... Council President Doug Shields says he did not authorize the mayor's message.
Mayor Ravensthal's revelation came in response to my unrelated question at this morning's news conference. I'd asked if he would seriously consider Shields' suggestion that city government itself apply for the slots casino license, should it be put up for new bids.
Ravenstahl: "It's tough for me to take anything Council President Shields takes seriously anymore. He just told members of my staff this week that he's running for mayor next year. So, I think you need to filter all of his comments through a political filter right now. So, I don't know that I have any comment on what Mr Shields had to say."
...And later I asked...
Q: "Is it your sense the mayor's race has already begun?"
Ravenstahl: "You tell me." (Laughs.)
Q: "Is that going to affect the ability to get things done...?"
Ravenstahl: "It certainly makes a lot of sense with some of the things that have been happening in city council. And it starts to shed a light on some of the voices coming from over there. But it's the reality of the situation. I've been a candidate for this office since the day i walked into. And of course we're on the verge of an election next year. "
"You know, when somebody makes comments to a member of my staff and a variety of other different people, I think that needs to be known. And you need to consider that some of the comments that are made may be made for political gain and benefit. And it starts to make sense on some of the things that have been said and done over the past six months."
Other reporters and I stopped Shields as he got off the elevator outside council chamber. I played the tape of Raventsahl's comments, then asked:
Q: "So, the mayor announced your candidacy. Are you running for mayor?"
Shields: " No. And I haven't discussed anything about the (race for) mayor with the mayor's staff at all. When people ask me that I just simply go: 'it's not something that I'm contemplating at this time, at all'.
"And I can't recall anybody that I've even - including my wife-- (been telling) saying I'm going to run for mayor."
"But be that as it may, I guess the mayor has some bad information."
Some on Grant Street speculate that it's Councilman Pat Dowd who may want to run for mayor... not next year, but four years after that. Those theorists suggest that it's actually Mayor Ravenstahl's supporters who are spreading the "Shields for Mayor" talk. They speculate that the rumors are intended to seed further friction on council between Dowd and Shields.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh reporters and bloggers continue to get occasional anonymous e-mail links promoting a "Draft Chelsa 2009" blog.
When I first received the link a few weeks ago, I checked by phone with State Representative Chelsa Wagner. She told me she was flattered by the blog, but that she did not know who was behind it. When I asked Wagner if she is a candidate for mayor next year, she answered that she's focused on the upcoming legislative races and that the talk is premature.
The blog was mentioned a couple of weeks back , three stories down in the Trib's "Whispers" column.