What Fresh Hell Is This?

June 29, 2007

The View from the Trib

I'm not sure Jeremy Boren made himself any friends today when he started his piece on yesterday's public hearing with this:
About 150 angry women packed Pittsburgh City Council chambers Thursday to demand Mayor Luke Ravenstahl rescind the promotions of three police officers with allegations of domestic violence or disturbances in their pasts.
Were the only people there at the hearing demanding the Mayor rescind the promotions
"angry women"?

Not according to Sue, the live-blogger, who posted this at 2:32:
Billy Hileman, Lawrenceville resident and City school teacher. Thanked the women for their activism for keeping these issues in the public eye. These officers will be okay if the promotions aren't rescinded. The women's lives will not. 1 in 3 women face violence by an intimate partner. He has three sisters. Violence in families with police officers is 2-3 times greater than the general public. These three men will be okay. What's more important -- the seeming career injustice of these men or the lives of women facing domestic violence every moment of their lives. We need to set a policy where the safety of women are first and the careers of men are second.
And Bram, the Pittsburgh Comet, who was at the hearing but not live-blogging it, wrote this about Hileman:

He pleaded with us that many women are currently struggling with the decision to come forward against their accusers. He reminded us that women are already likely to believe that the cops will not defend them. Now they will soon pick up a newspaper with an encouraging headline -- or a headline that warns them to stay silent and alone.

Hileman insisted that officers who fail to be promoted -- even if they are unjustly accused -- will remain fundamentally "okay" in their lives. Yet the women who perceive that the police do not take domestic violence seriously, will most certainly not be okay. [italics in original]

From these quotations, I can't say he's a supporter of the promitions. And he's a he.
There must have been more like Hileman there - earlier at 1:41 Sue, the live-blogger, posted:
The entire Council is here, but Jeff Koch who is out of town. There are easily more than 100 people here and it is rather a diverse crowd in terms of gender, age, and race.
And that was before she posted at 2:00 that people were still entering the chamber.

Granted, while it looks from Sue's reports that most of the people protesting the promotions were women and most of the people supporting them were men, what difference does that make? Unless you're going to take an essentialist postion that gender determines a moral outlook then whether something is right or wrong has to be determined on its own basis and not on which person commenting on it has the Y-chromosome.

At the very least, Boren's opening is misleading.

Of course another tasty nugget of news is found in the second paragraph:
Ravenstahl skipped the two-hour session. He declined through a spokeswoman to say where he was.
It may or may not be a problem with Mayor Luke not attending, but why decline to say where he was?

And how does that jibe with this post over at the Burgh Report? Where The Burgher takes a close look at the timeline of when the story broke, the various news conferences and finds, if I am reading it correctly, that Mayor Luke's misleading.



Gloria said...

Also - the P-G's Early Returns characterized it as a "...contentious hearing..."

What's misleading is that private conversations & public remarks combined passion & professionalism. No fingers were pointed, the women proposed changes to policy, gave reasons for the need for these changes, etc. Their remarks exhibited their knowledge of statistics and best practices, which was helpful.

It was such a respectful session that both the rep from the FOP & Council Pres. remarked on it.

Of the 3 visibly & audibly angry speakers, 2 are regulars at City Council mtgs. & behave similarly at those mtgs. City Hall reporters recognize them as such & I hope they weren't painting the hearing as 'angry' or 'contentious' based on these two's remarks. (The third angry speaker was a guy I'd never heard of: Kirk Rice.)

Bram Reichbaum said...

It's a minor point, but I was surprised at the press accounts making it out to be a women's conference. I did not feel remotely out of place; I'd say about 1/3 of the room was male.

Smitty said...

just curious about the comments of Mr.Rice. He was a Luke campaign staffer.His is also a close friend and confidant of Dennis Regan.

Anonymous said...

Okay - I'll play devil's advocate just for a moment; Does it really matter where Luke was? Do we expect The Mayor to account for his whereabouts every moment of the day? Would you demand that of someone other than Luke?

Just asking...

I think the fact that he wasn't there is the issue. Let's not get too distracted with elements of a story that don't really matter....

I appreciate everyone speaking up about the MSMs desire to amp-up every story and headline. Good luck getting them to change. This has been de riguer since the first newspapers were printed. Maybe The Times and the WAPO are a bit more controlled, but most other papers WANT there to be a "contentious" element to every story. It sells papers and drives click-throughs. My guess is that more than a few bloggers (myself included) create "catchy" headlines for our posts...


Gloria said...


Kirk Rice proclaimed himself Rooster - no idea what that means.

He said that when he returned to Pgh. from a stint in DC in the Federal Accounting Office, he was tasked with forming the Pubic Safety Bureau. He said an officer named Gaudelli went to federal prison over the manner in which he reported the domestic violence call he answered at the Chief McNeilly’s home. According to Rice, Officer G. found a badly beaten woman, (I think he was referring to Cmdr. Cathy McNeilly), at the McNeilly home.

I did a little googling & found that Rice is a contractor in Morningside, he's also one of the 3 guys who stayed with Bob O'Connor's coffin overnight, Matt H. was another of the trio.

Rice was so angry his point was unclear to me, he said that since its inception the Public Safety Bureau has been corrupt, as far as I could tell he was blaming everyone.

