Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 3:43 PM
Dozens of protesters from AFSCME District Council 33 demonstrate. "No contract, no peace!" they shouted. (Dan DeLuca / Inquirer)

With 95.5 percent of the vote tallied, District Council 33, the city’s largest blue-collar unionized workforce, ratified the contract proposed by Mayor Nutter this afternoon.

Through a spokesman, AFSCME D.C. 33 President Pete Matthews told the Daily News he is thankful to the membership of D.C. 33 for their support and, “I look forward to being back in negotiations in the early part of 2016 with a new mayor.”

The vote results were 4,492 in favor and 213 opposed. The union that represents more than 10,000 blue-collar city workers has gone more than five years without a contract, and today’s resolution marks the end of sometimes rigid tensions between Matthews and the mayor.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 9:21 AM

Actor-lawyer Alan Benyak appears as Mr. Cannibal in "Breeding Farm," described by Buzzfeed.com as a "twisted porn film." Chris Brennan reports. 

Dad: Guy's an addict, not a murderer. Jason Narks explains how Peter Brunn backs a man who cops say mailed drugs to his daughter, who then overdosed. 

Overcoming first-day jitters. Students return to school as district fears even more cuts. The latest, from Solomon Leach, Regina Medina and Dana DiFilippo. 

POSTED: Monday, September 8, 2014, 6:32 PM
Alan Benyak, an attorney who appears in a campaign commercial for Democrat Tom Wolf, is also an actor in what Buzzfeed.com calls a "torture porn" film called "Breeding Farm." (YouTube)

Alan Benyak, an attorney and former judicial candidate, appears in a television commercial for Democrat Tom Wolf's campaign for governor.

But that's not his most famous on-screen role any more.

Buzzfeed.com today reported that Benyak starred as "Mr. Cannibal" in "Breeding Farm," described by the web site as a "twisted porn film."

POSTED: Monday, September 8, 2014, 4:39 PM

Mayor Nutter and Councilman Jim Kenney have reached a compromise on how to proceed with the councilman’s bill to end mandatory arrests for marijuana possession.

Kenney’s bill decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana – or under an ounce. The deal reached yesterday afternoon changes the bill already passed in Council but had been languishing on the mayor’s desk for weeks. The changes include amending the bill to include a $100 civil fine for public consumption, which can also be paid off via about nine or 10 hours of community service. The $25 civil fine for carrying over an ounce on one’s person stays the same. No handcuffs. No fingerprinting. No criminal record.

“This is where we wanted to be,” said Kenney.

POSTED: Monday, September 8, 2014, 3:17 PM
People walk through newly opened Dilworth Park, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, at City Hall in Philadelphia. The city has created a new park around its massive city hall building, replacing an obstacle course-like maze of steps and concrete with green space, fountains and an upscale cafe in a bid to re-establish the area as the central hub envisioned by city founder William Penn, according to officials. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

A group of Temple University journalism students received an unexpected lesson today in how overzealous enforcement could temporarily trample their First Amendment rights in a public space.

About 10 students crossed 15th Street from the Temple University Center City campus to the newly reopened Dilworth Park on City Hall's western apron, planning to shoot video to edit when they returned to class.  

Staff members from the Center City District, which manages the park, told the students they could not shoot video without prior approval.

POSTED: Monday, September 8, 2014, 9:10 AM

HAD THE trigger been pulled in another section of North Philadelphia's sprawling 35th Police District, there's a chance the deluge of shots - bang bang bang bang bang - might have gone unnoticed, or at least unreported.   But the gunfire echoed across a long, leafy driveway in the wee hours on Colonial Street, a winding block of tidy rowhouses in West Oak Lane, just a stone's throw from the Cheltenham Township border.

THE GUARDIAN Civic League, which has championed the rights of Philadelphia's black police officers since 1956, has had its tax-exempt status revoked for failing to file required forms, and it could owe the federal government nearly $100,000 in penalties.

And the congregation of a North Philly church continues to fight with its pastor.

POSTED: Friday, September 5, 2014, 12:06 PM
File photo: Terry Gillen, then director of the city's Office of Federal Affairs, in July 2010. (JONATHAN YU / Staff Photographer/File)

Terry Gillen, a former top aide to Mayors Michael Nutter and Ed Rendell, will formally announce her candidacy for mayor of Philadelphia in her Center City neighborhood tomorrow.  

That makes her the first candidate to hold a ceremony making an entrance to the race.

"I think my experience working with Mayor Nutter and Mayor Rendell is a positive," Gillen said today. "I think what people are looking for is someone who knows how to run a city, to be an executive and has experience in urban policy. I think I have all that."

POSTED: Friday, September 5, 2014, 9:02 AM
Rep. Chaka Fattah in 2007. (Staff file photo)

U.S. REP. Chaka Fattah yesterday wondered aloud - into microphones held by reporters - whether federal investigators "have crossed the line" in a seven-year probe of his finances.  As a turn-the-tables strategy, this doesn't spin very well.

Speaking on Fattah, the Daily News Editorial Board says:  "The practice of elected officials establishing charitable and nonprofit organizations should stop. There is simply no way they can be justified, and given the structure of such organizations, the potential for abuse is stunningly high."

Dilworth Park opens on City Hall's west apron as Jenny DeHuff quizzes the crowd about Richardson Dilworth.

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
 Follow Chris on Twitter

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.

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