Friday, September 01, 2006

Some Thoughts on Mayor O'Connor

Copyright © 2006 Laurie D. T. Mann

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I haven't lived in Pittsburgh in a while (though I've lived in suburban Pittsburgh for the last 13 years). Bob O'Connor has been involved in Pittsburgh politics almost as long as I remember. Win or lose an election, he always seemed very enthusiastic about the city, and I was glad when finally was elected mayor last fall.

On July 1, he was involved with singing "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" at Point State Park with several hundred other people for Carl Kurlander's documentary "A Tale of Two Cities." He was looking very dapper that day, dressed in a crisp white shirt and talking to Dan Onorato, the Allegheny County Chief Executive.

Ironically, it was one of his last public appearances. Within ten days, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. He died tonight about 24 hours after being taken off of life support.

It's a shame. O'Connor is now the second Pittsburgh mayor to succumb rather early to a rare disease. Eighteen years ago, Mayor Richard Caliguiri died at the age of 56.

Unlike Tom Murphy who always seemed to be "going through the motions," O'Connor genuinely liked getting out and talking to people and trying to move the city forward. I will miss him, and I wish young Luke Ravenstahl, who'll become Pittsburgh's next mayor as he's currently the President of City Council, good luck. O'Connor will be a very tough act to follow.

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