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Laurels & Lances

Flip a switch: It’s Light Up Night in Pittsburgh, the traditional kickoff to the Christmas shopping season. It’s the 50th anniversary of the event. And this year, it’s a two-day affair. The city will be decked out in its holiday finest. Christmas music will be playing all over. Lots of things new and exciting will be on display in Macy’s windows and at retailers everywhere. Market Square will be the hip and magical place to be this year, thanks to the Colcom Foundation. It’s been a tough year for some. But it’s still a magical time of the year. So, in your revelry, share the magic and don’t forget your favorite charity.

On the “Watch List”:

• The Celebration of Lights. The annual Hartwood Acres display bows tonight. But it lacks a corporate sponsor, meaning taxpayers are on the hook for the $1 million cost. The lagging economic recovery is blamed and county officials will have to determine if the event will return next year. We hope a sponsor can be found. For not only is the light show fantastic, donations by those who go to see it represent millions of dollars for charities.

• The Castle Shannon Transit Village. This once-upon-a-time proposal for transit-oriented development along the South Hills trolley line appears to be on the front burner again. But there also appears to be the carrot of a large bolus of taxpayer money attached to it. There’s been no development to speak of along this line in 25 years. Might there be a reason for that — that the market won’t support it• If the private sector won’t develop something like this on its own, why should the public be turned into venture capitalists?

Lance: To Luke Ravenstahl. For the second time this budget season, Pittsburgh’s mayor submitted to a state oversight board a 2011 budget that’s “balanced” on phantom revenues. He has until Nov. 30 to see if his third time will be the charm. And yet his administration still holds to the fantasy that it can somehow balance the budget without job or service cuts and further right-sizing city government• That’s daft.


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