A foundering ship
The Post-Gazette, in a euphamistically worded editoral, calls out Pittsburgh's political culture and its political class:
The city's Redd Up Crew, the brainchild of that authentic hometown character, late Mayor Bob O'Connor, has Pittsburghese in its name for a reason: It is Pittsburgh to the core. Unfortunately, more so than we ever knew.
In addition to civic pride and neighborliness, Pittsburgh has unenlightened political attitudes that have been magnified by the supremacy of the local Democratic Party for the last 70 years. That was on display when members of the Redd Up Crew were caught on camera wearing the campaign T-shirts of Councilman Jeff Koch.
This incident seems to capture all too well what seems like a precipitious political decline since Mayor Bob O'Connor died nearly nine months ago. When Bill Peduto withdrew from the mayor's race, he said the city was still grieving O'Connor's death. That struck me at the time as bogus--which is not to imply O'Connor's death was not tragic, nor that his family and friends are not still rightfully grieving--but to a great extent we are indeed still suffering from O'Connor's death.
The fact is that no one has filled the leadership vacuum left by the mayor's death, and the city is the worse for it. That's not to say O'Connor would have been a great mayor, or that incidents like what happened with the Redd Up Crew wouldn't have occurred under O'Connor's watch. But that incident adds to the sense of chaos that pervades our political landscape, and which threatens to diminish the city's quality of life. Luke Ravenstahl has neither the experience nor the political base to fill that vacuum. Peduto can't seem to expand his support beyond Squirrel Hill and Shadyside, and his influence on council is almost nil. Doug Shields seems to have cast his lot with the city's corrupt political establishment, and as for the rest of council, well, let's just say that Jeff Koch fits right in.
It's enough to make one want to vote for Rauterkus.