Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

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1) Our friends at Franklin & Marshall College have some good news and some bad news, via their latest poll of Pennsylvania voters. The good news? That's reserved for Gov. Tom Wolf; 38 percent of those participating in the poll said Governor Go Time is doing a "good" or "excellent" job so far. Those first results put him below the early results for former governors Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell, but well ahead of Tom Corbett.

2) The bad news from the F&M poll? Former congressman and repeat candidate for the U.S. Senate Joe Sestak is close to wrapping up a walking tour of the state – he finishes on Saturday in Beaver County – but 63 percent of the state's voters don't have a handle on who he is.

3) Harry Reid will not seek another term in the U.S. Senate, the Nevada Democrat announced this morning.

4) Say what you want about Act 89, the transportation funding bill adopted by the state legislature in 2013, but it's doing one of the things it was intended to do: raise money for transportation infrastructure projects, this year to the tune of $214 million on projects in Allegheny County.

5) There are a handful of noisy true believers when it comes to the presidential candidacy of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, but most Republicans agree that Cruz is a divisive figure who has little chance of winning the GOP's nomination.


Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

Marcus Brown (Baltimore Sun photo)Marcus Brown (Baltimore Sun photo)

1) It could be that the latest twist in the controversy over the nomination of Marcus Brown to lead the Pennsylvania State Police shows exactly why a reformer like Mr. Brown is necessary. Even though he's a career cop – including a stint as the commissioner as Maryland's state police department – Mr. Brown drew immediate criticism from retired troopers here for his decision to wear the uniform. That spilled over to someone placing anti-Brown signs around his neighborhood – and Mr. Brown's boneheaded decision to remove them. But the latest development in the scandal shows why Mr. Brown – who was nominated by Gov. Tom Wolf in part because of his history of diversifying the agencies he's run – might be necessary. Someone dropped off a letter in Mr. Brown's mailbox earlier this week; the letter said no "(racial epithet)-lover will wear my uniform." Congratulations, Mister Letter Writer. You are exactly why Mr. Brown should run your beloved department.

2) State employees, you're on notice – come July, things might be a little tight financially. Sen. Jake Corman, the Senate's majority leader, said there will be no 2015-16 budget until the state approves a fix for its pension problems. And, he added, that could very well mean the budget will be adopted late this summer.

3) Our friends at the Patriot-News came across a poll that shows 50 percent of Pennsylvanians expressed full or partial support for Mr. Wolf's moratorium on executions in the state, while 44 percent oppose the ban.

4) The campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has already started to veer to the right, which means the approach of South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham – a realistic approach to government that includes working with the folks on the other side of the aisle – is unfortunately likely to be drowned out before Mr. Graham's campaign ever gets started.

5) Speaking of loud Republican campaigns: We probably don't need news of Ted Cruz for a third day in a row, but this is worth noting. Because his wife, Goldman Sachs Managing Director Heidi Cruz, is taking an unpaid leave for the duration of Mr. Cruz's campaign, the Cruz family suddenly finds itself without health insurance coverage. The solution? The senator has signed up for Obamacare.


Cruz doesn't master his domains

Published by Mike Pound on .

(Associated Press photo)

Ted Cruz doesn't Internet so well.

Unless the U.S. senator from Texas decided late Sunday night that he was going to run for president on a whim, we'd have to assume that Team Cruz has been considering a presidential run for quite a while. And part of that means being prepared – to include a healthy presence on the web, something that's been a requirement pretty much since Howard Dean raised a bazillion dollars through his site in 2004.

(Mr. Cruz would do well to ignore the other Internet-related thing that Mr. Dean pioneered: Becoming a meme.)

Part of that preparation? Make sure that you not only have the domain name you want, but also that you own the domains that might become a distraction. Sure, you can do everything in your power to direct people to, the campaign's official page (although doing a better job with that would help too; as of this morning, the official site doesn't show up in the first three pages of returns for a "Ted Cruz for president" Google search).

