by Chris Potter
First things first: The Supreme Court heard arguments in a second gay-marriage case yesterday, and you can find audio and a transcript here. The first hour or so involves a debate over standing -- the right of a party to bring a case -- and is pretty excruciating, though the court may decide to toss the case entirely on that basis. The second part deals with the merits ... and you can see why Paul Clement -- who represents the anti-equality crowd -- is as feared as he is. At times, he almost makes it sound like he's doing same-sex couples a favor by barring them from enjoying the same rights as straights. He just wants to treat gay couples in different states equally, you see. Even if that means "equally badly." In any case, this is a good time to remind folks that even here in Pennsyltucky, support for gay marriage is on the rise.
In related developments, did you know that our very own Sen. Bob Casey is one of the few Democratic Senators to oppose gay marriage equality? Are you even surprised? A group of progressive activists is trying to change his mind.
Are parking valets going rogue in Market Square? There have been allegations that a parking valet outfit, hired by the city to make dining in Market Square more convenient, have actually been making things worse -- by laying claim even to public parking spaces. The firm's ownership has political ties -- although hey, who doesn't in this town? -- and blames gripes on a "rogue" employee. But folks are riled up now. You could probably loot the city treasury and not raise an eyebrow in this town, but if Pittsburghers think you're improperly taking away a parking space? Watch out.
Concerns continue to mount over an issue we first reported earlier this year -- Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald's use of undated resignation letters to keep nominally "independent" board appointees in line. Fitzgerald has now handed over the names of more than three dozen appointees whose letters he has in hand, prompting no small amount of hand-wringing in county government.
Finally, a quick round-up of mayoral action. Bill Peduto releases an internal poll showing himself with a 9-point lead over Jack Wagner in the mayor's race. That result echoes a similar poll from an independent-but-fledgling outfit, but Wagner himself says he's got polling that shows a tighter race. Wagner hasn't released that data yet, however, so you're free to ignore it even more thoroughly than you'd ignore an internal poll that a candidate does release. In other news, Wagner earned the backing of state Sen. Jim Ferlo and the FOP -- with whom Ferlo has long squabbled. (For that matter, Ferlo and Wagner fought when they both served on council ... though as Ferlo pointed out to me yesterday, in those days he was an ally of then-Mayor Tom Murphy. And we know how that ended up.) Peduto, meanwhile, announced an endorsement from Ed Gainey -- a disclosure which surprises absolutely no one, but still represents the earliest endorsement from a black leader that I can think of. Also, Darlene Harris has dropped her own mayoral bid -- anyone want to bet against her endorsing Wagner too?