ShareThis Page
Heyl: Politicians, perks stuff of 2014 ‘turkeys’ |
Antwon Rose Shooting

Heyl: Politicians, perks stuff of 2014 ‘turkeys’

Time to roast turkeys.

With the birds about to go in the ovens, let’s indulge in the annual tradition of good-naturedly examining things for which the folks who dominate headlines — and some others — should express thanks:

• Outgoing Gov. Tom Corbett: That he soon will have a LOT more free time to walk his two Airedales, Penny and Harry.

• Gov.-elect Tom Wolf: The near-daily bombshells going off in the state Attorney General’s Office. They have distracted people from asking how Wolf plans to plug a $1.85 billion budget shortfall while keeping his campaign pledge of reducing the tax burden on the lower- and middle-class.

Oh, and his Jeep that was featured in so many of his campaign commercials. Wolf loves that thing.

• Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane: Her uncanny multi-tasking abilities that enabled her to simultaneously prepare to testify before a grand jury investigating leaks by her office and discipline dozens of her employees for exchanging pornographic emails at work.

• Former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffrey: The extra time he has had since his abrupt retirement last month to catch up with his friends (some of whom work in Kane’s office) via email.

• Pennsylvania’s 253 lawmakers: That their latest annual cost-of-living increase is kicking in just in time for the holidays. With their base salaries topping $85,000, they shouldn’t have to worry too much about affording Christmas presents.

• Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald: That he got off so cheaply in covering all mileage costs on his county-owned Jeep after Controller Chelsa Wagner accused him of using it for personal and political trips. He probably barely noticed that $42,000 missing from his bank account.

• Wagner: That next year’s re-election bid won’t be harmed by anyone recalling the 35 percent raise she engineered for herself upon taking office by accepting nine years of cost-of-living increases that previous controllers declined.

Oh, wait…

• Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto: The frequent-flier miles he’s accumulating in his first year in office by jetting to, among other locales, Los Angeles, Detroit, Washington, Chicago, Denver, Austin, Denmark and Germany.

• Downtown Pittsburgh joggers: The Penn Avenue bike lane. It’s perfect for a level run without having to worry about any cyclist traffic.

• UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff: The state taxpayers who are kicking in $2.5 million for an expansion project at Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville. Now the nonprofit won’t have to tap its $4.3 billion investment portfolio to pay for the work.

• Allegheny County Jail Warden Orlando Harper: The increase in stylish apparel at the jail since he instituted a dress code for visitors. The county has one of the nation’s most fashionable lockups.

• Former Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission CEO Joe Brimmeier: That after pleading guilty to felony conflict-of-interest charges last week, stemming from a “pay-to-play” conspiracy, he avoided jail time and is on probation.

He should be thankful, indeed, for such a sentencing E-ZPass.

Eric Heyl is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7857 or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.