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Friday, January 29, 2016

Campaign 2016's Silly Season: A Weekly Tweet Roundup Jan. 29

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 5:54 PM

We slog through the Twitter streams of the 2016 Presidential candidates and give you a weekly roundup of the more entertaining ones. 

Another busy and bizarro week: Michael Bloomberg threatened to jump in the race; Sanders and Clinton threw some shade; Trump boycotted the Fox News debate, and held his own event at the same time (covered by CNN and MSNBC); and Iowa Iowa Iowa.

Advances in branding: Trump the Tower, Trump the Hotel, Trump the Casino ... now, Trump the Military.


In other branding news ...


The limited-edition confection is mint ice cream topped with a milk-chocolate disc. According to the carton text, seen in a photo posted on the website, the disc represents "the huge majority of economic gains that have gone to the top 1% since the end of the recession. Beneath it, the rest of us." Today, we are all mint ice cream.

Continue reading »

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State Rep. Jake Wheatley to kick off campaign at Rivers Casino

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 4:26 PM

Jake Wheatley
  • Jake Wheatley
Surrounded by 13 Democratic ward chairs, Pennsylvania State Rep. Jake Wheatley will kick off his re-election campaign at the Rivers Casino on Jan. 31. Thirteen ward chairs are endorsing Wheatley's candidacy to retain his 19th District seat.

Wheatley has represented the 19th District, which includes the Hill District, North Side, South Side, Allentown, Hazelwood, Downtown Pittsburgh, The Bluff, Knoxville, Beltzhoover, Manchester, Arlington, Arlington Heights and, North, South and West Oakland, for 13 years.

The list of those endorsing Wheatley includes ward chairs Fred Wilbun, Walter Anderson, Bill Tenney, Jeff Koch, Sonny Seiler, Anthony Mosesso, Bruce Williams, Bob Lewis, Bernard Grady, Janet Mundy, Kevin Quigley, Terrence Matuszak and Pittsburgh City Councilor Darlene Harris. 

The campaign kickoff event will begin at 1 p.m. at Grand View Buffet in Rivers Casino.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Democratic U.S. Senate candidates to discuss issues at CMU forum

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 10:32 AM


Pennsylvania’s upcoming U.S. Senate race has been dubbed one of the most important senate elections in the country by several political experts. One of them, G. Terry Madonna, professor and director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College, says that if the Democrats don’t beat out Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey for this seat, the party will have little chance to take control of the senate come 2017.

The race has already started between the Democratic candidates, which include Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, former Pennsylvania environmental secretary Katie McGinty and retired Navy admiral and former U.S. Congressman Joe Sestak. (To learn more about these candidates and hear their thoughts on affordable housing, click here.)

And to really get to know these Dems, the 14th Ward Democratic Committee will be hosting a forum with all three candidates on Jan. 31 at 2 p.m. at the Carnegie Mellon University Center. The forum is newly named in honor of former Allegheny County Councilor Barbara Daly Danko, who passed away last May after a 10-year battle with cancer.

Sam Hens-Greco, chair of the 14th ward committee, says the event is about giving the voters of the East End the opportunity to meet the candidates, and the candidates discuss some important issues.

“Our goal is to provide Democratic voters with the opportunity to meet and hear all the Democratic Senatorial candidates so they can decide who will be our best candidate and Senator,” said Hens-Greco in a press release.

Such topics could include: immigration, mass incarceration, criminal justice reform, national security, foreign policy and climate change, according to Hens-Greco.

The forum starts at 2 p.m. on on Jan. 31 on the CMU campus (doors open at 1 p.m.), and it is free and open to the public. The forum is also being live streamed by CMU and can be view at www.heinz.cmu.edu/live-event/index.aspx

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Campaign 2016's Silly Season: A Weekly Tweet Round-Up Jan. 22

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 4:20 PM

We slog through the twitter streams of the 2016 Presidential candidates and give you a weekly round-up of the more entertaining ones. 

