BIRTHDAYS aren't being kind to Philly state Rep. Ron Waters.
It has nothing to do with age.
First there's that bothersome bit about being caught on tape in a government sting taking cash from an informant.
Waters allegedly got more than $8,000; and $1,000 of it in 2011 was for his 61st birthday.
While accepting a currency-stuffed envelope, Waters reportedly said, "Happy birthday to Ron Waters."
Yeah, turns out not so much.
Then yesterday, after waiving a preliminary hearing on corruption charges, he was ordered to appear for a formal arraignment in Dauphin County on April 3.
Can you see this coming?
Standing before Magisterial District Judge Michael Smith in a small courtroom in a nondescript brick building outside Harrisburg, Waters intoned, "That happens to be my birthday."
Smith seemed slightly sympathetic.
"Not the best birthday present," he offered.
Certainly not as good as a fistful of C-notes.
Waters is a 15-year Democratic incumbent re-elected in November without opposition despite being named in the sting.
You may recall that he's one of five Philly public servants caught up in a case dismissed by Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane as "half-assed" but pursued by Democratic Philly D.A. Seth Williams on a theory something like, "Hey! They're on tape! Press the button! Play it for the jury!"
Another Philly Democrat, Rep. Vanessa Brown, charged with taking $5,000, also waived a hearing yesterday and also must appear for arraignment April 3.
It's not uncommon that defendants waiving hearings end up agreeing to plea bargains.
When I asked Waters if that's where he's headed, he said, "Just following the advice of my lawyer. That's all I can do."
His lawyer, Fortunato Perri Jr., said, "We have not made any decision [regarding a plea], we're still reviewing facts and circumstances of the case."
Brown didn't speak to the media. Her lawyer, Michael Diamondstein, when asked about a possible plea, said, "I can't answer that question at this time."
So, sounds like pleas are a pretty good bet.
Then again, this case has oodles of odd.
Just this week, the Daily News reported that Brown - ironically, bizarrely or hilariously - told Philly police Sunday that someone broke into her city rowhouse last week and stole, among other things, her laptop, an iPad and old phone records.
Hey, it's Philly. Stuff happens.
Assistant Philly D.A. Mark Gilson, who's prosecuting the sting case, said the reported break-in looks unconnected.
"As far as I know, it's completely unrelated," Gilson said, "We have no evidence her laptop is related to the case."
The case so far has yielded a guilty plea from former Philly Traffic Judge Thomasine Tynes, she of the Tiffany bracelet, um, gift.
Two other Philly Democrats, Reps. Louise Bishop and Michelle Brownlee (both also re-elected in November without opposition), remain subjects of a grand jury investigation.
Plea agreements involving lawmakers often include dropping charges that would prevent them from keeping generous taxpayer-funded pensions.
Recently, former Philly Democratic Sen. Leanna Washington,pleaded guilty to charges related to misuse of up to $100,000 in taxpayer money for political purposes.
Under terms of the plea, Washington, who was in the Legislature 21 years, keeps her pension.
But that kind of arrangement might come to an end.
Rep. Scott Petri, R-Bucks, chairman of the House Ethics Committee, is introducing legislation stripping pensions from any state official or employee convicted of or pleading guilty to any crime.
He's also proposing a milder version linking forfeiture to those convicted of or pleading guilty to any felony.
"I think [chances for passage] are pretty good," he said, "I think our Legislature is there."
With Waters' luck it'll probably pass, you know, on April 3.