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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Heads Up: Morning headlines for Dec. 19

Posted By on Wed, Dec 19, 2012 at 8:34 AM

Yesterday's debate over whether to enforce on-street parking meters after 6 p.m. was bitter -- featuring lots of class warfare and charges that mayoral politics were at work. And at the end of the day ... council voted to have the debate all over again in a few months. Yes, Bill Peduto -- who wants to scuttle plans to charge for street parking in the evenings -- was able to delay the onset of enforcement through June. But he was blasted by Ricky Burgess, who faulted him -- again -- for giving concessions to wealthy business owners at the expense of city pensioners and struggling communities, who could benefit from the revenue. Presumably, Peduto will get a couple months of silence -- on THIS issue, anyway. This year's primary, in which Peduto will challenge Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's relection bid, is May 21.

Pittsburgh police and other "first responders" typically rack up a lot of overtime -- in large part because paying people to work longer hours is cheaper than hiring new people. But city controller Michael Lamb worries that paying so much overtime for public safety may be making us less safe. Article includes breakdown of top public-sector earners at city and county. (And note that the county's medical examiner costs something like three times as much as Cyril Wecht did.)

Here's a choice item: Gov. Tom Corbett's economic-development expert says community colleges are crucial to the state's economic well-being ... even as his boss has cut funding for community colleges.

Meanwhile, left-of-center folks at Third and State have some sharp words for Gov. Tom Corbett's plan to privatize the state lottery system. Stephen Herzenberg argues that with only one bidder, the state has little leverage, and that even the bidder's promises of increased revenue amount to little more than the rate of inflation. And that's including adding a whole new gambling vehicle -- keno -- that the state could just as easily operate for itself. The plan may go through despite such objections: Former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell also has a stake in this deal ... and the biggest scandals are always bipartisan.

Nothing says "class" like holding up disaster aid, Sen. Toomey.

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