Luke Ravenstahl

Pittsburgh
11:48 am
Tue March 25, 2014

UPMC Questions Ravenstahl Taking Computer Home

An ongoing federal investigation involving Pittsburgh's former mayor and the city's lawsuit challenging the nonprofit status of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have intersected — at the ex-mayor's computer.

Former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl took the computer with him for about 10 days after leaving office in January, but has since returned it. Now UPMC's attorneys want to know if he did anything with the device that might impact the city's ongoing lawsuit over its nonprofit status.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:42 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Why Mayor Peduto Wants Act 47 to Stay, for Now

Bill Peduto is asking Governor Tom Corbett to keep Pittsburgh under Act 47 oversight until at least 2018.
Credit Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

In 2003, the city of Pittsburgh was operating under a debt burden of more than 20% of its operating budget. Pools and recreation centers had to close and hundreds of city employees, including police officers were laid off.

Pittsburgh was declared financially distressed and placed under Act 47 oversight.

As the local economy has stabilized, former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, along with Act 47 coordinators have said the city is ready to be released. But Pittsburgh's new Mayor Bill Peduto is asking Governor Corbett to keep the city under Act 47 oversight to allow his administration to work on a final recovery plan.

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Arts & Culture
10:37 am
Wed January 8, 2014

What Will Peduto Do for Art in Pittsburgh?

During former mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s term, he created ArtPGH, which is part of a 25-year comprehensive plan for the city of Pittsburgh.

ArtPGH encourages public art in the city and involves artists in designing public space.

It seems as if Bill Peduto has some artistic shoes to fill, but the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (GPAC) thinks he is already making great strides.

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City in Transition
3:30 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Once a Promising Political Novice, Mayor Ravenstahl Leaves Office ... And Politics?

Outgoing Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced on March 1, 2013 that he would not seek reelection, after a tenure marked with a mix of triumphs and stumbles.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

When Mayor Luke Ravenstahl was quietly sworn into office following the 2006 death of Mayor Bob O’Connor, the 26-year-old City Council president became the youngest mayor of a major U.S. city. 

Headlines around the time included the following: “Hope surrounds new Pittsburgh mayor, 26” and he made several national television appearances, including a spot on "The Late Show with David Letterman." But as he heads out of office, the last months of his tenure included headlines such as “Luke Ravenstahl Maintains Low Profile Amid Federal Probe.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:01 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

WESA News Editors Look at Top News Stories of 2013

From the indictment of a police chief to a bridge covered in yarn. Looking back at the top local news stories of 2013.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh region was impacted by many major news stories during 2013. From a breakthrough in the stalemate over funding for transportation infrastructure, to a police scandal and the election of a new mayor.

WESA’s Senior News Editor Mark Nootbaar gives some perspective on the year’s top stories.

At the state level, privatization of government functions were a theme for the Corbett Administration.

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City Government
3:55 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Controller Lamb: Pension Board Vote Was 'The Right Decision for Pittsburgh'

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb said Thursday’s board vote to lower the pension fund’s projected rate of return was good financially for the city.

The fund’s assumed rate of return was lowered from 8 percent to 7.5 percent after a 5-2 vote led by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's allies. Supporters of Mayor-elect Bill Peduto then accused Ravenstahl of political maneuvering.

Ravenstahl was opposed to lowering the rate during most of his tenure.

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City Government
7:47 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Urban Redevelopment Authority Facing Massive Cuts in 2014

Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority is facing massive cuts under Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s proposed 2014 budget.

At a City Council budget hearing on Tuesday, Robert Rubenstein, acting executive director of the URA, said he was disappointed with the proposed budget’s $2.2 million cut to the authority’s budget.

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Government & Politics
3:14 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Ravenstahl Releases Final Budget of Mayoral Tenure

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is applauded following his announcement of the 2014 city budget.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl released his proposed 2014 operating and capital budget Tuesday.

The $480 million budget and five-year plan is balanced, and it contains no tax increases or layoffs.