I looked up Gaudelli, his first name is Edmond, he was sent to Federal Prison in 2003 for the McNeilly incident, which occurred in 1996. He was found to be lying about the incident. If you want to read more, see the P-G, Torsten Ove story, July 11, 2003.

Anyone else have additional info?

Jonathan Potts said...

This is another man who thinks it is abominable (sp?) that these officers were promoted.

And it matters where the mayor was because just a couple days ago he acted shocked, shocked, to discover that those police officers had unsavory records. And yet, when City Council schedules a public hearing on the matter, he is nowhere to be found. And when did this hearing take place? Was it during working hours? Doesn't the public have a right to know what the mayor does with his time?

Smitty said...

Gloria a little post script on Mr.Rooster...he worked out of Tom Flaherty's controller's office and was dismissed for calling in bad prescriptions on city time.He recently characterized himself as a consultant with Harrah's.

Henny Penny said...

The Rooster may be on to something. I'll start calling myself Chicken Little - maybe I'll get a consulting contract with a gambling outfit? I'll let you know how it works out.

And, for the record, I care to know where the Mayor was during yesterday's hearing. It was a specially called hearing due to the importance and urgency of the matter.

What in Ravenstahl's world was more important? Did he have a must-do photo op with a visiting starlet in his Day Planner?


Anonymous said...

Jeremy is a good guy who I'm certain intended no offense toward women - I'm glad he has the cajones to emphasize things that the PG doesn't appear to think critical, such as the absence of the young mayor or any of his representatives. Chief Harper was smart enough to show respect to the crowd by having a team of supervisors present for the meeting - not that - that excuses the stupidity of these promotions, but he took it like a man - or woman, not a coward hding behind Gigi Salidna's pen and a boldface lie that "the law made me do it". Click your heels together Lukey, you always had the power to pass over these three...either that, or get rid of Yarone Zober and get yourself a chief of staff who has a clue about city management.

Matt H said...

Kirk Rice is great. I have been friends with him for a while now. I consider him one of my best friends in the political circle.

He is one guy that you want on your side in a political race. He can find info on anyone and everyone.

Smitty said...


Matt H said...

Don't like Kirk?

Anonymous said...

I cant believe Fluke was golfing instead of paying attention to this important public hearing...outrageous!

Anonymous said...

"He is one guy that you want on your side in a political race. He can find info on anyone and everyone." Matt H.

Too bad none of it is accurate. Gaudelli is serving time in federal prison for perjury in a Federal case. There was never a domestic call at the home of the McNeilly's, proven in Federal Court by 911 records, police reports, and the documented fact that the McNeilly's were on vacation in Florida at the time Gaudelli said he was answering a call that was never made. He got a few other malcontents to try to back up his lie, until they were subpoenaed for the trial.They declined to testify unless they were granted immunity.

Just to be accurate, Chief McNeilly was never accused of,indicted for, or tried for engaging in domestic violence - it was Gaudelli who lied in a different federal trial, and it was the federal government, not McNeilly, who indicted, tried and sent him to prison when found guilty of perjury by a jury.

This is your friend, this Rice person, and a good political ally?

Now the circus makes a little more sense.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, it's not cojones, it's Trib style--if an irrelevant incidental is likely to enrage ill-informed Trib readers, then run with it.

Maria said...

Thanks Anon 4:18 for writing the truth so I didn't have to. I will point out that while the FOP guy said how surprised and happy he was that no one was making their comments personal, that was BEFORE Kirk Rice stood up and very personally slandered the McNeilly's.

I think when Matt H wrote "He can find info on anyone and everyone" he forgot to add "even if it isn't true and has to be made up."

Butch Cassidy said...

It is too bad anonymous doesn't have the "stones" to leave a name.There was more to the domestic violence calls to the McNeilly's house than the local media(especially the P-G and their tax-exempt status)were willing to report.U.S.Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan charged officer Ed Gaudelli with perjury as a favor to McNeilly/Tom Murphy.At the time,her husband's law firm,Buchanan/Ingersoll was doing millions of dollars worth of business with the City of Pittsburgh.Millions of dollars also buys a lot of justice too.There is nothing like bringing down the vast resources of the government done on an innocent cop who was just doing his job.Other cops/911 dispatchers also testified that they either heard a d.v.call at the McNeillys or were there for one.Buchanan actually had the stones to threaten witnesses to help out her friends.The case is still under appeal since Buchanan used the wrong statute(nobody in the Third Circuit had ever been charged from a civil deposition before)and even the U.S.Supreme Court has ruled that if something is "literally true" it isn't perjury.(Bronston vs.U.S. 1973).Stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

I think that Mr.Rice is a good joe and everybody knows that the McNeillys are whack-jobs(he gets off on hurting people and she just likes to watch).It is also coming out that Ms.McNeilly lied under oath at trial and told a completely different story to the Trib.

Anonymous said...

The reason that Buchanan didn't prosecute Tom Murphy was that Buchanan/Ingersoll was making millions off of the City of Pittsburgh.Murphy was the first person in the history of the Western District of Pa.to have a Grand Jury convened over his criminal activity,but no indictment was issued! Usually a Grand Jury is merely a rubber-stamp in the hands of a Federal Prosecutor,and not the shield that the framers intended.There is definitely something wrong with this picture!