Dear Lukey,

I need to talk to you about something you did that brings to mind words like “stabbity” or “sporky” or “gross misuse of tax-payer dollah dollah bills.”

I like that last one.

It’s street. Like you apparently are if you need three bodyguards earning over $200,000 in overtime pay in two years just to protect you from, well, I don’t know what.

Yourself? The pigeons? Potholes? Peduto? Peter Piper who picked a peck of pickled peppers and then decided to accost you on the streets of Pittsburgh?

You are Luke Ravenstahl, the mayor of Pittsburgh. There are countless people on earth more threatened than you who do not have your level of publicly-funded 24-hour protection. Attorney Generals. Criminal defense lawyers. Abortion doctors. Yet you’ve managed to rack up more overtime pay for security detail in two years than Mayor Murphy did in TWELVE YEARS, according to Bill Peduto. That’s almost comical.

Keep in mind that I’ve had dealings with both Mayors Murphy and O’Connor and county executive Dan Onorato, and I have had interactions with each of their security details. Yours is by FAR the most posse-like. I’m not going to get into details here about the differences between administrations, because that’s actually not the point of my letter to you.

My point is that you were asked by KDKA to go on record about this gross abuse of overtime pay by your security detail and you said, and I quote, “It’s not a story.”

I beg to differ.

Here’s why it’s a story. Because of the faltering pension. Because of your threats to cut overtime pay for regular hard-working cops while your elite security detail is taking baths in cold hard cash. Because of the supposed reason you cut the South Side patrols that were doing an effective job of cutting down on what makes the South Side turn into Sodom and Gomorrah each weekend.

We the people are not stupid. We know the real reason you cut the South Side patrols. Because you were angry that Kraus wouldn’t support your parking lease plan after you met with him to ask him to. If I were outlining the story, it  would go like this: South Side patrols are working four weekends in a row. The police announce the patrols are working and that they will continue. You meet with Kraus, Shields and others to ask support of the lease plan. Kraus says no. Nate Harper suddenly, mysteriously, out of the blue cuts South Side patrols claiming:

Police spokeswoman Diane Richard, repeating the explanation she gave last week, said the city’s yearly pool of money for special details is dwindling. Some, she said, has to be kept in reserve for emergencies.

You see? Forgetting for a minute the likely real reason the South Side patrols were canceled, what you’re saying is that there’s not enough money to protect the residents of the South Side from drunken escapades, illegal parking, property destruction and public urination, but there’s plenty to keep you all posse-ed up with the constant companions you call “security.”

That is a story.

It’s a story of entitlement, perceived celebrity status, tax dollar misuse, overtime abuse, and political fighting that detrimentally affected the South Side residents.  Each of those is a story standing all by itself, and together?

Big story. Calling it a non-story is an insult to the taxpayers whose dollars you’re spending, and ignoring it won’t make it go away. Transparency, ethical leadership, and accountability will.

Yours,

Me.





57 Comments


  1. lover of the burg
    November 29, 2010 2:28 pm

    i would love to know how many ‘special events’ (ie, rubbing elbows with celebrities, sports figures, etc) lukey has attended along with his security posse and the dollar amount in OT.



  2. mindymin
    November 29, 2010 2:30 pm

    Mayor Partystahl was in my bar on Light Up Night with his full security detail. All in all his entourage was about 8 people, 6 of which appeared to be “security” and 2 were random hot chicks. Funny enough the entire party was drinking and obviously had been before they came to our place. 1) I didnt think people on “security” detail would be drinking while on the clock and 2) the entire group was just rude & douchey. I would have loved to tell our ever so awesome mayor as much but the Boss frowns upon telling customers they are dicks. The entire vibe he put out was that he was a celebrity. Um no. Hes the Mayor, a public servant we elected. Bummer his royal mayorness doesnt get it…lord knows his life would a lot less drama riddled if he quit acting like the long lost Jonas Brother and just did his effing job.



  3. L-A
    November 29, 2010 2:31 pm

    boo ya mutha you-know-what-a!



  4. Just Outside the City Limits
    November 29, 2010 2:51 pm

    If I lived in the city I would run him out of town for that!!! As a person who spends money and time in the city I wished the people who live there did something about him and a some of the dead weight on city council.



