Gary Rotstein's The Morning File: What new Mayor Peduto might utter today
January 5, 2014 11:45 PM
By Gary Rotstein / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
We're guessing Bill Peduto's inaugural speech as Pittsburgh's mayor today goes something like this:
Thank you for all for coming, whether you're a yinzer, a yuppie, a hipster, one of our comparatively few immigrants or someone just trying to get out of the cold.
Today, we are all Pittsburghers, united in our love of the Steelers, the view exiting the Fort Pitt Tunnel and the frequent announcements that the flooding has receded to allow parking again on the Mon Wharf.
I want to thank my predecessor, Luke Ravenstahl. We have had our differences, but he has left the city's finances in good shape and cleaned out and wiped down the mini-fridge and microwave in the mayor's office, even leaving a couple of IC Lights behind. Everyone please give him a big hand.
Luke, where are you? ... Uh, Luke? ... Funny, could have sworn he was here a minute ago. Annnnyway ...
I owe a big debt to the 1,100 Pittsburghers who took part in my transition team, generating ideas for how to improve city government. So I am going to take a moment to thank them all, starting with Adam from Allentown, Andrea from Arlington, Brian from Beechview, Brenda from Brookline -- what's that? We don't have time to name them all? Shoot, that was the best part of my speech. Oh well.
There is so much we can do to make sure Pittsburgh continues to be America's most livable city. One way of doing that would be to bomb Seattle, Minneapolis and San Diego, but no, that would not be right. We are a peaceful people, unless you wear an opposing team's jersey in our midst.
Let us focus instead on pragmatic solutions to the quality-of-life problems that have long impaired Pittsburgh's image on the world stage. For starters, my administration will do everything it can to make sure that Edgar Snyder's television commercials appear only between the hours of 3 and 5 a.m.
There is no question, meanwhile, that the city's lack of financial support from the nonprofit sector is a major issue. We are overrun with hospitals, universities and other institutions that take care of their employees -- if they have them -- and clientele, but which treat the city like the skunk at the wedding's cookie table. That must end.
Today, I announce an executive order requiring that, on a weekly basis, all nonprofits within Pittsburgh must send cupcakes to the mayor's office. It is not the be-all and end-all of their contributions, but it is a first step and one that would indicate their sincerity in assisting the city.
After that, we will review the possibility of the nonprofits providing more valuable help -- most likely an entree. A good brisket comes to mind, but I am open-minded.
Another entity I would like to see better relations with for the mayor's office is city council. I know these people well from my time there. They are argumentative, self-interested, parochial, petty and stubborn. If I'm only repeating what someone may have said about me, I apologize.
Regardless, there's plenty of potential for better relations between the mayor's office and council, now that so many of my friends hold positions there. I'm pretty sure they'll do whatever I want, which will go a long way in ensuring we get along fine. If they try to assert independence, rest assured, they'll find out how bad it feels to lose out on invitations to the mayor's "Downton Abbey" viewing parties on Sunday nights. They don't have the scones to turn against Peduto, trust me.
There's been some consternation about my ability to get along with Pittsburgh's business community as well, but this has been exaggerated. I'm as big a fan of our local capitalists as anyone.
But unlike other Pittsburgh mayors -- every one I've ever heard of, at least -- I'm not just handing the keys to the city to every developer who bats his eyelashes. I don't want anyone to think I'm the kind of mayor who's easy. I need to be persuaded and take it slow. If that means I lose a developer to Baltimore or St. Louis, trust me, another one just as rich and handsome will come along.
In closing, let us embrace the potential of the next four years -- or eight, or 12, or however long I'm in my dream job -- and remember the immortal words of that great Pittsburgher Billy Eckstine, who sang, "I would gladly give the sun to you, if the sun were only mine." But it is not, and so the weather will continue to be awful during the Peduto administration, as it is for our debut today. But other things may not.
Now let's get to work.
Gary Rotstein: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1255.
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