Wednesday Briefing

Mark DeSantis got a whopping 910 write-in Republican votes, enabling him to face-off against Democrat Luke Ravenstahl in November. A preview of the big showdown, care of the P-G’s Ann Belser:

“We need to bring back the spirit of public service and excellence to government,” Mr. DeSantis said. “This is just a great wonderful city and it’s not fulfilling its potential.”

And this from Ravenstahl:

“I look forward to continuing to govern the city of Pittsburgh, which ultimately, in my opinion, good government translates to good politics, so that’s what the focus will be.”

Ravenstahl kicked off his bid for election by proposing to eliminate the 1.25% amusement tax on non-profits, reports the P-G’s Tim McNulty. This will save performing arts groups $450,000 per year, much to the delight of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. Or, if you prefer, it will cost the city roughly 4 (four) McNeillys annually.


The Trib has two (two?) articles by Andrew Conte about the history of illicit gambling in the city.

Did you know that the city charges a $485 annual licensing fee per video poker or slots machine utilized “for entertainment purposes only?” Perhaps not for much longer.

Simone Hickey holds licenses for five machines at her South Side gift shop. She said she doesn’t pay out money to players, but worries about losing customers when the casinos open.

Without the income, she would have to work longer hours or offer more merchandise. She fears the city will outlaw the entertainment-only games.

“Why now kick us to the curb?” said Hickey, owner of Simone’s in the 1400 block of East Carson Street. “(The games) are part of my income. If they do that, aren’t they being hypocritical?”

Editorial Asides: No sympathy for such scofflaws? Check out the other, more historical article:

Gus Greenlee, a numbers runner in the Hill District from the 1920s to 1940s, used his proceeds to open the original Crawford Grill nightclub, form the Pittsburgh Crawfords Negro League baseball team and build a $100,000 stadium in the neighborhood.

Tell us again why the state feels it so important that only a select few get to “run numbers”?

And finally:

“Go to some of these social clubs, and who goes in there to politic, to drink beers?” McCabe said. “It’s the police chief, the local politicians meeting in different social clubs where they have these slot machines going.”

Why are these politicos unable to get their work done over an innocent root-beer float?

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