Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl formally launched his reelection bid today, outlining 11 broad themes he would pursue in a four-year term that he hopes will bring about a third renaissance different from the bricks-and-mortar transformations engineered by predecessors David Lawrence and Richard Caliguiri.
"We have much work left to be done," said Mr. Ravenstahl, who took office upon the Sept. 1, 2006, death of Mayor Bob O'Connor and won a special election in 2007 to serve out the term that ends with this year. "And my work is not complete."
His eleven themes are: solving the city's long-term costs; boosting the healthcare and education industries; improving government by using technology; completing riverfront development; enhancing public education; connecting people with jobs; improving governmental transparency; pursuing clean and safe neighborhoods; improving the environment; promoting diversity; and "ultimately ... City/County merger," according to a sign that was at one point toppled by the winds swirling about the City-County Building portico while the mayor spoke.
"Our plan, executed well, will result in a bigger, better, stronger Pittsburgh," he said, promising details as the campaign continues. "It capitalizes on our greatest assets and continues to build on them."
He repeatedly invoked his campaign slogan, "Getting it done." But he acknowledged that on the issue of merging the city and Allegheny County, he can't get it done without help.
"It will require state approval to even put the question on the ballot," he said, adding that he is actively pursuing that. "I believe that is something the state should give us the opportunity to do."
Mr. Ravenstahl, of Summer Hill, faces city Councilman Patrick Dowd of Highland Park and attorney Carmen Robinson of the Hill District in the May 19 Democratic primary.
"I know that not everybody will agree with my plan," the mayor said. "There will be those among us who differ. Some will do so altruistically. Others will do so with ill motive. Yet others will do so because they are contrarians, still others because they can't see the good of our city, and simply believe the grass is always grener elsewhere.
"We can't let those voices among us compomise our hopes, dreams and aspirations for this place we call home."
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.