Sometimes it is hard to put together a light-hearted look at the week’s event while watching a horrific event like Wednesday’s Parkland shooting unfold. Once again, we find ourselves in an all-too-familiar place, grieving for parents who lost their children to an unspeakable act of violence and cowardice. All we can say is that we sincerely hope that “doing nothing” isn’t, once again, the chosen path forward.
Early in the week, President Trump unveiled his budget proposal, which was odd since Congress enacted a two-year spending deal the previous week. In any case, Trump’s plan would seriously boost military spending, sharply decrease support for domestic programs and usher in an era of yearly trillion-dollar deficits. There was a time when candidate Trump promised to eliminate the deficit, as we recall. Some very powerful Congressional Republicans also remember that time, apparently, as they summarily dumped the plan into the Potomac.
Pennsylvania was a literal Map-a-pa-looza this week, with all interested parties submitting proposed Congressional maps to the state Supreme Court. Twitter was a dumpster fire of vitriol, half-truths and accusations that made us want to throw our computers into the Susquehanna River. Some of our friends on the Hill were spinning so hard that Peloton offered them jobs. To the rescue rides our old friend Charles Thompson at Pennlive, who this morning shared an exhaustive and detailed look at all the maps and all the scenarios that could play out. Spoiler alert: this mess is headed back to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Philadelphia Airport this week finalized a deal for a 135-acre tract of land that could make the city a new air freight hub, we learned this week. After years of fits and starts, we could be seeing huge FedEx and Amazon Air cargo planes circling the city. Fly, Philly, fly!
Meanwhile, the largest vessel to ever grace the Port of Philadelphia made an appearance this week, carrying a literal boatload of fruit from South America (including lots of grapes, which we all know are the best of all fruits.) It is a good time to be in the City of Brotherly Love, isn’t it? A big shout-out goes to Triad Senior Consultant Tony Mannino who sits on the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority Board!
Speaking of which, our good friend Council President Darrell Clarke won a little wager with his counterpart from Boston when the Eagles downed the Patriots. A special delivery from Mike’s Pastry in Beantown hit the President’s desk this week, and we have to say we are more than a little jealous. Leave the trophy; take the cannolis.
Locally-owned bridges and rural roads could get a boost under Governor Wolf’s proposed budget, we learned this week. Wolf is seeking $200 million to begin tackling structurally-deficient bridges in rural areas, along with some roads less travelled, with apologies to Robert Frost.
Pittsburgh this week finally emerged from state financial oversight, and there was much rejoicing in the Steel City. Congratulations to current and former elected officials who helped steer that city back to solvency and a bright future. As Governor Wolf sealed the deal this week, we could not help but think that the city has finally done what few others have failed to do: leave the Hotel California. Most towns with the Act 47 designation find that they can check out anytime they like but can never truly leave.
Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis industry is springing to life, with dispensaries opening all over the state. It would appear, however, that the state’s physicians are still a bit unenthusiastic about participating, as only 700 of the active 57,000 doctors in the state have applied to dispense. The supply/demand graph is gonna be out of whack if that trend continues.
In one of the weirder political stories of 2018, Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson finds himself in a rather odd place as he seeks to unseat incumbent Tammy Baldwin. It would seem that Nicholson’s parents are not too fond of his candidacy and have therefore maxed out their financial support to Baldwin instead. It will be an awfully interesting Thanksgiving in the Nicholson household.
The political eyes of the state (and some nationally) continue to be fixed upon southwestern Pennsylvania, as a special election for the state’s 18th Congressional district looms larger in the windshield. Democrat Corey Lamb is locked in a tight battle with Republican Rick Saccone in a district that President Trump carried by 20 points. If you’ve watched this race unfold, you would be tempted to think that Mr. Lamb was the love child of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
From the Department of Shocking Exactly Nobody comes the news that President Trump is endorsing Congressman Lou Barletta in his bid to oust U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr., who oddly enough is also the love child of Chuck and Nancy. For his part, Senator Casey is probably thrilled to inform voters in the southeastern part of the state that Mr. Trump is endorsing Mr. Barletta.
Elsewhere on this week’s Triadvocate, be sure to check out this piece from Triad’s newest addition Todd Brysiak, who gives you a primer on workforce development this week. Since workforce improvements seem to be on every politico’s wish list this year, it may prove useful to know how we got here and where we might end up when all the chefs are done in the kitchen.
In our We Can’t Make This Up section this week, a Chicago ABC News affiliate apparently does not know the difference between the City of Pyeongchang and the chain restaurant P.F. Chang’s. At least the person who writes their chyron graphics doesn’t. If this were an MSNBC snafu, it would probably be President Trump’s fault, we assume. All we know is that we can definitely compete for a medal at P.F. Chang’s.
That’s what passes for news around here as we map our course to the weekend. Be sure to come back next week when the next chapter in Map-a-pa-looza will surely be written, and we might even muster up the energy to tell you about it. Until then, from all of us at Triad, have a great weekend!