  5. Butcher's Dog
    November 29, 2010 2:53 pm

    Geez, Ginny! Quit beatin’ around the bush, will ya? Just say what you’re thinking, woman! Don’t keep sugar-coating it like this.

    And, by the way, thanks for saying what so many feel.



  6. TripleC
    November 29, 2010 2:59 pm

    Mayor Snoop-a-Loop! Nice ring to it I guess.

    Too bad we are stuck with him until he decides he has had enough. Otherwise know as having a job for life because he’s a D (stands for Democrat in this case, but Dick would certainly fit the bill as well).



  7. unsatisfied
    November 29, 2010 3:03 pm

    you get what you vote for.

    or, for the grammar police…

    a person receives that which for whom he or she votes.

    or, something.



  8. Suburban Nor'Side Girl
    November 29, 2010 3:03 pm

    The only thing I disagree with is your statement “We the people are not stupid.” There has to be some degree of stupidity among the people because they voted for the little jerk.



  9. jen
    November 29, 2010 3:05 pm

    Maybe Luke needs so many cops from preventing him from “goin’ roethlisberger” on somebody. I kid, I kid.

    Seriously, every time I think about Luke’s “security,” I get mad because I used to see Smurphy, back in the day, wandering around Perry Hill Top & Central Northside by his lonesome. And if Smurphy could handle the Northside as it was in the mid/late 1990s (Alpine Tavern, y’all!), a big boy like Luke should be able to navigate the streets of Pittsburgh (or New Orleans) without security.

    Sigh. I don’t know who lets this clown continue on, oh wait- he’s a democrat in office, in the city–there is no alternative.



  10. spoon
    November 29, 2010 3:13 pm

    Lukey sings “feels good to be a gangsta” in the shower every morning while having the help read him Ginny’s rss feed.



  11. Burghthing
    November 29, 2010 3:33 pm

    Lukey is right, there is no story. He’s a Democrat, therefor in Pittsburgh he’s allowed to do whatever he wants for as long as he wants. End of story.



  12. empirechick
    November 29, 2010 3:39 pm

    @ Suburban Nor’Side Girl:

    AND they voted for his supremely qualified little brother! Stupidity indeed.



  13. PBK
    November 29, 2010 3:41 pm

    I hope all the folks in the City are proud of themselves for electing this jackass for their mayor, and City Council was no better years ago when they voted him their president knowing its the first position in the line of succession to the mayors office.



  14. Old NorthSider
    November 29, 2010 3:42 pm

    The “real” reason Lukey canceled the South Side patrol: He wants to PARTY & didn’t want to show up in an episode of COPS where his Honor gets tazed!



  15. PBK
    November 29, 2010 3:44 pm

    And empirechick, didn’t Lukey immediately appoint his brother to a board in which he has no qualifications need to sit on that board?



  16. eileen
    November 29, 2010 3:51 pm

    Certain people take themselves waaaay too seriously!
    Years ago my friend became the Director of the FBI. After he was sworn in, 8 security guys started following him around. He laughed, told them all they were being reassigned to do something more usefull. He said if the head of the FBI can’t take care of himself, he shouldn’t be the Director. (This man put away some serious mafia bosses as a judge, so he had a legitimate reason for protection)



  17. cityworker
    November 29, 2010 3:54 pm

    This post has been flagged as inappropriate.



  18. Just Outside the City Limits
    November 29, 2010 3:54 pm

    Someone needs to start using the #LukeyFreeBurgh hash tag!

    “We would have more police and a safer south side in a #LukeyFreeBurgh”



  19. Leah
    November 29, 2010 3:59 pm

    AMEN, Ginny!



  20. NP
    November 29, 2010 4:07 pm

    @PBK

    Rep. Adam Ravenstahl is not on the Alcosan board.



  21. bluzdude
    November 29, 2010 4:08 pm

    Maybe he’s afraid of PittGirl… (there’s another “P” for your 4th paragraph.)



  22. hello haha narf
    November 29, 2010 4:08 pm

    little bastard better have his security with him should he ever run into me at mindymin’s fine establishment because i plan to slap some sense in that boy.



