Archive: November, 2009
Two City Councilman want to keep the Dad Vail regatta in Philadelphia.
John Baer writes about Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty entering the governor's race.
The City Controller says private towing firms are gouging citizens with illegal fees.
What is closed today for Veterans Day?
City Controller Alan Butkovitz today issued a report accusing many of the city's private towing companies of violating city law by charging fees above the legal limits and requiring cash payments.
Butkovitz found eight tow truck operators, who tow vehicles from private lots, that charged fees above the $150 limit for towing and wouldn't permit credit card payments. He blamed lax oversight from the department of Licenses and Inspections for the problem.
"It just seems like open contempt for what the rules are because L&I has left such a gap in enforcement," Butkovitz said. His report recommends increased inforcement by L&I to improve conditions.
Click here for the full report.
Check out this story from today's NY Times about New York state's financial woes. An excerpt:
The state’s budget crisis and the negotiations between the governor and lawmakers over how to confront it have raised a fundamental question: Can New York, which is more generous in its social welfare programs than any other state, afford to continue to finance its expansive health care safety net and generous education spending?
New York spends $2,283 per capita on Medicaid, far more than any other state and twice the national average, according to statistics compiled by the state budget division. Second is Rhode Island, which spends $1,659. The state also spends $14,884 per pupil on school aid, more than any other state and well above the national average of $9,138.
For the full story, click here.
The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority released their montly report on the city's tax revenues today. It reveals that October was stronger than recent months, partly due to an increase in the revenue from the wage tax. Check out the full details here.
Here's the real lowdown on how the SEPTA deal got done.
A former Philadelphia police officer who used his badge to rob drug dealers is sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Ronnie Polanecsky writes about the frustrated supporters of North Catholic and Cardinal Dougherty high schools.
The city is on track to end the fiscal year $31 million in the hole, Budget Director Steve Agostini told City Council members during a briefing today.
Agostini attributed the downturn to a number of factors, including a decline in the city's expected wage tax revenues and a loss of state funding for social services and police. The overall deterioration was offset somewhat by better than expected revenues for the business privilege tax and the real estate transfer tax.
The budget office has already asked city departments to look for ways to cut 7.5 percent from their budgets for FY11. Agostini said some cuts may start during this fiscal year, but he did not detail what form they would take. He stressed that the city is closely reviewing every hire and expenditure to try and find savings.
Clay Armbrister, the mayor's chief of staff, stressed that the city still has financial pain ahead despite a turbulant year of budget cuts and tax hikes.
"We're not out of the woods by any means," Armbrister said.
The Allentown Morning Call has a good profile today of state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican from Butler County who has irked numerous minority groups during his ten years in elected office. Now he's managed to anger veterans too. An excerpt:
But the head of one national veterans' group says Metcalfe went a bridge too far last month when he referred to a cadre of veterans as ''traitors'' because they had signed onto a national effort to call attention to the issue of global climate change.
In tradition-minded western Pennsylvania, veterans and the military are as American as ''mom and apple pie,'' said Joseph DiSarro, a political science professor at Washington & Jefferson College who has tracked the career of Metcalfe, who served in the Army from 1980 to 1984 along the border between the former West and East Germany.
''Especially in the rural counties, this won't help him,'' DiSarro said of Metcalfe, who has emerged as one of the Legislature's most vocal fiscal and social conservatives and who has built a reputation for speaking his mind during debates on the House floor.
For the full story, click here.
It's official. SEPTA is heading back to work.
But the strike didn't stop Eagles fans from getting to the game yesterday.
John Baer explains why the upcoming governor's race will be a "political twighlight zone."
Three killed in weekend violence.
A former managing director questions how Mayor Nutter is doing in an op-ed.
We just got this release from state Rep. Brendan Boyle:
Boyle introducing resolution calling for binding arbitration in SEPTA strike
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 6 -- State Rep. Brendan F. Boyle, D-Phila./Montgomery is introducing a House resolution calling on both sides in the ongoing SEPTA strike to agree to binding arbitration to resolve the impasse.
“After eight months without a contract, and four days of a strike with no end in sight, it is clear that binding arbitration is needed,” said Boyle. “In this specific context, binding arbitration is a reasonable way to obtain a contract that treats both parties fairly and gets SEPTA back up and running.”
Boyle added, “Currently, with no resolution to this impasse, all sides are losing and will continue to suffer. SEPTA riders have no way to get to work, which hurts them and the local economy of the Philadelphia region. SEPTA workers are out of work and going without pay. Those who drive and don’t use SEPTA are also losing because they are now forced to endure crippling traffic, with the dramatic increase of vehicles on the street.”
Boyle's resolution will be introduced in the House on Monday, and the lawmaker said members could vote on it early in the week.
It's when times are tough, that you learn who your friends are.
Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a resolution to honor the Yankees for their victory in the World Series. But one member of the Philadelphia delegation refused to support the measure.
Who was this champion of the forlorn Phillies?
It was U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, whose district includes parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. Both U.S. Rep. Bob Brady and U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah supported the resolution. Here’s a link to the vote results.
To Schwartz, PhillyClout says: you go girl!