HARRISBURG — Hundreds of top elected and appointed officials in Pennsylvania state government are about to receive pay raises, thanks to an automatic, annual cost-of-living adjustment.
HARRISBURG — After warnings from his team about Pennsylvania’s nearly $2 billion projected shortfall, governor-elect Tom Wolf says he still plans to push to increase education funding next year, but the newly elected Democrat acknowledges the end result will depend on negotiations with the General Assembly, which even larger Republican majorities will control in January.
A long-shot Pittsburgh mayoral candidate was re-sentenced for a 2013 neighborhood dispute and will head home to his wife and children, a judge decided this morning.
Facing a head-on attack Wednesday from a city council member and concerns from a union leader, Mayor Bill Peduto’s top deputy defended the mayor’s plan to move the Bureau of Building Inspection out of the Department of Public Safety and “elevate” it into its own agency.
It’s not suicide.
Mayor Bill Peduto said he realized Monday night the same thing many Pittsburghers probably noticed.
HARRISBURG -- Some of the pornographic emails that were exchanged among state government officials in a scandal that has claimed some of their jobs involved children and violent sexual acts against women, the state attorney general said Tuesday.
The education task force convened this year by Mayor Bill Peduto and Pittsburgh City Council will become an ongoing city commission despite what critics contended was a lack of focus and objectives that prevented it from accomplishing much since it was assembled in June.
NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Attorney General Kathleen Kane confirmed Monday that she was testifying before a grand jury investigating whether her office violated grand jury secrecy requirements and said she would tell the panel that information was shared but no law was broken.
HARRISBURG — Despite his election loss this month, Gov. Tom Corbett’s lame-duck administration is moving ahead on implementing its Healthy PA Medicaid overhaul — even though Gov.-elect Tom Wolf has said he plans to scrap it in favor of a straightforward Medicaid expansion.
HARRISBURG — Cit­ing Penn­syl­va­nia’s aging pop­u­la­tion and con­cerns about the ne­glect and fi­nan­cial abuse of the el­derly, the state’s Supreme Court on Mon­day un­veiled a num­ber of rec­om­men­da­tions aimed at pro­tect­ing se­niors and im­prov­ing their in­ter­ac­tions with the le­gal sys­tem.
Pittsburgh City Council will consider upping fees and fines related to valet parking in an ordinance being introduced today by Councilman Dan Gilman that also includes new restrictions for operators.
Joe Sestak announced his candidacy for Senate in 2009, and he’s never stopped running.
HARRISBURG — Doctors have cleared Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane to return to work after a car accident last month that left her with a concussion, her office announced in a statement Thursday.
The ​Allegheny County ​controller has called for an “overhaul” of how grants from ​two gaming funds are awarded, saying the independent board that selects recipients rubber-stamps a county department’s recommendations.
Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, who has made his mark writing about the powers and politics behind conflicts around the world, was honored Wednesday night with the annual Thomas Merton Award before 500 people at the Sheraton Station Square.
Usually when people sink $40,000 into a car, they get to keep it.
HARRISBURG — The state attorney general’s office on Wednesday said it has fired four employees and is attempting to fire two more for exchanging sexually explicit emails through agency email accounts.
HARRISBURG — After picking up three additional seats in last week’s election, Republicans in the Pennsylvania Senate have a new majority leader for the first time in eight years, in what could signal a more rightward shift in the caucus.
HARRISBURG — Gov.-elect Tom Wolf is requiring members of his transition team to sign a pledge that they will obey a code of ethical conduct.
HARRISBURG — More top officers in the Pennsylvania Senate’s Republican majority are facing challenges for their jobs amid a rift between conservatives and moderates.
Print

Numbers up for Obama/Casey

Published by Tim McNulty on .

New Q poll of Pa says approval numbers are up for both Obama and Casey.

Full results -- with breakdown that includes Allegheny County -- are here.

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Byrd stories

Published by Tim McNulty on .

See the full package of Robert Byrd stories today on the Post-Gazette homepage, including the obit by Jon Schmitz and a look at the senator's possible successors by Jim O'Toole. From the obit:

Mr. Byrd, who grew up dirt poor in the West Virginia coal fields, in a home that lacked running water or electricity, would graduate as his class valedictorian.

And he would graduate from bubble gum to billions in a historic political career that saw him reach the pinnacle of the U.S. Senate, where he used his power to unabashedly direct mountains of federal money to the Mountain State.

"I want to be West Virginia's billion-dollar industry," he proclaimed in 1990 -- a goal he surpassed at least three times over.

