AS BIG NEWS goes, Tuesday's election was not large on excitement. But the election did serve to anoint Pittsburgh Councilman Bill Peduto as the city's next mayor, not a surprise given the Democrats' dominance of city government but nevertheless a tonic to city residents. Mr. Peduto is Mr. Enthusiasm, which makes for a change as the era of missing-in-action Luke Ravenstahl winds down. The mayor-elect in his first official act asked Mr. Ravenstahl to hold off on any personnel decisions or contract commitments for the rest of his term. Then he announced his picks for an overhauled mayor's office. In short, Mr. Peduto has worked harder at being mayor than the existing mayor has for months -- and he hasn't taken office yet.
THE ELECTION season passes, the holiday season begins. It's early November, Thanksgiving dinners are yet to be planned and already Christmas carols are played in stores, the Highmark Unity Tree looms over Penn and Stanwix and Market Square is being made over into a Holiday Market. On Wednesday, Mr. Ravenstahl did make it to a press conference with Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Santa Claus to announce the holiday events planned for Downtown, beginning with the 53rd annual Light Up Night on Nov. 22. The night will feature tree lightings, the unveiling of Macy's holiday windows, music and dancing, a light show and fireworks from the Warhol Bridge.
CHRISTMAS came early for Jeffrey Watson, a 48-year-old homeless man. He spent election night in a presidential suite at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown. He was not elected president, of course; he simply elected to open the door -- conveniently left unlocked for an event -- and made himself at home. Police were called after guests tried to check into the room on the 16th floor and found Mr. Wilson asleep on a sofa. He was taken to the Allegheny County Jail on charges of stealing services at the hotel and trespassing. Bail was set at $15,000 and a preliminary hearing was scheduled. Unlike presidential suites, jail cells don't have a grand piano, but at least he was out of the cold. Not to condone the crime, but some have a soft spot for the vagrant troublemaker -- and that might be the onset of the Christmas spirit, too.