Thursday, April 23, 2009

Are we listening?

Bob Mayo does a good job of covering how he tried to follow up at the end of Monday's debate, and did follow up with Mayor Ravenstahl on Tuesday, about his making his schedule public. I gather there was a press conference on Tuesday and when Mr. Mayo asked his question again (about the Mayor making his “full” schedule public, as he apparently used to do), the Mayor quipped “I did a pretty good job of not answering it, didn’t I” and got some laughter.

OK, that’s actually not funny. A televised debate is when reporters ask questions on our behalf, and the candidates are supposed to answer them. Not answering is basically telling Pittsburghers “I have no respect for you, you have no right to know”.

Now, the Mayor did sort of say he would make his schedule public, tentatively (and defintely said he would participate in a third debate), but he took pains to say he might keep some things private. He wouldn’t reveal his campaign strategy, for example. Um, how does a schedule reveal a campaign strategy? On the other hand, schedules might say which donors the Mayor is meeting with. If the Mayor wants to keep certain donations or arrangements off the books, it would be better not to have those meetings or attendees listed somewhere publicly.

By the way, I think I might have (inadvertently) harassed Bob Mayo on his blog, if so, I apologize and feel bad. I referenced a question he asked the Mayor in a debate two years ago, and I whined about him not following up when the Mayor didn’t answer. Of course my memory could be faulty, or I could just be peeved my candidate didn’t win, but I should point out Mayo did ask the question in the first place. Mayo frequently is the person with the toughest questions, one of Pittsburgh’s best journalists, and by the way, then goes out of his way to provide the blogosphere with his thoughts, something only a couple of local journalists do.

But all that is not what this post is about (argh, he’s being long winded as always!). The Mayor volunteered in his closing statement in Monday’s debate that he wasn’t ready to be Mayor when he took over in September of 2006.

Really?

‘cause that’s what a lot of his critics were saying then. Were you ready to be City Council President in December of 2005? You could have declined that honor, and you could have declined the office of Mayor, for that matter. But you accepted both, because you felt you could handle them, I guess. Now you tell us you think your judgment was faulty then.

Really?

Can you give us some indications why you think you judgment was faulty then? Something about Dennis Regan, maybe? Did you project a deficit in your budget, and now realize that the truth is over rated? Something?

And how, exactly, can we trust you now? You now admit your judgment was wrong then, but at the time you said we could trust you, right? Should we trust you now when you say you are equipped to run the City? Why? You can’t be running on your record, can you? After all, you said you weren’t ready in ’06. By the by, when would you say you transformed from na├»ve youth making mistakes to experienced Mayor? Can you pinpoint a date?

This is a Mayor who wants to laugh about not answering a question in a televised debate. And I should point out that he was only going to participate in two debates (despite all his rhetoric), so each debate counted even more. And he wanted to waste the viewers time by not answering questions.

And he told us all this himself, its not anybody putting words in his mouth.

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