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ACLC goes for MPF

Published by James O'Toole on .

Mark Patrick Flaherty, center, smiles inside IBEW Hall on the South Side, where he received the Pittsburgh Democratic Party’s endorsement for the office of county controller over incumbent Chelsa Wagner. (Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette)Mark Patrick Flaherty, center, smiles inside IBEW Hall on the South Side, where he received the Pittsburgh Democratic Party’s endorsement for the office of county controller over incumbent Chelsa Wagner. (Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette)

The Allegheny County Labor Council, an influential umbrella group of the region's union officials, voted Friday to endorse Mark Patrick Flaherty in his bid to wrest the Democratic nomination from his successor, county Controller Chelsa Wagner.

The group's backing is welcome on its own terms with its promise of financial and grass roots support. It also lends the campaign a sense of momentum as it heads into Sunday's endorsement contest before the Allegheny County Democratic Committee.

Mr. Flaherty welcomed the labor support with a statement that saif, in part, "Both candidates actively pursued this endorsement but they overwhelmingly chose to support me because they know that I hve fought to stand up for Allegheny County working families.''

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Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers releases endorsements

Published by Mike Pound on .

Pittsburgh Public Schools board member Regina Holley speaks at a 2014 rally. (Julia Rendleman/Post-Gazette)Pittsburgh Public Schools board member Regina Holley speaks at a 2014 rally. (Julia Rendleman/Post-Gazette)

After conducting interviews with candidates for four Pittsburgh Public Schools board districts and four Pittsburgh City Council districts, the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers has issued it first list of endorsements:

Pittsburgh Public Schools board

  • District 2: Regina Holley (incumbent)
  • District 4: Lynda Wrenn
  • District 6: Moira Kaleida
  • District 8: Kevin Carter

Pittsburgh City Council

  • District 1: Darlene Harris (incumbent)
  • District 3: Bruce Kraus (incumbent)
  • District 5: Corey O'Connor (incumbent)
  • District 9: Ricky Burgess (incumbent)

"School board elections are always important for our city, but that is especially true this year. The incoming school board will be responsible for recruiting the next superintendent and planning the direction of the district for the next few years," federation President Nina Esposito-Visgitis said in a statement. "We believe Regina Holley, Lynda Wrenn, Moira Kaleida, and Kevin Carter are the school board candidates that understand what our students and our schools need to succeed."

The federation will conduct candidate interviews in races for City Council District 7, Allegheny County controller, Pittsburgh controller and Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas judges and issue endorsements for those positions later.

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Senate Republicans warn school officials about budget proposal

Published by Karen Langley on .

State Senate Majority Leader Jake CormanState Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman

Senate Republicans are warning Pennsylvania school officials against counting on the funding increases that Gov. Tom Wolf proposed this week.

A letter that went out after his address:

Dear Superintendent:

As you know, earlier this week Governor Tom Wolf unveiled his FY 2015-16 proposed state budget. Given the extraordinary level of spending increases proposed in the Governor's overall plan, we encourage you to take a conservative approach to your state revenue estimates and advise against adjusting your school district's preliminary budget to reflect his education proposal.

Education funding is a significant priority in each year's budget; however, it must be put in the context of the overall budget picture, both in terms of expenditures and revenues. The proposed budget recommends a $400 million increase in the basic education subsidy while the overall budget includes historic revenue and spending escalations that necessitate $4.7 billion in tax increases that are unsupported throughout the General Assembly.

We recognize the difficult task school administrators have in making decisions about anticipated revenue from the Commonwealth given that the full extent of the Governor's proposed increases may not be contained in the Commonwealth's final budget. The Senate remains committed to addressing the underlying fiscal cost drivers of school districts, most importantly pension reform.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. As the critical work of ensuring the overall financial stability of the Commonwealth continues, know that we will advocate for education funding to be a priority during budget conversations.

