Luke Ravenjagoff: born with a silver perogie in his mouth

I would love to link to the Post-Gazette’s editorial about the ethical failures of our child-mayor, seen here talkin’ baseball with his big brother, but the P-G’s awful new website will not allow me to get at it. I am beginning to think that their plan is to force us back into buying the paper in newsprint by making the web version totally unreadable.

The editorial has an undertone of a feeling that I think a lot of people, myself included, have had since Luke’s performance two days ago. We, the P-G editorial board and I, are rendered slack-jawed by the sense that the Mayor doesn’t realize that he did anything wrong. They call it “a certain immaturity,” I tend to call it a staggering sense of entitlement. This impression is backed up by Luke’s bizarre claim in Esquire that he is not in the position to receive perks as mayor, when anyone who understands what a perk is recognizes that he has done very little else.

Molly Ivins said of George Bush the elder, “He was born on third base thinking he hit a triple.” Why isn’t there someone in city government who can remind Luke that the world doesn’t owe him anything, and he is in the position he is in now because of incredible luck and family privilege, not hard work, intelligence or even charm.

Another point: Ed Heath mentioned here and on his own excellent weblog that the taxable value of UPMC’s and the Penguins’ gifts to Ravenstahl is $246.75, not nine thousand dollars. This is the cost to the Lemieux Foundation, and would be the pertinent number were Luke invited by the foundation. He was not a guest of the Foundation, he was a guest of two other entities which paid nine thousand, which is what it costs to play in this golf outing.

To claim that $246.75 is the correct number would be akin to my being given a $20,000 car, but claiming that the value of the gift was $5,000, because that is what it cost GM to buy the raw materials. Nine thousand is the amount that would have come out of the Mayor’s pocket had he paid, and was in fact the amount that his corporate friends provided.

4 Comments so far

  1. Ed Heath (unregistered) on August 23rd, 2007 @ 3:31 pm

    Actually, to be clear, you need $27,000 to get into the Lemieux foundation tournament. The foundation people are not going to accept single entries and hope they can get together a threesome to link with a celebrity (I assume some celebrities receive some compensation, or use their expenses as a tax write-off). So the 9,000 figure is really also an illusion. But if you and five friends each pony up $4500, you too can play golf with Irving R Levine (a personal hero).

    The only importance I attribute (at this point) to the $246.75 is that the Mayor himself referenced (approximately) that figure, in a televised interview on July 26. Then at the Ethics Board meeting Tuesday he said he received nothing of value. But the $246.75 was his figure. Without knowing exactly how the city law department arrived at $246.75, in fact, I don’t entirely trust it.

    The only good thing is that this Mayor has confined himself to penny ante shenanigans, so far. But he’s not very good at it, and I have to wonder if/when his staff will turn on him (like Nate Harper’s comment about the Mayor getting up before six, and then staying out till after two

  2. Maria (unregistered) on August 23rd, 2007 @ 11:43 pm

    They came up with the figure of $246.75 because they had to have it come in under the $250.00 limit.

  3. Ed Heath (unregistered) on August 24th, 2007 @ 12:18 pm

    I agree Maria, but still I am puzzled. $250 is a yearly limit in the ethics code. Was George “Ted Buckland” Specter having a little laugh at the Mayor’s expense? If the Mayor had mentioned the $246.75 at the Ethics Board, would that have limited him from accepting Steelers tickets later this year? I tell you what, this ethics business gets more Byzantine all the time.

  4. Maria (unregistered) on August 26th, 2007 @ 12:38 pm

    It’s a yearly limit for sports events, not charity (no limit).

    I think they just wanted to be sure their ass was covered since the charity was a golf event and it just looks better if it comes in under the limit for sports.

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