What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 3, 2007

Why does Luke Ravenstahl Hate America and Love Al Qaeda?

Pittsburgh Mayor takes multiple joyrides with Homeland Security federally funded SUV

You know, I didn't want to write about Lil Mayor Luke this morning. I really didn't.

There's so much going on today -- Bush's SCHIP veto, the Emergency Contraceptives for Rape Survivors Bill in the PA House, Seymour Hersh's New Yorker article on the push for war with Iran -- things that I deeply care about and wanted to spend some real time here on.

But, no. Once again I feel compelled to write yet another post about our KID IN A CANDY STORE of a mayor.

I used to think Ravenstahl was merely incompetent and ethically challenged.

Now I think he's outright dangerous.

You cannot have someone as mayor who has no self control.

The Post-Gazette article quotes Ravenstahl and Public Safety Director Michael Huss as saying that Lil Lukey had no idea that the Police Bureau GMC Yukon that he loaded up with friends to go to a Toby Keith concert was assigned to the Intelligence Squad. But, how can that be when it was an open secret that Lukey was using the vehicle? Open enough to be discussed in the comments section of The Burgh Report prior to the Keith concert.

How is it possible that the Mayor, his staff, the Police Bureau and the Public Safety Department did not know what was going on? Not, they'd all have you believe, until a police officer blew the whistle. And once again, while the Police Bureau in this town has no problems promoting wife/child beating cops, they also have no problem trying to punish another female police whistleblower.

There's something really rotten here.

Look, I'm a Democrat. I'm a Democrat who has spent countless hours volunteering for Democratic candidates. I'm a Democrat who has donated hundreds of dollars to Democratic candidates and raised even more by hosting numerous fundraisers in my own home.

But, Luke Ravenstahl, you are forcing me to vote against a Democrat in November.

I will be casting my vote for Mark DeSantis for Mayor.

No Republican running could be as bad as you are.

It simply is not possible.


The Ponderosa Kid said...

Do you think anyone would have had the nerve (or the balls), to say, question Davey Lawrence about his use of a city vehicle when he was mayor? Or to question Mayor Lawrence's whereabouts, ever? Or continue to nitpick and harass him everyday, such as what you do daily on these blogs? The mayor is the boss -- give him the respect he deserves and the respect that goes with holding the office.

Maria said...

I give Lil Mayor Luke exactly the respect that he deserves and has earned.

Oh, and Bernard Kerik, Rudy's boy, got in trouble for the exact same kind of thing. He used an apartment set aside for Ground Zero workers as his own personal hangout.

This is not nitpicking.

The Ponderosa Kid said...

This situation has nothing to do with Ground Zero, NYC or homeland security. Our mayor used a vehicle of the Pittsburgh Police department (of which he, as mayor, is the boss of, by the way). That is his entitlement.

Maria said...

He used a federally funded vehicle -- funded by Homeland Security -- for PERSONAL USE.

He is not KING.

He cannot do whatever he wants.

Moreover, he undoubtedly lied about not knowing its origins as everyone in the Burghoshere knew about it THREE WEEKS BEFORE the Toby Keith concert.

How is that possible???

The Ponderosa Kid said...

A mayor, especially one of a large city, doesn't have much PERSONAL time.

Maria said...

The why does your boy king claim that he doesn't have to answer where he is when he's on "personal" time?

Can't have it both ways.

And when did attendance at a Toby Keith concert with your friends fall under the realm of official city business?

The Bag of Health and Politics said...

He's just an all around crappy Mayor. In honor of the late and great Ann Richards, "Poor Luke, we can't really blame him, after all he was born with a silver foot in his mouth."

Glad to see another blogger endorse DeSantis. I hope he wins. I love the City of Pittsburgh, and I'd hate to see it after Ravenstahl is given a few more years to ruin it...

Great photoshop by the way.

Maria said...

Thanks. He reminds me so much of GW (before he found Jesus and cleaned himself up) that I had to put him in the car with a drunken Jenna Bush.

The Ponderosa Kid said...

Attending a Toby Keith concert with a group of personal friends does not fall under the realm of official city business. Who said it did? But the Mayor is still a public official at the concert and more than likely performed some sort of public duty. It's not easy to have a private life when you're a high profile public official.

Jason Phillips said...

I want to know who paid for the gas to get down and back from Washington County?

If Luke is using a city vehicle for personal travel we shouldn't be providing the gas money too. The city coffers are not for a frat boy to make a beer run on.

Maria said...

