“It’s mine. I own it.”

My own personal email address seems to have been added to the mailing list to receive “Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s Neighborhood Message.”

That is what it is called.

Not “The Neighborhood Message” or “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” but “MAYOR LUKE RAVENSTAHL’S Neighborhood Message.” See:

Some snippets:

With the removal of development inhibiting tax liens, the construction of a new multi-use arena, and my announcement of several new revitalization initiatives, the economic development climate in Pittsburgh has gone from hot, to on fire!

I bet as soon as he typed that he went, “BAM!!!”

And boy, is it all about him:

My newly created Blue Ribbon Economic Development Panel will help businesses cut through red tape…

I have also created main street revitalization initiatives…

That’s why I recently announced a tax exemption program to help spur investment in 22 neighborhoods…

As an added incentive, to speed up construction and improvements of new buildings and homes, I set forth a new walk-through permitting…

…by calling or e-mailing my 3-1-1 Response Line

Me, me, me, and I, I, I, and my, my, my.


  1. WrigleyGrec
    April 20, 2007 9:38 am

    I somehow see this email causing many drunken mornings if he starts using his key phrase as he so likes to do.

  2. Redevelopment exemptions?
    April 20, 2007 10:14 am

    Wooo, does that mean *I* can obtain property tax exemptions for *my* abandoned property rehab hobby in Wilkinsburg and make *me* some extra ca$h flow?

  3. bucdaddy
    April 20, 2007 10:18 am

    Not to mention having his name on the marquee of a former porno theater (see comment under Random n@). I forsee … Ravenstahl Arena … Ravenstahl Turf at Heinz Field … the RavenstahlTron at PNC Park … and, eventually, Ravenstahlburg.

  4. Char
    April 20, 2007 1:35 pm

    Add to that the Ravenstahl Regatta, Blvd of the Ravenstahl Allies …..

  5. Mark Rauterkus
    April 20, 2007 1:42 pm

    Funny, that email news letter does not seem to get to my email box. Thanks for letting me know of it. I don’t get return phone calls either.

    Good points — fur shore!

    If you or anyone else wants to subscribe to my blast list — willing or not spam dinning — I’ll post more about swim lessons in Crafton and http://www.BootCampPgh.org efforts.

    But, the thing to do is look for the public hearing on May 1, 2007 — talked about on my blog. There is a time to shout out about LUKE’s NEIGHBORHOOD tax plan. Subsidize the rich folks who want to move downtown and have all the others pay more.

    So there.


  6. TheTruth
    April 20, 2007 2:45 pm

    Hey Mark-

    These “rich folks” still have to pay a wage tax.

    A wage tax that would otherwise be going elsewhere ie. Fox Chapel, Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair, Sewickley, etc.

    The plan is not as bad as you claim/think.

  7. Bram R
    April 20, 2007 5:21 pm

    Uno de Mayo will be a busy day; there’s also supposed to be a Planning Commission (yay!) meeting on Barden’s Casino and its Neighbors. There’s talk about pushing that back, though.

  8. Bram R
    April 20, 2007 5:22 pm

    I guess Bob is kind of the defacto mascot for Uno de Mayo, then. Sorry, PittGirl.

  9. Aeran
    April 20, 2007 6:53 pm

    Uno de Mayo is my birthday. damned if i’ll let it be Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s Public Hearing day.

  10. coolmommy123
    April 21, 2007 12:33 am

    Okay, I wasn’t in Spanish mode when I read “Uno de Mayo” (May 1), so I figured you were referring to “The Number One Mayor.” Ironic date choice, eh? …me me me

  11. CapitolMAN
    April 23, 2007 9:46 am

    “Uno de Mayo” = “The One and only Bob Mayo”

  12. Mark Rauterkus
    April 23, 2007 1:37 pm

    The wage tax is something that people use as a justification to move away from.

    Wage incomes and associated taxes are very easy to hide.

    The shift to a wage tax isn’t healthy.

    I’d rather the wage tax income still come to Pittsburgh — and not burbs — by getting these folks to live in other city neighborhoods. So, it does not need to be Fox C. vs Downtown. It could be SS Slopes vs. Downtown. Or, Troy Hill, or Hays, or other city places.

    Do the numbers.

    I’ll listen. The turth isn’t evident yet.