Things are getting frantic in the rush up to the Iowa caucus. Trump continued to dominate headlines. He locked in an endorsement from Sarah Palin, Mike Tyson and one of TV's famed duckhunters, Willie Boss Hog. (Willie's dad, Phil, came out for Trump arch-rival Ted Cruz earlier, so this is like a sub-feud.)

A bunch of eggheads at the National Review got together to publish an issue devoted to explaining why Trump is bad. One of the articles unironically contains the phrase "stand athwart Trumpism." 


Ouch. Cruz bravely tweets through tears after his former Mama Grizzly boo picks Trump.


Continue reading »

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announces new rules on methane emissions

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 5:29 PM

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf during a Jan. 19 Facebook town hall meeting on the environment.
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf during a Jan. 19 Facebook town hall meeting on the environment.

In an effort to fight climate change, Gov. Tom Wolf announced new rules on methane emissions in the state. The reason: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, methane, the main component of natural gas, is the second-most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the United States from human activities, and Pennsylvania is the nation's second-largest natural-gas producer. The plan: Wolf laid out multiple measures to curb methane leaks during natural-gas production, processing and transmission. The appeal: Wolf's administration says that companies will benefit by capturing a "salable product," even as the initiative works to reduce climate change.

The announcement came this week during Wolf's Facebook town-hall meeting, where he answered environment- and energy-related questions people posted. 

"Today we're announcing a new way forward that protects our environment," he said on the live video feed. "It reduces climate change and helps businesses by reducing the waste of a valuable product ... [methane] actually has more than 25 times the warming power of carbon dioxide."

The administration's four-point plan is as follows:
  • The state Department of Environmental Protection will change its permitting stipulations for oil and gas, requiring industry to use updated technology and better record-keeping, and to undergo quarterly monitoring at work sites in order to reduce methane leaks. This would apply to all oil and gas exploration, production and processing sites and facilities.

  • The DEP would also require the use of Tier 4 diesel engines at compressor stations and processing facilities. These engines reduce emissions of particulate matter and nitrous oxide by about 90 percent, according to the administration's press release. 

  • To reduce leaks at existing oil and natural-gas facilities, DEP will develop a regulation for existing sources and submit it to the Environmental Quality Board.

  • To reduce emissions along production, gathering, transmission and distribution lines, DEP will establish best-management practices, including leak-detection and repair programs.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Two candidates drop out of Pennsylvania attorney general race

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 4:05 PM

Within the last 48 hours two candidates have dropped out of the race for Pennsylvania attorney general.

The first was Dave Fawcett, a Pittsburgh attorney with Reed Smith's Commercial Litigation Group. Fawcett announced his bid for attorney general back in November before several of the other candidates had announced and was one of two Allegheny County candidates. The other is Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala.

“The district attorney has earned his shot. He has years of public service and name recognition among voters. We don't need a fight that would only serve to split the ticket,” Fawcett wrote in a statement. “We need to join together to see that a change occurs. We can't afford to get stuck in this embarrassing era of incompetence.”

The next candidate to drop out was former Assistant United States Attorney Jack Stollsteimer. Stollsteimer has also announced that he is endorsing Josh Shaprio, chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

Josh Shapiro
  • Josh Shapiro
"I want to thank all my supporters across Pennsylvania who have encouraged me to run, especially my family and close personal friends. It has, however, become increasingly clear that 2016 is not the right year for me to make this race," Stollsteimer said in a statement.

In a release sent out today Stollsteimer continued, "Josh is a public servant for whom I have great respect. His record of accomplishment in Montgomery County gives me confidence that Josh has the executive experience to restore integrity to the Office of Attorney General. Moreover, from his work as Chair of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), I know that he is committed to implementing community focused law enforcement strategies to enhance public safety throughout our Commonwealth."

