At first glance, when you see a smiling Luke Ravenstahl on a billboard on Route 28, you might think it’s a campaign ad.Turns out it's a not a promotion for Mayor Luke's upcoming mayoral campaign, but a promotion for that "Redd up" thing. Billboard space donated by Lamarr Advertising. Anyone know if Lamarr Advertising does any business with the city? And if so, how much?
Take a look at "Redd up" campaign's web presense. Redduppittsburgh.com redirects to this city site. Where, of course, the banner across the top of the screen reads:
Then there's the mailing about the city's "311 line." Martino explains:
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
The city had a help line for several years, but two years ago they shut it down because of a budget crisis. The late Mayor O’Connor began to resurrect it, and Mayor Ravenstahl finished the project.So what's the deal with it? Though I haven't received one, there's a mass mailing promoting the city's help line. Cost to the taxpayers? According to Martino, nearly $30,000. It includes a nice picture of Mayor Luke.
Here's where the fun begins. Martino went that extra step and ACTUALLY CALLED the 311 line.
When you call, you hear: “Thank you for calling Mayor Ravenstahl’s response line 3-1-1.” [emphasis added]Do other city's answer their respective lines the same way?
How about Chicago? Nope.
“3-1-1 At Your Service.”Baltimore? Same thing - nope.
“City Call 3-1-1.”Of the 15 cities check only Pittsburgh's line plugs the mayor by name.
Couldn't be that we're approaching a campaign for mayor, could it?
Then there's the oddly campaign-resembling setting of the City website. Martino found "dozens" of pictures of the mayor at the city website. The OPJ has already touched on this here.
But of course it's not an abuse of the taxpayers nor is it campaign related self-promotion. How do we know this?
Simple. Mayor Luke says so. From Martino's piece:
But Ravenstahl denies [the answer on the city's help line is] self promotion.Heehee - Mayor Luke refers to himself in the third person. Dayvoe doesn't like that. Dayvoe thinks it's pretentious and boorish. But Dayvoe digresses.
“That’s not an advertisement for Luke Ravenstahl as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
“I disagree wholeheartedly that this in anyway is campaign motivated. That this is in anyway an abuse of taxpayers’ dollars, [be]cause in my opinion it’s not,” Ravenstahl said.So that, I guess, settles that.