Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wednesday news I: top stories

  • PA State House

    • It's (semi-)official: Democrats take the majority by one seat. Challenges still possible, including a county-wide recount; don't expect Perzel to give up power without a fight!

    • State Rep. Dwight Evans would be slated to become Chairman of the Appropriations Committee if the Democratic takeover is confirmed. This raises questions about whether such a powerful seat would convince him to give up his interest in Philadelphia's mayoral race, or just give him a higher profile in the field.

    • John Baer adds more speculation about whether back-room deals will be made to get some Democrats to switch parties, takes some digs at potential Speaker DeWeese, and notes some other Dems in line for key committee chairs.

    • Update: forgot to include this YPP piece on "How we won in Chester County" from one who was in the middle of it all...

  • Street cleaning

    • Milton Street, brother of Philly's mayor, was indicted on corruption and tax charges stemming from the multi-year investigation of airport-related scams. Quite a range of crimes mentioned, all right in the heart of the pay-to-play tradition... (although stiffing Uncle Sam takes an extra dose of chutzpah) More details here.

    • A Daily News piece looks at Milton's colorful history as a public figure over the last few decades.

    • The Inquirer devotes an editorial to the story, without actually adding much more than the sound of "tut tut."

  • Casino rumblings

    • Did you think that a set of innocent slots parlors would be harmless fun without bringing the whole mob-associated feel of a total casino setting? Innocent babe, you. The licenses haven't even been granted and already legislation is in the works that would allow poker and blackjack to be added to slots sites; after that, roulette and whatever else is left are likely to be considered an arbitrary exclusion... Who's behind this brilliance? Potential Speaker DeWeese. Sigh.

    • Meanwhile, a second story notes that promised aid for gambling addicts is nowhere in sight.
      Although the slots parlors are required to advertise the existence of such services, the state has not set up a compulsive gambling hotline or a procedure to subsidize treatment services for gambling addiction.
      Various funding tricks will allow state reimbursement of public and private services currently in place.

    • The whole thing is making Dan at YPP feel sick. Hard to disagree, and hard not to wish we had better ways of holding our legislators accountable.


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