Thursday, December 6, 2007

Young Inquiring Minds

Several of us who write for this blog received an email from a young Pitt student, asking us lots of questions. I will keep his identity a secret, but I thought it best to answer his questions on this blog. I am always impressed by the inquisitiveness of young minds. Following is what the student wrote in italics. My comments and answers are in regular type.

I am a student at the University of Pittsburgh that happens to be working on a case study involving Luke and the Ethics Hearing Board. The course is Board Governance and we are studying different aspects of board (especially those that are not for profit). You seem very opinionated and I am requesting your thoughts on the Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board to use in the analysis. I thought instead of using the different newspaper articles and simply highlighting what everyone already knows, I would turn to bloggers to get the "real deal" and see what actual Pittsburghers think about the Ethics Board, Luke, and their actions especially during the investigation period. Please forward this message to your fellow bloggers if you think they would be willing to share some insight as well. I am talking with a lot of Luke haters (bloggers) so your support for Luke will help to balance the argument.

Wow, I really like being called "very opinionated!" Thanks! of course, my opinions are not really mere opinions, they are the truth. I have had years of worldly experience upon which to base my thinking and writing. First, I am slightly confused. You are "studying different aspects of board?" Board what? Also, I am worried that you are talking to Luke Haters. Be very careful. They will try to poison your mind with their cynicsm, parody and satire. They are mostly evil. Normally, I do not dialogue with those who talk to Luke Haters, but, since you are young and earnest, I will make an exception in your case.

1) Was the City of Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board board structure and composition helpful or hurtful to the organization? Did board members have conflicts of interest?

Question number 1 is really two questions, and that's kind of annoying. Shouldn't these be questions numbers 1 AND 2? Well, I'll answer them in order. What organization? Of course they had conflicts of interest. Duh.

2) Was the City of Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board board a "good board?"

How do you define "good?" What makes a board good or bad? Can a board even be good or bad? Well, I would say they were bad if they went after Mayor Luke for some silly thing like driving the homerland security vehicle or accepting tickets to golf with Tiger Woods. The mayor is supposed to do these things--those are his job--as we have extensively written previously on this blog. Nobody bothered about Mayor Murphy golfing with Arnold Palmer, did they?

3) In your estimation, did the City of Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board reach a fair decision on clearing Mayor Luke Ravenstahl on any wrong-doing? Were there any clear signs of negligence or incompetence on the part of the board or any of its members?

Again with the two in one question! Of course it was a fair decision. What was unfair was to waste the Mayor's time by subjecting him to a review of ethics. The Mayor is above ethics, that is why he is the Mayor. I don't think this is rocket science. What are they teaching you at Pitt anyway? And, yes, of course they were incompetent. It was incompetent to waste time thinking about the Mayor's case when he was clearly not guilty of ethical infractions.

4) Did the board operate independently or did it do the bidding of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl (recall that two members of the board are nominated by the major)?

Mayor Luke is not the puppet master of the board. Of course they acted independently. How many people are on this board? So what if two are nominated by Luke? Does two constitute a majority? Use some common sense here. If they were "doing the bidding of Mayor Ravenstahl," do you think he would have bid them to investigate him?

5) In your research, did you see any board activities that seemed questionable?

Umm, from the get go, harrassing our beloved Mayor by questioning his ethics was just plain unethical. I think they need to have THEIR ethics looked at! Questionable? You bet! Look, he's young. Cut the guy a break. Of course he might make some ethical slip ups. I say "might make", which does not mean he DID make any. We know he did not really make any ethical errors. I just mean that we have to be understanding of his youth and not be constantly looking for ways to question him and find fault. This intereferes with his ability to be mayor, and is something that only cynical mean people do.

6) What did the board do right? What did the board do wrong?

I'm not going to answer this becuase again it is two questions and besides they are really the same as question #5. Oh wait a second, they probably should have looked into that DeSantis guy's ethics too. Failure to do that is something they did wrong. I think his ethics should have been investigated before he had even gotten on the ballot. What if he was unethical, got elected (fat chance, but bear with me, this is hypothetical) and then we found out later that he was, in fact, unethical? Then where would we be? What would we do? Nobody knows anything about DeSantis's ethics, yet people voted for him!

7) Should the City of Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board change their policies and/or procedures as a result of this set of hearings against Mayor Luke Ravenstahl?

This is getting a bit repetitious. But, yes, they should. They should not be allowed to waste taxpayer dollars, their time, and our Mayor's time by investigating the Mayor unless they are 100% sure that the Mayor has done something wrong.

8) What do you think motivated board members to join the Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board?

Cynicsm and hatred. They probably have it in for Mayor Luke. I think they are probably just mean people too.

9) What agenda if any do you think each has as a board member?

You did not have a question #9, this was part of #8. But I decided to renumber them, since you apparently cannot count. Again, what are they teaching you there at Pitt? Apparently they are NOT teaching you how to count. Board Member agendas are too numerous to list here. Maybe my colleagues Pierre and Strawberry Way will care to weigh in with an itemized list of agendas held by each board member. But, just for an example, the board includes a nun, a reverend and a rabbi! Do you think they might have some evangelical agendas related to their own particular religions? I do!

Okay, well, I hope this helps you with your project. Good luck in your studies. I think you should definitely earn an A+ for this work. Because, it was a brilliant idea to turn to bloggers for your research! As you know, we bloggers are the best source of authoritative unbiased facts and information available today.