Archive: August, 2012
Competing political narratives -- Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to destroy Medicare or save it from bankruptcy -- were pitched by Congressional candidates in Philly Monday.
The Philadelphia Police Department is working block-by-block to reclaim Kensington from drug dealers.
The city continues its crack-down on ATVs while some of the riders complain that their bikes were seized from garages while not in use.
A Common Pleas Court judge decides that a former Philadelphia Police detective's alleged theft of overtime pay is not relevant as he testifies in a murder trial.
The department of licenses and inspections today launched a new website, which features an interactive map, where users can search properties to find a wide range of data, including licenses, permits or violations.
Check out the press release about the site here:
DEPARTMENT OF LICENSES AND INSPECTIONS AND THE OFFICE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY LAUNCH REDESIGNED L&I WEBSITE
Departmental Information Now Available for Public Review and Use
Philadelphia, August 13, 2012 – The City of Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) and the Office of Information Technology (OIT) announce the launch of L&I’s fully redesigned website, www.phila.gov/LI . L&I is confident that the new website will strengthen its ongoing efforts to promote transparency, improve customer service, and further partner with the residents and businesses of Philadelphia to make our City an even better place to live, work, and play. With an easily-navigable interface designed to meet the needs of a diverse group of users, the new website represents a major achievement in the effort to improve government accessibility and accountability.
“Transparency, accountability, and excellent customer service for the people of Philadelphia: these are values that we at L&I are deeply and actively committed to. This new website is a shining example of that commitment and I proudly invite all Philadelphians to check it out for themselves,” said L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams. “We are excited to provide this tremendous resource, since it will further inform community members about our work in their neighborhoods, which n turn will help us do a better job.”
Inside look at a biker group trying to save dogs.
Non-profit group's effort to install trash cans in East Passyunk fails due to short dumping.
Clergy rally against Voter ID law.
Here's what will make news in Philly this week.
The city’s fiscal watchdog today delayed a vote on Mayor Nutter’s five-year-plan, after the administration provided the board with a list of cuts they would make to pay for a fire arbitration award currently under dispute.
Members of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority had indicated their discomfort with approving Nutter’s original five-year-plan, which didn’t include any details on how the city would pay for retroactive raises and benefit increases in a recent fire arbitration award. The Nutter administration had originally not included the costs because they have appealed the award.
But today the administration gave PICA an addendum that listed a series of severe cuts they would make to pay for the award, which the city estimates will cost $200 million over five years. The cuts include eliminating positions in departments across the city, reducing hours at libraries and deactivating fire companies. Finance Director Rob Dubow said the city hopes to avoid making the cuts through a successful appeal.
PICA Board Chairman Sam Katz said the board needed to review the new materials and would vote before the end of the month.
Members of the fire union packed the typically quiet PICA meeting today, continuing their effort to lobby the city to accept the award.
City Councilman Bill Greenlee had hoped to beat New York City to the punch in getting a bill passed in Philadelphia that would require most city employers to provide paid sick leave.
But chances of that happening are unclear. Since six new members joined City Council this year, Greenlee has been working hard to garner support for the bill Mayor Nutter smacked down more than a year ago.
“Our target is to get this done in the fall. We certainly have not given-up,” said Greenlee, who along with City Council president Darrell Clarke introduced the bill in 2008. “The average person works 260 days and we’re saying they should have seven paid sick days off… I don’t see anything terribly wrong about that.”
Greenlee would need 12 votes to override Nutter’s veto. Nutter described the bill as “laudable,” but echoed the Chamber of Commerce, warning it would put thousands of jobs at risk and discourage businesses from coming to the city.
The bill required businesses with 11 or more workers would have to allow employees to earn up to seven sick days a year and companies with 10 or fewer workers would have to offer four sick days.
“Mom and pop” stores with five or fewer workers were excluded from the legislation after small-business owners complained it would be too costly for them.
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, a campaign surrogate for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, just accused President Obama of an "absolute contempt for the law and the Constitution" for allowing the federal Health and Human Services Department to offer waivers to the 1996 welfare reform law.
