Regarding last week's debate, I noted the following exchange:
The candidates are allowed to ask each other questions and Acklin asks Lukey, "Who are John Verbanac and Ed Grattan and what role do they play in your administration?" Lukey answers with "John Verbanac and Ed Grattan are friends of mine and they have no formal role in my administration."The other shoe dropped last night when Acklin followed up with this:
"Our campaign has come into receipt of very specific documents and e-mails that prove that Mr. Verbanac has had a very intimate relationship with your administration," Mr. Acklin said to the mayor.Bram has excerpts of some of the emails at The Pittsburgh Comet.
"He has written your speeches. He literally puts words into your mouth. He's called the shots on who you hire and fire. He advises you on city policies and developments. . ... It is very clear, Mr. Ravenstahl, that you lied to the people of this city on Saturday."
The mayor responded, "Your accusations are wrong, they're inappropriate and I think it shows the level to which apparently this campaign is going to go over the next couple of weeks, bringing private citizens into conversations, making accusations that are false like Kevin just did. ... I would just advise Mr. Acklin to be very, very careful."
If nothing else, they demonstrate that Verbanac has a profound relationship with and influence on Ravenstahl's Administration -- formal or not.
While the Acklin campaign has
It's certainly been apparent for a while now that Acklin likes to play hardball. He's also good at it. If memory serves me correctly, Patrick Dowd had far more concrete ammunition against Lil Mayor Luke but couldn't get much traction. Which leads me to Franco Dok Harris.
It's sad to read in the P-G that after the debate:
While reporters shuttled between the mayor and Mr. Acklin, Mr. Harris, who turned in a solid debate performance, was largely ignored by the media.It's a shame because I think that Harris provides a very positive vision for Pittsburgh, has progressive values like concerns for transparency and campaign finance reform, and yet, is not afraid to speak to issues like violence in the neighborhoods.
And, Luke? While he may have curbed his tendency towards tacky and juvenile public and semi public displays, he still comes off as an arrogant frat boy during the debates. Mr. Privilege. They may have had to talk Acklin down last night, but Lukey was constantly speaking out of turn. Also, when he talks about taxing college students and hospital patients, he seems to forget that many of them are actual Pittsburgh residents.
UPDATE: More on the Verbanic issue at Bob Mayo's blog.