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Monday, November 30, 2009

The party that everybody who is anybody (but Luke) will be at

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 6:17 PM

You've probably heard of the "Anybody But Luke" crowd, right? Well, I can tell you where everybody who is anybody will be on the night of Dec. 3. 

They'll be hanging out with city councilor Bill Peduto. 

Rich Lord had some of this earlier today over at the P-G's pay site, but I figure most of this blog's audience is too fiscally strapped to afford the subscription. (I mean, if you're here, it probably means you can't even afford to read our free print edition!) So perhaps it's worth noting here as well.

This Thursday, city councilor Bill Peduto is holding his "Second Annual Holiday Fete" at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. For just $250, you can hang out with Peduto and friends, listen to a DJ, sample booze and food. 

The budget-conscious might have to skip this event, and trade rounds with Peduto at Kelly's some other night. But in the meantime, they should check out the roster of event co-chairs and the folks on the event host committee.

Many of the names are no surprise: Erin Molchany (of the young-professionals group PUMP), Pgh Filmmakers panjandrum Charlie Humprey, longtime friend Justin Strong. But some of the other dignitaries are a bit more interesting:

-- Judy O'Connor, wife of the late Bob O'Connor

-- B.J. Leber, former WQED official and ousted member of O'Connor's inner circle in the latter days of his too-short administration

-- Guy Costa, former chair of Public Works (and the guy who helped let Peduto live out his dream of heading up this year's Columbus Day parade)

-- Mark DeSantis, Ravenstahl's mayoral challenger in 2007

-- Kevin Acklin, Ravenstahl's mayoral challenger in 2009

-- Debbie Lestitian, ousted member of the city's Sports and Exhibition Authority board

In other words, Peduto's party is being attended by many of the folks that Luke Ravenstahl or his chief of staff, Yarone Zober, passed over during their rise to power.

Except Pat Ford. Someone else will have to bring the cigars, I guess. 

But the list doesn't just include also-rans in local political contests. Hosts and co-chairs also include ...  

-- Fred Sargent, head of Sargent Electric

-- David Matter, head of Oxford Development and one-time advisor to the late Richard Caliguiri

-- Gabe Morgan, western PA head of the Service Employees International Union

-- Developers Steve Mosites and James Scalo

-- Reed Smith attorney/Democratic bigshot Dan Booker

-- Young literati including writer Sherrie Flick and playwright/author Rick Schweikert

-- Pat Clark, who (full disclosure) is married to CP staffer Al Hoff

Why does any of this matter? Maybe it doesn't. But on Election Day, I wrote an incredibly ponderous essay whose bottom line was that too often, challengers who take on endorsed Democrats don't have 

a sufficient number of "go-betweens" -- mediating mechanisms that act as "force multipliers" for a candidate's message ...

There aren't enough people with an audience willing to take a chance on a candidate. There haven't been enough unions willing to put themselves on the line with an endorsement. There haven't been enough people willing to sign their name to a check. There aren't enough people reading, let alone writing, the blogs.

[The lackluster challenges to Ravenstahl reflect] the lack of an infrastructure, a power base, large enough to amplify a candidate's message effectively.

I don't think the folks hosting Peduto's shindig are enough to provide that infrastructure: If they were, Ravenstahl might not be in office today. But if you're Peduto, it ain't a bad crowd to have behind you as the New Year approaches. 

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