Two Challengers for Ravenstahl: “Is it Wise?”

All three Democratic party contenders for Mayor of Pittsburgh dodged a simple yes-or-no question at a candidate forum on Sunday: “Is it wise for more than one good candidate to run opposite Luke?”

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl pointedly deferred answering (okay, he gets a pass). Councilman Bill Peduto said that he “likes” the Controller, acknowledged that they both have a lot of friends in the room, that he does wish he could tell him not to run “but he can’t”, and put on a brave face. Controller Michael Lamb declined to address Mr. Peduto or his candidacy in any manner and went straight to the brave face.

Nobody in this City wants to talk about wisdom.

(*-UPDATE: The rest of the candidates forum, including a panel for City Council District 8, candidates is available here. For print coverage of the forum, see bingo bango bongo bungo.)

17 thoughts on “Two Challengers for Ravenstahl: “Is it Wise?”

  1. Bram Reichbaum

    Thank you! And I'm glad to learn that Lamb told the Pitt News he led the effort to block the tuition tax. To the best of my recollection that was EVERY SENTIENT LIFE FORM ON THE PLANET.

  2. Anonymous

    It is probably not wise to have two candidates challenge the Mayor. The problem with the storyline though is that Peduto is telling that story. Lamb is by far the superior candidate. He has much broader City appeal, sounds smarter (and is smarter) when he talks and is not nearly as arrogant. Case in point – you don't see Lamb calling for Peduto to drop out.

  3. Anonymous

    So far Lamb is talking about what he'll do as mayor while Bill is trying to be the anti-Luke. I think Lamb's message is more appealing to average voters. And Bill does seem a bit whiny on the issue of who's in and who's out.

  4. Anonymous

    Bram, it seems a little disingenuous for you to suggest that in order for Lamb to the better man for the job he would need to haul in more money than Bill. By your logic, does that mean Luke is by far the best man for the job? I fail to see the dots you are trying to connect in your transparent shilling for Pedutes.

  5. flybylight

    I'm thinking we can have our Lamb and Peduto, too. We already have Michael Lamb in city-wide office. He has been touting what he has accomplished as the Controller. If we elect Bill Peduto Mayor, we can have both of them working in our favor.

    But if we don't all decide in unison, we end up with Ravenstahl, which is deadly.

  6. Bram Reichbaum

    You'll know it if I turn shill for anybody, Anon 8:00. I'm just saying that if Lamb's appeal is so much broader, we should be able to learn that by better metrics than anonymous assertions. I witnessed the large, diverse crowd at Peduto's kickoff, and it appeared Lamb punted on trying to display a large show of support. I'm witnessing Peduto collect some interesting endorsements but seeing little so far from Lamb to counter that. He still has time to turn that around, and one thing he can do is produce encouraging fund raising totals. This is why polls would be so crucial; I'd settle happily for a name recognition survey at this point and forget fund raising. But flybynight is right: united we stand, divided we fall. Nobody wants to fall, do they?

  7. Bram Reichbaum

    Oh, and I'm aware that our Controller raised a skeptical note about the legality of Ravenstahl's student tax.

    One thing is, I actually believed and fervently hoped it would be legal under the Local Tax Enabling Act AKA the “Tax Everything” Act. Although I appreciated Lamb's attempt to gum up that particular initiative, City leaders should really be careful to jealously preserve City power where we have it, not diminish it. Indeed since State Rep. Paul Costa scrambled to make the student tax (heavens, do remember the Mayor calling it the “Fair Share” tax??) illegal, that's an indication we really did have that power. And I'm glad we do, the strong interpretation will come in handy with the Billboard Tax and others.

    But anyway, what I really wanted to say: with the Universities, students, most Council members and our state Legislative delegation all eagerly opposed to the tax, the Controller's claim that he “led the effort” MIGHT be considered by Politifact to be “half true”. Perhaps even “mostly false.” I'd probably award the goal to Tonya Payne for breaking ranks on that one, or Theresa Smith for calling and chairing the “let's bring everyone together” meeting.

  8. Anonymous

    According to Bram, Bill would be a $50,000 better mayor than lamb and Luke a 700,000 mayor than either, since the measure of the man is the size of his campaign war chest. And would bet good money that bram has a deal with Peduto for gainful employment in exchange for favorable tweets. Bram is no stranger to city employment as he worked for councilwoman smith.

  9. Bram Reichbaum

    Oh, c'mon, Anon 8:28, look what I wrote on the 30th at 8:25. Totally rational. And do you really think I'm buying this, “A challenger can win a 3-way race” brave face foolishness? Of course I'm sweating the ramifications, everybody should be. And by the way, my pay stubs read “City of Pittsburgh” not “Councilwoman Smith” in 2011, and we all know I'm not fit for gainful employment anymore. Once you've been with the best, everything else would be a let-down.

  10. BrianTH

    Using fundraising as a proxy for relative support from political elites is not an irrational suggestion, and it is unfair to treat that as an assertion about the relative merits of the candidates.

    That said, by that logic Ravenstahl is demonstrating enough elite support to beat the challengers separately OR combined (even assuming they could in fact simply join their support behind one challenger, which is unlikely–typically the favorite would get at least some of that support if a challenger dropped out).

    And that in turn is likely to make it harder to persuade one of the challengers to drop out, as we have discussed before.

  11. Anonymous

    Bram, looks like the Mayor, under your logic, has substantially more broad based support around the City and appeal to voters. He is crushing poor little Billy Boy. Cry me a river.

  12. Bram Reichbaum

    BrianTH and Anon 7:28 – I'm not making predictions based on fund raising data alone or in generalized circumstances. I'm using fund raising among several other available data sets in order to make wise strategic bets pertaining to somewhat similar underdogs.

    I really hope I get the time to write a Post About Lamb and a Post About Peduto very soon, and not from an electoral likelihood angle but from a statesperson one. It's clear enough my perspectives on both need to be clarified more fulsomely. Don't expect the first installment until quite late today (Friday) but stay tuned if you think you'd enjoy that sort of thing.

  13. Bram Reichbaum

    I've listed finances, endorsements and event attendance. Which objective metrics favor Lamb? Quantity of anonymous assertions claiming that “he's smarter” or “he's more appealing” are not objective metrics. I do not rule out the intrusion of confirmation bias, this is why we crowdsource.


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