Hey, spring is in the air, the Pens are in the playoffs, the Presidential candidates are in town off and on, and ... mumble mumble there is a city government scandal mumble.
What? I expect most of the public, even the voting public, has not heard about the LED billboard business. The people most likely to pay attention, besides democratic committee persons all over the city, are probably the people who had likely voted for Mark DeSantis. In other words, people neither Lamar nor the Mayor have to worry too much about. Still, the Mayor just got done endorsing City/County merger, so he doesn’t want his national image tarnished. If the State Ethics Board does a reasonable job, Pat Ford will probably be linked to a series of low level corrupt practises, not enough for any real charges but enough to have him removed from this city’s government. So the Mayor wants to be seen as getting out on the right side of this issue.
Meanwhile, I don’t go downtown, so I don’t see these things. I read that the billboard in question is almost finished. Lamar will be able to present the city with a fait accompli, a billboard that is ready to go, maybe today. That’s probably why they filed a lawsuit against the five city council persons that is almost totally without merit, to provide an excuse for them to ignore the zoning board’s order to suspend activity. I predict the city will refuse to provide electricity for the billboard for maybe a week, and then let them go ahead and advertise. What would be nice would be if the Mayor found an appropriate punishment for Lamar’s role in this. Providing some level of free advertising for the city’s human and social service non-profits would do nicely, but I have my doubts this Mayor would do that (free campaign advertising is more his speed).
Speaking of the Mayor, as I said, he is trying to get out to the right side of local issues, the side of championing the rule of law and the interests of the people. But if the Mayor hadn’t been interested in asserting his power, or in making the city more developer friendly, or in being a 27 year old, maybe none of this would have had to come up. Mayor Ravenstahl understands that modern politics is all about making connections and raising campaign funds. What he doesn’t seem to understand is that good politicians do those things so they can also spend some time helping people.
Will a judge in the court of common pleas throw out the Lamar suit today? I don't think the Lamar lawyers would care, except they want the five city council people to post bond, something Lamar can take home if they are forced to abandon the billboard.