Could someone give some really reputable reasons to elect Luke Ravenstahl as mayor of Pittsburgh on Nov. 3, other than his being the "poster boy" of the Democratic Party in this city? Although I am not a city resident, I work, shop, eat and regularly attend political and cultural events in the city.
It's maddening to think that after the disastrous events around the G-20, people would feel he is still worthy of running the city. During the run-up to the G-20, established peace and social justice groups were denied permits to hold peaceful events, which led to civil lawyers taking the city to federal court to uphold First Amendment rights. The city spent millions on police and national guard units allowing the Downtown area to be turned into a deserted police state, and business owners lost revenue because people were afraid to come Downtown.
In Lawrenceville and on the Pitt campus, police in riot gear unlawfully arrested, beat and tear-gassed people. Especially intimidating was the city's new LRAD vehicles, which sent out warning-to-disperse messages at ear-piercing levels. Many brutalized were unable to seek emergency medical treatment, because the city failed to have backup EMS units set up.
Now Pittsburgh will long be remembered as an unfriendly place whose elected officials sat by passively and watched people's First Amendment rights being trampled on. If I could cast a vote in the city's mayoral race Tuesday, it would not be for Luke Ravenstahl.
I think he should be made to do community service, like so many arrested under his watch, for his lack of good leadership, for poor decision making and for inviting the capitalist criminals of the G-20 to our city in the first place.
The writer is the coordinator of Codepink Pittsburgh Women for Peace.