Archive: February, 2009
At the conclusion of Vice President Joe Biden's middle class task force meeting this afternoon at the University of Pennsylvania, bigwigs filed into small reception hosted by Penn President Amy Gutman and Mayor Michael Nutter to thank Sen. Arlen Specter for supporting the federal stimulus package.
"Arlen you deserve all the credit in the world, this wouldn't have happened without you," said an emotional Vice President Joe Biden. Nutter, Governor Rendell, Sen. Casey and Gutman joined in the chorus of praise.
When Specter took the stage he joked: "These comments sound to me like a eulogy. More appropriate for another day. I'm glad to be here under these circumstances."
Oh you loyal PhillyClout readers, how you tickled us with your haikus about trash pick-up fees last week. So much, in fact, that we've decided to repeat the haiku contest for this, our third installment. Your topic: City Council keeping the public OUT of a meeting this week where they talked about the best way to inform the public about the city's budget in upcoming hearings.
Our prize once again is a Daily News t-shirt, size 2XL, perfect for pajamas or lounging around after completing the Wing Bowl! Sorry, no entries allowed by Philadelphia Media Holdings employees or family members.
Submit your entries here [firstname.lastname@example.org] by 6 p.m. Monday and then we'll announce the winner.
Mayor Nutter says he’s thrilled to be hosting Vice President Joe Biden and the middle class task force today as they discuss the benefits of green jobs. He’ll be speaking about how Philly is developing green jobs during one of the panels.
“The whole task force is about the middle class. Our perspective in Philadelphia is that green jobs are the pathway to the middle class,” Nutter said.
There was some good green news for Philly today. A total of $1.3 million in grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will be awarded to green job efforts in the city, including a grant to the non-profit Energy Coordinating Agency to launch a green jobs skills training center.
PhillyClout's Catherine Lucey reports that Vice President Joe Biden's Philly visit kicked off this morning with a tour of the operations control center at the University of Pennsylvania. He's here for the first session of his middle class task force, which will focus on green job creation.
Biden, joined by Governor Rendell, Mayor Nutter as well as local congressman and members of the cabinet, was first shown a model of Penn's plans to convert wasteland on the eastern edge of campus into athletic fields and park space.
"Where will the squash courts go?" asked avid squash player Sen. Arlen Specter.
The city Board of Ethics sues a political action committee with ties to Gov. Rendell for keeping sloppy books.
City Council decides to meet in secret to talk about how to hold public hearings on the budget.
Defense attorneys complain the massive federal corruption case against former state Sen. Vince Fumo is driven by a vendetta from prosecutors.
Almost three weeks ago, Mayor Nutter presented City Council with the data he collected from city departments on how 10, 20 or 30 percent cuts would affect their ability to provide services. Soon after, we received a hefty packet of the cut scenario data, which showed the crippling affect such cuts would have on police, fire or library services.
But we noticed that several departments were not included in the packet – among them commerce, human services and the managing director’s office. According to the city, that information will be provided in a second volume of data.
Well, we still haven’t seen that second volume. We asked for it about a week ago and then over the past several days we’ve been specifically requesting just the managing director’s information. We want to see what would happen to signature programs like Philly Stat and 3-1-1 under cuts.
City Council members are right now gathered in a closed-door City Hall meeting and refusing to let reporters come inside. Mayor Nutter briefed Council leaders earlier today on budget issues so Council members could be discussing that. There's no way to know for sure since we're locked out. Reporters gathered outside the meeting believe there is a quorum of Council members present, which means the meeting must be open to the public, according to state law.
Tony Radwanski, an aide to City Council President Anna Verna, told reporters the meeting is about how Council will hear public testimony on the city budget during upcoming hearings. There is no provision in the state's Sunshine Act -- which covers public records and open meetings -- to close a meeting so public officials can discuss how to run hearings.
We've been down this road before. Mayor Nutter last fall shut reporters out of meetings where he briefed a majority of Council members about the city's budget woes. Nutter insisted he had the right to hold secret meetings -- one had an armed guard posted at the door -- because Council was taking no action on the budget at the time.