Also still in the race for state attorney general are Northampton District Attorney John Morganelli, and current Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Gov. Tom Wolf to hold Facebook town hall meeting on climate change, will make announcement

Posted By on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 2:23 PM

  • www.governor.pa.gov
  • Gov. Tom Wolf
Today, Gov. Wolf will answer questions about climate change, the environment and energy during a live Facebook town-hall meeting.

The governor has invited people to write their questions on his Facebook page, and as of right now, 205 people have done so. Wolf will begin answering "as many as [he] can" via a live video stream at 3:15 p.m. The meeting is planned to last for 45 minutes, according the governor's press office. The majority of the questions are about the oil and gas industry and the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

According to media reports, Wolf is expected to make an announcement today on regulating methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. 

Neil Shader, press secretary for the state's Department of Environmental Protection, would not elaborate on the announcement but told City Paper via phone that additional information would be available tomorrow via a press webinar.

The DEP is now finalizing new regulations for the oil and gas industry. (Read CP's Green Light column this week for more details.)

On the federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced new rules on methane emissions.  According to the EPA's website, methane is the "second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the United States from human activities."

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Slew of Allegheny County Democrats seeking county party endorsements

Posted By on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 1:07 PM

Democrats Steve Larchuk and Erin McClelland are seeking the endorsement of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee in their primary battle to see who will take on incumbent GOP Congressman Keith Rothfus
  • Democrats Steve Larchuk and Erin McClelland are seeking the endorsement of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee in their primary battle to see who will take on incumbent GOP Congressman Keith Rothfus
Twenty-nine democrats have thrown their hat into the ring of the upcoming election cycle by seeking the endorsement of the county Democratic party, setting up potential primary battles for two U.S. House seats and two Pennsylvania house seats, according to the Allegheny Democratic Committee's website.

Technically, not all 29 candidates have officially announced, but all are seeking the endorsement of the committee. Some have officially announced, like social worker Jessica Wolfe for Pennsylvania House District 19 and incumbent state Sen. Jay Costa. Most of those seeking nominations so far are incumbents.

The highest profile contest appears to be for U.S. House District 12 seat held by Republican Keith Rothfus, which includes Beaver County and most of the North Hills of Allegheny County. Lawyer Steve Larchuk of Franklin Park hinted at talked about his campaign in an interview with City Paper back in October. He will square-off against Erin McClelland of Harrison Township, who won the Democratic nomination in 2014, but lost to Rothfus.

State House Rep. Ed Gainey of East Liberty will also face a primary challenger in activist Will Anderson, who has challenged Gainey in previous elections.

Dj Ryan, executive director of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee says the list of candidates seeking endorsement could change before the Jan. 22 deadline, so candidates could be added and could dropout before then.

See the full list of candidates seeking Allegheny County Democratic endorsements below:

U.S. House of Representatives

District 12 - Steve Larchuk, Erin McClelland

District 14 - Mike Doyle, Janis C. Brooks

Pennsylvania State Senate

District 37 - Ed Eichenlaub

District 43 - Jay Costa

District 45 – Jim Brewster

Pennsylvania House of Representatives

District 16 – Rob Matzie

District 19 – Jake Wheatley, Jessica Wolfe, Mark Brentley, Aerion Abney

District 20 – Adam Ravenstahl

District 21 – Dom Costa

District 23 – Dan Frankel

District 24 – Ed Gainey, Will Anderson

District 25 – Joe Markosek

District 27 – Dan Deasy

District 30 – Ray Linsenmayer

District 32 – Tony Deluca

District 33 – Frank Dermody

District 34 – Paul Costa

District 35 – Marc Gergely

District 36 – Harry Readshaw

District 38 – Bill Kortz

District 42 – Dan Miller

District 45 – Anita Astorino Kulik

District 46 – Joe Szpara

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Braddock Mayor and U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman on Comedy Central's "Nightly Show"

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 3:41 PM

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman (right) is seen during his appearance on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (center) Thursday evening - WWW.COMEDYCENTRAL.COM
  • www.comedycentral.com
  • Braddock Mayor John Fetterman (right) is seen during his appearance on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (center) Thursday evening
Braddock Mayor and U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman — clad in his usual black short-sleeve button-up shirt, gave a ringing, and official, endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore Thursday night.

