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Monday, January 7, 2013

Heads Up: Morning headlines for Jan. 7

Posted By on Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 6:20 AM

Progressive hero Daylin Leach, a state Senator from Montgomery County, will be proposing a bill to legalize marijuana. Leach's case for legalization sounds cogent and reasonable, which means of course that it has no chance of being passed in Harrisburg.

The city of Pittsburgh has chosen 33 people to sit on a panel looking into whether more revenue should be coming from non-profits ... although you're going to have to wait a little longer to find out all the names on it. Among the members whose names are known: city councilors Darlene Harris and Ricky Burgess, and building-trades fixture Rich Stanizzo.

Meanwhile, some Allegheny County officials don't think it's their job to challenge -- or even really question -- the tax-exempt status of land owned by non-profits. Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner discovers this and other problems in a recent audit of assessments. Prediction: Chelsa Wagner's name is going to turn out to be out that Ravenstahl task force's list. And the fact that she's been a sharp critic of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald -- the political patron of Ravenstahl rival Bill Peduto -- will be just a happy coincidence.

This one is from over the weekend, but I've got a feeling you'll be hearing more about it in the days ahead: "Nearly 24 hours before Ka'Sandra Wade was found shot to death in her Larimer home on Jan. 1, Pittsburgh police officers responded to her house for a 911 call she made that was disconnected," reports the Post-Gazette. "During the call, a 911 call-taker heard some sort of commotion before the line went dead. When two officers arrived to check on the situation, they spoke to a man through a window who said things were fine. He would not let them in." The police did not press the matter, apparently, and only later learned that the man they spoke with was Anthony L. Brown -- who authorities now believe was Wade's killer, and who later shot himself. Investigations are underway.

Another entry in the "In Case You Missed It" file. You know that Keith Rothfus, in his first substantive vote as a Congressman from the 12th district, voted against helping out the victims of Superstorm Sandy, right? On the bright side, he did offer those victims his "thoughts and prayers," which I'm sure they appreciate as much as they would, say, potable water. Or a place to live. Rothfus apparently believes that emergency aid should be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget ... which suggests he may not understand what an "emergency" is. And it's worth noting that, although Republicans have previously argued that aid bills are loaded with pork, this bill was a pared-down version, that included only $9 billion in flood-insurance money. It was so non-controversial that even Darrell Issa, one of the aid package's sharpest critics, voted for the pared-down measure. Gonna be a long two years, folks. And God help the people of District 12 if they ever need help from New Jersey.

Finally, you may have heard that the natural-gas industry has launched a PR campaign targeting Promised Land, a movie about drilling. Probably a more reliable piece of fact checking, though, comes courtesy of WITF-FM. (Spoiler alert: The piece reveals a Surprising Plot Twist towards movie's end.) For those who don't have the time to sift through competing interpretations of the film's veracity, City Paper offers this summary, which you can consult between bites of popcorn: It's just a movie, people.

Oh, and it looks like hockey is back.

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