Skip to comments.Editorial: Favorite son / In Bob O'Connor, The City Lost More Than A Mayor
Posted on 09/03/2006 4:17:43 AM PDT by mcg2000
Mayor Robert E. O'Connor Jr. was his formal title and name, but even in untimely death it seems too pretentious. The people knew him as Bob, a Pittsburgh original, as friendly and straightforward as the city where he lived and died ... the city of Pittsburgh that now comes together to mourn him.
The passing of Bob O'Connor is so freighted with irony and disappointment that calling it tragic doesn't convey the full measure of sadness. If Mr. O'Connor were a literary scholar instead of a man of the people, you might more easily call it Shakespearean in its abundant pathos. Instead, let us call it simply a crying shame.
By any reckoning, this is a cruel ending to an appealing story of growth, perseverance and eventual success. Here was a son of the city who grew up in Greenfield, attended local schools and worked in the steel mills before rising to a management position in the fast-food business.
Blessed by an affable nature, Mr. O'Connor had a sincerity and commitment to doing good for people regardless of creed or color -- qualities that led him to a political life on Pittsburgh City Council, where he served honorably for a dozen years as a member, the last four as president.
Twice Mr. O'Connor battled Mayor Tom Murphy, his greatest political rival, for the Democratic nomination for the city's top job, the last time in 2001 when the incumbent won the primary by just 699 votes. When Mayor Murphy was overwhelmed by the city's near-bankruptcy and other woes and decided not to run for a fourth term in 2005, Mr. O'Connor seemed the obvious choice of fate. He won the primary easily and romped home in the general election.
(Excerpt) Read more at post-gazette.com ...