Ravenstahl-Linked Group Slams Peduto in Ad (With Video)

An anonymously funded group called “Citizens for a Better Pittsburgh” is slamming Bill Peduto in a new television ad. The spot accuses him of hurting the city for his own City Council district.

PFBP Peduto Ad“Bill Peduto wants to be Mayor of Pittsburgh. But Peduto only seems to care about his own district,” a narrator says. The ad ticks off several line items Peduto supposedly opposed during his Council tenure, including funding for Homewood and the Hill District.

“We need a mayor for all of Pittsburgh. Nut just Bill Peduto’s neighborhood.”

According to FCC filings, the organization is spending $26,000 to air the spot on WPXI and $1,600 on WPGH over the next week. The above copy (admittedly shaky, taken by iPhone) aired on KDKA, so the buy is probably around $60,000 this week. That’s on par with spending by each of the top two candidates.

Former Auditor General Jack Wagner and Peduto face State Rep. Jake Wheatley and activist AJ Richardson in the May 21 Democratic primary.

The group is new on the scene, and won’t need to disclose its financials until a May 10 deadline. But the Pittsburgh City Paper explains why many people – including Peduto himself – assume the group is a vehicle for campaign funds from incumbent Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Namely, Ravenstahl’s campaign loaned the CFBP $20,000 in 2012 and its treasurer, John R. Morgan, has links to the Mayor’s allies.

“A group backed by Wagner & Ravenstahl has purchased TV time to begin running a smear campaign against Bill Peduto,” his campaign emailed supporters Sunday night.

Ravenstahl has nearly $1 million in the bank when he announced he wouldn’t run for re-election. Many have guessed that he may put it to use against Peduto, a longtime political rival. Though the Mayor has not endorsed in the race, many of his supporters are backing Wagner.

As the CP also notes, “The file also suggests that the agency placing the ad is SRCP Media, which bills itself as a “Republican media consulting firm” with clients that include Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, Mitt Romney, and Mitch McConnell.”

PoliticsPA is seeking comment from a Ravenstahl spokesman.

After seeing the ad, Peduto’s campaign called its allegations false. Their response is below.

Wagner’s campaign denied any involvement with the group, which would violate campaign rules. Campaign Manager Henry De Koninick blamed Peduto himself for the tenor of the campaign – and reiterated Wagner’s past criticism of Ravenstahl.

“Jack Wagner has been a vocal critic of both this administration, before and during this campaign, and Councilman Peduto,” De Koninick said. “In fact, Jack has spoke out against the culture of dysfunction in city government caused by the divisive relationship between the Administration and Council. However, unlike Bill Peduto, Jack Wagner has been neither a barrier to progress nor a facilitator of further division.”

Here are the point-by-point responses from Peduto:

Peduto responds to PFBP ad

12 Responses

  1. Policy disagreements aside, from my vantage point it seems that Peduto’s more outspoken supporters are an intelligent, literate bunch. In that sense, Frank is a real breath of fresh air.

  2. Bram, it seems to me that you and your comrades view Pgh Politics through a lens that places its players EITHER in the Peduto Progressive-Socialist camp OR in the Ravenstahl Party Machine camp. It’s not so simple, and I suspect that this mindset is why Peduto’s supporters are so quick to push this idea of a Ravenstahl/Wagner buddy-buddy relationship, which is clearly a fallacy.

    In exchange for being elected President in 2010, Darlene Harris consistently sided with Peduto, Rudiak and company AGAINST Luke. In 2011, Luke heavily backed a candidate AGAINST Darlene. Then, fresh of the Peduto faction’s success in the 2011 election, Peduto got cocky and tied to condition Harris’ re-election as President on her support for his mayoral candidacy. That spooked Harris, so she went and got her 4 votes for President elsewhere (including Dowd, a Peduto endorser). Harris’ shift was mostly rooted in maintaining her own political power, and to a lesser extent her rift with Peduto. Any lost love for Luke is way down on that list.

    Long-story short, there are players like Harris, Lamb, Wagner and others that don’t fit squarely into this two-dimensional paradigm of Pgh Politics that the Peduto crowd likes to promote. Anytime someone backs Wagner, it is disingenuous to discredit them as a Ravenstahl ally or a relic of Pgh’s old-time political machine.

