“Morning” Line: Already in Motion

Save Fort Pitt: The Fort Pitt Preservation Society has concocted a plan that would preserve much of the Music Bastion at Point State Park, yet still provide for a large, flat festival grounds, reports the Trib’s Allison M. Heinrichs.

In what seems to be the first hint of a glimmer of positive news for preservationists, State Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Brookline) says he will ask the state to look at the plan, saying, “I’m glad (the preservation society) brought something forward. I think their opinions and outlook should be considered. If there is a good compromise plan that will not hurt the (renovation) process, then it certainly should be looked at.”

Meanwhile, the PA Dept. of Preservation, deigning to respond only through email, continues to cite deadlines and budgets. The Riverlife Task Force and Allegheny Conference declined to comment. Heinrichs, now perpetrating like an activist, includes a link www.savefortpitt.org.

Save the Penguins: Lemieux describes his meeting with the Rendell-Onorato-Ravenstahl troika yesterday as “very positive” and says he’s “very optimistic.” But only the Trib’s Andrew Conte & Rob Rossi have found “sources” willing to say the talks went so well, there could be a deal as soon as next week.

The McNeilly Case: Here is how it all allegedy went down, and I use the term “allegedly” as a big, thick wool blanket over all of the following:

Dennis Regan was employed as a prick on behalf of the late Mayor Bob O’Connor. Regan would, for instance, threaten to demote police commanders to beat patrol if they hassled persons or businesses with city-hall-caliber pull. Regan’s girlfriend was city Senior Secretary Marlene Cassidy, whose brother is a certain Officer Francis Rende. Regan “ordered” Police Chief Costa to promote this well-connected girlfriend’s brother to the position of Detective, although Regan, as Operations Director, was outside the purview of Public Safety matters.

Upon his ascension to Mayor, Ravenstahl nominated this useful Regan fellow as his Public Safety Director, which would give such “orders” to the Police Chief considerably more weight. But this is where Police Commander McNeilly intervened, objecting to this rascal Regan’s elevation. Part of her complaint to City Council was Officer Rende’s well-filled, undeserving-of-promition disciplinary file, which revealed Rende’s habit of calling off work “sick” to do side jobs for profit.

Something about the exposure caused Dennis Regan not only to withdraw his nomination for Public Safety Director, but to resign from city employ altogether. Yet Mayor Ravenstahl retaliated by demoting McNeilly to Lieutennant. She is suing to be reinstated as Commander under federal whistle-blower protection.

Today’s P-G coverage by Rich Lord & Paula Reed Ward plays up McNeilly’s admission that she broke rules in revealing details of Officer Rende’s disciplinary record to City Council and others. They have Ravenstahl saying, “My understanding was that Commander McNeilly admitted today that she broke the rules, and I think that says it all. I think that speaks volumes as to why the decision was made to demote her to lieutenant.” Only much later to they have a quote by an ally of McNeilly, which in effect says, “If you want to make an omlet, you have to break some eggs.”

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