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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Heads Up: Morning headlines for Jan. 29

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 8:13 AM

The Tribune-Review reports the rumor that everyone is hearing: that if Port Authority head Steve Bland is ousted -- a move that does appear to be in the works -- he may be replaced by former Pennsylvania Turnpike head Joseph Brimmeier. County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who just last week told us that he didn't set much store by the idea that authority boards should be independent, appointed Brimmeier to the board last year. But Brimmeier has long been a political fixture around town, and was an occasionally colorful head at the Turnpike. The Trib seems to detect a lack of enthusiasm for a Brimmeier appointment, and among other things it could be a bit awkward for mayoral candidate Bill Peduto. Peduto counts Fitzgerald as his most notable backer, and Peduto also is a strong advocate for transit and good government. Ousting Bland in favor of a politically connected highway guy -- if that's indeed what happens -- would likely rub some members of Peduto's progressive base the wrong way. Stay tuned.

The Black Political Empowerment Project is upset that the city's police-review board has no black male representation. BPEP head Tim Stevens notes that many of the most contentious issues involving police/community relations center on encounters involving black males. It's a good point, but I'll tell you what: At this stage of the game, I'd be happy to have a board whose members simply show up for the damn meetings.

"There is no strong base of support for Gov. Corbett among any income or age group or in any region of the state." So says a Quinnipiac University poll out this morning. The poll finds that only 31 percent of Pennsylvanians think he deserves re-election. And his worst numbers, interestingly enough, are in his own backyard of Allegheny County, where only 21 percent of voters favor his re-election. (Corbett won Allegheny County back in 2010, you may recall.) And women voters don't like him either.

Speaking of Corbett, you heard it here first, but as the governor seeks to overhaul public-employee pensions, it appears he's willing to hold education funding hostage. And his administration already appears to be trying to blame any funding cuts on public-school employees: As his budget secretary told reporters yesterday, because schoolteacher pensions are "a public-school funding cost," it could be argued that the price "ought to be borne in other things in public education."

And in case you were wondering ... yes, people are still being busted for alcohol-related offenses over on the South Side, part of a "blitz" Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced two weeks ago. For those of you taking part in office pools, this past weekend brought 106 citations, 8 arrests, and 34 towed vehicles -- plus one bar charged with violating its occupancy permit. In other entertainment news, Century Square Cinemas -- long a date-night destination for those of us who lack disposable income -- has closed. First the South Side cracks down, now they shutter a $1 dollar movie theater ... where's a poorly-paid journalist supposed to take a classy dame in this town?

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