Before getting into specifics of the proposed spending plan, Ravenstahl outlined successes of his time as mayor. He said in the last seven years Pittsburgh has received 10 bond rating upgrades, and its investment status has moved from junk to grade A status.

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Community
2:50 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Mixed-Income Housing a Cornerstone of East Liberty Redevelopment

The Community Builders held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new East Liberty Place South.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The Community Builders held a ceremonial groundbreaking Monday at the site of the new East Liberty Place South development.

The building will feature 52 units of mixed-income housing, as well as 11,000 square feet of commercial space. Thirteen of the one- and two-bedroom apartments will be priced at market value, with a tenant income cap of $55,000-75,000, depending on family size.

Six of the apartments are geared toward very low-income residents, including people with physical disabilities who live off disability benefits.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:37 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

How Will History Look at Mayor Luke Ravenstahl?

Credit Deanna Garcia

As Pittsburghers gear up to elect a new mayor, a week from now, Luke Ravenstahl seems to be ramping up his public appearance schedule in an effort to clean up his image.

“It’s like he’s almost trying to spin the last seven years into something that reads better on his epitaph,” says Bob Oltmanns, President of OPR Group, LLC, an independent public relations consultancy.

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Pittsburgh Grand Jury Investigation
1:50 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Mayor Ravenstahl: “I’ve done nothing wrong, and I stand by that.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he is continuing to do his job and is helping the next mayor transition into office. 

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Pittsburgh
11:31 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Top Pittsburgh Police Brass Go Before Grand Jury

The city's two highest-ranking police officials appeared Wednesday to testify before a federal grand jury believed to be investigating the mayor's use of police-issued bodyguards and other matters.

Acting police Chief Regina McDonald and Deputy Chief Paul Donaldson entered the grand jury room at about 9 a.m. and left about two hours later, declining to offer specifics.

"Can't tell you anything," McDonald said as she left. "We're not permitted to talk."

"We were just here to assist them with the investigation," Donaldson said.

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Pittsburgh Police
1:33 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Police Probing Ravenstahl Bodyguard's Hours

Pittsburgh police say they're reviewing the timecard records of an officer who formerly worked as a bodyguard for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, and who testified against the mayor before a federal grand jury earlier this year.

At that time, the attorney for Fred Crawford said the investigation will eventually show that tax dollars were "wasted so the mayor could have a designated driver ... while he went out to bars."

That attorney, Robert Stewart, didn't return a call for comment Tuesday on the newest information about Crawford provided by acting Chief Regina McDonald.

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Government & Politics
3:17 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Jim Ferlo 'Confident' No Wrongdoing at Urban Redevelopment Authority

State Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny) doesn’t believe federal investigators will find anything substantial from documents they’ve subpoenaed last week from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

Ferlo currently sits on the board of the URA.

The subpoena comes after board chairman Yarone Zober, and the mayor’s chief of staff, testified Tuesday before a federal grand jury believed to be investigating whether Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is involved in funding irregularities.

Ferlo said he’s not sure what investigators are looking to find.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:12 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Mayor's Right-Hand Man Testifies Before Grand Jury

Credit Noah Brode/90.5 WESA

Last week Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s Chief of Staff, Yarone Zober spent more than an hour and half behind closed doors testifying before a grand jury. 

The news follows reports that former Pittsburgh Chief of Police, Nate Harper will plead guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion for diverting funds from unauthorized accounts.  Many believe the federal investigation aims to look into all elements of Mayor Ravenstahl’s personal life.

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Health
4:03 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Green Up to Grow Up Encourages Healthy Eating for Youth

One in 3 American children is overweight or obese. That’s according to the Children’s Defense Fund, which also says 45 percent of those kids come from low-income families.

Pittsburgh is launching a new program called “Green Up to Grow Up” to try to reduce that figure.

The program is an expansion of GreenUp and Edible Gardens, which turns vacant lots into areas where produce is grown for low-income neighborhoods.

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City Government
3:53 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Ravenstahl Wants Police to Stay in City

While locally appointed arbitrators will make their final decision in September as to whether the requirement for Pittsburgh police to live in the city should be lifted, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl already has his answer: No.

