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Valley Laurels & Lances

| Friday, March 11, 2011

Lance: To the East Deer commissioners. It's unfathomable the commissioners are sending a letter supporting the Allegheny County Council's effort to have the Legislature impose a statewide moratorium on court-ordered reassessments. Our story last month clearly showed Tarentum as a whole is badly overassessed and it's not a great leap of faith to conclude its next-door neighbor is in the same boat. The commissioners should send a letter to the council saying, "Quit playing politics and do right by East Deer's property owners."

Laurel: To the Saxonburg Council. Mayor Jody Pflueger suspended a part-time officer who went to the Butler County District Attorney's Office with concerns about new officers who were fully trained -- but not state certified -- being on patrol. The officer ignored the chain of command, but he was right. The council has decided to end the practice. Considering how the courts dimly view possible violations of civil rights -- and the potential litigation stemming from a mistake made by an "officer-in-waiting" -- this was a wise decision.

On the "Watch List": The Pennsylvania Department of Liquor Control Enforcement: The LCE has issued 179 citations for illegal video gambling machines in Western Pennsylvania in the past two years. Of the 179 citations, three have been issued to the Brackenridge American Legion. That doesn't pass the smell test. Regardless, it's long past time for the state to legalize these machines in local establishments, especially those that serve the public -- like our service organizations, firemen's clubs, etc.

Lance: To Allegheny County Council. The council has voted to blow the entire $45 million redirected to the Port Authority by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission. That money's supposed to be used over 18 months. The SPC never should've given the money. This decision makes it worse.

An observation: Westmoreland's Prison Board doled out suspensions this week to Warden John Walton and Deputy Warden Steven Cmar (three and two days, respectively) for using a county truck to deliver a big-screen TV to Mr. Cmar's Rostraver home. But the board has never revealed the circumstances here, or the identity of the third person involved. Some Prison Board members just want this latest embarrassment to quickly disappear -- especially during an election year.

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