Newsweek's Howard Fineman--a former 'burgher--has posted a more than 13-hundred word web exclusive column on Pittsburgh and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. I came across it while checking my Google News bookmarks this morning.
It's headlined "The Politics of Pittsburgh: A city down on its luck has an optimistic young leader. The scene there mirrors our national situation. Maybe we can all learn something from Luke Ravenstahl."
Here's the link, along with some breakout quotes to whet your appetite:
• "The mayor is an interesting accident: 27-year-old Luke Ravenstahl, who ascended from the city council after the death of the elected mayor. Master Luke is the youngest mayor of a major city in modern history. Hey, if nothing else, it got him on "Letterman."
• "Ravenstahl’s challenge, and Pittsburgh’s, are emblematic of our national situation at this key moment. Politically, America also is glorious but beleaguered, maxed out on credit, despised in the world..."
• "A merger of city and county—a move made by many other regions—would extinguish Pittsburgh’s 'voice,' Ravenstahl told me. 'No one would pay attention to urban issues.'"
• "Interviewing him in the vast conference room is a little disconcerting. The walls are decorated with portraits of past mayors of the city, which was founded in 1758. Beneath portraits of men in powdered wigs sits Ravenstahl, with gel in his close-cropped hair. He speaks forcefully, but his words are carefully chosen."