Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Thursday, September 18, 2014, 12:49 PM
City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell pushed for a ballot referendum, asking voters if they want to abolish the School Reform Commission. The referendum has no legal authority to end the SRC. ((File Photo/Staff))

City Council today approved in a 15-1 vote a measure to place on the ballot a non-binding referendum asking voters if they want to abolish the School Reform Commission.

The question now: Will Mayor Nutter sign the legislation into law, allowing the measure to appear on the Nov. 4 general election ballot?

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, the measure's sponsor, apologized to a raucous crowd of union members and activists who were disappointed when she did not bring the subject up for a vote last week.

POSTED: Thursday, September 18, 2014, 8:44 AM

Welcome to the "Me too!" phase of the 2015 race for mayor of Philadelphia, where expected candidates try to step on the media attention of actual candidates.  Former District Attorney Lynne Abraham and City Controller Alan Butkovitz make some noise as former City Solicitor Ken Trujillo enters the race.

Social media users in Philly team up for #Justice in last Thursday's Center City attack on two gay men.  Already, the incident has cost one man his job.

And the Philadelphia court system wants potential jurors who try to escape their civic duty to know they'll end up on the other side of the courtroom.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 12:03 PM
City Controller Alan Butkovitz. (Charles Fox / Staff Photographer)

Mayor Nutter ran for  the city's top office in 2007, promising to provide equal access to city services by creating a 3-1-1 phone line that anyone could call for assistance.

But now City Controller Alan Butkovitz says his auditors found something very different: A "VIP hotline" for the well-connected who desire and get round-the clock city services.

Nutter's chief of staff, Everett Gillison, quickly pushed back on that assertion today, saying the six people who answer the line are the "nerve center for the city" who answer calls only from city employees and elected officials.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 8:38 AM
Philadelphia attorney Ken Trujillo is running for mayor. (Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer)

Ken Trujillo, announcing his campaign for mayor of Philadelphia this morning, is demanding the end of the School Reform Commission and the return of local control for public education.

But Trujillo is short on answers about how he would gather the political will to disband the SRC and, if successful, what type of local school board -- elected or appointed -- would replace it.

“Education is the critical issue, it’s the issue of our generation,” Trujillo said. “The concern I have is there is no ownership. The SRC, the school take-over, has resulted in there being no ownership of education in Philadelphia.”

City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell had legislation pending last week to place on the Nov. 4 ballot a voter referendum demanding the disbanding the SRC and return of control to a local board.

Blackwell chose to not call up for a vote for that referendum, which was symbolic since Council and the city's voters have no legal power to shut down the SRC, after learning from her colleagues that they might not support it.
POSTED: Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 8:17 AM

John Baer: One way to tell it's election time? Gun bills loaded into the legislative hopper. Another way? The sounds and smells of automatic weapons. Yessir, here in Pennsylvania, as in other states, it's time to pander to voters.

Gerold Gibson, a fired Philadelphia narcotics cop and former son-in-law of Gov. Corbett, sat stone-faced in court yesterday as a prosecutor told a jury that he was a "thief" who had disgraced his badge.

The two men charged with six counts of murder in the Market Street building collapse in June 2013 will be tried together, a judge ruled yesterday.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 3:46 PM
Kenneth Trujillo, attorney with the Philadelphia firm Schnader. ( CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer )

Ken Trujillo, a former city solicitor, will announce his campaign for mayor tomorrow morning in an event on the steps of the Philadelphia School District headquarters.

Trujillo, who also served on the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority and the state Gaming Control Board, is expected to make education, crime, poverty and the economy key issues in his bid for the Democratic nomination.

Trujillo is a partner in a Center City law firm and operates a local Spanish language radio station and the Philadelphia affiliate for Azteca America television.  He served as city solicitor for former Mayor John Street.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 8:44 AM

For some, the recession never ended.

A healing house for hurting veterans.

And hate-crime victims recount savage Center City beating.

POSTED: Monday, September 15, 2014, 8:45 AM
John Baer asks if it is time to invoke a "mercy rule" for Gov. Tom Corbett. ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )

John Baer asks if it is time to invoke a "mercy rule" for Gov. Tom Corbett, who is still trailing badly in the polls to his Democratic challengers, Tom Wolf.

Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman examine the "seedy recovery" of run-down rooming houses for drug-addicted tenants.  They find an industry with little regulation in the state.

And City Councilman Bobby Henon didn't get his wish: To split the busy 15th District of the Philadelphia Police Department in two.  But the busy district is getting 30 more cops.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
 Follow Jenny on Twitter.

Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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