Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

jeb bush twitter

We hope you're hungry – today's breakfast is steak and eggs, not tea and a fruit cup.

1) We're not quite at the point when the heavy-hitters of the Republican party will be ready to declare their presidential aspirations; we are, however, at the point where they will declare that they're thinking about declaring. And that's how we're going to re-introduce everyone to Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida and the son and brother of two former presidents. Mr. Bush announced Tuesday on Facebook and Twitter that he is actively exploring the possibility of a presidential run; he also said he'll start a Leadership PAC to help "expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans."

2) How will Mr. Bush's announcement play? We'll have to wait and see, but in the meantime, we can take a look at a Monmouth University poll – released on Tuesday, prior to the announcement from the Florida Bush – that shows the Republican side of the coming presidential race is something of a mess. Responding to an open-ended question about unnamed potential candidates, those participating in the survey placed Mr. Bush fourth in the group, behind 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, conservative author Ben Carson and New Jersey Gov. (and noted Dallas Cowboys fan) Chris Christie. It's worth noting that none of the candidates – the list also includes Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Mark Rubio and our own Rick Santorum – garnered double-digit support. Compare that with the Democratic side, where Hillary Clinton led with 48 percent in a Monmouth Poll released Monday.

3) Who looks worse: state Reps. Ronald Waters and Vanessa Lowery Brown, the latest legislators facing bribery charges in an ongoing investigation by the office of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, or state Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who declined to pursue the investigation which has now netted charges against three legislators?

4) Allegheny County Controller Chelsea Wagner has been a thorn in the side of Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, so when Mark Patrick Flaherty, the former county controller who announced on Tuesday he would again seek the office, says he hopes to restore respect to the office, he's taking a shot at Ms. Wagner. We know that Ms. Wagner isn't shy; true to form, she fired back on Tuesday, saying county residents deserve better than a candidate "who is running at the direction of the county executive and answers to him."

5) No one really asked him, but U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab – of the federal district court in Pittsburgh – issued a ruling on Tuesday that said President Obama's recent executive orders on immigration overstepped the authority of the White House. It's not clear if Judge Schwab's opinion will have any weight beyond the local immigration case – the U.S. Department of Justice dismissed it in a statement Tuesday – but we'd bet we're going to hear more about in the coming days.


Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

Stevie Ray Vaughan rehearses for a 1986 appearance on Saturday Night Live. (Associated Press photo)Stevie Ray Vaughan rehearses for a 1986 appearance on Saturday Night Live. (Associated Press photo)

Want some breakfast? Plan to spend a little more on parking when you go.

1) Mayor Bill Peduto was able to hold off a wide expansion of parking enforcement hours when Pittsburgh City Council approved his $516.6 million budget on Monday. The initial plan was to add evening enforcement hours Downtown and in the South Side, a change that Mr. Peduto had opposed, both as a councilman and as mayor; the plan as adopted Monday forgoes evening enforcement Downtown and provides for dynamic parking – rates based on demand trends – in the South Side. The new plan does raise rates for on-street parking throughout the city.

2) The hot rumor of the Pennsylvania Society weekend was that recently ousted state Senate majority leader Dominic Pileggi was going to run for the state Supreme Court turned out to be only that – a rumor.

3) The relationship between state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale and the state Department of Education appears to be improving. Mr. DePasquale hammered the ed department earlier this month because he said the agency was dragging its feet in providing information related to his ongoing audit. But Mr. DePasquale told WITF in Harrisburg the department has since sped up its responses.

4) John Micek pointed us towards an interesting Politico story about the renewed debate in the Republican party over who is conservative-ish (in the current debate, that would be any GOPer who voted to adopt last weekend's spending plan) and who is truly conservative (that would be U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and his supporters).

5) It's not something that we can vote on but we'd imagine that politics abound in the annual selection of inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland – and even if that's not true, that's the justification we're using to congratulate a couple of our favorites, the late Lou Reed – punk's godfather -- and the late Stevie Ray Vaughan —the best guitarist we've ever seen-- on being named to the hall. Others in the Class of 2015? The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Green Day, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Bill Withers.


Pileggi won't run for state Supreme Court

Published by Mike Pound on .


State Sen. Dominic Pileggi won't run for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, even after apparently fielding many requests to do so.

Mr. Pileggi, a Repubican who was just ousted from his position as Senate majority leader, said on Facebook late this afternoon that he planned to remain in the Senate. His candidacy for the state's higest court was a hot rumor during last weekend's Pennsylvania Society activities.

Mr. Pileggi's full FB update:

Over the past few weeks, many people have asked me to consider running for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. While I'm honored by the support and encouragement, I will not be a candidate for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 2015.

I look forward to continuing my service in the Senate to address the significant issues facing our Commonwealth, and will continue to fight for government transparency, meaningful pension reform, and a fair basic education funding formula.


Wolf on the "gospel of fairness"

Published by Karen Langley on .

NEW YORK -- Gov.-elect Tom Wolf had finished his speech at a session of The Forum for a Better Pennsylvania, a group committed to increasing civic and economic participation by African-Americans, when a man asked him to expand on his remarks about fairness.

What were the incoming governor's thoughts about mass incarceration, about policing in Philadelphia?

Wolf said those are topics that concern him, and that he believes concrete steps can be taken to reduce trends in imprisonment: changing sentencing guidelines and decriminalizing marijuana, for example.

Too many people make stupid mistakes when they are young, he said, and "end up paying prices much greater than they should pay."

"There are just too many people in prison," Wolf said. "If we spent the same amount of money, invested the same amount of money in schools, we'd do a much better job..."

He was interrupted by applause, and a woman proclaimed "Amen."

But the governor-elect suggested Pennsylvania should be made more equitable in a broader sense.

"We need to create a fair society so that we don't have Ferguson," Wolf said.


Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

State Sen. Jake CormanState Sen. Jake Corman

The key to recovering after a long weekend -- like, say, the one you spent hopping between receptions at Pennsylvania Society? You need a good breakfast.

1) There are already hints about how Gov.-elect Tom Wolf's push for a severance tax might play out, our Karen Langley said. Republican Sen. Jake Corman, the new Senate majority leader, said a compromise would have to include work on pension reform.

2) Gov. Tom Corbett is looking forward to taking some time off once Mr. Wolf takes office.

3) In spite of an occasionally shaky first term – and a grand jury investigation over leaks from her office – state Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced she would run for a second term.

4) That grand jury probe into Ms. Kane's office? Retiring Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille said it could be more serious than the attorney general has let on.

5) Just a few weeks after Mr. Corman ousted him from his leadership position, Sen. Dominic Pileggi apparently will join a huge field of folks running for a seat on the state Supreme Court, Politics PA reports. Note: We've left a message at Mr. Pileggi's office to see if we can confirm this; we'll let you know what we hear.