Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Mayor and his wife

I am not, in any sense, a Pittsburgh insider. All the stuff I know is public knowledge, unless I happen to be in the wrong place at the right time and find something out inadvertently. So along with the rest of us I heard that the Mayor and his wife have separated.

First let me express my sympathy. Every member of my family has gone through divorce in one form or another, most in multiple contexts. It is a fact of modern life but no less painful for that, maybe a bit more so. I feel particularly bad for Mrs. Ravenstahl, who will be facing at least a period of being a single mother, which is always difficult.

But second, although I have (as I said above) no special knowledge, I can’t help but feel there is more to this. When Marty Griffin asked Mayor Ravenstahl about infidelity, the Mayor’s answer gave me a sense of déjà vu. “Erin and I have made a decision ... we're not going to sit here and answer questions and rumors ... Those things have been out there for some time. We have agreed to deal with this in a very personal way and will continue to do that”. Obviously that statement was edited for the PG, but it still brought up my memory of the very first time I saw the Mayor caught in a lie. That was when the Mayor was asked about the 2005 Halloween Steelers game, when he denied there having been an incident, using the same sorts of phrasing as this recent quote. John McIntire subsequently broke the story of the handcuffing on his blog, and it was clear the Mayor had essentially lied to us.

The line the Ravenstahl’s are taking about their separation is that Erin is uncomfortable with being in the public eye. Mayor Ravenstahl says he considered not running for re-election, which might well piss off Pat Dowd. Now, I don’t know anything about the Ravenstahl’s private lifem or their personalities. Either he or she could be saints or hellions, wonderful or intolerable to live with. I can’t really assume anything, and yet, I suspect that Erin Ravenstahl has kicked Luke out. And I have trouble believing that her primary motivation was because she was tired or unhappy about being in the public eye. If the statements of the Chief of Police a couple of summers ago about how the Mayor works from six in the morning to after two in the morning are to be believed, the Mayor might be working too hard (although frankly I doubt it). Past that, I won’t speculate about what the Mayor’s particular misdeeds might be. But if Erin Ravenstahl is anywhere near as sweet as she has appeared in the rare interviews I have seen, and considering their one year old, I would have to say I am disappointed that the Mayor could let things get to this point. Presumably there have been discussions between the two of them. Assuming the Mayor is the one making mistakes here, assuming that he has failed to do something(s) that she wanted him to, what does it say to us about how we can trust the Mayor that he was unable to make his marriage work? If what he said to Erin was unable to convince her to continue their marriage, what should we think about Luke Ravenstahl as Mayor?

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