  13. bucdaddy
    April 23, 2007 3:06 pm

    But … the turth is out there …

  14. TheTruth
    April 24, 2007 10:28 pm

    “The plan would waive, for 10 years, the first $2,700 in city property taxes on new housing units built Downtown and in 21 other neighborhoods.”

    It is estimated that these units will cost anywhere from 200k up to 1.3MM.

    So I’ll use a conservative estimate and say the avg. cost per unit will be 300k. At 24.72 mills, each unit should bring in $7,416 in school district and city real estate taxes.

    $7,416-$2,700= $4,716 per unit. This article


    predicts that there could be as many as 1000 units. Again I’ll use a conservative estimate and say there will be 300 units. That’s an additional $1.4MM in revenue for a city that is struggling to meet it’s annual debt service and has an understaffed police force.

    In addition to the new real estate tax revenue, these “rich folks” will bring in new $ because of the city wage tax. Let’s assume that they have a “household income” of 150k a year, again a conservative number, $150,000 x .01 = $15,000 * 300 untis = $4.5MM

    So thats 4.5MM + 1.4MM = $5.9 million in new revenue for our “financially distressed city.”

    That doesn’t even factor in all the new shops, restaurants, etc. that will bring additional revenue.


  15. Anthony
    April 24, 2007 10:49 pm

    You forgot to factor in the cost of the additional police that the 300 homeowners who shelled out $300,000 for a dee-luxe apartment in the sky will demand to protect them from the homeless pissing on the sidewalk outside of their expensive new digs. Just saying.

  16. mer-man
    April 25, 2007 1:50 am


    Lumping City/School taxes together is misleading. Although the millage is over 24 mils, The 2007 City Real Estate Tax rate is 10.8 mills. The 2007 School District R eal Estate Tax rate is 13.92 mills.

    Therefore, on a $1,000.00 assessment the City Tax would be $10.80 and the School District Tax would be $13.92.

    Money going to the school district doesn’t balance the city budget. wouldn’t break even, because many condo developers will specifically build to avoid any property tax. (Build a condo that gets assessed at 250k instead of 3000).

    And your other numbers are way off …
    Median Household income in Fox Chapel is $147,298.
    Median house value is 497,000.

    You expect 1000 units with a median home value of 300,000 to create 1000 new households with a median income greater than that of Fox Chapel.

    I hope you don’t work for the city.

  17. TheTruth
    April 25, 2007 9:49 am


    Go back and look at the assumptions. I assumed that there will be 300 units, not 1000.

    Secondly, the difference between an income of 147k and 150k is not significant. Anyone who buys a condo for 300k – 1.3MM is going to have a household income of at least 150k.

    And to address some of your other points:

    “Money going to the school district doesn’t balance the city budget.”

    You are correct here, it doesn’t balance the city budget, but it does help the Pittsburgh School District which you and I both know needs as much help as it can get.

    “wouldn’t break even, because many condo developers will specifically build to avoid any property tax. (Build a condo that gets assessed at 250k instead of 3000).”

    Please explain to me how you can build to avoid any property tax? I’m sure that many people would love to learn how to do that.

  18. mer-man
    April 25, 2007 4:08 pm


    If the city waives the first 2700, you build a house that pays less than 2700 to the city in property tax (There would still be school and county tax, but the ads would say “no city property tax”). It is an incentive.

    “Anyone who buys a condo for 300k – 1.3MM is going to have a household income of at least 150k”

    The numbers don’t bear that out. You start by assuming 300k per unit, the units can go anywhere from 200 to 1.3 mil. Fox chapel which has an average home price of 500k doesn’t average 150k — that is the point. (average family income is higher, but kids don’t pay rent, usually).

    I know plenty of people with 300k homes that don’t make 150k.

    This is a just a giveaway to developers and the input/output doesn’t justify it.

  19. TheTruth
    April 25, 2007 5:41 pm

    You are just dismissing the new wage tax revenue that will result if/when new residents move downtown.

    The development we are discussing will not occur as quickly without these incentives. That means less money for the city of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh School District.

    The city’s tax base continues to shrink while its financial obligations continue to grow (health care costs, pension obligations, and debt service) something needs to be done to stimulate growth. You are suggesting that the city just fold their arms and wait for this growth to fall from the sky.

    That strategy resulted in the city’s Act 47 status.

    A temporary reduction in property taxes is a solid way to jump start this growth.

    There has got to be a little give and take here. Are you not willing to give up $2700 in property taxes for double or triple that in revenue for the city and it’s schools?

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