"But the Mayor is still a public official at the concert and more than likely performed some sort of public duty."

Yeah, probably like the public duty he performed when he was at Heinz Field and ""Myself and other individuals in the front were really not even in control of ourselves," he said. "We couldn't control ourselves because of the force from behind."


"At which time I, verbally, expressed my objections to the manner in which he was treating the crowd at Heinz Field that evening," Mr. Ravenstahl said.

What a maroon!

The Bag of Health and Politics said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wordshark said...

I think you are overreacting when it comes to Ravenstahl. His indiscretions (while there may have been many), do NOT add up to terrible government. Yet.

Yes, his personal choices seem as if he feels he deserves special treatment. But his in-office actions seem to be working in a way to positively reform city government. That's a good thing. And no small achievement for the kid who would be mayor.

DeSantis may offer some alternative ideas, but he is far, far, from an ideal candidate.

Your energies would be much more valuable to all of us concerned with local politics, it seems to me, if you would use them in pursuing greater accountability and openness from the one representing the party most able to work with Onarato to get things done throughout the region.

Maria said...

"personal choices"

Nice bit of framing.

We already have an arrogant frat boy leading the country. We don't need one leading this city.

"But his in-office actions seem to be working in a way to positively reform city government."

Really, do tell. Like what exactly?

Promoting Denny Regan to Public Safety?

Punishing whistleblowers?

Taking expensive gifts from interested parties?

Skipping meetings with Blacks and women to go golf or watch the Red Sox and then lying about where he was?

Approving the promotions of wife/child beater police officers.

Bram Reichbaum said...

What if there was a bomb scare or a hostage situation that called for this specialized equipment when the Mayor was out exercising his entitlement?

Anonymous said...

What if there was a bomb scare or a hostage situation that called for this specialized equipment when the Mayor was out exercising his entitlement?

Better yet.. What if some rich white guys wanted to go to the driving range?? And Luke was busy.. The horror!!!

thewordshark said...

Really, do tell. Like what exactly?
Promoting Denny Regan to Public Safety? (Wasn't that one defeated?)
Taking expensive gifts from interested parties? (A possible discretion that was dealt with through the proper channels once it was given proper light)
Skipping meetings with Blacks and women to go golf or watch the Red Sox and then lying about where he was? (Impeach the bastard for trying to schmooze businesses and benefactors instead of attending meetings and being yelled at by people who have their own agenda and a predetermined response for whatever the mayor has to say?)
Approving the promotions of wife/child beater police officers. (This is a very touchy subject, in that police are held to higher standards than the rest of us, and yet they also face greater stresses than most of us on a daily basis. This does not excuse violent behavior, but surely you agree that there are shades of gray you are ignoring when you say the mayor simply "approved promotions"?)

Are there other charges?

These are petty arguments that Pittsburgh bloggers have parried back and forth like there is substance.

Since I live outside of the city boundaries, I don't get to vote in the city of Pittsburgh. So, I tend to stay away from commenting on city politics in favor of county, regional and state (and federal) matters in the discussions I find myself delving into... but it is hard to take any of the charges you list seriously with the constant name-calling (like "frat-boy") and the politics of personal destruction that brought down former Prez Clinton...

And for the record, you have not cornered the market on disliking dubbya.

But to link Luke's ways on a micro level with the kind of poor leadership coming from the White House does disservice to anyone who cares about making a real change in the way things are being run on every level.

Get a grip on the anti-Luke histrionics. Focus on matters of worth. Focus on the "political" aspects of being a political junky, instead of regurgitating the same old junk. How, really, would a DeSantis admin be any better for any of us? Better to back Peduto or someone else who might be able to challenge Luke from within the Dem machine, don't you think?

Just my two cents... P.S. I miss John McIntire and his radio show already. Our region is missing another "voice" that was always trying to at least make us think.

Maria said...

Well if he was on a driving range he would likely be performing some publiv duty. There, PK, save your breath, I already answered for you.

Maria said...


These are not petty arguments. They point to a basic lack of judgment and integrity.

He does something wrong or stupid, then lies about it, then when he's caught in his lie he blames someone else -- over and over and over again.

Sorry, but I wouldn't believe him if he told me the sky was blue.

Char said...


I'm loving your Photo Shopped pics. You get better every day! Quite talented for a lowly "scribe".

The Bag of Health and Politics said...

Ha, ha, the Post-Gazette now has the Mayor saying that he'll continue to use city-owned vehicles to go bar hopping. Does anybody else wonder about the liability concerns that might arise out if the Mayor's car gets in a drunk driving accident? He says that there was nothing wrong with taking the SUV to the concert. Well, if that is the case Mayor, then why did you stop using it?

