March 17: The Big Cleanup

Norfolk Southern train

🍀 We Made It. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

PA Weather
Pittsburgh | Showers, 52
Harrisburg | Showers, 59
Philadelphia | Mostly Cloudy, 62

PA Sports
Penn State MBB | d. Texas A&M 76-59 | SAT vs. Texas
Pitt MBB | FRI vs. Iowa State
Villanova WBB | SAT vs. Cleveland State
76ers (46-22) | FRI vs. Charlotte | SAT vs. Indiana
Penguins (34-24-10) | lost vs. NY Rangers 4-2 | SAT vs. Rangers
Flyers (24-32-11) | FRI vs. Buffalo | SAT vs. Carolina

What We’re Hearing
“No one warns you of this in college. No one tells you as a Black woman, you will be facing implicit biases that truly don’t even make sense.”

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Top Story

1. Casey, Fetterman Bill Would Help First Responders Hit With Big Costs

Sen. Bob Casey returns to work as Sen. John Fetterman continues treatment for depression | Stars and Stripes

“Darlington Township firefighters never thought twice about responding to the Norfolk Southern train derailment in nearby East Palestine, Ohio.

More than a month later, though, the Beaver County volunteer department with 35 active members had incurred costs exceeding $120,000 from fighting the chemical fire that erupted.

Democratic Sens. Bob Casey Jr. and John Fetterman have introduced the Assistance for Local Heroes During Train Crises Act, which has drawn the support of the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association.” (PennLive)


Norfolk Southern CEO: ‘I Understand My Responsibility’ In Ohio Derailment Cleanup. “Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw confidently chugged a glass of East Palestine, Ohio, tap water in front of a group of reporters Thursday as he promised to clean the site of a fiery train derailment and invest in local rebuilding efforts.” (Tribune-Review)

Western PA Pols Tout Federal Investment In Pollution Monitoring. “A trio of Pittsburgh-area politicians joined local climate action groups in Downtown Pittsburgh on Thursday to spotlight the nearly $2 million southwestern Pennsylvania has been awarded from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to monitor harmful air pollution in the region.” (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

Inside The Trump-World Organized Retreat To Plot Out Biden Oversight. “A group closely aligned with former President Donald Trump helped organize a “bootcamp” for GOP congressional staff this past February, training them on how to conduct aggressive oversight of the Biden administration, according to new disclosure forms filed with the U.S. House clerk’s office. Invitees included, among others,15 staffers to Republican lawmakers who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.” (POLITICO)

How The Backbone of American Elections Is Being Upended. “A bipartisan behind-the-scenes organization that helps states maintain their voter rolls is facing an uncertain future, after several Republican-led states left the group.” (POLITICO)



2. Police Staffing At ‘Crisis’ Level, Shapiro Says In Promoting Tax Incentives

Governor Josh Shapiro

Gov. Josh Shapiro continued his push to muster public support for his $44.4 billion budget plan, appearing Thursday at the Lackawanna College Police Academy in Scranton to highlight proposed tax incentives towards improving recruitment and retention of police officers.” (CNHI News)


PA House Ethics Committee Organizes, Prepares To Accept Complaints Online. “Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives ethics committee is now officially organized and open for business.” (PennLive)

Inflation Drag May Undermine Shapiro’s Budget Savings. “Republicans in both Pennsylvania chambers of the General Assembly said Wednesday the governor’s proposal to shackle certain program funding to inflation may trigger massive tax increases in five years.” (The Center Square)

Three PA Airports Receive $39M For Upgrades. “Three Pennsylvania airports will receive a combined $39 million in federal funding for a variety of upgrades as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.(The Center Square)

If I’m ‘The Demographic Corporate America Wants So Desperately,’ Why Am I Constantly Sidelined? “Get the degree, dress for the interview, show up early, write legislation, run for office — none of that seems to be enough when you’re a pretty, dark-skinned Black woman.” (Public Source)


Around The Commonwealth

3. The Key Role Petition Challenges Play


Signing Candidate Petitions 2023 - Lehigh County Democratic Committee

““What’s in a name?” asked Shakespearean heroine Juliet Capulet. With a mindset like that, it’s a good thing she was a lovestruck Verona teen rather than a Pittsburgh politician — or else things might have ended really badly for her!

This is petition-challenge season — a time when a name can derail your rise to power.” (WESA)


A Secret Offer Bethany Hallam Made To Get John Weinstein Back On The Alcosan Board Raised Legal Concerns. “The same week that Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein lost a powerful seat on the local sewer board, a political ally floated a way to get him right back on it through a secret deal that immediately raised legal and ethical questions, according to people with knowledge of the proposal.” (Post-Gazette)

Clout: John Wood Is New To Politics, And To The Democratic Party. “John Wood is new to politics and off to a lucky start, pulling the first ballot position in Philadelphia’s packed Democratic primary for mayor in a drawing Tuesday.” (Inquirer)

Jeff Brown Rivals Slam Him For Ethics Investigation As Philly Mayor’s Race Heats Up. “The previously sleepy Philadelphia mayor’s race is getting a little more combative, with several candidates taking aim at grocer Jeff Brown.” (Inquirer)

The Horn & Hardart ‘Coffee Can Of Destiny’ Is Still Ruling Philly Elections. “The fate of Philadelphia rested with a small brown-and-orange tin Wednesday morning.” (Billy Penn)

Arena? What Arena? “Former mayors Rendell and Street say the fate of a new Sixers arena should be left to the next Mayor and Council. But do the mayoral candidates want any part of it?” (Philadelphia Citizen)

Petitions For O’Neill Challenger Contain Redundant Entries, Nearly Identical Pages. “Republicans backing Philadelphia Councilman Brian O’Neill think they’ve got enough evidence to get potential Democratic challenger Gary Masino disqualified from the upcoming primary ballot, claiming more than 1,500 of the 1,900 signatures Masino turned in on a candidate petition aren’t up to legal snuff.” (Broad + Liberty)

Harrisburg Pays Off Multi-Million Dollar Bond Insurance Debt. “City leaders said Thursday they had submitted a final $8.3 million payment to bond insurer AMBAC this week. Harrisburg has for years owed the insurance company money for covering a series of bond payments the city could not make.” (WESA)



4. What They’re Saying

A glance around the Keystone State at editorials and opinions.


1 Thing

5. The Afternoon “Fun” Economy

Stroke Play

The New York Times reports that golf courses, rock-climbing gyms and spas are filling up before 5 p.m. as the rise of work-from-anywhere powers the “afternoon fun” economy.

Remote workers across the country have reconfigured their lives, but be forewarned. Many CEOs continue to push for a return to in-person work.



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One Response

  1. Philly is not the only place in PA that needs to focus on preventing crime, which seems to be endemic.

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