A Roundup of Wrong

Not to depress anyone, but a scan of the state these days paints a pretty bleak picture of our current and former leaders and iconic institutions.

Former Philly and state political power John Perzel gets up to five years in jail for stealing tax dollars to help Republicans win campaigns, a story that draws attention from the international news service Reuters and runs, for example, in the Chicago Tribune.

In Pittsburgh, state Sen. Jane Orie's ongoing trial on charges she used taxpayer resources for campaigns, including her sister's (state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin), gets a surprise witness who testifies he saw campaign work going on in the senator's office in the senator's presence. The AP story gets broad play, including in the New Jersey Herald.

In Scranton, the Times-Tribune reports former Senate Democratic Leader Bob Mellow will be at Philadelphia's federal courthouse April 27 to plead guilty to conspiracy in connection with using his tax-paid staff for political work. The newspaper says Mellow faces five years in prison.

In Harrisburg, David Unkovic, the state-appointed receiver working on the city's fiscal mess, has a mini-fit during a federal court hearing on issues related to the capital city's state takeover of the city. The Harrisburg Patriot-News reports:

“`There is so much corruption in this city. The city has been mismanaged for 20 years,' he said in a loud and strident voice, repeatedly slamming his fist on the witness stand."

And in State College, the ongoing investigation of the child-sex scandal and coverup gets another jolt. The Patriot reports that a state welfare investigator who closed a 1998 child-abuse case against Jerry Sandusky would not have done so had he been shown newly surfaced psychologists' reports done at the time but withheld by Penn State police.

So let's see: Philly, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Scranton and Penn State all producing news you can use, if, that is, you're making a case for the sorry state of the state or, for example, putting together your own roundup of wrong.