Archive: September, 2008
City Councilmen Bill Greenlee, Bill Green and Frank Rizzo met with the media this morning to discuss legislation they will introduce tomorrow to ban the use of cell phones -- talking or texting -- in moving motor vehicles unless drivers use a "hands-free device." We reported about all that last month.
Greenlee and Green have updated the legislation since then. It now will cover anyone "using a skateboard, scooter, rollerblade or bicycle on any street within the city." Could be a tough blow to many bike messengers and multi-tasking exercise enthusiasts.
The legislation faces a daunting challenge as far as motor vehicles go. PennDOT says the legislation will conflict with the state's motor vehicle code, which takes legal priority over local laws. And an attorney has already successfully challenged a similar ordinance in Hilltown Township, Bucks County.
Still, they press ahead. "We're trying to really eliminate a danger here," said Greenlee, citing studies that show the likelihood of having an automobile accident increases when a driver is talking or texting on a cell phone. As for PennDOT's opinion, Green said: "They're wrong."
Catherine LuceyCouncilman Kelly wants the city to pay $25,000 for a media operative for his office.
Immigration is the key issue in the congressional battle in Northeast Pennsylvania.
The corruption trial of state Sen. Vince Fumo is delayed again due to the judge's illness.
Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden visits Media, says he's tired of "Republican garbage."
It's a tradition here in City Hall: Win or lose, the mayor talks about the Philadelphia Eagles game. Heck, former Mayor Rendell made it a side gig as governor, tossing out his thoughts about the Eagles in a post-game cable television show. But while Rendell could work himself into a lather about his beloved Birds, Mayor Street was more restrained in his analysis. Mayor Nutter, it turns out, may be a mix of those two styles.
Nutter chuckled today through his game recap of last night's 41-37 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, admiring the "firepower" shown by the Eagles offense. "It was probably one of the greatest Monday Night Football games that we've seen in a long time," Nutter said. "But, you know, a great game is nice. Winning is better."
Nutter, known for his deadpan delivery and dry humor, kept that style working in the recap when asked if he found himself -- like the many in this city -- screaming at his television last night. "There were a couple of moments of expressed exuberance," Nutter said evenly. "I was pretty excited, as you can tell from my demeanor."
Very Street-like. But maybe Nutter has some of Rendell's style as well. Asked if he would like to repeat any of the things he yelled at the television, the mayor declined to elaborate but it was pretty clear their was some naughty language going on there. "Especially toward the tail-end of the game," Nutter added.
Catherine LuceyBidding is up to $202.50 on Ebay for Mayor Nutter's now-famous argyle sweater. Just three days to go...
The city's Columbus Day Committee, which botched a request for state funding, has come up with enough money to hold most of the 52nd annual Columbus Day celebration. The Oct. 12 parade down South Broad Street to Marconi Plaza, where a cultural festival is held will go on as scheduled. The committee canceled the annual Center City banquet, which had been scheduled for Oct 11. "We canceled that to save costs," said Greg Ciminera, executive director of the Order Sons of Italy in America, Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. "We scaled back a little bit."
The committee was in a panic because its annual grant of $40,000 from the state Department of Community and Economic Development was rejected this year. The committee had failed to file a report, explaining how it spent last year's grant, leading to this year's rejection. So Ciminera sent out an e-mail Friday, pleading for donations and warning that the celebration could be canceled. Private donors quickly came up with $11,000. The local Sons of Italy chipped in $15,000 today. Ciminera hopes to raise more money before the event.
Today was a key deadline because City Council President Anna Verna's office, which handles details of the celebration but not the fund-raising, was ready to start telling Mummer string bands that the parade was off. Now those calls don't have to be made. "It comes as a huge relief in terms of that and in terms of ensuring that this tradition continues," said Kathleen Murray, a senior advisor to Verna.
Catherine LuceyWill Bunch explains what the Wall Street crisis means to you.
Councilman Clarke wants tougher restrictions on off-campus living for college kids.
A funding loss threatens the annual Columbus Day parade.
First casualty of city belt tightening came yesterday when the city canceled plans to hire a press aide for the managing director.
The Order Sons of Italy in America, Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, put out an urgent e-mail Friday, saying that a drop-off in state funding has endangered next month's Columbus Day celebration, including the Oct. 12 parade down South Broad Street and the following festival in Marconi Plaza. The state's Department of Community and Economic Development did not approval the Columbus Day Committee's request for its annual $40,000 grant to fund the event.
That means the committee is on a mad scramble to come up with private donors to replace the state money. So far, they've collected about $15,000 but the clock is ticking. Ten Mummers string bands are scheduled to play the parade. City Council President Anna Verna's office, which handles details for the parade but not fund-raising, is preparing to tell the bands tomorrow to look for gigs elsewhere that day unless the committee comes up with the money.
Kathleen Murray, a senior advisor to Verna, said the committee didn't file paperwork explaining how it spent last year's grant, leading DCED to reject this year's request for funding. Murray felt optimistic that private donors will step in to save the parade. "I don't think there's any stomach at this point to allow a cancellation," she said. "Frankly, I think it would be an embarrassment to the Italian American Community."
Read the details in tomorrow's Daily News.
Catherine LuceyVincent Fumo II, son of state Sen. Vince Fumo, has set up a blog to chronicle his dad's corruption trial. Obviously he's very supportive of his dad, but it's an interesting read. Check it out here.
Catherine LuceyYes, the much talked about argyle sweater that Mayor Nutter wore in a back-to-school promotional campaign is up for sale on Ebay. Bidding has already reached $132.50. The sale ends on Friday.
Nutter last week dissed the sweater, saying he didn't pick it out and would never wear it again. So local advertising firm Brown Partners, who produced the campaign, have put it up for sale. According to the Ebay listing, all proceeds will go to the Philadelphia Youth Network, an anti-dropout program.
Of course, you could also buy the sweater at Gap for $49.50.