I was appalled this week to tune in to KDKA TV news to see a hit piece by Andy Sheehan attacking Darlene Harris, County Council President. I sure hope Andy got paid, because this had nothing to do with journalism, but was simply negative advertising by Luke and the boys to try to defeat Darlene in her re-election campaign.
The story was spoon fed to Andy, and the premise was that Darlene was taking money away from crucial pothole filling for her "pet projects" in her district. (The crucial pothole problem alluded to was not in the North Side, which Darlene serves, but in Squirrel Hill, which Doug Shields and Bill Peduto represent. Why there? Squirrel Hill voters complain.)
What the hell is a pet project anyway? Doug had a good comment on my Facebook page today --"Bruce Kraus took in a lost kitten this week. That "pet project'??? What's that have to do with paving?"
Seriously, people only call something a "pet project" when it isn't their project. And last I checked, Darlene wasn't in charge of pothole filling -- it's Public Works. You know, the same guys who could (and have) f*cked up snow removal when we get a light dusting. And it was nice to see that the Director of Public Works had time to attack Darlene on camera. He's such a stud muffin -- just who I want to see representing the "new Pittsburgh" image we're all trying to create.
With Yaronne delivering this story wrapped up in a big red bow to KDKA, the station needs to report this coverage as a campaign contribution, because they sure didn't ask any questions about it. Like why now?
Here's what I think the answer is. Luke's office is pulling out all the stops to remove every independent minded member of council. They have Bruce Kraus, Pat Dowd, and Darlene fully in their crosshairs. In addition, Luke and Yaronne are moving no legislation -- nada -- through Council, playing a waiting game in hopes they can control more votes later. They are particularly not asking Council for any action on anything to do with money. They don't want to open up the books.
So here's a tip for an enterprising reporter out there -- follow the money flowing through the mayor's office. You might be surprised to see where it's gone. And while you're at it, you might want to identify the thugs who are stalking Darlene while she campaigns door to door.
Meanwhile, I'll be looking for the campaign finance disclosure by KDKA. And helping Darlene get re-elected.