Click to play
Q: "Mayor, the question I asked last night about --"
Mayor Ravenstahl: "Yeah, I did a pretty good job of not answering it, didn't I?" (Laughter)
That exchange between Mayor Ravenstahl and me Tuesday afternoon followed these unanswered e-mails I sent to both his campaign manager Paul McKrell and his government press secretary Joanna Doven:
From: Bob Mayo
Subject: Mayor's Daily Schedule
Date: April 21, 2009 9:28:41 AM EDT
This e-mail is to followup on my question during last night's debate.
Will the mayor make his daily schedule through election day public? If he will, how soon will that happen and how frequently will it be updated?
You can hear the rest of the exchange by clicking on the image above.
The mayor shifted attention from his daily schedule when he revealed he did two things: announced that he is now agreeing to restore a third televised debate with his opponents, and launched an attack on KDKA-TV for its handling of its postponement of the station's debate. The above audio clip includes those remarks, as well as his criticisms of his opponents and the rest of the news media on the topic.
Some key quotes from Mayor Ravenstahl, who says he learned of KDKA's cancellation from the Dowd campaign and then the PG website:
• "As far as I'm concerned, that was extremely unprofessional. It was an attempt to distort my position on debates and I was frustrated by that. Never have I not wanted to debate. I enjoyed last night's event."
• "While I was extremely unhappy with the way KDKA handled it, I guess I was more unhappy with my opponents and the media's distortion of my willingness to participate in debates. I have, I will, I want to, and so we will appear. I had discussions with KDKA, it looks like next Thursday will be an appropriate time for the debate. I don't think it's been finalized yet, but I did make room on my schedule next Thursday for that."
I crossed paths with Councilman Patrick Dowd minutes after the mayor's news conference. His reaction to Mayor Ravenstahl's decision:
• "I'm glad that he's caved in to the pressure here. I mean it's obvious that the public deserves to see candidates before them to answer questions. "
• "I think that obviously the mayor could spare the time and and he didn't want to do it. And so I'm glad to see that he's caved in to the pressure. There's been a lot of pressure, I know, and I'm glad he's caved."
Carmen Robinson responds via e-mail:
• "I am encouraged by his response and of course I will rearrange my schedule but again it is always on his terms. Since it is more important for the people of Pittsburgh to see more debates, I am more than willing to comply to his terms."
KDKA-TV acting news director Anne Linaberger told WTAE her station postponed its April 15 debate because of the deaths of three city police officers on April 4th. The newly arranged debate will be recorded on April 30th and broadcast on May 2nd.
(A closing note in answer to TRM: I did try to press Mayor Ravenstahl again during the debate to answer the question. As Dowd and Robinson were starting to respond, I spoke out, asking again "...releasing your schedule...?" I'm not sure if my microphone was turned down or if the shift to the other candidates drowned me out -- I was on the opposite side of the studio. As the candidates were speaking on camera, Andrew turned toward me and whispered "follow-up?" At that point, the debate was now running long: Jill and Sheldon's final questions were being cut; the candidate answers to my final question were being limited to 30 seconds. Closing statements were about to begin so that the broadcast would end on time. Given those constraints, I chose instead to take up the question again in the morning.)