Dear Lukey,

Lukey. Lukey Lukey Lukey Lukey.

LUKEY!

What is up? How are you? How’s Westwood? Things popping over there in your new digs?

DON’T MIND-ERASE ME! Everyone already knows you live there. Chill.

Lukey, can we talk about my blog here for a second? Here on this here That’s Church blog, I have giveaways on occasion. I’ve given away tickets, and t-shirts, and gift cards and other awesome stuff and every time I have a giveaway, my sisters Pens Fan and Princess Aurora (OMG, she HATES that nickname. I’ll never change it ever, Princess.) email me all, “I want! Can I? Please? All aboard the gravy train?”

And Lukey, even though they might only have a 1 in 400 chance of winning tickets to a party or a 1 in 1,200 chance of winning the tickets to the Steelers game, do you know what I say to them? I say, “Step off, bitches.”

Because I don’t want to have ANY appearance of impropriety. I don’t want my readers thinking I’m showing favoritism or rigging a contest so that my family can win it.  Hell, I don’t even let my former (?) BUTLER Mike enter to win contests on my blog. I just don’t want anyone to ever look at me and have a question in the back of his/her head about my ethics, you know?

And it’s just a blog.

A silly little slice of Internet frivolity.

And then there’s you. The Mayor of a major metropolitan city. Appointing your FREAKING BROTHER TO THE ALCOSAN BOARD.

Really?

I mean, Lukey, REALLY? Can you honestly tell me that you searched high and low for the perfect person to name to that board and it just so happened that the perfect, most qualified person is your 25-YEAR-OLD BROTHER?

Know what you should have done, Lukey? You should have searched high and low. Really searched. With the interests of the board at heart, and if after you searched high and low, you really by some weird coincidence did land on the name Adam Ravenstahl as the perfect candidate, you should have kept looking.

In a city whose politics haven’t always been the most ethical, you are thumbing your nose at the people and voters who already have serious doubts about you and the hints of good ole’ boy politics wafting out of your office. You can’t be that arrogant, can you, that you don’t think people are going to care about this?

People are going to care! It looks bad! It’s a dumb decision! I don’t care that it’s unpaid. I don’t care if you really think he deserves it. I don’t care if your brother is the Dalai Freaking Lama. This should be your mantra: Unless my brother is VOTED into a position by the constituents, do not appoint him. To anything.

That’s it. Let THE PEOPLE choose your relatives if they so desire.  Don’t go appointing him to anything, because again, it just looks bad.  I can’t believe you don’t have people telling you this, saying, “Mr. Mayor, with all due respect, this will create lots of problems in your efforts to run a transparent and ethical office. I strongly recommend we find another candidate to nominate.”

Don’t you have those people, Lukey? Isn’t that what The Dread Lord is paid to do? To have the balls to get in your face and “strongly advise you?”

And please, don’t think I enjoy this. I truly and honestly don’t. I can’t tell you how much I wish you would just see the proverbial light and wake up to a morning where you make the choice to stop doing things like this. I wish you would wise up. I wish you would hire better people. I honestly wish we could be friends who share a mutual love for Pittsburgh, because you and I, we could be a force.

[sigh]

Long letter short: pull this nomination. It reeks of nepotism and it’s not doing your brother’s reputation any favors. Or yours.

Yours,

Me.





54 Comments


  1. Magnus Patris
    May 25, 2010 5:27 pm

    To paraphrase Mel Brooks, “It’s good to be the Burghermeister!”



  2. gunnlino
    May 25, 2010 10:08 pm

    Well said…… and Thank you!

    Not a lot of others in and around the ‘Burgh will have the huevos to say what you have.



  3. LucyLou
    May 25, 2010 10:15 pm

    A-Freakin’-MEN! My jaw dropped when I read about this in the news. Seriously.



  4. Pensgirl
    May 25, 2010 10:20 pm

    On the one hand, word on all of this, but on the other, why would he think people will care? He’s already gotten away with worse (by which I mean “been voted back into office despite having done worse”).



  5. Marlene
    May 25, 2010 10:28 pm

    Because the people of Pittsburgh will vote for the Democrat incumbent no matter what they do and Lukey knows it.



