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Laurels & Lances

Lance: To Bill Urbanic. Somebody needs to order a CT scan for Pittsburgh City Council’s budget director. He picks up the familiar whine that commuters don’t pay their “fair share” for city services.

Hey, pal, without those commuters, there wouldn’t be a city. And their pockets have been turned out pretty thoroughly already — from one of the highest parking taxes in the nation to, against the expressed will of the people, being shaken down for several decades to pay for sports stadiums, a convention center and other “amenities,” all then made tax-exempt by the pickpockets represented by the likes of Mr. Urbanic.

Oh, and did we mention the Regional Asset District tax, that piggyback sales tax?

Hey, Pittsburgh has spent decades driving people out of the city — why stop now?

Laurel: To the Bethel Park School Board. It refuses to be snookered by a less-than-good-faith offer by striking unionized teachers to return to work under terms of the old contract and end a five-week strike. Had the board agreed, it would have been locked into a cost structure that the board, on behalf of taxpayers, already had determined was not acceptable. Striking teachers should stop playing games. And taxpayers should send their school board notes of thanks.

Lance: To the Carnegie Science Center. It says the display of a small U.S. flag by a volunteer couple — the husband a veteran — staffing the information desk at the North Side facility is not an “appropriate” look for such a public area and has removed it. Come again• That’s outrageous. And how much public money does the center receive each year• Sounds as if it’s time for taxpayers to re-evaluate their contribution.

On the “Watch List”: Black Friday. The Christmas shopping season officially bowed today. Though it’s not the busiest shopping day of the year — that will come in a few weeks — it’s certainly one of the craziest. “Black,” by the way, is not a dark connotation but a bright one — an indication of a day that can help put many retailers in the black for the year. Minding one’s manners can be the key to surviving today’s hordes. Be careful out there.


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