Archive: July, 2012
City Commission Chairwoman Stephanie Singer complained Monday evening that Gov. Corbett and the Republican-controlled legislature are making the job of running elections much more difficult by delaying the release of information to help voters comply with a new law requiring them to show state identification at their polling places. During an appearance on "The War Room," a show hosted by Jennifer Granholm on Current TV, Singer also said Corbett and the legislature "grossly underestimated" the cost of the law, which she called an "unfunded mandate."
"They're not helping us," Singer said during the interview. "They're not really interested."
Granholm, a Democrat who served two terms as governor of Michigan, referred to the law as "Pennsylvania's voter suppression effort." Corbett and his Republican allies in the General Assembly have claimed the law is designed to catch voter fraud. Critics counter that the Republicans are really just make it harder for Democrats to vote.
Singer sees a silver lining, telling Granholm the effort could spark voter turn-out in the city.
"Philadelphia has not come out to vote in the past in the way that we can and should," Singer said. "That's why we have a Republican governor and why we have a Republican majority on the courts, which are elected in Pennsylvania."
Information on the new law can be found at VotesPA.com.
Here's the press release from the governor's office:
Governor Corbett Issues Flag Order to Honor Fallen Philadelphia Police Officer Brian Lorenzo
Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett today ordered all Pennsylvania flags in the Capitol Complex and at commonwealth facilities in Philadelphia County to fly at half-staff starting Wednesday, July 11, to honor Philadelphia Police Office Brian Lorenzo, who was killed in the line of duty on July 8.
This order will remain in effect until sundown on Friday, July 13, the date of Officer Lorenzo’s funeral.
All Pennsylvanians are invited to join in this tribute.
Ronnie Polaneczky takes a peek at Philadelphia's Secret Cinema.
A pair of sisters have sunk sweat equity into a Germantown garden patch.
The Community College of Philadelphia is offering free job training to the unemployed.
And the Daily News editorial page says property tax scofflaws are harming the city's children.
Jan Ransom takes a look at the track record so far for the six freshmen members of City Council.
John Baer thinks Gov. Corbett should get busy working on a new state slogan, now that the budget is completed. PhillyClout suggestion for Corbett: PA -- It's Frac-tacular.
Stu Bykofsky, erstwhile defender of pedestrians on sidewalks, takes a look at the growing trend of restaurant tables outside.
And the Daily News editorial board focuses on concerns that a new voter ID law could disenfranchise more than 750,000 Pennsylvania voters in the November general election.
The Philly-based Frontier Virtual Charter High School -- which on Thursday surrendered its charter, rather than face a state revocation hearing -- released this statement shortly after 5 p.m. Friday:
July 6, 2012:
It is with profound sadness that the Board of Frontier Virtual Charter High School voted at yesterday’s Board meeting to voluntarily surrender its Charter to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
This difficult decision was reached by the Board and was ultimately precipitated by several factors. From its inception, Frontier made numerous overtures to PDE for assistance with the operations of its institution, each of which was rebuked or ignored. After the conclusion of its first – admittedly difficult – year of operation, PDE notified Frontier on June 13, 2012 that the PDE wanted the school to voluntarily surrender its charter.
At that time, Frontier asked PDE what grounds the revocation was going to be based on, but was told that PDE was not willing to inform the school of those grounds. Thereafter, Secretary Tomalis transmitted a letter to Frontier identifying some of the issues being considered by PDE in our revocation.
After review of these issues – several of which were in error – Frontier was prepared to fight the revocation. The Board believes in the mission of this organization and wanted to see the community we served continue to receive the help we were providing.
City workers have been told they can head home early today due to the heat and the holiday.
City workers excluding the fire, prison and police departments will be dismissed at 3 p.m. An email from the Managing Director’s Office urged everyone to check on families and neighbors and to “stay cool.”
The scorching heat has already led to four deaths in the city, one as recent as July 1. The city offers a number of cooling centers, among them libraries, recreation centers and senior centers. For information on locations and hours of operation, call the Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging heat line at 215-765-9040 or the city's nonemergency call center, 3-1-1, or go to readyphiladelphia.org.
Project H.O.M.E, a nonprofit organization that provides housing and services to chronically homeless Philadelphians asks people to call 215-232-1984 if they see a person living on the street who needs assistance in the heat.
Finnigan's Wake, the Northern Liberties bar and catering hall run by a Democratic committeeman, has withdrawn a request for $74,000 from the Penn Treaty Special Services District to spruce up Bodine Street, a narrow alley that runs between the bar and the newly constructed Democratic City Committee headquarters. We wrote about the issue, predicting the request would be withdrawn, in today's Clout column.
Penn Treaty Special Services District, issued this statement on its website today:
"In light of questions regarding an application for funding for enhancements for a proposed pedestrian walkway on Bodine Street, the Penn Treaty Special Services District wishes to clarify that no funding was or will be issued for this project. The applicant withdrew its funding request."
Bar owner Mike Driscoll made his pitch for the $74,000 at the district's June meeting, where a vote went in his favor. The district board, which does not meet again until September, doles out money from a $500,000-per-year fund set up by the SugarHouse casino and community members. The money for the Bodine Street project would not have been available until mid-September, when the board's coffers would have been filled again with casino cash.
Driscoll told us Thursday that he was willing to withdraw his request if the district thought the project didn't fit its mission. City Councilman Mark Squilla pushed legislation, approved by Council unanimously on June 23, to erase Bodine Street from the map and give the land to Finnigan's Wake. That legislation is now waiting for Mayor Nutter to sign it into law or veto it.
Updated: 4:14 p.m. Daily News reporter Phil Lucas reports:
At an afternoon news conference, Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel identified the suspect as Amir Bey, 22, who was still in critical condition at Hahnemann.
Bethel said Bey, who had gone through at least one surgery already, has no prior arrests.
Updated: 1:20 p.m. Streets are now open
The streets around City Hall are still blocked off after police shot a gunman before rush-hour this morning, police said.
The 22-year old gunman began shooting at parked cars and the Masonic Temple on Broad Street near JFK Boulevard across from City Hall around 6:20 a.m., said Police spokesman Lt. Ray Evers.
Eagles Co-owners Jeffrey and Christina Lurie are divorcing.
Muhammad Ali will receive this year’s Liberty Medal.
It’s the end for the Frontier Virtual Charter High School.
Here’s your weekly dose of PhillyClout.
Gov. Corbett signed into law yesterday a state bill that would protect Philadelphia from an onslaught of property-tax appeals.
Updated: State Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis responded below to the news about the board's decision.
Board members from the Philly-based Frontier Virtual Charter High School voted unanimously shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday to surrender its charter to the state Department of Education.
The board announced the decision during a brief emergency meeting that was held via a conference call.
State Secretary of Education Ronald Tomalis released a statement which read in part: "Today's action is in the best interest of students and provides families sufficient time to make other arrangements for the upcoming school year.
"Over the past year, Frontier fell short in providing its students with the core academic programs parents and students expect of our public schools.
"These issues were not just the normal difficulties typically experienced by a first-year organization, but they go to the heart of Frontier's ability to provide quality educational opportunities to students within the confines of its charter, as well as the Charter School Law," Tomalis said.