Peduto's pilgrimage: The mayor-apparent seeks Harrisburg friends

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Some might accuse Democratic mayoral nominee Bill Peduto of jumping the gun, but getting off the blocks early in order to build strong relationships with Harrisburg lawmakers was a smart decision.

Mr. Peduto, a longtime Pittsburgh City Council member who won the Democratic primary for mayor, is the odds-on favorite to win election to succeed Luke Ravenstahl, but he does face a token Republican challenge in the fall and the possibility of an independent candidacy from Council President Darlene Harris still looms.

Even though he's not yet the mayor-elect, as mayor-apparent Mr. Peduto wasted little time in making the rounds at the state Capitol. On Monday and Tuesday he met with Gov. Tom Corbett's chief of staff, the head of the state Department of Community and Economic Development, the treasurer, auditor general and legislative leaders. In doing so, Mr. Peduto signaled an approach that differs from the incumbent, whom lawmakers have said failed to establish a strong presence among state officials.

That can only help the city of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Peduto's first order of business was to make the case for keeping the city under the provisions of Act 47, the state law that can be applied to financially strapped municipalities. Pittsburgh's status has improved, but Mr. Peduto correctly argues that more needs to be done before city officials should be allowed to go it alone. State oversight, among other things, puts caps on union contracts, significant because pacts with firefighter and police unions expire next year.

More broadly, the city can be helped or harmed in numerous ways by laws passed and policies enacted in Harrisburg. It's important to have as many friends in key places as possible, something Mr. Peduto obviously understands.

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