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Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances

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Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

Laurel: To Rich Fitzgerald. The Allegheny County chief executive is taking heat from some quarters for a perfectly legal no-bid contract to a local contracting firm. But the $156,000 deal with Michael Baker Corp., which, in turn, will use the expertise of employee and former county Public Works boss Tom Donatelli to assess the troubled department, sounds like a prudent move to us.

Lance: To the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. A goodly number of its 2013 picture calendars — with March featuring the same kind of African painted dogs that killed a toddler who fell into the exhibit this month — were sent out before the tragedy. But the zoo continued to send them out, without even a note of explanation to patrons, after the tragedy. And that, supposedly, after much internal discussion. How sad.

Lance: To Mt. Lebanon. Not only will the deer-overrun South Hills community not make deer culling a priority in next year's budget, it won't even make a study of the exploding deer population a budget priority. It is, however, budgeting money for an “education” program to teach residents how best to “manage” the out-of-control herd. Surely an adopt-a-deer program can't be far behind for blinder-wearing municipal “leaders.”

On the “Watch List”: The Pittsburgh mayoral race. Two Democrats, and possibly a third, are lining up to challenge incumbent Democrat Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in next year's May primary. Little is being said about possible Republican or independent challengers come next November. But the time is ripe for breaking the Democrats' long and damaging stranglehold on the city.

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