Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances

| Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

On the “Watch List”:

• Local development. Billions of dollars in big-ticket projects are being touted in 2014 as an indication of a broad economic uptick for the region. And while such projects are indeed, in general, encouraging, the question too easily forgotten is this: How many of these projects attempt to turn taxpayers into venture capitalists?

• The latest PNC settlement. The Pittsburgh banking giant is paying $35 million to settle charges of racial bias in lending at the former National City Bank, which it took over a few years back, thanks to public money (since repaid). No good deed goes unpunished in the wacky world of government interventionism.

• The Peduto administration. A new era dawns next week with the inauguration of Bill Peduto as Pittsburgh's next mayor. The Democrat has promised an inclusive administration with the very worthy goal of refocusing efforts to revitalize the city's neighborhoods. Mr. Peduto is hitting the ground running and that's a very good sign.

•The Steelers. At 7-8, Pittsburgh remains a long shot to make the playoffs as a wild card. But a combination of a win at home Sunday against the Browns and losses by Miami, Baltimore and San Diego would send the Black and Gold into the post-season as a wild card. Stranger things have happened. But not much more strange.

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