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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Heads Up: Morning headlines for March 19

Posted By on Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Here we go again. After the whole freakin' city saw this video of Pittsburgh police detective Frank Rende going off on some dude during St. Patrick's Day, Mayor Ravenstahl is taking action. He wants Rende fired. If that happens, it will be only 13 years after Rende was given a "last warning" from a supervisor ... despite some controversies in the meantime. But I'll believe it when I see it. Ravenstahl hasn't had great luck with these ultimatums (Eugene Hlavac, anyone?) ... and maybe we remember the LAST time a cop was accused of acting up on the South Side?

But hey, let's not single out Rende here. The city is also in the midst of a federal lawsuit concerning its alleged inability to discipline another city cop ... this one who accosted an unsuspecting motorist off-duty. On the bright side, maybe, the city did manage to terminate the officer in question, and it only took 32 civilian complaints. Baby steps, people!

Meanwhile, Highmark is apparently STILL trying to work out a severance package for ousted CEO Ken Melani. The most shocking news -- the guy earned a BONUS last year?

A bipartisan group of Pennsylvania governors is lining up behind the idea of having judges be appointed, rather than elected. I know what you're thinking: You elect one Supreme Court justice who gets nailed on ethics charges, and everyone wants to make a big deal about it. But as former Gov. Ed Rendell puts it, in these races, "Voters have no idea who they’re voting for anyway."

Speaking of choices that don't necessarily turn out the way you'd expect ... Democrats in the state Legislature are seeking to rework the laws governing charter schools, which they say drain public schools of revenue with little in the way of results. They're promising to release a report documenting various abuses by Philadelphia-area schools this today.

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