Monday, April 06, 2009

Tragedy postpones mayoral debate and more

To be clear, the tragedy did not postpone the debate, Luke Ravenstahl did.
Tragedy postpones mayoral debate A mayoral debate scheduled for tonight has been postponed.

City Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, City Councilman Patrick Dowd and attorney Carmen Robinson were scheduled to debate at 7 p.m.

However, Mr. Ravenstahl sent his challengers an e-mail yesterday asking that they reschedule.

'The tragic deaths of three Pittsburgh police officers on Saturday, April 4th, has shaken our city to its core,' he wrote. 'The impact of the ultimate sacrifice paid by Officers Eric Kelly, Paul J. Sciullo III and Stephen J. Mayhle continues to reverberate throughout our city, state and country. With that in mind, our scheduled debate should not take place this Monday so that our attention is not diverted from our obligation to comfort the family, friends and colleagues of these fallen heroes.'

The debate was scheduled to be aired live on PCNC, a cable news channel affiliate.

A new date has not yet been set.
Of course, neither of the challengers can object to this request. So, I will.

Has Luke done his homework -- or not?

I'm sure he has been busy. But, he should be busy. That is expected.

Holding a debate could be a perfect time to just what he wishes to do. With a one hour TV presentation, salted for tonight, attention could given to obligations of comfort for the family, friends and colleagues of the police officers.

Rather than scratch the debate, this is a great time to hold an extra meeting / debate. Use the time slot with the candidates to get their views out for others to hear, as life marches on. Stretch the opening statement to five minutes, rather than the typical 90 seconds or so.

But, the problem for Luke Ravenstahl is the fact that one of the other candidates that he'd have to share the stage with is a former police officer. She walked miles in those shoes in the past. She might have known the one officer and his family.

I remember September 2001's political climate. In the 2001 primary, I had tossed my hat into the ring, so to speak, as an opposition candidate to what Tom Murphy was doing to Pittsburgh. I wasn't in the race in the fall of 2001 when 9-11 hit, but James Carmine, Ph.D., professor of philosophy, smooth talker, was.

We had been asking for debates in August.

Later that fall, I even staged one with others at the Carneigie Library Lecture Hall -- and Tom Murphy didn't show up.

After 9-11 there were no political debates -- but -- they election in November still happened, of course, as they should have.

What didn't happen in 2001 was voter education. Those in power love it when that occurs. Accountability evaporates. Watchdogs slumber.

The bottom line, or, at the end of the day, -- there was one debate in the fall of 2001 with the Democrat Mayor. One. That debate was on TV -- but it was held on Sunday night before the polls opened on Tuesday. Good grief.

City Council cancels meetings in wake of shootings: "Pittsburgh City Council has canceled all official business this week in light of the deadly shooting of three police officers Saturday."
Last week, Councilman Bruce Kraus was absent at the Wednesday meeting of council. He was in Erie meeting with the city council there seeking support for a a new law concerning lost-and-stolen guns. That discussion looms large in these times in terms of diminishing Second Amendment Rights.

No clue here as to how those meetings unfolded.


Anonymous said...

Gotta disagree- law enforcement officers being killed in this way must shock us enough to stop our world for a while. If it does not, we are all headed for serious trouble.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Stop our world for a while means stop -- not cancel. And it might mean delay -- with a re-scheduled time.

I'm shocked. We all are shocked.

Democracy shouldn't be stopped.

I'd love to see our candidates gather in unity given the setting and the time. Those that can't should NOT be in office.

Mark Rauterkus said...

BTW, it takes courage to NOT hide, Anonymous.

Matt H said...

A debate would have been awful. Politics need to be set aside and attention needs to be focused on the fallen officers.

This has nothing to do with Ravenstahl being on stage with a former city police officer.

I'm sad that you don't seem to realize that Mark.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Matt H, I agree, the debate would have been awful. That's why the typical debate should not have been held.

I didn't advocate for a debate as such.

However, there are ways to have a 60 minute TV session with creative community leaders to focus on the fallen officers and associated elements of everyone's emotions.

It is also wrong to pull the plug on an event and NOT have it re-scheduled with a date and time in the next breath.

Luke could have said, he was not going to meet on stage on Monday, but he would do it 14 days from now.

Getting both -- candidate statements in the wake of the events of Saturday -- and a subsequent debate on the calendars of all -- would have been ideal and shown real leadership in time of high emotions and loss.

Pittsburgh needs to have folks who are not afraid to take the next steps, to go out of the box, to be in community, to show respect in public, to be solemn.

The election is a month away. There have been no debates. To be out of sync with these facts of time is be without the traits I just described.

Anonymous said...

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Fallen Heroes Fundraiser at FUDDRUCKERS April 15th and 16th! 20% of each days' sales will be go to the Memorial Fund! Come show support!

Anonymous said...