Dennis Regan, the mayor's chief of intergovernmental affairs -- was confirmed by City Council Tuesday as the director of General Services. Although the department had been earmarked by the O'Connor administration for elimination, Mr. Zober's short-lived presence as its council-confirmed director would seem to meet the city charter's test for a later appointment as deputy mayor.

Ms. Malie, as solicitor, issued an opinion this week questioning whether council needed to approve such an appointment -- and that, evidently, was the act of perceived disloyalty that triggered yesterday's firings.
The editorial board added:
Now Mr. Regan, a longtime friend and political aide to Mr. O'Connor, is running the administration and may continue to do so, even if Mr. Zober is named deputy mayor. We can't help but feel that the "B" team is in charge.
Although it may clarify who's in command of the mayor's office, this shake-up is not good for Pittsburgh.
And so on.

While not yet taking an opinion on the firings myself (and I can not speak for the other political junkie here), I find it curious the difference of philosophy between the P-G and the Trib. The P-G offers an opinion as to whether the firings are good for the city (they think it's not a good thing) where the Trib just seems to be praising exercise of power itself.



Cornelius said...

It's funny to hear the shrill attacks on Maile, Leber and Leger from the likes of Shields, Ferlo, Motznik, etc. "They were attempting a coup!" they say.

What if the coup already occurred, and those three were the only ones objecting? What if O'Connor is in just as bad a shape as the rumors say, and the "gatekeeper" Dennis Regan is the one seizing power? He's the only one to actually see the Mayor - Maile, Leber and Leger have not seen him since his hospitalization).

Anonymous said...

It would be hard to do better than Yarone Zober for level-headedness, sense, forward-thinking, work ethic, intelligence, and the ability to forge compromise in unlikely places...is he really a possible deputy mayor in the Mayor O'Connor's mind, or is this wishful thinking by a reporter who has added 2+2 and gotten 7? How nice, if it happens to be the former.