Chris Potter makes what I think is the key point about the Luke Ravenstahl years. It isn’t that Ravenstahl’s policy initiatives are particularly bad or anything. The problem is a lack of political imagination:
Which brings us to what may be Ravenstahl’s biggest weakness. It’s probably not the dark conspiracies imagined by his critics, but his own frequent lack of imagination.
Asked during his press conference about his proudest accomplishment, the mayor cited his early championing of the Pittsburgh Promise, a college-scholarship program for students in city schools. A noble cause, but one that launched within the mayor’s first half-year in office.
It’s not that Ravenstahl lacked for accomplishments since: new economic developments, balanced budgets passed without the chaos inflicted by his predecessor, Tom Murphy. And his friendliness to gay causes was more than one would have expected — or than Pittsburgh had previously gotten — from a conservative, Catholic mayor.
But the city’s economic resurgence was driven by forces far larger than any politician. And it’s sad to think that for Ravenstahl himself, the most satisfying part of being mayor was over before he’d measured the office for drapes. For good and bad, “peaking early” may be the story of his political career.
This is the same problem I have with Michael Lamb and the growing field of pretenders, and it’s why I’m such a Peduto-head. Pittsburgh needs policy transformation ambitious enough to match it’s economic transformation. I can’t understand anybody trifling with a 5-point “vision” with so many opportunities in play. That is insultingly lazy. You need the guy who’s got 100 new ideas and the chops to get them passed.