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Tuesday takes

| Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2006

Spendthrift fact-finder: The Pittsburgh school district is struggling to right-size. It was forced to dip into its reserves to balance this year's budget. Money is tight. And a fact-finder recommends raises for teachers• Nothing like being out of touch. The teachers union, of course, is all for the plan. The district, to its credit, has rejected it. Fact-finder Matthew Franckiewicz says the raises are affordable because the district is cutting a number of teachers. Which gives you a good idea what side Mr. Franckiewicz is on.

Swager's swagger: The co-chair of the Pittsburgh Gaming Task Force never could be accused of pulling punches. And Anne Swager does just that in the current issue of a local architectural group's magazine. Ms. Swager, an architect herself, warns that any Pittsburgh slots casino will be too big with 3,000 machines and end up looking like a "shed." It's a welcome spate of candor in a process that seems to be plagued by get-alongism.

On the Block watch: A good indication of a newspaper enterprise in decline is how it reports on itself. Or doesn't. Witness the Toledo, Ohio, Block Bugler. It was the Trib that broke the story on the naming of a new Bugler editor. And last week, it was the Trib that had the details of some high-profile job cuts at one of America's newspapers; The Bugler barely gave it a mention, not even noting the necks the ax chopped. Read all about it -- here.

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