But what if they go to instead? They're going to see this:


Or what if they head towards Surprise!

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that someone who so completely misunderstands the concept of net neutrality wouldn't quite grasp the importance prepping for the digital side of a presidential campaign. But as someone who regularly bashes the mainstream media – and one, we would think, who would court coverage from the more conservative outlets that exist almost exclusively on the web – Mr. Cruz and his team should have a basic working knowledge of this part of the media world.

Instead, Team Cruz kicked off a presidential campaign with those two domains in the hands of someone else. And that's a campaign that is unaware, unorganized and unprepared.


Nonprofit director launches campaign to unseat Pittsburgh council incumbent

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La'Tasha Mayes (Julia Rendleman/Post-Gazette)La'Tasha Mayes (Julia Rendleman/Post-Gazette)


By Robert Zullo

The executive director of a community nonprofit challenging an incumbent for the 7th District City Council seat this spring will formally roll out her candidacy Wednesday evening in Friendship.

La'Tasha D. Mayes, who founded the 11-year-old New Voices Pittsburgh, a black women and girls health organization, will launch her campaign at 6 p.m. at the Irma Freeman Center for Imagination, 5006 Penn Ave.

"This is a people-powered campaign and the power of the people will drive us to victory," Ms. Mayes said in a news release.

Ms. Mayes, of Morningside, will take on first-term Councilwoman Deborah Gross, an ally of Mayor Bill Peduto and former head of the Pittsburgh Arts Alliance who won a five-way special election in 2013 for the seat vacated by former Councilman Patrick Dowd.

They will vie to represent the neighborhoods of Bloomfield, Friendship, Highland Park, Lawrenceville, Morningside, Polish Hill, Stanton Heights and the Strip District.

Ms. Mayes, a native of Philadelphia who graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and obtained a master's degree from Carnegie Mellon, says Pittsburgh "changed her life."

"I look back at my time in Pittsburgh and one thing remains clear: Each and every day, I wake up inspired with the people on my mind," she said in a news release. "After speaking with the voters and residents of District 7, they want affordable, sustainable and healthy communities."

Robert Zullo: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 412-263-3909. Twitter: @rczullo.


Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

Sen. Ted Cruse, R-Texas waves as he arrives at Liberty University, founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, Monday, March 23, 2015 in Lynchburg, Va., to announce his campaign for president. Cruz, who announced his candidacy on twitter in the early morning hours, is the first major candidate in the 2016 race for president. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas waves as he arrives at Liberty University, founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, Monday, March 23, 2015, in Lynchburg, Va., to announce his campaign for president. Cruz, who announced his candidacy on twitter in the early morning hours, is the first major candidate in the 2016 race for president. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

1) We finally have a declared Republican presidential candidate ... and he's Canadian? OK, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas renounced his Canadian citizenship – he was born there to a Cuban father and an American mother – but it's always been interesting to us that one of the Republican Party's most strident hawks on immigration may have to spend some time addressing some of the same questions that have exasperated President Obama for years.

2) Another observation about Mr. Cruz: In the video he posted to Twitter to announce his candidacy, the senator inferred that things aren't so hot in his adopted home country (i.e., we have to "restore our promise" and that his candidacy will "help make America great again"). President Obama draws mountains of criticism after any instance when he suggests that there might be problems with the United States; should Republicans be held to the same standard?

3) Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is good with social media tools, but Politico wonders whether the former Florida governor has a problem with the most shrill of old-school media platforms – conservative talk radio.

4) To the surprise of no one, the energy industry doesn't like the current leadership of the state Department of Environmental Protection as much as it did that of the previous administration's version.

5) Marcus Brown, Gov. Tom Wolf's nominee to lead the state police, probably wouldn't have had to worry about the flap over him wearing the agency's uniform without coming up through its ranks; he is a career law-enforcement officer and held the same position in Maryland before receiving Mr. Wolf's nomination. But removing signs critical of him may have given this controversy the kind of legs that could pose problems for the nomination.