How many Pittsburghers are wishing that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl would just grow up? Or go away?
I haven't surfed through the blogs for recent commentary on what we might call the American Pie incident (Luke and his pals drove a Chevy to the levee -- well, he drove a GMC to the country music concert). I know what it must say. Restated in polite terms, it goes something like this: In any ordinary business, a CEO who takes a company car for a joyride will face the wrath of the Board, and if he's unrepentant, the Board should give him the boot.
But the City of Pittsburgh isn't a business, and the voters of the City show little inclination to give him the boot.
Of course, they should. Focus not on the fact that the Mayor seems to be enjoying an extended adolescence. Focus on the fact that his antics in the role of Prom King embarrass the City of Pittsburgh in precisely the context where the office of the mayor may actually matter: Selling businesses on the idea that Pittsburgh is a place where local government is serious about helping them start and grow.
If Republican candidate Mark DeSantis has one thing to offer the voters, this is it: He's not just a grownup. He's not just experienced in public policy and private administration. He is the embodiment of credibility to an economic-development constituency that wants to be sure that whatever the business risks, the government won't completely melt down.
Since I've said repeatedly here that this blog isn't about politics, I'll reemphasize that I like DeSantis not because he's a Republican (because I'm not), but because he actually seems to understand something about what the mayor's office can and should do, and what challenges Pittsburgh really faces, especially when it comes to the big economic picture.
He's not alone; there are Democratic politicians out there doing very good things, too. Having rugged transportation to a Toby Keith show is not among them.