And then he says, "The media could write a story every day if they wanted to." Well yes they can, Mr. Mayor, but that's only because you give them opportunity after opportunity to write about you're misbehavior. You're the Mayor of the City--act like it for a change. If you don't the voters may make a change in November.

Jason Phillips said...

Luke isn't the one driving. His bodyguard is.

Char said...

Ponderosa Kid,

Are you out of your friggin mind? Or maybe you are just Luke's mom or his Press Secretary Alecia.

You want us to give that man-boy some "respect" when all he does is DISrespect Pittsburgh and its citizens every day?

Give him respect after he's blown off the Hill so he could party in NYC??? After he's blown off women concerned about wife-beating cops so he could play golf??? After he's blown off the entire North Side so he could go to a Red Sox game????

Luke Ravenstahl is a narcissistic jerk. A complete embarrassment to this city. He's totally and unconditionally in love with himself. As bad as that is ..... the "unconditional" support and endless excuses put forth by "fans" such as yourself does even more damage to this city and its image.

Shane said...

I will never vote for a frat boy, in a SUV, on his way to a Toby Keith concert. A Toby Keith concert?!!??? I moved to Pittsburgh 2 years ago. I have never seen such political corruption and nepotism. The only thing that makes the ruling class in this city democrat seems to be its uncanny ability to sell the city down the river to unions. In any other city in America, Pittsburgh democrats would be republicans, which leads me to believe that a republican as mayor here might not be such a bad thing. I'm with Maria. Enough with the family business already.

The Bag of Health and Politics said...

Isn't Toby Keith the guy that sings that "We'll put a boot in your ass," song? Maybe that's really the Mayor's political theme song...

Also, it doesn't matter, if the body guard gets hammered with Luke, and then crashes the car, the City's still liable. That's why City cars should NEVER be used for PERSONAL business. If the Mayor wants to go bar hopping, he can take some of his 90K salary and buy a car, and perhaps hire his own body guard.

Schultz said...

"How, really, would a DeSantis admin be any better for any of us?"

Point #1: If the city is run like a business rather than an entitlement then its possible DeSantis could help get it out of the mess it is in.

Point #2: Regarding minorities, when is the last time you heard a Republican, let alone another local politician, offer an economic development partnership for aspiring minority entrepreneurs?? DeSantis has pledged to create this partnership regardless of the outcome of the election.

Did you, the DeSantis haters and the Luke Lovers, even bother to read any of DeSantis's proposals? If so I find it hard to believe that you think Luke's proposals are better than what Mr. DeSantis has presented us - because Luke has not presented any proposals. Luke does not have a plan for financial recovery, for public safety, or for economic development. Wake up and get over the fact that the best candidate is a Republican.

Remove the R next to his name and DeSantis is the ideal candidate for Pittsburgh. DeSantis is a fiscally conservative socially liberal candidate for mayor. Whats not to like about that?

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to get past the "high ranking government official" comment. High could be taken several different ways . . . I am a D who is inclined to vote for a moderate R like DeSantis, but it just seems that every time an R says he wants to run government like a business, the rich get richer, and the working middle class (are there any of us left) get screwed. On the other hand two more years of Luke and I'll be jumping from the UPMC (USX) Tower.

Bad boys, bad boys said...

Maria - I think you cannot have someone as mayor who has no MORAL COMPASS.

Wordshark - the mayor's "personal choices", such as to
a. do the wrong thing
b. lie about it indicate alot of things. Things that aren't what you want in a Mayor who has to make many important choices on behalf of this city.

"But his in-office actions seem to be working in a way to positively reform city government."

May I add to the list of "Stuff that Isn't Working Out So Well" -

1. The Pittsburgh Promise - good luck with that Luke.

2. Um, what's happening with the properties whose liens the mayor bought back for a big pile of our broke city's tax dollars?

3. And how about Luke's backing the newest of Genius Jim Motznik's plans to not lower the parking tax? Nevermind that it's the state that controls this. Way to show 'em Jim & Luke!

PaulK (not Ponderosa Kid) said...


The PG reports that our AG, Mary Beth Buchannan, is taking a break from prosecuting porn and will investigate Lukey's use of the vehicle:

"But U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan this afternoon vowed to examine the mayor's use of a vehicle purchased with federal Homeland Security funds, saying that is a regular part of her duties."

