Monday, July 30, 2007

Profile: Mayor Luke Ravenstahl

Ok, so I've decided to jump in to the local political seen head first and I'm taking you with me. I think a prudent step would be to get to know the players. The logical place to start is with the Mayor. I'm going to take a view of the local newspapers, blogs, national news and his website and try to form up a profile. For this profile I'm going to attempt to be strictly factual, I'll save my opinions for later. Also, for now I'm just going to talk strictly about Mayor Ravenstahl, there will be plenty of time between now and November to discuss DeSantis and the race. I'm sure that my survey of Luke's political history is incomplete, my goal is simply to introduce him. If you think I omitted something crucial, leave a comment.

Name: Luke Ravenstahl
Current Position: Mayor till 1/2008 with elections in 11/2007
Born: 2/6/1980
Education: Mercyhurst (partial), Pitt (partial), W&J (degree)
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Religion: Practicing Catholic
Non-political Career: He was very briefly an account manager for a courier service.
Political Career:
  • District 1 City Councilman: 1/2004 to 9/2006
  • City Council President: 12/2005 to 9/2006
  • Mayor: 9/2006 to Present


  • The Pittsburgh Promise is a promise to city High School graduates from 2008 on that they will get any college help they need from a program backed by private funding. The clock's ticking on whether this program will be implemented successfully.
  • Works closely with Dan Onorato (who is a family acquaintance). Soon after Ravenstahl became Mayor the two agreed to a panel that would study the potential for combining county and city governments. Though this relationship may be on the fritz.
  • Youngest Mayor of any major metropolitan city in the US.
  • A wide variety of mini-scandals have hit in his time as mayor. He may have accepted an inappropriate gift by appearing in a golf tournament as a guest of UPMC, he has had to clean up a few city officials accused of wrong doing, though they date to his predecessors, he may or may not have been disorderly at a Steeler's game and he promoted three police officers with a history of domestic abuse. None of these seem to be too major (at least to me), but it does seem like quite a few things considering he hasn't been mayor a year yet.
  • Helped keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh (though how much of a role he played is debated).
  • Helped pass two difficult budgets one as city council president and one as mayor.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Welcome to the Blog of Burgher Jon

I have actually been blogging for a while, but have chosen to refocus my blogging efforts on the politics and economy of Pittsburgh. In order to facilitate my major shift in focus I brought this new blog in to existence. I will cease posting to Nittany Burgh Blog and focus on bringing the world (that's you) a view of the politics and economy of Pittsburgh through the eyes of a young professional. The reason I have chosen this focus comes from two realizations about my potential value to the blogosphere.
  1. I'm not as funny as PittGirl or Tunesmith and Anthony, this won't stop me from pointing out humor when I see it. I'm also not as knowledgeable about Pittsburgh's Sports as thePensBlog or MondesisHouse, which won't stop me from pointing out the occasional sports issue.
  2. I'm not as smart or as extensively educated as Mike Maddison, Jim Russell or Chris Briem. However, I do have the unique perspective of a concerned citizen of Pittsburgh who is not connected to an ivory tower or politics (beyond being an active voter). I have scoured the web for a blog about the economics and/or politics of Pittsburgh that is written from such a "layman" perspective and have found none. Consequently, I will attempt to fill that niche.

I hope that my posts can bring about a level of awareness and informed activity to other people who are concerned about Pittsburgh and its future.