Sorry for the past couple days' hiatus here at Heads Up: We were sent reeling by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's decision to drop out of this year's mayoral race. Hallmark doesn't seem to have a card for that occasion. But you'll be happy to know that your local media is hard at work ferreting out potential new entrants: In the hunt are former state Auditor General Jack Wagner and City Council President Darlene Harris. Considering a bid is state Senator Jim Ferlo, with state Rep. Jake Wheatley also being mentioned as a possibility. Former County Executive Dan Onorato -- widely believed to be the "mystery candidate" Luke Ravenstahl would prefer -- is out. (Hardcore junkies can look at geographic breakdown of previous races here.) And although Ravenstahl has dropped out, you can expect continued stories like this one, in which the bureau dissolves a somewhat murkily defined police unit that reported directly to ousted chief Nate Harper.
Meanwhile, state Rep. Ed Gainey, Allegheny County Rich Fitzgerald, and City Councilor/mayoral candidate Bill Peduto -- three names you'll probably hear spoken of in the same breath quite a bit between now and the May primary -- are working on a gun buy-back program for Allegheny County.
We don't know how Warren Buffett's acquisition of Heinz will affect the city of Pittsburgh ... but I think we can be confident that it will benefit shareholders and existing top-tier management. Which is a load off my mind, at least.
A must-read from the Philadelphia Daily News: During his election run and first year of office, Gov. Tom Corbett received an "unusual" amount of gifts from business execs and corporate interests -- more than $11,000 in free tickets, concerts, and travel. Among his benefactors: UPMC, which paid for his admission to the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field. You know you've got problems when an article cites Ed Rendell as a model of probity by comparison.
A hopeful sign: Former Gov. Tom Ridge, who signed a gay-marriage ban when he was in office, has now signed a letter urging the US Supreme Court to overturn a California ban on ... gay marriage. Ridge's turnabout isn't entirely surprising: He's a pro-choice Republican. But it's one more sign of how quickly the national consensus has been shifting on this issue.