Ravenstahl said he believes the city police should stay where they are.

“I think it’s important for them to be in the neighborhoods in which they patrol," Ravenstahl said. "The residents feel safer when they have a police officer living in their community. It seems to me that it’s working now, and there’s no need to change it.”

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City Government
8:41 am
Wed July 3, 2013

How Visible Does Pittsburgh's Mayor Need to Be?

Since announcing he would not be running for re-election, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has been operating largely outside the eye of the media.
Credit Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

On March 1, Luke Ravenstahl made the surprise announcement that he would not run for re-election as mayor of Pittsburgh.

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Government & Politics
4:45 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

In First Meeting Since February, Peduto and Ravenstahl Discuss Mayoral Challenges

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl met with his likely successor, City Councilman Bill Peduto, Monday for the first time since February.

Peduto was optimistic before entering the mayor’s corner office on the fifth floor of City Hall, saying it was a chance to “bury the hatchet” and “smoke the peace pipe.” Peduto said his number one priority going into the meeting was discussing a budget the two could agree on.

After the roughly 22-minute meeting, Peduto said Ravenstahl looked “subdued” yet “positive” and “professional.”

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Pittsburgh
2:15 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl Says Fewer Public Appearances Are His Choice

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said his office has been fully cooperative with an ongoing federal investigation into city financial dealings, and that there have been no subpoenas from investigators in more than a month.

Ravenstahl maintained that he’s done nothing wrong and said he wished the truth could come out now, as opposed to a long investigation.

At an event in Mt. Washington Wednesday morning to launch a program to increase energy efficiency at city-owned buildings, he took issue with questions from the media about his lack of public appearances of late.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:01 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Political Commentary on Essential Pittsburgh

A former Pittsburgh police detective who served on Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's security detail has been approached by the FBI about using debit cards tied to an unauthorized account at the Greater Pittsburgh Police Federal Credit Union. Will his testimony open Mayor Ravenstahl to federal investigation?

Pittsburgh City Council President Darlene Harris changed her party affiliation from democratic to independent in April. Many wonder if she's planning to make a play for mayor

And State Representative Jesse White is under investigation for using a fake online identity to bash his political opponents.

Guests: Eric Heyl of the Tribune-Review and Bram Reichbaum of the Pittsburgh Comet discuss these political topics and more.

Essential Pittsburgh
12:18 pm
Sun May 19, 2013

The Overshadowing Presence of Mayor Ravenstahl

Is Mayor Ravenstahl really Captain Distraction?
Credit Noah Brode / WESA

In his latest column, Pittsburgh Tribune columnist Eric Heyl gives Mayor Ravenstahl the moniker Captain Distraction, referring to his overshadowing presence in this year's Democratic mayoral primary. On this day before the election we'll discuss how the mayor's travails continue to hold public fascination.

Pittsburgh
11:22 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Ravenstahl Gives Home Docs to Fed Grand Jury

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has turned over a $12,000 check and a contract he has for home improvements to a federal grand jury.

The grand jury is believed to be investigating whether the mayor is involved in funding irregularities as his bodyguards have recently been subpoenaed to testify about city-issued credit cards and now the mayor and a contractor doing work on his home have acknowledged turning over the new records.

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Mayoral Election
3:02 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Unions Respond To Ravenstahl-Backed Ads Against Peduto

Several dozen union members who supported Pittsburgh’s prevailing wage law gathered in the City County Building Thursday to denounce advertisements Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s PAC, Committee for a Better Pittsburgh, has taken out against mayoral candidate Bill Peduto.

Peduto supported the prevailing wage law, and union members feel he has been misrepresented in the ads.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:40 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Negative Ads in the Mayoral Primary

Image consultant Bob Oltmanns
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Negative ads, like shaking hands and kissing babies, have become a staple of political campaigns. The recent news of Mayor Ravenstahl's link to attack ads has turned our attention to the impact of negative ads in this year's mayoral primary. Joining us for this discussion is public relations advisor Bob Oltmanns, president of the OPR Group.

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