Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances

| Thursday, March 28, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Lance: To Rich Fitzgerald. The Allegheny County chief executive continues to defend his practice of extracting and keeping on file signed, undated resignation letters from authority board appointees. Mr. Fitzgerald says the letters ensure that appointees to what are supposed to be independent bodies will do his bidding. That's a stunning admission. If signing such letters is a term of authority service — and it's obvious that it is — it's a “public service” perversion that borders on extortion.

Laurel: To the Pittsburgh mayoral race. It took a much-needed step toward sanity this week when the city's firefighters and police unions and two other unions, in a rare show of unity, endorsed Jack Wagner for the Democrats' nomination in the May primary. Mr. Wagner is the former state auditor general and former president of Pittsburgh City Council. Make no mistake, the endorsements are a major blow — with a capital “B” — to the hopes of Councilman Bill Peduto, who fancied himself as the de facto front-runner when incumbent Mayor Luke Ravenstahl bowed out.

On the “Watch List”: The Pittsburgh Pirates open the 2013 season at home on Monday against the Chicago Cubs. The Bucs are hoping lightning strikes this year in pursuit of their first winning season in two decades. So break out all the cliches you can muster and hope for the best. But history offers a sobering lesson and Pirates fans should prepare to be disappointed for the 21st-consecutive year.

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