  3. hey reasonalble rep what happen to wagners lead people are catching on he has zero plans and ravenstahl and the republicans cant save him looks like wagner picked the wrong race again just like the governors race.not to worry the republican rag tribune review will endorse him just like they did for governor.maybe he can run as a republican.lol

  4. Reasonable Rep – Darlene Harris IS in the mayor’s camp, once again, and has been since Ravenstahl’s votes on Council supported her for Council president. She appointed him to the Dem committee way back when he was literally 17 years old or so.

    As I said, Lamb’s choice was disappointing, but at the end of the day it’s ward healers vs. ordinary people. I guess Lamb figured with County Executive Rich Fitzgerald behind Peduto, he wold always be Peduto-light, so why not go with what is familiar.

  5. All along, Wagner intended to run against Ravenstahl as an Independent in the fall (Peduto wasn’t beating Luke w/ Lamb in the race). That alone makes the Peduto camp’s efforts to tie Wagner to Luke seem a little over the top. Luke’s supporters jumped to Wagner because he, for all intents and purposes, is the guy that can beat Peduto. Plain and simple.

    If the Peduto campaign wanted to frame this as an old vs. new or very liberal vs. moderate type of election, that’s completely legitimate. Where they lose credibility is when they start calling Wagner a conservative Republican and suggesting that he’s Luke Ravenstahl 2.0. Neither is rooted in reality.

    Concerning the Luke 2.0 thing: Exactly how do the Peduto supporters explain the endorsement of Darlene Harris, Lamb and others who were clearly NOT in Luke’s camp? Many of them openly cited a potential Peduto mayoralty as a reason for publicly getting behind Wagner. Could it be that, just maybe, there IS something to this idea that Peduto burns bridges with those that don’t go along with his far-left agenda?

  6. My issue with the Wagner campaign is this: I have no idea what he actually wants to do.

    Bill Peduto has published nearly 100 policy documents leading up to this election. I can say “Hey, Bill, I love that,” or “Hey, Bill, that seems like a terrible idea,” if I want.

    Wagner’s website shows a handful of paragraphs of rhetoric. I don’t know if he has better ideas than Peduto, or if he even disagrees with Peduto at all. Wagner might be a great guy, but I’m relatively new to the city and I don’t have a clue who he is. He’s not really making an effort to tell me, so I can’t imagine what incentive I have to vote for him.

    Peduto isn’t going to achieve all of his policy goals. He might achieve 10%. I’m being realistic here… simply stating his intentions isn’t going to make them come to pass. But at least I know what he intends to spend his time on. He’s got more than enough work to occupy a term as mayor, and I’m glad for a mayor that will be keeping his agenda full.

    I guess, my concern about Jack Wagner is that his entrance into this race seems opportunist. He obviously has not prepared for this election to the extent that Peduto has, and it seems like he is only here because Ravenstahl dropped out. I don’t want a mayor that is using Pittsburgh as a springboard to the next level. I want a mayor that will commit himself to the city.

  7. Just to clear the record Sarah, I don’t hate anybody. Like a lot of Pghers on my side of the fence, I was shocked, saddened and disappointed Lamb cast his lot so quickly with Wagner. But unlike Prothonataries and Controllers, Lamb doesn’t make many decisions, so I guess we finally saw him make one. Wagner himself seems like gentleman but he’s already had a million chances at glory, he’s conservative, he’s not nearly as much an urbanist as Peduto, and worst of all he got himself all mixed up in a mess. Finally, Luke’s in way over his head and it’s his mess. It’s Peduto’s time, people want to see what he can do already.

  8. Bram is *almost* as obsessive in his anybody-but-Peduto bashing as was the Citizen Against Critz lunatic in the last election!

  9. O, hey, Bram…..do you have a life besides being a 24 hour 7 day a week shill for Pe-dud-o? There isn’t a site that you aren’t on with your sad schtick of hating on Wagner, Lamb, Ravenstahl, the girl who took your lunch money in 8th grade.

    Truth is, you’re panicking. Peduto’s career is finished, along with any hope you will ever have of real employment. But, yeah, the earthquake visual is sweeeeet.

  10. The culture of dysfunction is not due to divisive politics — the culture of dysfunction is due to NOT ENOUGH BILL PEDUTO’S standing up to outrageously un-slick deal making in the Administration, selling the City down the river to one playboy developer at a time.

    If this negatve ad in support of Wagner is coming from Republicans and Luke’s people, Wagner is toast. He must be toast already, to be this desperate.

    That having been said, I like the shaky earthquake visual, with the pieces of Pgh flying off into space.

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