Archive: December, 2008
Yep, the 3-1-1 non-emergency call line will kick off tomorrow at 10 a.m., making the end-of-the-year deadline Mayor Nutter set for completion of the project.
Here's the press release from the city:
PHILLY TO LAUNCH 311 TOMORROW
WHO: Mayor Michael A. Nutter
Dr. Camille Barnett, Managing Director
Rosetta Carrington Lue, 311 Contact Center Director
WHERE: 311 Contact Center
City Hall, Room 169
City Controller Alan Butkovitz says the city could realize more than $400 million through collecting city debts and putting other cost-saving measures in place.
Butkovitz today released a budget analysis with recommendations on how the city could increase collections and generate new revenue. Butkovitz said the data could help reduce the budget hole of more than $1 billion which the city faces over the next five years. We'll let you know what the city says in response to his suggestions.
Some of Butkovitz's findings:
Mayor Nutter announces a plan to lease the 11 libraries slated for closure to non-profit foundations or community groups who would keep them open as "knowledge centers."
Opponents to the library closings get their day in court.
A judge rejects a request from the firefighters union to block the closures of five fire engines and two ladder companies.
Common Pleas Court Judge Gary Di Vito denied a request this afternoon from Local 22 of the International Association of Fire Fighters for an injunction to stop Mayor Nutter's plan to close seven fire companies next Monday.
Local 22, in a legal action launched two weeks ago, said the elimination of five fire engines and two ladder trucks would endanger the lives of firefighters and city residents. The union argued that a grievance it filed with the city on Dec. 3 about the company closings should be considered before any action is taken.
Nutter's plan will not lay off any firefighters or close any fire stations. Instead, firefighters staffing the seven companies will be reassigned to other duties, saving the city $10.4 million a year in overtime costs. The closures are part of a larger plan to close a $1 billion-plus gap in the city's five-year financial plan.
It's standing room only today in Judge Idee Fox's City Hall courtroom as she considers legal challenges to Mayor Nutter's plan to shutter 11 branch libraries due to a budget crisis. The crowd is made up mostly of opponents of the branch closures. But, for library patrons, they sure do need to be shushed a lot. Fox has repeatedly clamped down on audience participation.
"No, no, no," the judge admonished the crowd after the first outburst. "That, we're not going to do. Everyone would like to be here. But not everyone is going to participate. There are witnesses and attorneys."
The crowd continued to snicker through much of this morning's testimony, especially when attorneys challenging the closures asked library patrons if they could simply rely on nearby big chain commercial book stores for reading material and coffee shops for Internet access. Testimony is due to resume at 1:30 p.m. after a 40-minute recess.
Dave Davies recaps this week's anticipated battles in the Mayor's effort to close 11 library branches as part of his plan to close a $1 billion-plus gap in the city's five-year financial plan.
Kitty Caparella takes a broader view of her series on problems at a U.S. Postal Service facility here.
PhillyClout will be taking a brief holiday hiatus. Barring breaking news, we'll be off until Dec. 29. Until then we leave you with this holiday jam from one of our favorite acts -- The Electric Mayhem.
It's a swanky scene, the Governor's Reception that occurs right after the annual Pennsylvania Society dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Even the bouncers are classy. That we learned after Frank Keel, the communications consultant for Local 98 of the electricians union, apparently decided to rush up to Brian Abernathy, an aide to City Councilman Frank DiCicco. Heated words were exchanged at the Dec. 13 soiree and, depending on who you get the story from, the donnybrook may have briefly turned physical.
Enter Holly Kinser, executive vice president of S.R. Wojdak & Associates. Kinser's lobbying firm sponsors the reception, along with the law firm Ballard Spahr. PhillyClout hears Kinser promptly ejected Keel from the party.
Abernathy this week confirmed the dust-up's details but declined further comment. A message to Keel prompted a call from George Bochetto, an attorney for Local 98. Bochetto's response: "Blah, blah, blah. Who cares? Boys will be boys. It’s no big deal." Tell that to Kinser. If you dare.