Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Story of the day: Mayor Luke Ravenstahl issues his proposed 2013 budget. For the most part, revenues and expenditures alike track pretty closely to last year's numbers -- with no tax increases in sight -- though it's conspicuous that payments from nonprofits are slated to drop from $5.5 million to just under $3.2 million. State-appointed financial overseers have, in fact, recommended that the city investigate whether nonprofits should be doing more -- now there's a novel idea. But so far, the real story seems to be the city's plan to shore up pension and health-care obligations by using casino tax revenue.
Plans to develop a 55-acre riverfront parcel in the Strip District may be derailed -- arr, arr -- by the Allegheny Valley Railroad. The railroad has sued Buncher, the would-be developer, claiming its plans violate promises made to the railroad 30 years ago. This is the latest chapter in a long-running dispute, much of which we wrote about two years ago.
I think we all saw this coming: A new West Carson Street strip club, located a stone's throw from an alcoholism-recovery centeris having a little trouble fitting in.
Here's one of the uglier stories (so far) of the election cycle. A Republican attack ad has tried to pull a Willie Horton on state AG candidate Kathleen Kane, accusing her of "going soft" on a rapist who later attacked two other women. The ad has been widely castigated -- including by one victim's family -- because Kane had only a minimal role in the cases in question. Republicans agreed to pull the ad last week, but it was apparently still airing over the weekend. A new, slightly modified version of the ad has now been released, but justice delayed is justice denied, friends.
Meanwhile, over in Philadelphia ... despite mounting evidence that the state's Voter ID law burdens even retired CEOs, Mayor Michael Nutter has decided not to get on board to with a plan to issue local, easier-to-get IDs. According to an e-mail sent by Nutter aide Michael Abernathy, the city is focusing its resources on registering people under the state's rules, rather than endorsing an approach whose legality, the city contends, is unclear. (Though as I wrote last week, it's already been endorsed, however reluctantly, by state officials.) The plan was first hatched in Allegheny County, where Allegheny county Executive Rich Fitzgerald is hanging tough. Last night, he tweeted me with the news that the county is "not concerned with our position. Even state has indicated that is legal. Goal here is to help everyone who wants to vote." By the by, the state Voter ID law will get its second round of hearings in Commonwealth Court this morning. Stay tuned.