Ravenstahl's campaign to pick up travel expenses

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Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said yesterday his campaign will pay for a $1,000 Super Bowl ticket, a charter flight to Tampa, and hotel accommodations offered by the Steelers.

Mr. Ravenstahl plans to fly to Tampa tomorrow on a team charter and return Monday. He will be taking his brother, Brad, with him, while another brother, Adam, will be making his own arrangements to meet them in Tampa. Both brothers also will purchase tickets at face value from the Steelers, Mr. Ravenstahl said.

His arrangements are similar to those of County Executive Dan Onorato, who will pay for tickets, a flight and hotel accommodations offered by the Steelers. He's taking his wife, Shelly.

Mr. Ravenstahl said his campaign will pay for his ticket and expenses as well as those of the bodyguards who will be traveling separately to Tampa to be with him. He said there is no taxpayer expense involved. Mr. Onorato is not taking bodyguards.

Although his campaign is paying for it, Mr. Ravenstahl is still receiving a package not generally available to the public. He saw no conflict or problem with the arrangements.

"I think it is important for leaders of the region, for us to be there," he said. "We have been strong supporters and continue to advocate for the Pittsburgh region and this is a great opportunity for us to do so."

Mr. Ravenstahl said he expects to make appearances on a number of national television shows while in Florida, including "The Today Show."

"The small expense being incurred will be paying itself back tenfold in the national exposure myself and Pittsburgh will be getting this weekend," he said.

Mr. Ravenstahl said he and his brothers will be sharing the same hotel room throughout the trip. "Not necessarily luxurious," he chuckled.

Gov. Ed Rendell also will be attending the Super Bowl. A spokesman has said he will pay for his tickets and accommodations. State Rep. Jake Wheatley, a city Stadium Authority board member, also will purchase tickets from the Steelers for the game, but will make his own travel arrangements.

Mark Belko can be reached at mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.


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