Gov. Rendell, pardon machine

More than any other governor — smashing the previous mark, actually — Ed Rendell has pardoned prisoners for a great multitude of offenses, according to a report by The Associated Press.

But the nearly 1,100 pardons only make up a last splashy headline on a gubernatorial résumé that includes some big-ticket items. Here’s a look at some of the reasons Rendell always seemed involved in the week’s news.

Capital punishment
As a supporter of the death penalty, Rendell signed about 80 “death warrants” in eight years. No one, however, was given a lethal injection the entire time.

Sports broadcasting
Many already speculate that Rendell will dive into a career in punditry, from the cable news circuit to what he really loves: talking Eagles on Comcast SportsNet’s “Post-Game Live.”

SEPTA funds
SEPTA breathed easy when Rendell helped push through Act 44, described in 2007 as “long-term funding … to address Pennsylvania’s transportation funding crisis.” OK, so that hasn’t worked out so well.

School cash
For a third time, Rendell boosted Pa.’s education spending when he got through about $300 million despite a $1.2 billion deficit heading into budget season.

One of his legacies will be “governor-on-duty when casinos came to Pennsylvania.” For better or worse, the word “slots” will indelibly be tied to his time in office.

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