Remember when the city was desperate for revenue a few years ago, and there was all that talk about selling "naming rights" to public assets, like parks and bus shelters?Nothing unusual there from the formerly long-haired Chris Potter. But with his annoying gift of ferretting out more information than we simple bloggers can get our hands on, he adds:
Looks like Mayor Luke Ravenstahl beat us to it.
In the past week, Pittsburgh households started getting big postcards about garbage collection. There, beside the injunction to "Redd Up Pittsburgh," was a photo of Luke Ravenstahl, smiling like someone who didn't have to help sort the recyclables. Days later, KDKA-TV aired a report which noted that the city's 3-1-1 help line identifies itself as "Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's response line."
No surprise there. The service is identified the same way on the city's Web site (www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us), which might as well be Luke's MySpace page. The Web page features a slide show of 10 photos of Ravenstahl -- Ravenstahl posing with kids, Ravenstahl posing with a crossing guard, Ravenstahl doing a grip-and-grin with police. The photo featured at the page's center almost always depicts the mayor as well.
Ravenstahl didn't invent such practices, of course. The Web site's PR value was already being amped up during the late Bob O'Connor's brief tenure. And attaching your name to a clean-up campaign has long been one of the advantages of incumbency. Back in the 1970s, Pete Flaherty urged us to pick up trash "For Pete's Sake." Sophie Masloff emblazoned trash cans with the words "Sophie's Choice," apparently seeing some kind of connection between litter and the Holocaust. Even the fastidious Tom Murphy did it ... although to satisfy his ethical qualms, apparently, he came up with a slogan so boring no one remembers it.In his last few paragraphs, Potter outlines the big pile of crap that Mayor Luke made for himself to step in:
That mess involves Dennis Regan, an O'Connor appointee and confidante whom Ravenstahl inherited -- and later tried to put in charge of public safety.See?
Regan's promotion was thwarted when police Commander Catherine McNeilly accused him of intervening in disciplinary matters. Initially, Ravenstahl neatly swept the matter under the rug: An investigation supposedly found no wrongdoing, but Regan resigned anyway.
But when McNeilly was demoted a few weeks later, the other shoe dropped -- into a pile of dog crap, and with Ravenstahl's foot still in it.
Go read Potter.