Sanders, the U.S. Senator from Vermont, is currently polling just four points behind front-runner former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, according to an Investor's Business Daily/TIPP poll, and is growing his lead in New Hampshire.

"I think America is looking for authenticity, and I think that is what is driving these numbers," Fetterman said on the panel that featured Wilmore and two stand-up comics. "And [Sanders] is surging and surging in demographics that you wouldn't normally think a 70-year-old democratic socialist would be."

Another panelist thought Sander's proposal of free tuition at public colleges and universities was unobtainable, but Fetterman disagreed with this notio n and said some of Sanders' ideas are what Americans are looking for.  

"I don't think Sanders is radical. I just think he is proposing common sense things that need to happen in America," said Fetterman.

City Paper caught up with Fetterman after his appearance on The Nightly Show, and he elaborated that his support for Sanders should not come as a surprise because the presidential candidate's ideas align with his. "There is a massive epidemic of inequality in this country, and that is what the campaign about," says Fetterman.

Earlier today, Fetterman guest DJ'd on WPTS-FM, the University of Pittsburgh's student station and combine that with his appearance on the Nightly Show, it appears Fetterman may be gaining popularity among millennials. Fetterman says these appearances were not part of some plan to target young people, however.

"I am getting invites from all over the place. I don't pick and choose," he says. "If somebody wants to hear about our campaign, I go."

But Fetterman does believe there should be a focus on the issues young people are facing. "[Their] student loan payments are starting to exceed mortgage payments. It is a big issue, and it is something that people should be paying attention too."

At a recent campaign event, another Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, Katie McGinty, also spoke about the issue of rising student loans. Although he has been politically active for years, Fetterman may be the political neophyte in this race. Besides McGinty, who served under both Govs. Ed Rendell and Tom Wolf, he also faces former U.S. Congressman and retired Navy Admiral Joe Sestak, who came close to beating incumbent U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey in 2010.

To watch Fetterman on The Nightly Show, follow the link here (enjoy the skit on dildos being sent to the Oregon-standoff participants beforehand). Also, since we cover all our comic bases here at CP, so check out our comics journalism piece on Fetterman from last fall.

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Pennsylvania state Sen. Jay Costa announces re-election bid for 43rd district

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:08 AM

  • Photo from www.senatorcosta.com
  • Jay Costa
Incumbent state senator Jay Costa has officially announced his campaign to run for re-election of Pennsylvania's 43rd senate district, according to a press release. Costa has held this position since assuming office in May 1996 and has also acted as the Democratic senate floor leader since 2010.

“It is an honor to represent the people of the district and I’m proud that we've been able to resolve issues and help constituents throughout the region. But the work isn’t finished,” Costa said in the release. “This is a very difficult time with many challenges to overcome, that's why its important to elect public officials who take principled positions and apply common sense.”

Costa's priorities for his next term, if elected, include job creation, education funding, property tax relief, adoption of a Marcellus Shale extraction tax, equal pay for equal work, safety net repairs and increasing the minimum wage. He is also a member of the Costa political family, which has deep roots in Allegheny County and includes Jay's brother Paul Costa and their cousin Dom Costa (both Paul and Dom serve in the Pennsylvania House).

No other candidates have officially announced a run for the seat.

The 43rd senate district includes the municipalities of Oakmont, Penn Hills, Wilkinsburg, Swissvale, Forest Hills and Homestead, as well as the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Shadyside, Bloomfield, Homewood, Squirrel Hill, Oakland, Hazelwood, South Side and the Hilltop communities. 

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