Democracy Has Prevailed.

September 20, 2006

Ravenstahl: Do we call it "padding" or "lying"?

I came across Luke Ravenstahl's bio page on the city web site the other day. As I have previously written, our new mayor seemed to have some difficulty coming up with his major accomplishments when he was on Letterman last week so let's see what he comes up with when he's not under the pressure of being on a national TV show.

He lists four major accomplishments there (we're leaving out president of his high school student council and "captain of both the football and baseball teams" even if Luke doesn't):

  • "Shortly into his term as Council President, Luke introduced a resolution calling for new controls on council spending, including the use of explanatory invoices, lists of hourly rates and hours worked, professional service contracts, and initialed approvals for work performed."

  • "Ravenstahl also led the charge to move forward the City’s downtown Wi-Fi plan, improving the quality of life for every Pittsburgher by allowing for improved internet access."

  • "His prudent financial strategy for public/private partnerships helped to secure a $1 million dollar state grant which renovated the historic Hazlett Theater on Pittsburgh’s North Side."

  • "In July 2004 Luke immediately contributed to the betterment of his district by directing the resurrection of the Woods Run Fishing Contest, an event that had been grounded for many years."
  • The Post-Gazette called Ravenstahl's new rules for spending "Reform lite" and instead lauded the real reforms of "The Peduto/Shields amendment aimed to limit discretionary budget spending to council offices only, a move that would have eliminated the notorious WAMs (walking around money) that greases so many wheels in local politics."

    But, for the moment, I'm more interested in the second accomplishment that he listed. Here's a screen capture of it:

    As mentioned before on this blog, I've been watching city council meetings for at least a year and a half now. I remember the meetings and public hearing that were held on the Wi-Fi issue and they were led by Councilman Bill Peduto (District 8) as the Chair of the Committee on Facilities, Technology and the Arts.

    Peduto was the acknowledged "point man" on the wi-fi issue in council; he's been frequently mentioned in the press as "long a proponent of free wireless Internet access; " he's currently working on expanding the system; and if I recall correctly, free wi-fi was part of what he campaigned on when he ran for mayor.

    Some Questions:

  • Has Young Luke ever even attended a meeting of the Committee on Facilities, Technology and the Arts?

  • Has he ever been mentioned in the media on this issue before he became mayor?

  • How exactly has he "led the charge to move forward the City’s downtown Wi-Fi plan" other than showing up at the press conference on the day it came to fruition?
  • I know that when you're practically fresh out of college, the temptation must be great to pad your resume, but they fire folks for padding these days. (And, it's not exactly like We The People even hired him in the first place.)

    Even Chili's Restaurants "have an on-line application where you must detail accomplishments and then 'back them up' with a person who can verify that accomplishment."

    Can anyone back up Luke's own claim to have "led the charge to move forward the City’s downtown Wi-Fi plan"?

    Can anyone cite anything that he's personally done in getting the city free Wi-Fi?

    Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?


    Mark Rauterkus said...

    Good question about Luke taking credit for wi-fi.

    Frankly, I would not want to take credit for it unless it went to the entire city.

    It is one thing to pad. It is another thing to grab.

    BTW, I think Luke did go to Columbus, Ohio, on a field trip when he was on council. That was a quest to visit their NHL facility. Was that mentioned as a career highlight?

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

    Maria ... keep digging! I'd like to know how deep his involvement extends with some of these "boards" he's listed.

    One thing for sure, this "I'm so humbled blah blah blah" stuff is fading fast.

    I can see a monster slowly rising out of the murk of Mon ...

    Bill Peduto, get a move on it, would ya?

    Anonymous said...

    I sure hope Peduto isn't rising...UGH.

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

    You got any better ideas? ;-) Sure, Peduto has the charisma of a pond koi (sorry Maria!), but I don't see any better alternatives at the moment, though I'm completely open to any and all suggestions.

    Anonymous said...

    I heard that Mayor Ravenstahl took his bodyshield, ahem, bodyguard to a family wedding because he was 'freaked out' from all the attention he has recently received. More like 'smug as shit' or 'desperately lacking self-esteem'.

    I'd rather have the nice lady who makes bagels in the lobby of the city-council building as least she KNOWS the names of more than 5 city workers!