for Channel 4 Action News At Six.
Mayor Ravenstahl and his administration had refused to reveal where he was during the city council hearing dealing with the controversial police promotions--a hearing that some women's leaders had urged him to attend. Now that the answer to the question of his whereabouts has come to light, the mayor is facing some criticisms.
The Mario Lemieux Foundation now confirms that Mayor Ravenstahl was playing golf at the private Mario Lemieux Celebrity Invitational at Laurel Valley Golf Club.
Last week the mayor would not explain why he did not accept the invitation to hear 150 women speaking out against the promotion of three police officers with alleged histories of domestic abuse. On June 29, 2007 I asked "just for the record, where were you at the time the hearing was going on?". The Mayor answered "where I was and what I was doing is no reflection on why I wasn't at the hearing".
Jeanne Clark, the activist who gathered petitions for the meeting, told me "think about the person that we elected to that office, Mayor O'Connor. I cannot imagine Bob O'Connor blowing off the women in this city in order to go play golf".Mayor Ravenstahl responds in a written statement that the golf outing is a charity fundraiser for cancer and neonatal research.
He says says what he describes as unfair criticism "smacks of crass politics and yellow journalism and disappoints me greatly".
In the June 29th interview, the mayor told me. "I didn't feel that my presence there would have been advantageous to the cause. It could have potentially become a political situation, which I didn't want it to be".
Ravenstahl says mayors normally don't attend council hearings, and that the issues are of critical importance to him.
Clark answers that "actions speak louder than words: the mayor keeps telling the women of this city that he understands about domestic violence, he's going to have zero tolerance, he couldn't even be bothered to be at the hearing or watch it on television".
Mark DeSantis, the republican candidate for mayor, tells me "it's poor judgement. Him not going to that hearing is just simply poor judgement. Playing golf instead of going to a hearing the cause of which was the poor handling by the city administration itself shows a complete lack of judgement".
(Note: this post was first filed via mobile Blogger, with links and images added later. I'm now in Akron, Ohio to cover closing arguments in the Donna Moonda murder trial.)