And did anyone else catch that before he would speak to the Executive Women's Council at the Duquesne Club they had to ask DeSantis to leave the room and WAIT IN THE HALLWAY???!!!

I would write what I really feel but then I wouldn't want the site to be tagged for profanity.

jaywillie said...

Wow. Some people have very interesting interpretations of what holding public office entails.

Ravenstahl is not the "boss" of Pittsburgh, though he sure acts like it.

He's a servant of the people. He's the chief adminstrator of the city, directly accountable to the citizens of the city.

What all these "indescretions" reveal is a man who sees his public office as a vehicle for his own personal needs. To suggest that the mayor of a large city doesn't have a lot of personal time is pathetic - tough shit. If he wanted personal time, then he shouldn't have taken the job.

And if he is attending to his personal needs(and I doubt very much that by attending a concert he is in some way acting in a public capacity) he can do it on his own goddamn dime, not the taxpayers.

To speak in the vernacular, Luke Ravenstahl is a piece of shit mayor and, likely, a piece of shit human being. Until we expect the highest standards, we can expect the lack of leadership from the local level to the federal level to continue.

Matt H said...

"Love Al Qaeda?"

I'm not so sure your blog post title is accurate haha

Matt H said...

"But the Mayor is still a public official at the concert and more than likely performed some sort of public duty."

Even though I am a huge supporter of Mayor Ravenstahl I question this comment by "the Ponderosa Kid"

Anonymous said...

At 11:55 PM, Matt H said...

I'm not so sure your blog post title is accurate

Well, neither are many of yours... Not to mention the post content "over there"

Matt H said...

"the Post-Gazette now has the Mayor saying that he'll continue to use city-owned vehicles to go bar hopping. Does anybody else wonder about the liability concerns that might arise out if the Mayor's car gets in a drunk driving accident?"

I don't think the Mayor does much of the driving. Usually one of the members of the security detail take care of that if I can remember.

Matt H said...

"Not to mention the post content "over there""


Ms. Monongahela, Ms. Chief Editor said...

We don't know if Luke hates America -- but we have new information that sheds light on the evening of the concert. The Carbolic Smoke Ball has complete coverage (with a special report from Bram of The Pittsburgh Comet) and I'm sure there are other 'Burgh blogs that have equally reliable, double fact-checked information (like we do) that I've failed to mention.

Maria said...

Matt H,

Glad to see the "hahha" after your post and know that, somehow, despite everything that you feel you need to defend Luke on you've still managed to keep a sense of humor.

I don't know how you do it...

Maria said...


"He's a servant of the people."

Finally! Someone who's had a civics lesson or two.

Thank you.

Tanya said...

Bravo Maria! If Luke spent as much on handlers as he does on "security detail", he'd have people keeping his 27 year-old ass in check. It is down right embarrassing. And Toby Keith? TOBY KEITH?! Seriously - that should get you banned from the party. Resign the "D" in shame. Being a meathead frat boy is one thing ... being a redneck meathead frat boy who lies about drinking in bars "with my wife" (as if) should bar you from public service north of the Mason Dixon. While I still lament the driving out of Peduto, DeSantis scored points just for being an adult. Now that I have heard his positions, I'll back him 100%. This whole thing has gone from funny to pathetic, and on to a deeper, darker kind of funny ... if he wins the election, I will lose all faith in common sense and democracy.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you actually read what your favored candidate wants to do? Or have you read it, and you just don't care?

Here are some of the things that DeSantis proposes to do, according to his OWN website:

* A 1% yearly reduction in spending, institutionalized with a Home Rule Charter amendment capping spending to inflation and population growth -- in other words, a form of the TABOR advocated by national right-wing strategist Grover Norquist. If city residents see declining services, including reduced fire and police protections, reduced ambulance response times, and reduced routine infrastructure repair, snow removal, etc. -- it doesn't matter much to DeSantis and his suburban buddies like Jim Roddey, who leave the city at the end of the day anyway.

* Cuts in the city workforce through attrition. Once again, if city residents see reduction in services as a result of this, so be it. This is how Republicans think.

* Selloff of city-owned real estate. A nice bonanza for developers!

* Screwing city workers out of their pensions through a two-tier system: new hires will NOT have a pension but a 401(k) or similar defined-contribution half-assed joke of a plan. As a result, current workers will see fewer contributions to their existing pension plan as well.

* Tax cuts for the rich (called "entrepeneurs" and new businesses).

Sorry for hijacking this thread and talking about actual policies and issues. You can now return to your regularly-scheduled programming of talking about bullshit scandals.