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Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances

| Friday, June 22, 2007

On the "Watch List":

  • Pittsburgh's pensions are in crisis. New numbers show the city's plans are only between 40 percent and 45 percent funded. Stated another way, they are between 55 percent and 60 percent unfunded. Taxpayers will, somehow, have to make up the difference. But more must be done to the pensions than just a bailout. The city must evolve these pensions from defined-benefit plans into defined-contribution plans, as has been happening in the real world for decades.

  • Another weekend, another Parkway East shutdown for construction. This weekend it will be the inbound lanes that will close beginning tonight at 8 o'clock and until 5 a.m. Monday. Massive traffic jams did not materialize in the last weekend closure of the outbound lanes. But that's thanks in large part to plenty of advance warnings and motorists avoiding the area. Consider yourselves warned again -- avoid the Parkway East inbound and save yourself some grief.

Lance: To Gov. Ed Rendell. He's nominated District Magistrate Cathleen Bubash to fill a vacant seat on Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. As we noted in May, her bench temperament can be unprofessional and her overly aggressive -- and successful -- primary campaign for a bench nomination was unbecoming. The state Senate should reject Rendell's Bubash nomination.

Lance: To Shakita Mangham and Furaha Love. As suspected, there was no baby sitter at Ms. Mangham's Larimer home when fire broke out in the wee hours of June 12. Police say Mangham lied. Three of her own small children died; two children of her friend, Ms. Love, also perished. The mothers were "out" for the evening. Such neglect cannot be tolerated. The district attorney has filed manslaughter and endangerment charges against the pair. Sadly, such charges are most appropriate.

Lance: To the North Shore casino debate. What a shame that the North Shore neighbors of the coming Majestic Star slots casino can't solve their disagreements without rattling the saber of prolonged court battles. The latest issue: The Carnegie Science Center says it will seek state Supreme Court relief if it can't get in writing a promise of a traffic light it deems critical to its smooth operations. There's a word for this -- overkill. It's time to invoke Fred Rogers' legacy of good neighbors.

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