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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Heads Up: Morning headlines for Nov. 29

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 8:27 AM

Shopping for a conservative loved one this holiday season? Why not give the gift that keeps on giving: a firearm! Apparently, plenty of Pennsylvanians have doing just that in the wake of the presidential election ... reprising the run on guns-and-ammo that took place after Barack Obama was first reelected. I'm tempted to launch into a screed about why nothing is going to happen on gun-control in the next four years either ... but City Paper supports small businesses, and who am I to deprive gun stores of revenue?

Hey, did you know your county tax rate may be going down pretty soon? It's true -- thanks to "anti-windfall" provisions intended to offset rising property values resulting from the reassessment. Meanwhile, Allegheny County council is also considering a cost-of-living pay raise for some employees ... and the stage may be set for yet another fracas between county executive Rich Fitzgerald and county controller Chelsa Wagner. Stay tuned!

News that might be more important than it seems: A Pennsylvania Congressman, Bill Shuster, will be the House transportation committee next year. At least in theory, that could position PA for a bit of an infrastructure-spending windfall ... though we live in post-earmark times, so it won't be like the good old days.

OMFG THE PERFIDY OF PITTSBURGH POLITICS KNOWS NO BOUNDS! ONCE AGAIN WE HAVE SEEN THE DEPTHS TO WHICH POLITICAL CRONIES WILL SINK TO MAINTAIN THEIR STRANGLEHOLD ON POWER. Or then again, maybe we haven't. For a brief time yesterday, some intemperate tweeting about alleged last-minute changes in council district boundaries led to an internet tempest. There was concern that a council majority had ratified changes proposed by councilwoman Theresa Kail Smith -- over the objections of Bill Peduto and his allies, and (so it seemed) without any public comment. Turns out that really isn't so. A preliminary look at the numbers suggest the changes would be a (probably modest) net loss for Natalia Rudiak, who is up for re-election next year (and of course, who's to say that a potential rival wouldn't have just been drawn into her district?). But the changes, which amount to the shifting around of a handful of districts citywide, won't be made without votes from council and a public-comment period. But it sure was exciting there for awhile. And this little episode might be sort of a preview of what the coming mayoral election -- the first in which Twitter is fully engaged in the local political discussion -- will be like. Might be a little bumpy, but we'll get there in the end.

In case you were worried ... outgoing US Rep Jason Altmire has a found a new job -- in the healthcare sector! Wonders never cease.

Ousted Penn State University President Graham Spanier earned $3.3 million last year -- including $2.5 million in severance pay because of the Sandusky scandal. Maybe that seems high to you, but if Penn State is paying him for fucking up the worst scandal in collegiate history ... at least he did a thorough job of it.

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