What Fresh Hell Is This?

May 23, 2007

WARNING: You piss off the owners of Rover and Miss Fluffy Kitty (and voters in general) at your own expense!

Last week the members of Pittsburgh City Council seemed only too happy to give Mayor Ravenstahl what he wanted and seemed ready and willing to change the waiting period for euthanizing unlicensed dogs and cats from three days to two. (The story did provide the Burghosphere some merriment at Councilman Motznik's cat-envy rant -- the latest seen here.)

However, the owners of all the Rovers and Miss Fluffy Kitty's out there have been calling and emailing Council members and at least nine concerned citizens (one armed with a petition with 72 names garnered in less than 24 hours) helped to persuade Council to hold off on voting on the bill (# 2007-1430) which came up before it yesterday.

The stories told by these citizens in the Public Comments section of the Council meeting included some scary tails tales. One, of a police officer who was more than happy to claim his retired police dog (who had tags) only to discover that he'd been killed within 24 hours. There were similar stories of people turning in stray animals on the condition that they would be able to claim them for adoption only to discover that the animals had been killed in a day or two. (One good tip that I got out of all this is if you should be unlucky enough to lose a pet, make sure to call The Animal Rescue League ASAP as they are in effect the City Pound.)

However, as the Post-Gazette points out, Council members may have been responding to more than just the pleas of animal lovers:
Feisty City Council rebuffs mayor on vehicles, animal control

A week after three of its nine members were rejected by voters, a newly feisty Pittsburgh City Council put a leash yesterday on animal-control changes and slammed the brakes on a car-sharing proposal, two measures pushed by the mayor's office.

"I wish to remind the administration that council is to be included in any discussion of contracting," Council President Doug Shields said. "If you take this council for granted, you do so to the detriment of your own legislative agenda."


Council's surliness came a week after Len Bodack, Jeff Koch and Ms. Carlisle lost Democratic primaries. Mr. Ravenstahl did not get very involved in their re-election bids, lending to the new tone on what had been a mayor-friendly council.

Yes, yes, for once, what had been an 8-1 rubber-stamp Council suddenly had all kinds of questions on proposals by the popular Boy Wonder Mayor. They actually wanted to function in an oversight role.

Oh what a difference an election makes!

Councilwoman Payne, for example, took great pains to say that while she was for the car-sharing program she had not spoken to anyone in the Mayor's Administration prior to making her decision. It should be noted that no one at the Council meeting had suggested that she had.

While no new members have been seated at the Council table yet -- hell, no new members have actually been voted into office yet -- last week's primary election certainly seems to have shaken up Luke's buddies to the point where they may actually do the job for which they are paid.

Can I Get an "Amen"?!

UPDATE: An example of a Virtual Vulcan Mind Meld in blogging here (notice the time each item was posted).


Bram Reichbaum said...

Know what amazes me? Go over to Busman's Holiday and listen to Jeff Koch's reaction to Bob's questions. He actually volunteered that the high council turnover might be a "good thing for the city" because it'll provide more "checks and balances for the Mayor."

This amazes me -- the guy LOST, I mean JUST lost, and he's able to be this philosophical, and about himself being too much of a rubber stamp. I'm impressed, but I don't get it.

Spot on said...

Koch is a good guy, doesn't surprise me. I think he found out that he had made the wrong political alliances. I don't believe it was ever his intention to do anything corrupt. Now that he is out he realizes that his backers were corrupt or stupid, or both.

Maria said...

It was also bizarre to see Koch play 20 questions with Admin. reps. He usually barely speaks at Council.

Pretty much every one of them suddenly had legitimate questions about proposals from the Mayor instead of just praising them.

Maria said...

Spot On,

If Koch had perfomed like he did yesterday the whole time he was on Council, we might have seen a different result in the primary.

Maria said...

Let me add that it's got to be difficult to put in a lot of effort at your job when you've basically just been fired. I was impressed by his performance yesterday.

Richmond K. Turner said...
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Richmond K. Turner said...
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Richmond K. Turner said...

I dunno, Maria. The thing about Koch is that he is now free to do things -- like criticize the boy king -- that he may not have felt able to do before the primary. Going against Ravenstahl will cost him the support of the machine. He may have thought that he needed the machine going into the primary. But now he isn't bound to them at all.

Fix... bayonettes!

Anonymous said...

Koch-Peduto-Shields align against Luke & Carlisle abstains; hmmm, Kraus-Peduto-Shields-Dowd-Burgess? What will Luke and co. dangle in front of Shields to win him back...

Char said...

They've got nothing to dangle. Literally or figuratively.