  6. Ginny's Dad
    May 25, 2010 10:30 pm

    Integrity and politics is an oxymoron and is one of the reasons that government on all levels is failing. Someone once said that a bad tree will not produce good fruit.



  7. Luke Steelerstahl
    May 25, 2010 10:39 pm

    Yeah?

    What are you going to do about?

    What are any of you going to do about?

    Nothing, same as always.

    Bunch of suckers



  8. Luke Steelerstahl
    May 25, 2010 10:42 pm

    I cheat on my wife.
    I take money – STRAIGHT CASH HOMEY – in exchange for contracts
    I make a fool out of myself and my City
    I crash parties I’m not invited to (Tiger Woods)
    I go to parties with things I shouldn’t (Homeland Security vehicle)
    I got to parties with people I shouldn’t (Ron Burkle)
    I go to parties on the taxpayers dime (Detroit)
    I ignore the law
    I ignore City Council
    My wikipedia page is more about my screwups than anything positive I’ve ever done
    I don’t give a flying fuck about my job

    And I’m still here!



  9. Angie
    May 25, 2010 10:50 pm

    First, I love how a Google search for a recipe a few weeks ago lead me to your blog …it was kismet and you had me at Zima! Secondly, Lukey can suck it!



  10. Pa-pop
    May 25, 2010 10:58 pm

    Dear Mr. Mayor,

    I live in a northeast Ohio community where things like your brother’s appointment to Alcosan have been taken for too long as an accepted way of life. Not coincidentally, it’s also a town where the city schools are in both academic AND fiscal emergency, where wives get elected to city council seats to hold a place until their consecutive-term-limited husbands can return, where career politicos ruin the most well-intentioned non-profit organizations with their graft and self-interest, and where a very poor financial state of affairs causes the city to slash an entire summer parks program from the budget and throw our children into the streets.

    Now, I choose to live here and I like to live here and I work with many people to fight for our city and change the culture. But it’s very hard work and it didn’t have to be this way. So please allow my message to serve as a cautionary tale. You don’t want to engage that slippery slope you’re flirting with. But this is how it starts, this is how it’s sustained, and this is a warning that it’s a long, hard, tedious climb back.

    We might be draining the swamp up here, Mr. Ravenstahl, but if I were you I would learn from our mistakes. Until my city regains the honest pride that once was ours, you really don’t want to wake up some morning and exit the Fort Pitt Tunnels to see a sign that says, “Welcome to Youngstown.”



  11. Ethics?
    May 25, 2010 11:05 pm

    Great post.

    It is pretty clear that LR appointed his brother to the ALCOSAN board so he can control the big money contracts that will be handed out to his campaign contributors.

    And believe me, there are some BIG money ratepayer contracts on the horizon.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07143/788219-113.stm



  12. Anthony of T&A (retired)
    May 25, 2010 11:09 pm

    C’mon, people. Lay off! We’re talking about ALCOSAN, the sewage people, right? Surely, Adam poops and can flush a toilet which makes him much more qualified for this position than his brother is for his job.



  13. andrea
    May 25, 2010 11:09 pm

    Pa-pop — Really? You think Lukey is just “flirting” with the slippery slope? Puh-leeze. He has never tried to climb out of the pit of slime he’s been in since entering politics on the North Side. He has nowhere to go but up, yet he displays no interest in ethical public service.

    That there are some good people in his administration has nothing to do with him — a few idealists always surface in any administration. On his own steam he has installed corrupt people and rewarded corruption — starting with the Dread Lord and moving down. The election of his brother is an all-time low for the people of Pittsburgh. WHy should Lukey respect the electorate, when we so clearly do not respect ourselves or our political heritage? This is, and he is, revolting.



  14. rickh
    May 25, 2010 11:22 pm

    Great post Ginny. I’ve been with you for a long time and I know how much you care for and love this city (high five). Until people have the cojones to vote these types out (and stop voting them in), the city will never reach it’s potential. It’s growth will be stagnated by more of the same cronyism, political patronage and corruption that have weighed it down for many many years. And that’s sad.



