What Fresh Hell Is This?

July 16, 2007

DeSantis/Ravenstahl Update

So, what happened today in the mayoral race?

First, at a news conference downtown, Mark DeSantis challenged Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to at least 8 debates. He also signed the following campaign pledges:
    1. The candidates will not accept gratuities or gifts from parties or their representatives that have business currently before the City of Pittsburgh or that regularly have business with the City of Pittsburgh; (Lawful campaign donations are excluded.)
    2. The candidates will not misrepresent their past business or political experience and will not misrepresent the past business or political experience of their opponent;
    3. The candidates put forth a plan to prevent the City of Pittsburgh from entering bankruptcy. The plan will be submitted by both candidates on or before October 1, 2007;
    4. The candidates will run a campaign that treats City of Pittsburgh voters with respect; and
    5. The candidates will agree to debate the relevant issues facing the city on at least eight (8) occasions between August 1, 2007 and election day.
He also issued the following press release:

Mr. DeSantis believes that at least eight debates are necessary to provide Pittsburgh voters with an informed decision in this upcoming election. “A thoughtful discussion on the issues and challenges facing this city is the only method to provide voters with a clear choice in democratic leadership,” said DeSantis.

In a June 20, 2007 letter, Mr. Ravenstahl requested two debates with the caveat that his current position as the appointed mayor may prevent him from engaging in these debates. “ It is my first and foremost responsibility and its scheduling requirements are enormous”. (See Ravenstahl Letter dated June 20, 2007). Mr. DeSantis believes that engaging in thoughtful debate on the issues facing city residents is the responsibility of both candidates. “Two debates are simply not enough. City residents need to have as many opportunities as possible to accurately assess the qualities and abilities of each candidate”, said DeSantis.

Mr. DeSantis expects Mr. Ravenstahl to provide an answer to this challenge by July 23, 2007. The DeSantis campaign looks forward to working to secure the debates as soon as possible.

The Ravenstahl campaign issued the following response:
It is our hope and desire that this campaign can be about the issues, rather than just election year campaign tactics. The Mayor is very disheartened by what we’ve seen from our opponent thus far.

If our opponent does not know, the City of Pittsburgh is required under Act 47 and Act 11, the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, to have a five year budget and recovery plan. We have that already. The major difference between our opponent and Mayor Ravenstahl is that the Mayor has already been a part of making that plan and bringing it into existence. Mayor Ravenstahl is the first Mayor in years to implement a structurally balanced budget. Mayor Ravenstahl has cooperated with the ICA, Act 47 and Pittsburgh City Council to put forth a plan to balance the City’s budget. Our opponent has not.

With regard to our opponent attempting to offer a policy that differs from the existing law relative to the City Ethics Code, Mayor Ravenstahl complies fully with the existing law and will continue to do so. No amount of election year antics will change that.

Mayor Ravenstahl has served for over ten months now. He has demonstrated that he always treats the voters and residents of the City with the highest degree of respect. In fact, he has stood election twice before and has always done so. Our opponent has not.

Our opponent exclaimed in his announcement that no candidates should misrepresent his own or his opponent’s past business or political experience. On this we can agree.

Finally, our opponent asks now, in the form of his pledges, to call on the candidates to agree to debate. Our opponent should be reminded that on June 20th, Mayor Ravenstahl was the first candidate to call for and offer specific debates. To date, our opponent has not responded to our offers. Now our opponent is using campaign tactics to rewrite history. Mayor Ravenstahl looks forward to debating his opponent vigorously.
A few thoughts. They really gotta get a better writer over there at Ravenstahl HQ. Take a look at the fifth paragraph - the one that starts "Mayor Ravenstahl has served for over ten months..."