Santorum spoke on a conference call with reporters that wrapped up before we could ask the obvious question: Does a Republican governor who seeks such a waiver also show contempt for the law and the Constitution? We wondered because two Republican governors, Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Gary Herbert of Utah, have expressed interest in the waivers. And Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, was one of 29 Republican governors who signed a letter to the U.S. Senate majority leader in 2005, asking for similar waivers.
This all stems from a new Romney campaign ad this week that accuses Obama of trying to "gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements" and "just send you your welfare check."
It was quickly pointed out by the Obama campaign that the welfare-to-work waivers would be available only to states that created programs that actually move at least 20 percent more people from welfare to work.
It didn't help Romney much that Newt Gingrich, another failed foe from the GOP presidential primary, admitted on CNN last night that there is no proof the Romney ad is accurate.
Santorum soldiered on this morning, taking credit for helping to draft the welfare reform law, calling it the "signature accomplishment of the Clinton Administration and the Republican Congress in the 1990s."
"It's absolute contempt for the law and the Constitution," Santorum said of Obama's moves on the welfare reform law. "They're going to weaken it. The question is how much and how quickly?"
Jan Ransom looks at the first local example of a national trend: neighborhoods hiring their own private patrolmen. (http://bit.ly/TjyoSe)
Frank Rizzo's daughter has been charged with being part of a multimillion dollar sports-betting operation. (http://bit.ly/TjyMAc)
Is PICA preparing to reject the city's five-year budget plan? (http://bit.ly/P1Lsus)
Two boys, ages 7 and 9, who attacked a Juniata Park woman are too young to face criminal charges. (http://bit.ly/QPp2jH)
A former PHA manager said she learned from her superiors how to extort money from contractors. (http://bit.ly/QIrNAW)
Here's the press release:
Butkovitz Calls on PICA to Reject City’s Five Year Plan
Controller issues adverse opinion based on unreasonable assumptions by City
PHILADELPHIA – City Controller Alan Butkovitz today called on the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) to reject the City’s Five Year Plan. As required by the PICA Act, Butkovitz examined the City’s Forecasted General Fund Statements of Operations for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2013 through June 30, 2017 (The Five Year Plan) and found that the City’s assumptions did not provide a reasonable basis for the City’s forecast.
“There is no reasonable basis for the City to assume a favorable outcome in its appeal of the Firefighters (IAFF) award,” said Butkovitz. “There is also no reasonable basis for the City to assume that there will be no added costs resulting from ongoing negotiations with unions representing the City’s non-uniformed workers. That is why I am forced to issue an ‘Adverse Opinion’ on the City’s Five Year Plan.”
The FY13-17 Forecasted General Fund Statement of Operations is prepared by the City’s Finance Office and then submitted to PICA.
A former police officer says she was sexually harassed by the head of the police internal affairs division.
Other embarrassing police episodes over the years.
Family and friends mourn Garret Reid at massive funeral for the Eagles Coach's son.
A home invader shoots and kills a man in Kingsessing.
John Dougherty, head of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, used the Philly.com comments section today to chide WPHT-AM radio host Dom Giordano for a column in today's Daily News that accuses City Councilman Jim Kenney of "pathetic pandering and grandstanding" on the Chick-fil-A controversy.
Dougherty, who acknowledges that he and Kenney have not always seen eye-to-eye, took several pokes at Giordano in the 183-word comment. They include:
- "Only hope Dom comes home one night to find his son holding hands on the sofa with a male companion while watching "Brokeback Mountain.""
- "Only hope Dom finds his daughter in a lip-lock with another girl while they're watching "The L Word.""
- "Wonder if the embroidered "D.G." initials on Dom's custom-tailored shirts actually stand for "Demi-God"?"
Kenney entered the Chick-Fil-A fray two weeks ago after company president Dan Cathy spoke out against gay marriage, opening up a new deep-fried front in the culture wars. Kenney vowed to submit to City Council a resolution condemning the company. Kenney also said he would not interfere with the city's negotiations with Chick-fil-A to renew an expired lease for a restaurant at Philadelphia International Airport.
Dougherty, while running for the state Senate in 2008, told the Liberty City Democratic Club that his daughter came out to him as gay two years earlier, which led him to question his definition of marriage. A Local 98 spokesman confirmed that Dougherty made the Philly.com comment today.