Archive: November, 2008
City Controller Alan Butkovitz released a report this morning about crime on SEPTA's subways that said half of all serious incidents are committed by juveniles. Butkovitz said "truants are free to roam the transit system" because Philadelphia School District student TransPasses put no limit on the number of rides from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Butkovitz recommends the School District use only subway tokens until SEPTA can find a way to limit the number of rides a student can take each day.
You can read his report here. We've also posted his news release on the topic below.
Butkovitz Releases Audit of Subway Security
Recommends SEPTA, City and School District do more to ensure rider safety
Controller Alan Butkovitz released his audit of SEPTA’s subway system entitled: “Subway Safety: Protecting Our Citizens”. Butkovitz began his statement by remembering Sean Conroy who was murdered in the 13th Street subway concourse last March.
Butkovitz stated, “As a result of Sean Conroy’s tragic death, my office conducted a comprehensive review of SEPTA’s subway security and the authority’s ability to protect commuters who ride the subway.”
Rumors are swirling over at the Defender Association of Philadelphia about possible layoffs due to the city's growing budget trouble. A spokeswoman for Chief Defender Ellen Greenlee said no layoffs have happened but the office is in negotiation with Mayor Nutter's Finance Department. The Defender Association represents in court seven out of 10 people arrested in Philadelphia.
Greenlee, testifying in an City Council budget hearing in April, said her office had "certainly a large request" for fiscal year 2009, which started on July 1. She suggested that was in part due to Mayor Street's administration ignoring requests for increases over the years. Greenlee was asking for a $2.3 million increase in funding. She planned to use most of that money to add 16 new attorneys to her 216-attorney staff, increase starting attorney salaries from $48,500 to $50,000 and to give her entire staff a cost of living increase. The rest of the budget increase would be used to pay for computers, software licenses, rent and the escalating cost of malpractice insurance.
Rob Dubow, Nutter's finance director, told PhillyClout today that he has asked the Defender Association for a 5 percent budget cut in fiscal year 2009 and a 10 percent cut in fiscal year 2010. The city and Defender Association have not laid out any plans for how that will happen and are still working to schedule a meeting on the issues. The city supplies 97 percent of the Defender Association budget while the other 3 percent comes from state and federal grants.
Catherine LuceyFlyers Chairman Ed Snider and Mayor Nutter announced a plan today to keep open three ice rinks slated for closure. Here's the press release on the partnership:
MAYOR NUTTER, ED SNIDER YOUTH HOCKEY FOUNDATION ANNOUNCE
PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP TO PRESERVE ICE RINKS
Philadelphia, November 25, 2008 – This morning, Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider announced that the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation (ESYHF) will take over operation and programming of three ice-skating rinks targeted by the City for possible closure. Under the agreement, ESYHF will oversee all ice hockey programs at the Scanlon Ice Rink, the Laura Sims Skatehouse at Cobbs Creek, and the Rink at Simons Recreation and Teen Access Center.
The Foundation will provide free ice hockey instruction and leagues, including all equipment, as well supplemental academic services at no charge to participants. The Philadelphia Department of Recreation will continue to maintain the rinks.
“This agreement is an example of a great public-private partnership,” said Mayor Nutter. “I am pleased that the Snider Foundation is able to work with the City to keep these rinks open and accessible to the community. We need to be more creative about how we provide services.”
The new partnership also expands general access to the rinks three afternoons per week at the Rizzo Rink and the Tarken Rink and weekday mornings at all five City rinks. This will enable the Foundation to expand its School Day sessions, which provide physical education programming for many of the Philadelphia public schools that are within close proximity to these sites. Entrance and equipment will be provided free of charge during these periods.
John Baer, like a lot of people, wonders how he got into an economic mess. You can also weigh in on whether the government should bail out the auto industry.
Ronnie Polaneczky lets us know the price of a taxi ride in Philly is coming down a bit. Actually, four bits.
State Sen. Vince Fumo's staff testifies about working on his farm, on the taxpayer's dime.
Catherine LuceyHere's the release:
Monday, November 24, 2008 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAYOR NUTTER APPOINTS PETER GONZALES TO ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
Philadelphia, November 24, 2008 – Today, Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced Peter J. Gonzales as his new appointee to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA). Mr. Gonzales will fill the seat formerly held by Joe Manko, who stepped down from the board in September to Co-Chair the newly-established Sustainability Advisory Board. Mr. Gonzales will serve alongside current members Susan Jaffe (Chair), Lynette Brown-Sow, Tony Lewis and Carol Tinari.
“A clear, transparent, and predictable zoning process is key to Philadelphia’s future economic development and growth,” said Mayor Nutter. “The City relies upon the members of the ZBA to continually improve the openness and ease of working through the City codes and Peter will be at the forefront of this as we reform and modernize our development processes.”
Mr. Gonzales is an immigration attorney with the law firm of Rapposelli & Gonzales. Immediately prior to joining Rapposelli & Gonzales, he worked at the City of Philadelphia Law Department where he assisted the City Solicitor as a member of the Executive Management Team. During his tenure at the Solicitor’s Office, Mr. Gonzales provided legal counsel to the City on community development and zoning matters, handled civil prosecutions, and was appointed Pennsylvania State Chair of the International Municipal Lawyers’ Association.
Catherine LuceyPhiladelphia Flyers Chairman Ed Snider is stepping in to help the Philly ice rinks. In Mayor Nutter's budget cuts, he said three of the city's five public rinks would be closed if the city couldn't find funding.
Snider's partnership with the city will be officially announced tomorrow. Here's the press release:
EVENT: MAYOR NUTTER AND ED SNIDER TO MAKE ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT FUTURE OF PUBLIC RINKS IN PHILADELPHIA
DATE: Tuesday, November 25 at 10:15 a.m.
PLACE: The Rink at Simons Recreation and Teen Access Center, 7200 Woolston Avenue, Philadelphia, PA (Walnut Lane and Woolston Avenue)
DETAILS: Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Philadelphia Flyers Chairman Ed Snider formally announce plans of a public/private partnership on site of one of City of Philadelphia’s Public Ice Skating Rinks, which will preserve after-school, recreational, and supplemental educational activities for children, youth, and families in the City of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Commissioner of Recreation Susan Slawson, as well as two young after-school participants from the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation will also attend.
Catherine LuceyThis just in from Councilman Curtis Jones Jr.:
COUNCILMAN CURTIS JONES JR. TO BEGIN NEW TRADITON; ANNUAL THANKGIVING TURKEY GIVE AWAY
WHO: Councilman Curtis Jones Jr.
Members of the community
WHAT: Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. (D-4th District) has reached out to Block Captains in his district to identify one less fortunate family on their block in need of a Thanksgiving turkey. In all, 200 turkeys will be given away to families from throughout the 4th Councilmanic District.
WHERE: Liberty Foods Supermarket
5601 Vine Street (In Shopping Center)
WHEN: Tuesday, November 25, 2008
6:00 PM-8:00 PM
UPDATE: Jone's office just sent out the following note:
Catherine LuceyThe honeymoon done
Catherine LuceyDave Davies asks: Are you mad at Mayor Nutter?
Fishtown residents rally to save their library.
Thousands ran in Philadelphia marathon yesterday.
Catherine LuceyOver on the City Paper's blog, Isaiah Thompson has started crunching the data behind the library cuts. He's put together a spreadsheet with numbers on library circulation, median neighborhood income and councilmanic district.
Check out this post for his findings so far and a link to the spreadsheet.