The lede in the P-G:
I noticed that when the thing was over. No mention of the SUV or the "tinkered" KDKA poll. Just policy and a few attacks from young Luke.
The two major candidates for mayor -- facing each other for the seventh time in 24 days -- last night proved that familiarity doesn't necessarily breed contempt as they engaged in a debate that was not nearly as churlish as some previous encounters.
During the hour-long televised debate, sponsored by WQED-TV, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and challenger Mark DeSantis answered a dozen questions and traded short rebuttals that invariably stuck to the scripts they've rolled out on previous occasions.
Part of the reason for the high-mindedness might have been that the questions, posed by moderator Stacy Smith and panelists Michael Bartley, Tonia Caruso and Chris Moore, focused on how the candidates would save money, help young people find jobs and improve race relations in the city. It was the first forum during which the matter of Mr. Ravenstahl's ethics was never raised.
The Trib's much shorter piece on the debate focused on DeSantis' campaign contributions and how he'd be staffing the Mayor's office if he was elected:
In the discussion about the residency requirements of city employees (DeSantis wants to do away with the requirement that city employees live within city limits, Ravenstahl doesn't), Ravenstahl showed some weasel words. He criticised DeSantis for both supporting Community Based Policing and yet not supporting a residency requirement for the police. DeSantis, though, pointed out that right now there isn't a requirement for a police officer to live in the community where he works.
In their seventh and final debate, Democratic Mayor Luke Ravenstahl repeated his attack on Republican challenger Mark DeSantis for having made campaign contributions to GOP politicians, including President Bush, while DeSantis charged Ravenstahl is using the issue as "a distraction."
During the hour-long debate broadcast live Thursday night on WQED-TV, DeSantis listed local Democrats he's also supported with campaign donations and said a DeSantis administration likely would be staffed with "a preponderance of Democrats."
Subtle point that wasn't emphasized in the debate enough.
CapitalMan (of Darn News) was also there, tapping away furiously at a laptop right behind me.
His assessment of the players:
Everyone knows Mark DeSantis is more intelligent, responsible, and honest than Luke Ravenstahl. But Luke’s a bare-knuckled politician. He’s willing to be gruff, amiable, and angered when it suits him.And I just wanted to reiterate a few things for the more left leaning among us:
- Ravenstahl is against both Gay Marriage and "Civil Unions"
- DeSantis favors Gay Marriage
- DeSantis also described himself last night as "pro-choice"
UPDATE CORRECTION: In an e-mail from my friend Sue, who writes at Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents. She informed me that I made a mistake in writing that Mark DeSantis favors gay marriage. I checked with the campaign and, yes indeedeeo, I goofed. They told me DeSantis favors "civil unions" but not "gay marriage." A mistake, though an understandable one as considering that according to the video, the question was about "gay unions." I should have been more careful with my wording.
By the way, Sue endorses DeSantis