  15. bucdaddy
    May 25, 2010 11:44 pm

    Whatever happened to Alecia Sirk and her hubby, anyway?



  16. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    May 25, 2010 11:49 pm

    I grew up in Brighton Heights (the community right up the hill from Alcosan) and I can remember those hot, muggy and smelly days in August that were a constant as a kid. It is much better now. There used to be a very active Brighton Heights Citizens Federation (not sure if they’re still around), but they were very instrumental in pressuring the Alcosan board in the mid-80s to do something about the stench. He could have at least spoken with the community group and made an attempt to make it appear like he was interested in their opinion. My advice to anyone seeking elective office in Pittsburgh, legally change your last name to Ravenstahl, Wagner or some other entrenched political family. Hilarity may then ensue.



  17. Luke Steelerstahl
    May 25, 2010 11:54 pm

    Bucdaddy – I bought him off, remember? Mr. Ford asked for severance pay through January, and just out of the goodness of my heart I gave him severance through July.



  18. Bram R
    May 26, 2010 12:02 am

    “In a city whose politics haven’t always been the most ethical, you are thumbing your nose … you don’t think people are going to care about this?”

    I don’t think so either, Ginnymede. Thumbing their nose at sanctimonious do-gooders is positively their favorite pastime. The folks who actually DO read or hear about this have such low expectations that they shrug their shoulders or perhaps giggle. And most of the people who DO care enough to be disgusted are so frequently disgusted by similar items that they hate politics, and so tune it all out and don’t get involved. So it really works out beautifully for them. Just look at what came out about the state of Harrisburg today. If you have a solution to the cycle of abuse, disgust, numbness and resignation I’m all ears. That’s right where I’ve been at, so to speak.

    @bucdaddy: http://pghcomet.blogspot.com/2009/10/pat-ford-gaining-credibility.html



  19. Bartender Chick
    May 26, 2010 3:21 am

    @16– Dead on with that comment. I remember the Alcosan stench in Brighton Heights in the early 90s. My family and I moved from there shortly thereafter — when I bought a home literally blocks from my family’s former residence in 2005, I couldn’t say a whole lot about the stench. Nowadays the sewage plant in Harmarville smells worse than the Alcosan plant does, and you can smell that from miles away on Route 28 when the temperature rises.

    HOWEVER… with that said, Ginny, your post is spot-on. A lot of the people I serve on a daily basis have recently commented that Lukey makes Tom Murphy look like a fabulous mayor. I love this city but I would have to agree with them.



  20. Pittsburgh Perambulations
    May 26, 2010 7:04 am

    Our man-child of a mayor ALWAYS makes me shake my head. I don’t think I’ve heard of him doing one thing that is truly impressive or a (good) noteworthy decision.



  21. PittGal in WI
    May 26, 2010 7:25 am

    Ginny- you rock!



  22. Woy
    May 26, 2010 7:50 am

    Why do I picture the mayor’s brother dressed like Cousin Eddie telling us the shitter was full?



  23. Lauren
    May 26, 2010 8:10 am

    @Woy…I literally spit coffee all over my computer screen when I read your comment. That’s hilarious!



  24. JeanC
    May 26, 2010 8:37 am

    @Woy: “I’m gonna get you something reeeeal nice”



  25. Mike
    May 26, 2010 9:00 am

    Virginia: Thanks for being so blunt about this.

    I came back to Pittsburgh a few years ago. The excessive nepotism has been most disappointing. We have so many qualified candidates and are in absolutely desperate need of informed leadership at ALCOSAN.

    The County is facing billions of expenditures on a complicated CSO consent decree. Financing it through user fees will mean the typical annual household water bill would increase by $1,000’s.

    I spent a majority of my career working with CSO agencies all over the U.S. on master planning efforts. Our region is way behind, and the historical infighting that has led to this situation is embarrassing. It is clear that Mayor Ravenstahl does not recognize our situation or the implications of his appointment.

    Readers of this blog: Please keep these things in mind at the ballot box.



  26. BagitTagit
    May 26, 2010 9:14 am

    Police-Officer Gate in ’05.

    Lemieux-Golf Gate in ’07.