If we start from the position that any given sentence is a more or less discrete idea, then there's some messy overlap of sentences there. The first sentence lays out the case that the mayor treats voters with respect. Fine, but then there's this sentence:
In fact, he has stood election twice before and has always done so.
Huh? Always done what? Stood election twice? That makes absolutely no sense. I am guessing that that phrase belongs with the previous sentence. But with that word "always" in there ("...he always treats the voters...") simply cutting and pasting it over would be redundant.

And then what hasn't DeSantis done? Stood election twice? Or treated the voters with the highest respect? If it's the first one, so what? All the original coverage about DeSantis pointed out that he's never run for elected office. What does that have to do with treating the voters with respect? If it's the second, then where's the evidence from the campaign for this charge?

See what I mean? It's bad writing that does not serve the Mayor's campaign well at all.

And what's with the use of the royal we? As Mark Twain once (reportedly) said:
Only kings, editors, and people with tapeworm have the right to use the editorial "we."
Safe to say that good old Sam Clemens is quite right about that.


KR said...

my ideal summer job would be to edit the mailings/printed materials politicians issue to the public. Anyone with an adequate high school education should be able to vet this stuff so it doesn't sound like it was written by a complete incompetent.

I guess they don't hire people to do this kind of thing, because Luke still sounds stupid and I'm a waitress. gah.

Anonymous said...

So Bob O screwed up the budget, eh?

rrl said...

I agree- who is writing this crap? Maybe instead of his athletic director he should of had some sense to hire is high school English teacher. It sounded very whiny. It also, remarkably, sounded like something coming from G.W. Bush. The whole robotic 'my opponent' crap gets old quick. Maybe 8 debates is a bit excessive in a town that otherwise doesn't care, but at least agree to maybe 4 debates and be done with it.

Jason Phillips said...

Do you think that in addition to 8 debates we could add that each candidate be required to be monitored by a polygraph machine while answering the question?

Bram Reichbaum said...

Okay, let's not go dissing the Royal We.

"Election year antics": loves it!

That graph regarding compliance with Act 47 & 11 leading us to financial solvency seems like it says something, some intelligent people should evaluate those claims and get back to us. My previous impression was that these measures sort of staunched the worst of the bleeding short-term, but do nothing to reset the bones or cure the disease. To overextend the analogy.

Char said...

It sounds exactly like the stuff he speaks. Maybe when he deems it to be really important, he writes his own stuff??

Anonymous said...

Say what you want about Dick Skinjar, but at least he was a competent writer.

I'm starting to think that Luke himself is the author of his poorly written press releases.

EdHeath said...

I dunno, "stood for election" has a delightful old world feel to it, although the follwing phrase " and has always done so" ... um, well ...

Since the Mayor proposed two debates first, apparently that trumps DeSantis' request for eight debates. There is a sort of "I called it first" logic, usually used to resolve arguements between eight year olds.

Its not clear to me that the Mayor complies fully with the ethics code, but the devil would be in the details. Someone would have to look at whatever the most recent financial disclosures the Mayor has made, and compare them with reported events. For example, I'm not sure that having one's campaign reimburse Ron Burkle for a plane ride is consistent with the city's ethics code. But, as I say, the devil's in the details, and someone would have to look. For the present, I have to let the Mayor's statement about complying fully with existing law go.

On the other hand, what DeSantis is saying (presumably) is that he wants to maintain a higher standard. I see no harm in that. If the Mayor disagrees, if he feels he should be ble to have as much of his cake and eat it too, as long as no one proves he crossed a line, well, Desantis should make as much hay with that as he can. Of course, there is the "Null Space" factor to contend with...

Char said...

I think "stood for election" is just some sort of peculiar conjugation of one of the mayor's other favorite phrases: "And I stand by that."

Mark Rauterkus said...

The 'standing for office' is a wrinkle that I've been putting a spotlight upon in the past year.

In other cultures, people stand for office. Here, it is generally the norm to 'run for office.'

I've got 'running mates' on my blog, but this year, 2007, I made a point of saying I would 'stand for office.'

You can run for, run away, run with, run in circles -- or run like a chicken with its head cut off.