The story behind that photo of Pittsburgh Councilwoman Harris on horse |

The story behind that photo of Pittsburgh Councilwoman Harris on horse

Bob Bauder
City of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto holds the reins of a horse as city Councilwoman Darlene Harris sits in the saddle Wednesday, June 12, 2019, at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new development on the North Side. The photo was posted to the city’s Twitter account asking for caption suggestions.

It makes a lot of horse sense for Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and North Side Councilwoman Darlene Harris to cooperate.

And with Harris poised to ride off into the sunset of her time on council, it appears the two, longtime political foes appear to be doing just that.

Peduto and Harris, the Spring Hill Democrat who lost in last month’s primary election and is serving out her final six months on council, appeared together for a ceremonial groundbreaking at a North Side building dating to the 1800s that once served as a stable for horses owned by the former Allegheny City, annexed by Pittsburgh in 1907. Peduto said they also discussed a bill proposed by Harris that would regulate exotic animals in the city. Peduto pledged full support of the bill.

At the groundbreaking, James Hill, Peduto’s assistant, shot a photograph with Harris astride one of the horses provided for the ceremony and the mayor holding its reins. He posted the picture on the city’s Twitter account and asked followers to caption it. It drew a mix of funny and unkind responses.

“It was her idea. It was brilliant,” Peduto said Thursday. “She was like, ‘Peduto come here. Hold the horse.’ I’m just like, ‘James make sure you get this picture. Tweet it by itself.’ This exotic pets issue is very important to her. I told her yesterday we’re going to give her all the resources she needs.”

Hill said the situation was too good to pass up.

“We just thought it was nice to see the mayor and Councilwoman Harris together enjoying themselves in an undoubtedly unusual situation,” Hill said.

Harris is a known animal lover. Last year, she rode an elephant and a camel at the Syria Shrine Circus in Pittsburgh to ensure they were being treated humanely. Her cellphone ringtone is a recording of her dog barking.

Harris had not seen the Twitter posts when contacted Thursday morning.

“I don’t care what they put up. I just want a copy of the picture,” she said. “They wanted Peduto on a horse. He would not get on that horse for nothing. I said, ‘I’ll get on the horse. Hold it.’”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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