    Toby-Keith Gate in ’07.

    WON THE SPECIAL ELECTION IN ’07 BY 28%

    Tiger-Gate…

    Burkle-Gate…

    The Failed Snow Wars…

    The Failed Pothole Wars…

    No-bid contracts…

    $1,000 trash cans…

    WON RE-ELECTION IN ’09 by 30%.

    As far as I can tell, he could appoint Marian Hossa to ALCOSAN Board if he wanted to.



  27. Bill
    May 26, 2010 9:23 am

    What makes this even worse is that the seat to which Lukey appointed his brother was previously held by Adam Ravenstahl’s opponent in the State Representative election – subtle as a bullhorn. I don’t think that the mayor knows the definition of impropriety.



  28. Silica
    May 26, 2010 9:43 am

    Even though everything you’ve said is spot-on, I am going to be one of those fun Internet folks who says – My fiance went to high school with Adam.

    Let’s just say the guy is even less qualified than Luke to do anything involving politics.



  29. bucdaddy
    May 26, 2010 9:52 am

    Bram R,

    Huh. Look at that.

    BTW, that link mentions Alan Mollohan, who is walking proof today that you don’t HAVE to get voted back into the U.S. House just because you’ve got a “D” after your name, been there for a generation and because your daddy was before you.

    West Virginia: A shining beacon of hope for Pittsburgh.



  30. Suburban Nor'Side Girl
    May 26, 2010 9:55 am

    “You can’t be that arrogant, can you. . . ”

    Ginny, I think that time and time again he’s proven that he IS that arrogant.



  31. Carpetbagger
    May 26, 2010 9:59 am

    I’m no Lukey fan, but I’m kind of with Anthony on this one.

    Ask your sisters which they’d rather have: Pens tickets or a seat on the ALCONSAN Board. I’m thinking they go for the tickets every time.

    Since when did the ALCONSAN board become the seat of all power and wealth? I just hope my brother doesn’t love me enough to put me on that board.



  32. Lauren
    May 26, 2010 10:28 am

    You haven’t heard? Lukey and Adam are going to be the new Kennedy family. Big plans, big plans…



  33. NW PA Joe (formerly NW Joe)
    May 26, 2010 10:45 am

    Once again, I think I must be missing something. The mayor of Pittsburgh is an elected position. Right??? If a known corrupt individual is re-elected to the position and then said individual uses that position to gain favors for family members, who should be blamed??



  34. Kathy
    May 26, 2010 11:01 am

    Even more evidence of the friends and family plan was in today’s Post-Gazette:

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10146/1060722-53.stm

    The district judge Ron COSTA (recognize that name?) dismissed almost all charges against the City firefighter, and allowed them to do community service, not in the south side, where the offense was committed, but rather for their aunt, who runs a community group, and who is also the aunt of the mayor’s spokesperson, Joanna Doven. It’s like 6 degrees of separation, except you only need 2 degrees in the City of Pittsburgh.



  35. toni
    May 26, 2010 11:47 am

    Just let him inherit the Azzhat title..as in Mayor Azzhat. Lukey, with his USUAL IMPECCABLE timing…has the announcement of picking his brother for the Alcosan post on the VERY SAME DAY the Grand Jury report hits the PPG.

    Inside the report was this gem:

    The Grand Jury finds that the vast overstaffing problem is linked to the patronagesystem within the Legislature, which in turn is a symptom of the “time warp” in whichthe Pennsylvania General Assembly operates . Many staff members are hired at therequest of a specific elected member, regardless of the prospective staff member’squalifications (or utter lack of qualifications) .

    link to source:
    http://www.post-gazette.com/downloads/20100525GrandJuryReport.pdf

    Different day, same shit on a state and local level…and it smells to high heaven just like the Alcosan plant does.

    But hey unionites, keep pushing that ole D button, m’kay?



