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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: September, 2009

POSTED: Thursday, September 17, 2009, 9:38 AM

Mayor Nutter just departed for Harrisburg, saying he hopes that budget relief legislation will be passed today, in time to halt the 3,000 layoff notices set to go out to city workers tomorrow.

"Today must be the day when this issue comes to a close," Nutter said.

Nutter said he hopes the state Senate will today pass House Bill 1828, which would allow the city to raise the sales tax temporarily and delay some payments into the pension fund. "We go to Harrisburg with a sense of hope and certainly optimism," he said.

POSTED: Thursday, September 17, 2009, 8:05 AM

City Council returns from their summer recess today, with the budget crisis still raging. Here's what's on their agenda for fall.

Police Commissioner Ramsey meets with officers who could be laid off tomorrow.

Tom Knox has agreed to pay a fine for secretly funding an attack ad against Michael Nutter during the 2007 mayoral primary election.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 16, 2009, 5:36 PM

Note: This post has been updated.

Plan C is getting very real for Philadelphia’s police officers.

Daily News cops reporter David Gambacorta tells us that Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey held a meeting this evening with officers who would be laid off if the doomsday budget is enacted.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 16, 2009, 5:01 PM

Mayor Nutter just sent the following email to city workers. In it he acknowledges that layoff notices may go out to 3,000 people on Friday if budget relief isn't passed in Harrisburg, but he asks workers to stay on the job and says he hopes the layoffs won't become a reality.

One disaster scenario for the city is if many workers who receive layoff notices decide to use vacation or comp time and not return to work Monday. That could mean some facilites would have to shut down before the Oct. 2 date when layoffs become finalized.

The text of the email is below:

POSTED: Wednesday, September 16, 2009, 2:20 PM

The state Gaming Control Board this afternoon agreed to allow the investors behind SugarHouse, a casino planned for the Delaware riverfront in Fishtown, to consolidate their assets to help secure financing to start construction.  The investors used one corporation to pay for their $50 million state casino fee and another to pay $70 million for the land on Delaware Avenue at Shackamaxon Street.  The lender wanted those assets united in one holding company so the investors needed the board's permission to transfer their license.  You can read more about that in today's story.

A group of about seven protesters from Casino-Free Philadelphia stood this morning outside a PNC branch office at 16th and Market streets, holding a large red banner that said: "PNC -- Lead the way: Don't lend to Neil Bluhm's casino."  Bluhm is one of the SugarHouse investors.  The anti-casino group said on its web site that "it is rumored" that PNC is lending Bluhm money for SugarHouse.

SugarHouse asked the Gaming Control Board to seal two exhibits it submitted with its request last month that provided details on its lender, including financial agreements and interest rates.  The board agreed to that as well.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 16, 2009, 1:32 PM

House Bill 1829, the legislation needed by the city to avoid a fallback budget that includes 3,000 layoffs and the closures of every library branch and recreation center, is on hold the the state General Assembly at least until tomorrow.  Erik Arneson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, said the Republican caucus expects to discuss tomorrow changes made to the legislation by the state House last week.  A decision will be made after that discussion about the timetable for a vote, which could happen by the end of this week or be pushed into next week.

The city is set to issue layoff notices Friday that take effect on Oct. 2.  A frustrated Mayor Nutter said this morning that he doesn't plan on delaying the layoff notices unless the legislation is resolved in Harrisburg. “We have to run the city government,” Nutter said. “September 18 is the date that layoff notices will go out.”

Nutter yesterday sent a letter to member of the state Senate, asking for speedy action on the legislation. “Some members have responded and I’ve seen at least a couple who indicated their support,” he said.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 16, 2009, 7:43 AM

John Baer notes that the bizarre state budget process continues to "defy reason."

A new public records law has yielded lots of lawsuits.

President Obama helps Sen. Arlen Specter raise big bucks in Philly. Meanwhile, protesters sparred outside Obama's event.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 15, 2009, 4:21 PM

President Obama has taken the stage at the Philly fundraiser for Sen. Arlen Specter, Dave Davies reports.

Obama spoke a lot about health care before the crowd gathered at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, repeating the pledge from his speech last week:  "I may not be the first president to take up the cause of health care reform, but I’m determined to be the last."

Obama also noted that Specter's battle with cancer gives him a unique perspective on health care.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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