Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Shit Canned

The Trib is getting its collective panties in a bunch over a bunch of trash cans.

[The Mayor's] office used $252,500 from state grants to buy 250 steel trash receptacles that display "Taking Care of Business" above Ravenstahl's name and title on black-and-gold metal placards.

The slogan emblazoned on each $1,010 garbage can heralds Ravenstahl's seven-month-old campaign to beautify 50 city business districts. Some question whether it's ethical to deploy expensive, taxpayer-funded endorsements on curbsides, months before the May 19 Democratic primary...

Tim Potts, co-founder and president of nonprofit government watchdog group Democracy Rising, said Ravenstahl's campaign committee owes taxpayers a refund.

"It's plain self-promotion. It's not promoting the city, it's promoting him," Potts said.
The article points out, of course, that Ravenstahl isn't the first Mayor to attach his name on public works projects. Tom Murphy put "Mayor Tom Murphy's City of Pittsburgh is Picking Up" or something like that on all the garbage trucks. Pete Flaherty emblazoned trash cans with "For Pete's Sake" as part of his anti-litter campaign; Sophie Masloff put "Sophie's Choice for a Clean City" on all of her trash cans, seemingly trying to equate garbage with the Holocaust.

Even Bob O'Connor tried to co-opt the Redd Up campaign with "reminder" billboards peppered with his image, which was later picked up by his young successor.

Richard Caliguiri put his name on the Great Race, while Mayor Joe Barr managed to get his name on U.S. Currency for a time.

While not Mayor at the time, David L. Lawrence managed, as Governor, to have Smith County renamed "Lawrence County" in a brazen display of political bravado.

Cornelius D. Scully made all City employees wear buttons with his picture on their lapels.

William A. Magee rearranged the streets in the Lower Hill District to spell out his name. The street grid was later destroyed by the building of Civic Arena.

James Blackmore insisted that every cobblestone in every street bear his name. (Every sewer line was similarly carved with the name of his rivals on City Council.)

Ebeneezer Denny mandated that every child born in the City be named "Ebeneezer," regardless of sex. This was systematically ignored by the residents.

So, as you can see there's a history of this kind of crap; let's just be thankful we're just labeling trashcans and not, say, feral cats.


Sherry Pasquarello said...

i remember seeing those "for pete's sake" cans all over downtown.

the zoo and other things were underfunded but damn we had newly labled trash cans!

Anonymous said...

Hey Sherry, checked your photo.

Not old enough to remember "for pete's sake trash cans'. Unless you remember your mom placing your diaper in one.

Trash cans....where I come from are called "Trailers'.

How do I get pic on blog?

I'm old...help me!