  23. mindymin
    November 29, 2010 4:19 pm

    @hellohahanarf it seriously made me ragey & apparently hes been hitting there with his crew weekly for happy hour.



  24. hello haha narf
    November 29, 2010 4:25 pm

    seems i need to be there soon for happy hour. i know slapping him in his cocksucker would make me happy!



  25. TripleC
    November 29, 2010 4:31 pm

    Ok, why I ever did this is a mystery but I went to Wikipedia to see what the scoop was on our boy-mayor and the ‘Critisism and Controversies’ section takes up half the page. Some of the oldies but goodies:

    Controversy over 2005 Arrest
    Lemieux Celebrity Invitational Golf Incident
    Questionable use of police vehicle
    Banner-Gate

    Then I guess Wikipedia started to overload so the other 7 incidents are lumped under the generic tag of ‘Other Incidents’

    Yep, congrats Pittsburgh, you got yourself a real gem here.



  26. Linda
    November 29, 2010 4:34 pm

    Could the commenters please stop blmaing ALL of the city residents for voting for him? Not ALL of us did but we are stuck with him just the same.



  27. PBK
    November 29, 2010 4:34 pm

    @NP,

    Only because of the ethics board and people loudly chiming in on the issue. It was seriously a case of Dear Mayor…your brother…really?



  28. Lisa
    November 29, 2010 4:46 pm

    Thank you for posting this, what an outrage. I wish something could be done, we need more journalists to hit this hard.



  29. Pensgirl
    November 29, 2010 4:48 pm

    Gregg Easterbrook of the “Tuesday Morning Quarterback” football-and-more column (now found on ESPN) has been regularly railing against unnecessary security details for years, calling out corporate CEOs and politicians from both parties. I fully expect Lukey to appear in either this week’s or next week’s column.



  30. P.S.
    November 29, 2010 4:49 pm

    Two asides:

    Two of the security officers were recently promoted to the rank of sergeant – so they are making overtime at a sergeant’s rate.

    Not one of his security guards has ever been a woman. Wonder why…



  31. NP
    November 29, 2010 5:01 pm

    @PBK

    Both ethics boards said nothing positive or negative about the appointment or Rep. Ravenstahl:

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_685610.html

    I’m not a fan of the appointment myself even if it is unpaid, but I give credit to Rep. Ravenstahl for not accepting the appointment.

    If those that spoke so loudly against the appointment (Shields and Peduto) wanted to make a point they would have actually voted on Lukey’s appointment to make the Ravenstahl’s look bad.



  32. Sergeants
    November 29, 2010 5:14 pm

    2 of Lukey’s entourage are sgts so the OT is even more inflated



  33. Sergeants
    November 29, 2010 5:15 pm

    oh, and not one is a woman



  34. Bram R
    November 29, 2010 5:33 pm

    @NP – Adam “not accepted” that position? I didn’t know that, I thought they just let the idea cool off for a while. Got a link?



  35. kevin
    November 29, 2010 5:35 pm

    If the mayor of Pittsburgh feels threatened in his own city,and needs security, maybe he isn’t doing his job??? If he addressed the criminal element that threatens everyone, wouldn’t he be safe? I’m just sayin’!!! Talk about sending out the wrong message about your city.



  36. PBK
    November 29, 2010 6:02 pm

    @NP

    Gotcha, but common sense would dictate that you would not even think of appointing your newly elected brother to any board. But, as we know, common sense is no longer common. Then again, I don’t live in the city anymore so my opinion doesn’t count..lol. But, god knows its just as bad in all the local governments and school districts too.



  37. PBK
    November 29, 2010 6:05 pm

    @ Linda

    Not all, but he did pretty much wipe out the competition.

    I have a saying..if you don’t vote you can’t complain. Problem being you get a 50% voter turnout and now you can have a winner by just having 25.1% of all elible voters voting.

    Its a sad situation when people can’t take the time to vote.

    Let me jump off my soapbox now…lol



  38. Kathy
    November 29, 2010 6:09 pm

    @Sergeants – well, if mindymin’s account is correct, are you really surprised? (most) woman wouldn’t work well into that type of security detail.



