The City Paper spilled the beans when they reported that the Mayor went far over the line:
“Off the Record” gives local officials rebuttal time as “guest humorists.” And according to several witnesses who contacted us after the fact, Ravenstahl used his moment on stage to send a message to ACLU state legal director Vic Walczak, who has sharply criticized the city's handling of G-20 protesters. According to multiple sources, Ravenstahl said something like this: “I heard we're going to face a free-speech lawsuit. Well, I have some free speech for you — fuck you, Vic Walczak.”
The mayor's office denied nothing.
“The mayor was pleased to be a guest humorist. He enjoyed himself,” said mayoral spokesperson Joanna Doven. “It raised more than $30,000 for the Food Bank” as well as money for the Pittsburgh Promise, the college scholarship fund championed by Ravenstahl and Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt, the evening's other guest.
“People leave the event shocked all the time,” Doven added. “The event was meant to be humorous. The mayor was making fun of himself, most of the time.”
Ah, so nice to know that Ms. Doven is more than just a voicemail that never returns my calls.
Most of the time, eh? <insert evil Beavis and Butthead laugh. Did I spell that correctly?>
What is all this fuss about Off The Record being off the record? It is a fundraiser, for God's sake, not a meeting of some executive decision making group. It is news when the Mayor makes an ass of himself and/or lives right up to the juvenile, frat boy, bar hopping reputation that surrounds his Administration. That is especially true when he is commenting on a front page story like the G-20 and Free Speech. The Mayor has a talented, smart staff who could have come up with a far more sophisticated riff for him (Paul? Yarone?), so I have little doubt that they tapped right into his juvenile ego to take a swipe at the ACLU.
The whole thing went viral, but so what? It isn't like politicians need to be idiots to be funny. They just need to be smart about it.
Off The Record, welcome to the 21st Century.