Sincerely,

Senator Joe Scarnati

Senator Jake Corman

Senator Pat Browne

Senator John Gordner

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Perry on Politics: A scandal that may catch a Clinton

Published by Mike Pound on .

Hillary Clinton (Associated Press photo)Hillary Clinton (Associated Press photo)

By James M. Perry

Hillary Rodham Clinton may finally be in trouble.

The basic problem seems to be that she's just too much of everything. Too much money. Too much ego. Too much shaving corners to get her way.

The latest example of her imperial tendencies is the business of using her own personal emails, instead of government ones, when she was Barack Obama's secretary of state. Republicans have been agitating for months to convince voters that Mrs. Clinton was responsible, in part at least, for the deadly raid on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Now they have suggestions that what they're looking for -- anything to tarnish Mrs. Clinton -- might be buried in all those personal emails.

It was, a New York Times editorial said, "a disturbing departure from the normal practice of relying primarily on departmental emails for official business." And so it was.

Even more curious is the news, reported in the Washington Post, that the Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during her four-year tenure as secretary of state. One of them, a $500,000 donation from the government of Algeria, should have been cleared with the Obama administration, the foundation admitted.

Other donations came from the governments of Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman, all of them repressive on human-rights issues.

The foundation's defense is that all this money went to support good works. The $500,000 donation from Algeria, for example, went to relief efforts following the earthquake in 2010 in Haiti. But at the same time Algeria was supporting Haitian relief it spent $422,097 lobbying U.S. government officials on human rights and other issues.

The Clinton Foundation, based in Arkansas, is serious business. Since it was founded by former President Clinton, it has raised almost $2 billion, distributed in a number of charitable endeavors.

Why would the Clintons allow these unnecessary things to happen? Think, for a moment, who Hillary Clinton is. She is, in fact, the most celebrated woman in American history. She was born in 1947 in Illinois of middle-class parents. She was the first student commencement speaker at Wellesley College. She married Bill Clinton and became the First Lady of Arkansas and, at the same time, the first female partner in the Rose Law Firm. When her husband was elected president, she moved with him and their daughter, Chelsea, into the White House. When that came to an end, the family moved to New York and she was elected the first female senator from the state. She ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, winning more delegate votes than any of the women who sought the office before her, losing narrowly to Mr. Obama. She then served four years in his administration as secretary of state.

She will be 68 years old in October and, with the understanding that the Democrats have no one else, she may feel that now is her time, and that nothing should be allowed to stand in her way.

James M. Perry, a prominent veteran political reporter, contributes regular observations to post-gazette.com. Mr. Perry was the chief political correspondent of The Wall Street Journal until his retirement. Prior to that, he covered national politics for the Dow Jones weekly, The National Observer.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

(Associated Press photo)(Associated Press photo)

1) You can say this about Gov. Tom Wolf: He's trying to do exactly what he spent 2014 telling us he would do. Governor Go Time took us through his budget proposal on Tuesday -- and now the real fun begins.

2) Former Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak officially kicks off his U.S. Senate campaign in Philadelphia today, and he has an interesting bit of information in his back pocket as he does: The incumbent isn't exactly setting himself up as a political juggernaut. A poll released Tuesday by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute shows that just 43.7 percent of Pennsylvania residents have a favorable opinion of Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey; another 25.8 percent say their opinion of the incumbent is not favorable. Mr. Sestak doesn't have much room to gloat – his own party's leaders seemed to be underwhelmed with the prospect of his candidacy last week – but at least we have some solid, attractive options, right?

3) The tea partiers on Capitol Hill are none too pleased, but U.S. House Speaker John Boehner pushed through a clean funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security, rather than use the measure to try to take on President Obama's immigration reform agenda.

4) Institutional discrimination is alive and well in Alabama.

5) This illustration of the inner workings of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's supply chain can provide fuel for both opponents of privatizing the state's booze sales (the board came through with a request) and those who support getting the state out of the booze business (Indiana County? Really?). Either way, it's a great look at the often byzantine process.

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