Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Post You Can't Refuse

Despite the best efforts of Virgil 'The Turk' Sollozzo with the backing of Barzini and Tattaglia, they hit me with five shots and mountains of needless of paperwork, but I'm still alive. Well that's bad luck for you.

Actually, the parallel between the mob hit and the events of last week in City Government aren't too far off the mark with Dennis "The Enforcer" Regan getting whacked upon the orders of Don Luke "Lucky" Ravenstahl. Now, setting aside the metaphor for a second, this creates an interesting situation for the current administration and is either a signal that the new Mayor is really smart or really dumb.

First, the smart bit: Luke is obviously going to run next November (more on this in a second) so he's going to need to create an administration and policies of his own to run on. While adherence to the previous O'Connor policies can serve for the transition period, eventually Luke is going to have to look like "his own man," or as Pete Flaherty said "nobody's boy." Distancing himself from Regan, a guy who was seen by many as nothing more than a nepotistic unqualified shill, will help to advance this perception of independence from the nastier points of the previous administration and mend fences with those that weren't in the good graces of Bob in the hopes of garnering a broader basis of support.

Then there is a dumb bit, however: from a pragmatic standpoint alienating the smokefilled-backroom boys of Bobby O' is going to also alienate their deep pockets. Despite his politically connected family, Ravenstahl's political cache is relatively small and his war chest is undeveloped. I cannot imagine that O'Connor's war chest was fully expended last year and I think it safe to assume that there is several thousand (potentially hundreds of thousands of) dollars that could be directed to a "Bobby O'" approved candidate. If anyone had access to this money, it would be Regan.

So, on to that issue. First, I must say that I was surprised that the board ruled the way that it did, given the representation of old school people with names like "Onorato" and "DeFazio". It sounded like a lock that they would put the election off until 2009, but there you go. Actually, I was more surprised that they didn't mandate that a Costa be mayor.

Anyway, Maria had posted a handful of people that would probably run in the May primary. Out of all of them Peduto and Lamb have the already established infrastructure for running a city-wide campaign and seem to be odds on favorites to throw their hats in the ring. Ravenstahl has already said that he's in, and he may have the advantage of the remnants of the defunct O'Connor machine (or, as I said above, he could either blow it or create his own base).

I don't think that Ferlo will run; I'm with Fester on this.

And then there's Ben Woods. All I can say is that if Ben Woods runs, at least the Trib won't be resorting to hyperbole when they call him "criminal."

Don't really know the intentions or have any feelings on Fitzgerald, or Frankel. The thought of Caliguiri running is disturbing; I'm not big on the scions of politicians using name recognition to advance in political office. Maybe it's just me.

Maria leaves off Auditor General and former City Councilman Jack Wagner who, back in the day, seemed to covet the job of Mayor. He's probably as good of a candidate as any with widespread voter recognition.

All that aside, the thought of another mayoral race in... oy... five and a half months makes me a little nauseous, partially because I ate some month old chicken salad that was hiding in the back of the fridge, but mostly because we all in local government were just beginning to get used to the O'Connor administration when it became the Ravenstahl administration

Change is a bitch, especially for Bureaucrats who thrive on constancy and regulation. To bring in a fourth Mayor in 780 days is going to really mess up my priorities and files.

The whole hasty election thing reminds me of the Roman Empire in 69 C.E. when, following the forced suicide of emperor Nero, there was civil war and a quick succession of four emperors Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian. Sort of like how the City of Pittsburgh used to be organized... how they based it on the old Roman legions. It was like the Roman Empire. And when a plot against the Emperor failed -- the planners were always given a chance to let their families keep their fortunes. But only the rich guys; The little guys - they got knocked off and all their estates went to the Emperors. Unless they went home and uh, killed themselves - then nothing happened. And their families - their families were taken care of.

Otherwise, they got whacked.

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