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read this morning

Published by Moriah Balingit on .

Happy Monday, Early Returners. If you're a Pens fan/motorist (hello, 90 percent of Pittsburgh), it wasn't a great couple of days. Hope you survived this weekend's apocalyptic traffic and performance on the ice. Oy.

1. Mark Belko wrote Sunday that presumed mayor-elect Bill Peduto wants to make Downtown into a "mini-Manhattan" in talking about his plans for developing the city, which would involve a greater partnership with Allegheny County. Hopefully, it means that you'll finally be able to get a decent bagel in the Golden Triangle. 

2. From Harrisburg, Kate Giammarise reports on a block grant program that debuted last year to help fill in the gaps that were left when the state slashed human services funding. The way the funding is currently structured, various programs -- for the homeless, for children and for the drug addicted -- are left battling it out for the grant funds. A bill will change that. 

Does a pilot program give county officials needed flexibility in how they spend dwindling human services dollars? Or does it pit the state's most vulnerable populations -- the homeless, the disabled, those with mental health issues or drug addiction -- against each other in a competition for funds?

3. If the state doesn't pony up more money to repair bridges, some will no longer be able to carry heavier trucks, reports Jon Schmitz. Around 1,500 bridges across the state are in such dire need of repairs that the state will be forced to post weight restriction signage if it can't foot the bill for maintenance. Right now, around 600 bridges have weight restrictions that prevent trucks, buses and some emergency vehicles from crossing them.

Weight limits are just one of several consequences of continued failure to adequately fund the state's transportation system, [Transportations secretary Barry] Schoch said. The state's ability to attract and retain businesses will suffer, public safety could be compromised and urban mass transit systems will face service cutbacks.


4. From Saturday, Tracie Mauriello writes that Pres. Barack Obama is fighting to keep subsidized student loan rates from doubling. 

5. And in case you missed Rich Lord's story from Saturday, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's ex-wife, Erin Feith, has declined to meet with federal investigators, her lawyer said. She's at least the fourth person in the mayor's circle to be questioned by federal authorities. If you'll recall, the mayor's secretary and two bodyguards went before a grand jury in early May. 

And an Early Returns post-script: congratulations to PG alum Daniel "Sparky" Malloy, who wed Katie Cline this weekend. Mr. Malloy was a general assignment reporter, covering bears, among other things. He eventually moved up to cover the Pennsylvania delegation in DC for the Post-Gazette, where he did some stellar reporting on the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. He is now the Washington correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He and his wife, who works for the Ocean Conservancy, were married in Chapel Hill, where their union was sealed with Carolina-style barbecue. Here's a blurry iPhone picture from the affair:

photo 3

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read this morning

Published by Moriah Balingit on .

Happy Monday Early Returners. Here's a handful of links to get your week started. 

1. Not to toot our own horn (toot, toot), but the Post-Gazette's Sunday paper was a true masterpiece. First, check out Kate Giammirise's piece on why there are so few women in state politics, with women holding just 17.8 percent of seats in the the General Assembly. As an aside, Pittsburgh City Council fares a little better, with three women (including the council president) out of nine holding seats. 

2. Not politics related, but Mark Roth's series on former football players with brain disease is phenomenal. The series started Sunday.

3. Higher ed reporter Bill Schackner reports that former Penn State president Graham Spanier received the highest compensation package among university presidents in 2011-2012. Hopefully that massive severance package will help off-set his legal fees

4. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl made Sports Illustrated, and no, not for his brief career as a silver screen place kicker. Unfortunately, there's no link here, but here's an excerpt from the cover story about Sidney Crosby:

Pittsburgh has been disappointed lately by the behavior of other young stars-most famously, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but also 33-year-old mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who took office at 26 and who recently dropped his re-election bid amid a federal investigation into police spending. (Last week Ravenstahl responded to an unfavorable story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette with a rant in the newspaper's online comments section. The highlight: "It's actually laughable to think that you print your newspaper everyday [sic] with a straight face.")

5. And finally, ICYMI, a story that broke late Friday. Rich Lord and I report that the mayor's house received an upgrade from a company related to contractor that did millions in work for the city. It's not the first time the Post-Gazette has inquired about the mayor's abode. In December, Brian O'Neill dared to ask where the mayor lives.

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read this morning

Published by Moriah Balingit on .

Happy Monday Early Returners! Today, we bring you stories from the South Side to Santiago, Chile.

1. The Pittsburgh Housing Authority hired a recently formed company connected to a drug felon to train residents to cut grass, Rich Lord found

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.