An-Li Herring

Government & Accountability Reporter

An-Li became a reporter while completing her law degree at Stanford. In law school, she wrote about housing affordability, criminal justice and economic development, among other topics. She also served as the intern to NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg in Washington, DC, helping Ms. Totenberg to cover the U.S. Supreme Court and other legal matters. Originally from Pittsburgh, An-Li interned with the investigations team at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette before joining 90.5 WESA in August 2017.

She can be reached at 412-315-6767 or at aherring@wesa.fm.

National attention is increasingly turning to the special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, and the contest is poised to become the center of the political world Thursday, when President Donald Trump is expected to appear in North Fayette, in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, with Republican candidate Rick Saccone.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Two Philadelphia men sued Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation this week for automatically suspending their driver’s licenses when they were convicted of minor drug offenses.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

This week, 38 new trial judges in Pennsylvania are taking a key step on their way to the bench. As required by court rules, they have convened at Penn State University to complete a seven-day course of study designed specifically for first-time trial judges, often called “new judge school.”

Brookings Institution

Released this week, The New Localism argues that cities and their surrounding communities have become the country’s problem solvers, especially as state and federal governments fail to act. In the book, co-authors Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak examine how local leaders are tackling issues ranging from economic and social inequities to environmental sustainability.

90.5 WESA’s An-Li Herring spoke with Katz about how Pittsburgh fits his model.

 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA


  Fourteen years after entering Act 47, the city of Pittsburgh appears to be very close to exiting the program, which places financially distressed municipalities under state oversight.

Ben Finley / AP

In a story that has drawn national attention, Virginia chose a member of its House of Delegates by randomly picking the name of a candidate Thursday.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Bill Peduto marked the beginning of his second term as mayor of Pittsburgh at an inauguration ceremony at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland Wednesday. In a speech, he emphasized his goal to make Pittsburgh “a city for all” that encourages economic development while also preserving existing communities.

While economic growth has come with concerns about housing affordability and access to jobs and good schools, Peduto said, the city’s resiliency with the rise and fall of the steel industry shows it has the capacity to solve these problems.

Frederic Bisson / Flickr

Starting this year, neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh are expected to get more surveillance cameras and gunshot detection devices, also known as ShotSpotter.

 

The city’s 2018 budget includes funding for a 30 percent expansion of an existing camera network over the next three years, and there are plans to deploy ShotSpotter over an additional 14.5 square miles.

 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council will bid farewell to two of its own Tuesday. Council member Natalia Rudiak is stepping down after deciding not to run for a third term, and Council member Dan Gilman is leaving to become chief of staff to Mayor Bill Peduto.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Loretta Kinger started going to the Jewish Community Center, or JCC, in Squirrel Hill 17 years ago. Her sister had recently died, after battling cancer for just two months, and Kinger, 85, said she didn’t know where to go.

 

That all changed at the JCC, where Kinger now has lunch nearly every day.

 

“It gives you a chance to be social with other people. You make a lot of friends. And it makes you feel like you belong someplace,” Kinger said.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A Pittsburgh police officer is under investigation for using a taser on a downtown pizza shop employee allegedly as a joke in October.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

 

When 22-year-old Kristian Trump Goerman died of a drug overdose in January, she left behind two young children. Trump Goerman had long battled an opioid addiction, and child welfare officials had removed 4-year-old Cameron and 1-year-old Layla May from her care about a year before her death.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

 

Many observers have found loopholes in the Republican tax bill passed by the Senate and House late Tuesday and into early Wednesday. Some provisions were even found to violate budget rules and were changed last minute. University of Pittsburgh law professor Tony Infanti found that one loophole could also leave targets of sexual misconduct vulnerable. Infanti discussed the provision with 90.5 WESA's An-Li Herring.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Elevated levels of violent crime in the region prompted Pittsburgh’s FBI field office to launch a Violent Crimes Task Force this week. Federal data show that Pittsburgh and surrounding counties are experiencing higher levels of violent crime, on average, than the rest of the state and country.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Taxes are likely to increase for Pittsburgh homebuyers so the city can pay for rental assistance, affordable housing construction and the rehabilitation of existing homes in the city.

90.5 WESA

UPDATED: 4:08 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017

The ACLU of Pennsylvania is again confronting Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Darlene Harris for allegedly censoring a constituent on her new official Facebook page.

An-Li Herring / WESA

After outperforming expectations in the 2017 election, the Pittsburgh chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, or DSA, endorsed two candidates for the 2018 election Monday night.

Toby Talbot / AP

As part of the effort to fight opioid addiction, Pennsylvania state Sen. Jay Costa (D - Forest Hills) has proposed a bill that would allow courts to send people to substance abuse treatment at the request of family members.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

UPDATED: 4: 27 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.

Kevin Acklin, Chief of Staff to Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, is stepping down in January.

In a letter to Peduto dated Dec. 7, Acklin called the position “a dream job” and told the Mayor it had “been an honor to work alongside you these past four years to rebuild a city government that our residents deserve.”

Read Acklin's full resignation letter here

Katie Blackley / WESA

 

The city of Pittsburgh is preparing to defend two laws that would impact local workers – one requiring private employers to offer paid sick leave, and another creating new training requirements for security officers in many city buildings.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently decide to hear cases challenging the laws early next year. 

So far, the city has lost in lower courts because, the courts found, it does not have the authority to impose these regulations on businesses.

 

Carla K. Johnson / AP

 

A series of community discussions and an interactive website featuring the stories of the opioid crisis will launch in Pennsylvania next year as part of a campaign to reduce the stigma associated with drug addiction.

An-Li Herring / WESA

A federal grand jury in Pittsburgh indicted three Chinese individuals Monday for stealing internal communications, passwords, trade secrets and other data from Moody’s Analytics, Siemens AG and GPS technology manufacturer Trimble, Inc.

NYTTEND / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The number of vacancies on the federal trial court in the Western District of Pennsylvania grew to five Friday, when U.S. District Court Judge David Cercone entered senior status. The court is authorized to have a total of 10 judges.

 

Sheila May-Stein / Twitter

Brandon Sears, 15, started playing soccer for Pittsburgh’s Obama Academy this fall. It didn’t take long for an opposing player to call him the n-word.

An-Li Herring / WESA

Democrats have chosen former federal prosecutor Conor Lamb (D-Mt. Lebanon) to run in the March 13 special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District.

An-Li Herring / WESA

Pittsburgh City Council is still searching for a way to pay for a fund it established last December to expand the supply of affordable housing for low and moderate-income residents.

An-Li Herring / WESA

State Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth), 59, will be the GOP’s nominee in the special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. He won the nomination at a convention the Republican Party of Pennsylvania held in Canonsburg Saturday.

 

Pennsylvania Courts

Across Pennsylvania Tuesday, voters will choose judges and justices in a total of 370 races at all levels of the state court system.

 

Many voters find it challenging to choose which judicial candidates to support, according to Maureen Lally-Green, a former judge on the Pennsylvania Superior Court and the dean of Duquesne School of Law.

 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

*UPDATED  Nov. 3, 2017 at 12:32 p.m.

Pittsburgh's only contested city council race this year pits Democrat Anthony Coghill against Republican Cletus Cibrone-Abate for the District 4 seat.

Friends of Mik Pappas

For the first time in 24 years, Ron Costa, Sr., will face an opponent in the Nov. 7 election for magisterial district judge. Attorney Mik Pappas is running to unseat him in Pennsylvania’s 31st Magisterial District, which includes eight East End neighborhoods.

Running as an Independent, Pappas calls himself progressive.

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