Archive: August, 2009
Legislation that would provide the city with requested budget relief may get final passage in the state Senate later today. Mayor Nutter -- who is in Harrisburg today -- has sent a formal letter to state Sen. Dominic Pileggi, the Republican Majority Leader, asking for speedy approval.
Nutter notes that he did not want amendments attatched to the bill, but says he still would like to see approval today.
The new version of the bill includes amendments that would bar elected officials from the controversial Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) and would require the city to freeze the pension plan and create a lower-cost plan for all new city employees.
Former Mayor Bill Green, whose Democratic powerhouse family has ties with the Kennedys dating back to the 1950s, today remembered Sen. Ted Kennedy as a dynamic and vigorous lawmaker who dedicated his life to serving others.
“He had some holes ripped in his heart by assassinations,” said Green. “I think his strength and his greatness was that he allowed compassion, rather than cynicism, to fill those holes.”
Kennedy died this morning at the age of 77 after battling a brain tumor.
Here are some of the email statements we've been getting from local politicians on the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy:
U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak: “Today, America lost a man who helped shape the future of our country for a generation. Senator Ted Kennedy’s leadership on education, health care, civil rights, worker rights and so much more has helped millions of people make good on the promise of the American Dream to pass along a better nation to our next generation. He leaves behind a legacy of true patriotism. And we honor his legacy by remembering that we are in this together and by doing our part to make a difference. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Kennedy family who are mourning the loss of a dear father, brother, grandfather, and husband.”
U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah: “Senator Teddy Kennedy’s vision, drive and effectiveness as the advocate for those who are underserved in our society has been an inspiration to me throughout my career, starting with my work as a young political activist in his 1980 Presidential campaign.
Three teens accused of last year's subway concourse slaying are found guilty.
Needed city budget legislation up for final vote in state Senate today. But the amdendments will slow the process.
There are two open slots on the School Reform Commission.
Mayor Nutter this morning dodged questions on the amended version of state House Bill 1828, legislation that would give the city much needed budget relief.
The bill gives the city permission to temporarily raise the sales tax and change payments into the pension fund -- measures needed to balance the budget. The revised version -- approved yesterday evening by the state Senate Finance Committee -- includes amendments that would bar elected officials from the controversial DROP program and would require the city to freeze the pension plan and create a lower-cost plan for all new employees. (Here's a summary of the amendments.)
"Our preference was no amendments to the bill. We wanted to stay on a particular time path," Nutter said. "I'm not going to parse through the different pieces."
It's a mystery -- what happened to Foxwoods casino project proposed for the former Strawbridge & Clothier department store at Eighth and Market streets in Center City. That may be solved Friday, when the casino investors have to defend their request to the state Gaming Control Board -- as we described today -- for an extension on the deadline to open their casino. But for now, don't bother calling Foxwoods for information.
Brian Ford, CEO of Washington Philadelphia Investors [the local investors] hasn't responded to questions about whether the project is still going forward in Center City or returning to the state-approved location in South Philly. The phone number for Foxwoods Development Co., the for-profit arm of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which runs casinos in Connecticut and joined forces with the local partners, redirects callers to Washington Philadelphia Investors.
Call that number and a Cavalier Phone answering system asks you to select a number based on what you want. "For information about the status of the project, employment or vendor opportunities, please press 1," the system prompts. Heck, we want information on the status of the project. So we pressed 1. The system then sent us to directory assistance. We called back, pressed 1 again, and followed the directions. Sure enough, the system provided us with our home phone number. So no help there, unless you're looking for a phone number.
Your attention please: We have a missing casino project. If anyone has seen Foxwoods, please direct it immediately to the city and the state Gaming Control Board. Thank you.
Speaking of gambling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia told the state of Delaware yesterday not to bet on single-game events.
The state Senate Finance Committee just unanimously approved House Bill 1828, which would give the city the authority to raise its sales tax by 1-cent on the dollar and defer some payments to the city pension plan. The $700 million anticipated from those two measures would help balance the city's budget and avoid a fallback budget that calls for the layoff of 3,000 employees and cuts to many services.
Mayor Nutter was in Harrisburg for the committee vote and he thanked the senators for their support, calling the city's preferred budget "one step closer" to reality, according to Daily News columnist John Baer. Nutter had called on the Senate to pass the legislation, approved by the House on Aug. 5, without any amendments. That didn't happen. Instead, the Senate wrote 50* pages of amendments into the legislation. Click here to read today's story, where we predicted what the amendments would cover.
The legislation now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday for a hearing and could be considered by the full Senate for a vote later that day. Since it has been amended, the legislation would have to go back to the House for reconsideration. That's a tight timeline, since the city has said Aug. 31 is the deadline for the city to deliver its fallback budget to the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority. House Democrats have said they will be ready to move swiftly on the legislation when it returns.