Saturday, August 30, 2014
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Top 10 Philly politics stories of 2013

The obligatory year-in-review blog post. Please harshly criticize my judgment in the comments.

Top 10 Philly politics stories of 2013

A dust cloud rises as people run from the scene of a building collapse on the edge of downtown Philadelphia on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Six people were killed after the structure collapsed. (AP Photo/Jordan McLaughlin, File)
A dust cloud rises as people run from the scene of a building collapse on the edge of downtown Philadelphia on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Six people were killed after the structure collapsed. (AP Photo/Jordan McLaughlin, File)

The obligatory year-in-review blog post. Please harshly criticize my judgment in the comments. 

1. The still-unresolved Philadelphia School District funding crisis dominates budget negotiations and promises to do so again next year.

2. A botched demolition at 22nd and Market streets causes a building collapse that kills six people, including the daughter of City Treasurer Nancy Winkler, and leads to the suicide of city inspector Ronald Wagenhoffer.

3. Municipal union demonstrators prevent Mayor Nutter from delivering his annual budget address to City Council.

4. Fresh out of federal prison, state Sen. Vince Fumo returns to Philadelphia to serve out the remainder of his term under house arrest … speculation on a return to politics inevitably ensue.

5. The state General Assembly essentially eliminates Philadelphia Traffic Court following a long line of corruption charges, some still pending.

6. A slew of Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz and state Treasurer Rob McCord, line up to challenge Gov. Corbett, considered the nation’s most vulnerable 2014 incumbent governor.

7. The field for the 2015 mayoral race begins to take shape, with state Sen. Tony Williams, Council President Darrell Clarke, City Controller Alan Butkovitz and Councilman Jim Kenney generating the most buzz. 

8. Just before taking off for the holidays, City Council approves Maria Quinones-Sanchez's long-sought land bank bill, which is aimed at streamlining the arduous process of acquiring vacant property from the city. Philly will be the largest U.S. municipality with such an agency.

9. Implementation of the Actual Value Initiative property-tax reform effort sparks skepticism from some and applause from others.

10. Nutter’s approval rating is upside-down for the first time in his administration, according to Pew, and the school-funding crisis is likely to blame.

Stocking stuffer: Following a construction lull during and after the recession, a number of major development plans that could dramatically change the areas in and around downtown Philadelphia were announced, advanced or approved this year. They include: a major hotel at 15th and Chestnut (that is getting a $33 million city tax break); a 47-story residential tower on South Broad; CHOP’s proposed research center in the Devil’s Pocket/Graduate Hospital area; an addittion to the Cira Centre complex in University City; a four-tower residential project on the Delaware; and, of course, the six five bids to build Philly’s second casino. Now, we'll see how many renderings become realities.

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
 Follow Jenny on Twitter.

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
 Follow Sean on Twitter

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