  39. Cathy
    November 29, 2010 6:12 pm

    For those who think “we” voted for him that is incorrect only ~25% of the population showed up to vote and he got a little less then Half of the vote so that is ~12% of the people in pittsburgh actually voted for him… that is not a mandate to be the king he thinks he is…



  40. Rachel
    November 29, 2010 6:41 pm

    I will shamefully admit I was one of the suckers that voted for him. I stupidly thought that the media was picking on him when he first ascended to office because he was young. I really thought that he was what the city needed…. young blood, no more old man club. Big mistake. Huge. One can only hope that someone decent runs against him in the next election…. and that people can see beyond the “R” word (meaning Republican) and vote him out of office



  41. Calamity Jane
    November 29, 2010 8:08 pm

    Rachel…..I’m a former member of the Pittsburgh media (….and I can tell you some great inside dirt! Not a single person believed me about the Big Ben stories until it all “hit the fan”). As a newsroom insider, I must say, as you well know, Lukey brings things on himself, and thankfully, people like you are realizing this. In my dealings with him, I found him to be a self-centered little punk and a weenie to boot! BTW…What is that crap he always has in his hair? From what I can recall, when he became a councilman, he had ZERO experience doing anything….Not even running a lemonade stand!

    Tom Murphy had minimal security if any, as did Bob O’Connor (whom I really liked). I cannot recall Sophie having any more of a posse than her driver……Bring back Sophie!!!!!

    Little Lukey simply overestimates his importance in the world and possesses a very thin skin.



  42. Luke Spotting
    November 29, 2010 9:01 pm

    What we need is a web site where people can anonymously post their firsthand accounts of seeing the mayor out with his “security” detail. Something like, say, this: http://www.voy.com/224462/



  43. Greg Hauenstein
    November 29, 2010 9:50 pm

    Please run. I will help you. I am 100% serious.



  44. Old NorthSider
    November 29, 2010 10:17 pm

    As far back as Mayor Caliguiri, the Mayor’s security detail consisted of 2 city detectives. Sophie’s security detail would drive her to events but every so often escort the Mayor to Kaufmann’s beauty salon! You’ll recall Sophie never had a hair out of place. Murphy and O’Conner often gave their security details an ‘early dismissal’ as they preferred to be out amongst us common folk. Luke elects to use 3 & work them into the wee hours.



  45. BB
    November 29, 2010 10:31 pm

    sounds like we’ve got big ben, part deux, on our hands.

    lukey is a douchecanoe. the end.



  46. bucdaddy
    November 29, 2010 10:41 pm

    I wish I lived in Pittsburgh so I could run for mayor. I wouldn’t win because I’d have an “L” next to my name, but my attack ads would be priceless. I’d shamelessly steal material from “That’s Church” and give the boy wonder nonstop hell for six minutes, or until the money ran out, whichever came first.



  47. Hutch Jr.
    November 29, 2010 11:21 pm

    Excellent Expose! Unfortunately this is what you get under one party rule. The Ruling class with a sophmoric pitifulness. My spelling is probably off, but my meaning should be clear. Good job Ginny!



  48. facie
    November 29, 2010 11:27 pm

    In the haze of all that food, I had almost forgotten about the Boy Mayor’s latest flap. Now i am mad again.

    I am sure like most of the other crap that goes on, this too will, unfortunately, pass. For the love of Pete, look at the idiots (and criminals) who get re-elected at the state and federal level.



  49. mindymin
    November 30, 2010 1:43 am

    @Kathy oh its correct. And no…the women who were with them were definitely NOT present for security purposes. I actually kind of felt bad for them. They seemed starstruck by Mayor Drinkydrinkystahl and his band of merry men. What WAS funny was when they arrived the place was packed and the murmur of “oh man…mayor & his posse are here” was not one of enthusiasm or ZOMG lets go see the legend, but more of an ugh, I cant believe I am in the same place as that tool bag…am I now a douche by association? Oh…and apparently his shoes were awful & didnt match; about half the bar was talking about that fact all night! LOLZ



  50. Barry
    November 30, 2010 9:31 am

    Can we trade Luke for John Fetterman? I’m guessing that Fetterman doesn’t need a security detail….