Saturday, September 02, 2006

Goodbye, Mayor

The Trib has a nice, simply state front-page obituary for Mayor Bob O'Connor. It's one time when the traditional, just-the-facts newspaper style serves the occasion well.

I don't envy Luke Ravenstahl, but I will say that he struck just the right chord in his brief remarks after his swearing-in last night:

It's really difficult this evening to find the proper words to express my emotions at this difficult time. Today is certainly a day of great sorrow and grief for the entire city of Pittsburgh.

Bob O'Connor is a beloved friend and colleague, and his words and actions and deeds will serve as a model to my tenure as mayor of the city of Pittsburgh.

"I ask all of Pittsburgh this evening to join Judy O'Connor and the O'Connor family in our time of grief and offer prayers and support as we mourn Bob's passing and also celebrate his life and career of helping others.

"To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose. The time will come for Pittsburgh to continue on with its mission.

"Now is a time for us to look back and reflect on what Mayor Bob O'Connor has meant to Pittsburgh. He will be dearly missed.

"God bless the O'Connor family and God bless Pittsburgh."

And finally, while I hate to bring up anything negative, I feel I must bring your attention to the words of former City Councilwoman Barbara Burns, who was defeated by Ravenstahl in an election in 2003. In a Trib story that does not yet appear to be online, she gave the new mayor the following words of encouragement:

"What I understand is nobody else could get a plurality (as City Council president), so (Ravenstahl) won because he was the lesser of two evils," Burns said.

She insisted she holds no ill will toward Ravenstahl but questioned his ability to guide the city because of his youth.

"It's not his fault he got elected without any experience," Burns said.

If memory serves, Burns got elected based on the fact that she had been a member of the Pittsburgh School Board--a body that has rarely brought distinction to itself--and because she was a crony of Mayor Tom Murphy. With those qualifications, it's no wonder she's mystified that Ravenstahl beat her.

What she said about Ravenstahl's ascension to the presidency of City Council is no doubt true. But what purpose was served by crapping on the guy a few minutes after he becomes mayor on one of the city's most difficult nights? He may come to enjoy the job, and there's nothing wrong with that. But I'm sure he doesn't enjoy getting it the way he did, and I'm sure he never envisioned when he ran for City Council president that this is what would happen. A little time to let him catch his breath would be nice.

If nothing else, Babs gave her former constituents a reminder of why they gave her such a richly deserved exit from City Council.


Blogger Cope said...

Barbara's anti-endorsement of L.R. makes me feel comfortable that he'll probably do as good of a job as possible in a very tough position.

11:04 AM

Blogger Disgruntled Clerk said...

Two words sum up Ms. Burns: "Sh-t head."

She puts the "ass" into "class."

11:51 PM


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