Friday, July 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

City Controller Again Criticizes His Critics

City Controller Alan Butkovitz sure seems to be smarting from the criticism he's taken in the last week about a report he issued, calling on the Philadelphia School District to drop its student TransPass program and switch back to have them use tokens for SEPTA rides to and from school. Butkovitz said truant students can use a TransPass to roam SEPTA's transit system for hours, adding up to more crime on subways and such.

City Controller Again Criticizes His Critics

Alan Butkovitz
Alan Butkovitz

City Controller Alan Butkovitz sure seems to be smarting from the criticism he's taken in the last week about a report he issued, calling on the Philadelphia School District to drop its student TransPass program and switch back to tokens for student SEPTA rides to and from school.  Butkovitz said truant students can use a TransPass to roam SEPTA's transit system for hours, adding up to more crime on subways.

A Daily News editorial dismissed the report, complaining that Butkovitz offered little evidence to support his claim and suggesting his "sloppy research" could cause panic among SEPTA riders.  Butkovitz fired back with an unusual defense, citing many of the anonymous comments posted by Philly.com readers about his report.

Now Butkovitz is going after the School District, releasing to reporters a "letter to Philadelphia School District Superintendent Arlene Ackerman refuting the School District’s contention that crime on the SEPTA Subway System is not linked to the new SEPTA TransPass program."  In the letter -- you can read it here -- Butkovitz said he was "baffled" by the School District's claim that he didn't back up his claims with hard evidence.  He then cites a 62 percent uptick in disorderly conduct incidents involving youths on SEPTA during the first seven months of the student TransPass program.

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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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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