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Monday, December 3, 2012

Heads Up: Morning headlines for Dec. 3

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 6:03 AM

Pennsylvania now has its first openly gay state legislator ... and it's probably not who you think. (Trigger warning: Some of the comments on this story are, well, disappointing.) Mike Fleck is a conservative Christian from a rural district where "there’s no conceivable political upside to the announcement." Next month, Fleck will be joined by Democrat Brian Sims, a Philadelphia Democrat who is the first legislator to be openly gay while being elected.

Sure, everybody talks about the problem of drunken yahoos on the South Side, but here's one guy who did something about it: He shot a public urinator with a BB gun ... then helped take the BB out of the guy's eye, and got charged with aggravated assault. the Trib uses the occasion to remind us -- in case you might have forgotten -- that all is not well along Carson Street. Note community leader complaining of a new "thug mentality" among revelers. Anyone else slightly uncomfortable with that?

Kathleen Kane hasn't yet taken office as state Attorney General, but she's already shown a willingness to tussle with the NRA and other gun groups. Kane has joined eight other attorneys general to sign a letter opposing legislation in Congress requiring states to honor each other's "concealed carry permits." Such so-called "reciprocity" mandates that if a gun owner is issued such a permit in one state, the permit would be valid in other states. Kane's concern: Not all states have particularly rigorous requirements for getting such a permit, and states should be able to establish their own rules. (Yeah, whatever happened to states' rights, Republicans?) Of course, Pennsylvania already has a reciprocal relationship with Florida, one of the loosest states of all. Even so, this is at least a BB-sized dent in the NRA's armor.

Pittsburgh city council is taking up the question of whether parking meters should be enforced at night. Evening enforcement was envisioned as part of the city's effort to bail out its pension fund, but scrapped after a hue and cry from area businesses. This is one of those issues where the ideological divide is not so much between left and right, as between those who are running for mayor and those who are not. (Speaking of which, here's a primer on how that race is shaping up. Not a lot new there for regular readers of this and other online spaces, but a good starting place.)

In other city council news, South Hills rep Natalia Rudiak wants more detail from the mayor's office about proposed spending on capital projects like road and sidewalk repair. Rudiak says the mayor's budget is too vague about spending priorities. Hopefully no one from the mayor's office will object too strongly to a chance to discuss all their wonderful plans for the city just a few months before an election.

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