Print

Breakfast Sausage: 5 Kathleen Kane stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane a reads a statement to reporters Monday, Nov. 17, 2014 upon her arrival in Norristown, Pa., to testify before a grand jury. (Associated Press photo)Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane a reads a statement to reporters Monday, Nov. 17, 2014 upon her arrival in Norristown, Pa., to testify before a grand jury. (Associated Press photo)

We'd bet that Kathleen Kane was pretty happy to see the end of 2014. Because 2015 couldn't possibly be as bad, right?

Wrong.

According several reports, a grand jury investigating leaks from the state attorney general's office – you know, the one run by Attorney General Kane – has recommended that the state's top prosecutor face criminal charges for leaking protected grand jury information to harm political opponents.

Let's be perfectly clear here: Ms. Kane has not yet been charged with anything. And while we have no reason to doubt the story, which broke in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Thursday, we should point out that it likely came from ... wait for it ... a leak from the grand jury.

1) Naturally, we'd appreciate it if you started by checking out the PG's coverage. The irony of the situation – a story about grand jury leaks that likely came from a grand jury leak – wasn't lost on our Chris Potter. And our political folks have an excellent retrospective following Ms. Kane's rapid rise -- and the apparent fall -- on the state's political landscape.

2) Do take a look at the Inky's mainbar on Ms. Kane. They report that a presentment has been handed over to Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, who will decide if charges – which reportedly include perjury and contempt of court – are warranted.

3) As we did, the Philadelphia Daily News wonders about the source of the leaks, quoting Ms. Kane's attorney, Lanny J. Davis, as saying the leak that prompted the Inky's story could be another violation of the state's Grand Jury Secrecy Act.

4) The Patriot-News has assembled a thorough timeline of the events surrounding the investigation.

5) State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe has made no secret of his disdain for Ms. Kane, so it's natural that he was one of two Republican lawmakers who immediately called for the resignation of Ms. Kane, a Democrat – even though she hasn't been charged

Print

Former Canonsburg councilman announces commissioner run

Published by Janice Crompton on .

Former Canonsburg councilman Allen "A.J." Williams has announced he will run as a Democratic candidate for Washington County commissioner.
 
Mr. Williams, 27, of North Strabane, was elected in 2007 and stepped down shortly before his first term ended despite winning a second term, citing personal and family responsiblities.  The then-19-year-old was the youngest person elected to council.
 
An alumni of Canon-McMillian High School and Washington & Jefferson College, Mr. Williams is currently employed as a finance manager at a local auto dealership.  He is married and has two sons.
 
He will face incumbent Democrats Larry Maggi and Harlan Shober, who recently announced they will run as a team.  Mr. Maggi is seeking his fourth term and Mr. Shober his second.  Republican commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan is expected to toss her hat into the ring for a sixth term in office.
 
In a press release, Mr. Williams highlighted his work on council, saying he played "an integral part" in the beautification and enhancement of Canonsburg Town Park and Pool.  He also said he was voted by colleagues to be part of a negotiating team, reaching contracts with employee unions "without any adverse effects to the budget or taxpayers' pockets."
 
Mr. Williams said his hands-on approach to governing is what is needed in county government.
 
“I’ve never been one to sit back and complain, instead I prefer to take action and make a difference," he said.  "I am very disheartened by the increasing number of violent crimes and drug related overdoses in Washington County. We need to become proactive to these issues, and work collaboratively through all levels of government to help out our communities and citizens. Our county government needs to be a helping hand to our municipalities. They need to show that they are concerned, that can’t be done in ballrooms and fancy functions!”
 
Mr. Williams also said he wouldn't overlook parts of the county that haven't benefited from the shale industry or economic development efforts.
 
 “The focus cannot be solely on commerce, we have to look at the quality of life and the daily struggles of people in our less fortunate communities!” he said.
 
Print

Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

Bill-and-Bill

We're breathing a sigh of relief as we eat today's Breakfast Sausage.

1) The Early Returns Legal Department was a bit concerned after we poked the bear that is Frederick County (Md.) Councilman Kirby Delauter, who threatened to sue pretty much anyone in the media who used his name without his personal authorization. But Kirby Delauter recanted last night, either out of regret for his display of petulance or, perhaps, on the advice of lawyers who explained to him how the First Amendment works.

2) Bill Peduto is someone who does understand how to work with us folks in the media, which is why he braved an appearance with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly to defend police Chief Cameron McLay's appearance with a sign reading "I resolve to challenge racism @work." Spoiler alert: In the face of Mr. O'Reilly's usual bluster, Mr. Peduto handled the appearance well.

