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IF YOU

want a reminder of the enduring culture of Pittsburgh city government you could do worse than read the story in the Post-Gazette on Thursday titled "Ousted Politicians Land on Their Feet at City Hall." Reporter Rich Lord's story started: "Dislodged by elections, four politically involved employees of Pittsburgh City Council or the controller's office have found posts within Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's administration." Just as it ever was in this city long dominated by Democrats and their old-world politics with its debts, favors and friendships. If inclined to charitable feeling, it might be OK to give a pass to the two members of the controller's office, an audit manager and an accountant, but why give defeated Councilman Jeff Koch a new job? Why give one to Ron Deutsch, ex-aide to ousted Councilman Len Bodack? The voters spoke but their judgments were ignored. A government marinated in old machine politics got Pittsburgh into a mess, and here's a small sign looming large why it may never get out of it.

IT'S NOT JUST Democrats who need to rethink their priorities. State Sen. Bob Regola, R-Hempfield, kicked off his campaign for re-election last week, although he's still facing perjury and other charges in connection with the death of Louis Farrell, a 14-year-old neighbor, who is said to have killed himself with Mr. Regola's gun in July 2006. In May, a district judge held the senator for trial on four felony charges -- three counts of perjury and one count of allowing possession of a firearm by a minor -- and two misdemeanors, false swearing and reckless endangerment. At a party of his supporters last week, Mr. Regola said the boy's death was "a terrible tragedy" but that it was not related to his work as a senator. Not related? This is a huge, distracting cloud over his work when the taxpayers deserve his undivided attention -- and it has lent a sideshow aspect to his time in the Senate. Even if he is found not guilty, a more responsible person would not have found himself in such a mess.



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