Power to the people right on
North Side residents are shocked, shocked, to learn that Luke Ravenstahl could care less what they want for their neighborhood:
Others at the meeting, held at The Pittsburgh Project building on North Charles Street, accused officials of being more enthused about building a casino than tackling the crime and poverty that have ravaged North Side neighborhoods. (link)
Well, duh. Of course politicians would rather build a casino than address crime and poverty. Just like they would rather build stadiums, arenas, convention centers and luxury condominiums than address crime and poverty. As our president might say, reducing crime and poverty is hard work. The causes are complex and the solutions not readily apparent. Progress often occurs so slowly that if you're not careful your successors end up taking all the credit. (New York City's celebrated decline in crime began under David Dinkins, for example.)
But large, glitzy economic development projects are easy. You just hand over money to a politically connected developer and within a matter of months you're getting your photo taken with a big shiny shovel. By the time anyone realizes the project was a dud, you just might be out of office, or even dead. Which would you prefer if you were a politician?
The North Side residents are not wrong to demand more of their mayor. Just a bit naive. On the other hand, there is an alternative.