Pittsburgh, as you may or may not know, has the youngest mayor of any major American city. Luke Ravenstahl, at the young, hoary, horny age of 27, runs things around here. Actually, there remains some debate about the likelihood that things around here are running him. To which I say: Who honestly cares? Ravenstahl attained to his position through an odd quirk of our local government. Mayoral succession passes first to the City Council President. Ravenstahl had been a young city councilman who was elected council president by his fellow council members as a factional compromise. Other than directly succeeding the mayor, council presidency is basically ceremonial. Whodathunk that Mayor Bob O'Connor would have, like, a totally rare, totally untreatable brain cancer? Anyway, that is the ballad of Luke.
Since his ascencion and corronation, he's made a number of prominent ethical gaffes, most of which involve a sort of Pimp-My-Life affection for sports figures and fancy transportation by private jet. Laughable, I think, but not exactly condemnable. The latest hijinks, however, achieve the Who Is IOZ? seal of approval.
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl found nothing wrong yesterday with his use of a police vehicle paid for with Homeland Security Department grant funds that he used for business and personal trips.And by "business and personal trips," you mean?
Mr. Ravenstahl confirmed Tuesday that he used the vehicle, assigned to the police Intelligence Squad, for everything from business travel to Harrisburg to a trip to an Aug. 18 Toby Keith concert at the Post-Gazette Pavilion.I even forgive him the Toby Keith!
At a breakfast speech before the Executive Women's Council at the Duquesne Club, Downtown, Mr. Ravenstahl responded defiantly to questions about his judgment.Yeah, you tell 'em.
"I understand I'm being held to a higher standard but at the same time I'm going to continue to be who I am, because that's the only way I know to be," he said. "Have I learned? Absolutely. Will I carefully consider decisions that I make? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, I'm still going to continue to be who I'm going to be, and go to concerts like I always have, and go to have a drink with my wife in bars. That's what 27-year-olds do and I shouldn't be any different."
I'm not interested in The Petit Prince's baller lifestyle, of course, but rather in the perfect poetry of defrauding Homeland Security through creative barhopping. Talk about an honorary Defeatist! We might all pause and ask what precisely a federally-funded GMC Yukon is doing for the Pittsburgh Police department and how it's going to help if Haji McVeigh and Others Unknown detonate a dirty anthrax-formed penetrating mass destruction weapons program in the middle of Heinz field? We might ask, but why bother? Nuthin', that's the obvious answer. The mayor and his wife could be smoking crack in the Hill District watching 13-year-olds fornicate with household pets in the back seat, and it wouldn't change a thing.
Homeland Security is a federal boondoggle, a waste of time, space, and national vigor. If my 27-year-old mayor wants to put rims on the motherfucker and roll all over town, more power too him. If the federal government gave me a ride, you can be sure that no ride would go unridden, blunt untoked, neighborhood uncruised, and no hooker would be left behind.