Council District 5 has been the most fierce, and perhaps the most important, battleground during InsolvenCity's current election season.
A tense preliminary contest involved the judicial reconfiguration of jurisdictions for Allegheny County's dwindling roster of magistrates; the come-from-behind winner was Council President Doug Shields (left), for whom the preservation of a district centered in Squirrel Hill meant he could continue to pursue his preferred course, toward a seat among the minor judiciary.
The main bout: The battle for Corey O'Connor (right), the favorite to succeed Shields as District 5's council member and the heir to the political fortune (literally) of his late father, former Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor.
Chris Zurawsky (left) -- an East End progressive and Democratic Party leader -- is challenging O'Connor in the primary election. Josh Wander, a jackass, will carry the Republican nomination into the general election. But most attention, primary and general, is focused on a struggle for the heart and mind of young Mr. O'Connor, who seems destined to attract votes despite his scant record.
This struggle reprises the Animal House scene in which an angel and a devil are perched on Pinto's shoulders in Hoover's room, advising the bewildered pledge by turns on how to handle the passed-out girl lying on the bed.
On one of Corey O'Connor's shoulders (wearing white): Longtime family friend and advisor Shields (and, at least in spirit, Shields' council allies). The advice from this group: Follow your progressive spirit and your father's better judgement, by assuming Shields' position in the independent council majority that has included Shields, Natalia Rudiak, Bruce Kraus, Darlene Harris, Bill Peduto and (sometimes) Patrick Dowd.
On Corey O'Connor's other shoulder (in vivid red): Luke Ravenstahl and some of the parasites who came to surround Bob O'Connor over time, misappropriating his mayoral administration. The advice from this group: Ditch the pointy-headed stuff. Bring back the good old days of Regan, Verbanac, Zappala and the other List-Makers, by aligning with Rev. Ricky Burgess, Theresa Kail Smith, Daniel Lavelle and whomever else can be peeled off to form a mayorally inclined majority.
Both camps claim to have the upper hand in this contest for Corey O'Connor's soul, a contest that seems likely to continue until and beyond the general election.
O'Connor's youth and inexperience, coupled with his resources and heritage, make the fifth district's race a difficult one to reason. We will make this call on faith, and award the Infindorsement to Corey O'Connor in hope this leap of faith helps the better angels prevail.
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