The Square Circuit

Academia, parenthood, living in a bankrupt city, and what I read in the process.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

mayor bob o'connor

We are new to this city and certainly don't know much of its political history. We are absolute foreigners to this kind of labor-Catholic-social conservative Democratic party. But when we came here three years ago this city seemed to be at a low point. There was a defeatist, who-cares, half-assed attitude everywhere--the kind of "Have A Nice Day!" go-getterism we were so used to in LA, Texas, the West Coast, NYC, etc., was just absent (not, of course, that that attitude isn't grating, disingenuous, and often dishonest) and in its place we found a disturbing resignation to things as they are and a real lack of curiosity or interest about the way things work anywhere else.

So although neither of us follow local politics particularly carefully, we were both enthused when Bob O'Connor was elected. He seemed to have an energy that the city sorely needed. I vividly remember the Wednesday morning after the election, the Mayor-elect was standing at the Schenley Park corner of Panther Hollow, Hobart, Greenfield and Bartlett, waving and smiling and holding up a big "Thank You Pittsburgh!" sign. He only served seven months but in that time he seemed to bring a much-needed positivity to the office. I suppose it didn't hurt that things were happening--loft apartments going up in the Strip and South Side, people moving in to Downtown, the All-Star Game, etc. But the city seemed a lot more promising with him.

Two months ago he was diagnosed with a rare form of brain and nervous-system cancer. Over the last week or two it became increasingly clear that he wasn't going to make it. He died Friday night and will lie in state in the City-County Building until tomorrow.


Post a Comment

<< Home