  36. G-Man
    May 26, 2010 12:14 pm

    I left Pittsburgh for a job way back in 1973. It broke my heart to go but one thing I didn’t miss was the corruption in local politics. Fast forward to the 21st century. I remember watching Lukey on The Late Show with David Letterman and all were celebrating such a young guy ascending to the mayor’s office. I remember thinking, “He’s so young, surely he’s idealistic and has not had time to become assimilated into the regions corrupt politics.”
    Well, look how that turned out. Some things never change. Sigh!
    Thanks, Ginny. I might have missed the news about Lukey Brother being nominated for Alcosan. Maybe Lukey has a cousin that can be put in charge of the parking authority, next.



  37. CC
    May 26, 2010 12:18 pm

    I have lived in this area my entire life and I am still trying to understand the surprise. Disgust, yes. Surprise, come on.

    It is just typical Pittsburgh politics. It will change at the same time Harrisburg enacts the grand jury recomendations to downsize and gets in line with other similar States. Adam will probably lead that charge in Harrisburg.



  38. Joe K.
    May 26, 2010 12:45 pm

    It’s the Theory of Relativity: Your relatives are the best ones for the job.

    Ruth Ann Dailey has been writing some depressing columns lately on the goings-on in state government. I don’t know how this is going to change, I think Luke would literally have to be incarcerated for something for it to change.

    This may be daydreaming but I think our newspapers have to lead the charge. All of them need to put this stuff on the front page every single day.



  39. hello haha narf
    May 26, 2010 12:50 pm

    i’m just baffled that the residents of this great city choose to keep him as mayor. breaks my heart to see lukey shit on the town i love so much.



  40. Clementine
    May 26, 2010 12:54 pm

    Holy moly, this article made me laugh out loud in disgust… and not just because of the title:

    Reforming Pa. legislature to be top priority

    Governor Rendell didn’t know about the “PennDOT legislative specialists”? Yeah, right. He thinks the 35 workers should be kept on the payroll because it’s not their fault?? It’s also not my fault if my job description is eliminated. But in the private sector, that doesn’t translate into a guaranteed new job for me, whether or not I’m qualified or needed.

    $168 a day in unvouchered (translation: no receipt needed) reimbursements for food and lodging?? Nothing like giving away 40 grand a year! Let’s just roll that into their inflated salary and be done with it.



  41. Plankton
    May 26, 2010 12:55 pm

    Adam West for Mayor of Pittsburgh!



  42. Al Lambrini
    May 26, 2010 1:00 pm

    Nepotisim and Pittsburgh politics ?!? Who knew!?!



  43. PittinDC
    May 26, 2010 1:02 pm

    This isn’t just a Pittsburgh issue, it’s a politics issue. Politics is all about who you know. The same thing happens on the federal level.



  44. Johnny
    May 26, 2010 1:02 pm

    G-Man, sorry, Danny’s brother already has the job as head of the Parking Authority. http://www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/pghparkingauthority/html/departments.html



  45. ManInBlack
    May 26, 2010 1:11 pm

    I’d be offended if I didn’t move from Pittsburgh to Chicago, the epicenter of nepotism and kickbacks. The Pittsburgh mayor appointing his little brother to an unpaid council seat is incredibly small potatoes in the big picture.



  46. Biggest Fan
    May 26, 2010 1:24 pm

    I humor myself by imagining that @Luke Steelerstahl REALLY is the pseudonym of our Mayor and he is behind the comments on this site.



  47. Carpetbagger
    May 26, 2010 1:26 pm

    Detroit, LA, Atlantic City, Providence, San Francisco, Sacramento, Spokane, Secaucus, Hoboken, Portland, Baltimore, Louisville, New Orleans… all had mayor scandals of the political or sexual variety in the last year or two. Don’t even get me started on governors! Pittsburgh doesn’t even qualify for this list without any indictments or jail sentences. Google “city mayor scandal,” grab a bowl of popcorn, and get ready for a few hours of fun.

    We know that politicians tend to get these jobs, right?



  48. G-Man
    May 26, 2010 4:47 pm

    @Johnny – I was mostly kidding about the parking authority. And yet, why am I not surprised about Onorato. Tell me something. How likely is he to become the next governor? Maybe he’ll take Lukey and Zober to Harrisburg with him.



  49. redram1
    May 26, 2010 6:12 pm

    @9, The sad part is that Big Ben will change before the Boy Mayor.