3) Is Pennsylvania ready to have a Koch and a smile? The American Future Fund, a PAC founded by Mitt Romney supporters and backed by conservative activists Charles and David Koch, is set to blitz the commonwealth with a push for three Ps: pension reform, paycheck protection and liquor privatization.

4) If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wants to irritate constituents – current and potential future – in Philadelphia and across his home state by openly supporting the Dallas Cowboys over the Eagles or the Giants, that's his business. But if Mr. Christie wants to accept a ride in a private jet and tickets in the private suite of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones – when a company owned in part by Jones does business with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey – that looks like a conflice of interest. And that's our business.

rrcharlie

5) In the matter of this week's cowardly attack on a French satire magazine: Our Rob Rogers says it more eloquently than we ever could.

Print

Bill Peduto defends hiring 'dear friend'

Published by Robert Zullo on .

Dick Skrinjar in 2006.Dick Skrinjar in 2006.
 
By Robert Zullo
 
Mayor Bill Peduto defended a reorganization in the city's Parks and Recreation Department that left no room for a holdover from two previous administrations and opened up a new position for a "dear friend" of the mayor who was most recently working as a car salesman.
 
Speaking to reporters on a variety of subjects in his office today, Mr. Peduto said Dick Skrinjar, a former spokesman for Mayor Bob O'Connor and briefly Mayor Luke Ravenstahl who was working as assistant director of senior programs in the parks department, had a chance to apply for the new position but did not.
 
Mr. Peduto lauded the qualifications of his friend, Mark DePasquale, son of the late former city Councilman Eugene "Jeep" DePasquale and uncle to Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene A. DePasquale, which included managing his own restaurant and the Allegheny Club and the compassion he showed caring for his incarcerated brother's children and his own elderly parents.
 
"The guy knows how to manage," he said of Mr. DePasquale, who was hired in the spring and holds one of two new program manager jobs. "That's the person I want taking care of our seniors."
 
Mr. Skrinjar's assistant director job and another assistant director position were eliminated. Mr. Skrinjar made $80,770. Mr. DePasquale earns $65,249.
 
While Mr. DePasquale, who has referred questions to the mayor's office, is a friend of Mr. Peduto, he did not work on his campaign, the mayor said. Mr. Peduto added that, given his long tenure around city government, he was bound to be on personal terms with some city employees and hires.
 
Mr. Skrinjar, also a longtime PennDot press secretary, said his departure was "not a retirement" and not performance-related in a previous interview but could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
 
In an e-mail earlier this week, however, Mr. Skrinjar took exception to a remark by Tim McNulty, the mayor's spokesman, who noted that Mr. Skrinjar's "only experience" prior to parks was in public relations.
 
"From March 2014 until I went in for knee surgery in October I managed the senior program basically alone since ... my entire staff took the early buyout or were transferred out of the operation into Public Works," he wrote. "Was distinguished alumni 2006 Point Park and Public Relations Society of America's Communicator of the Year. Not bad for only a PR guy."
 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or 412-263-3909. Twitter: @rczullo.
Print

Lamb heralds re-election bid

Published by James O'Toole on .

Allegheny County Controller Michael Lamb. (Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette)

City Controller Michael Lamb heralded his re-election bid Wednesday in an appearance before the Pittsburgh Regional Building Trades Council.

"Over the past several years we have made many strides in getting the city financial house in order,'' he said in a statement released by his campaign. "Despite those successes, we still see increased spending, and waste of taxpayer dollars. I am running for re-election because I will continue to be an independent voice fighting to stop the waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars, and fighting for a more transparent city government.''

So far, no other candidates have emerged to challenge the Democrat, who has served in the city office since 2008. Before that, he was the Allegheny County prothonotary, an office since abolished in a consolidation of county row offices. He was an influential proponent of the reform in county government that did away with the former board of commissioners and replaced it with an executive and council, serving as campaign manager for the referendum that paved the way for the transition.

He twice ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Pittsburgh. He lost in the Democratic primary to the late Mayor Bob O'Connor in 2005. He embarked on another bid for the Democratic nomination for mayor in 2013, but dropped from the race, endorsing former Auditor General Jack Wagner, who would go on to lose the primary to Bill Peduto, the current mayor.

Mr. Lamb, a Mt. Washington resident, is a Penn State graduate. He earned a law degree from Duquesne University and a masters degree in public policy from Carnegie-Mellon University.