Monday, July 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Friday, July 11, 2014, 4:42 PM

Two Philly legislators today called on leaders of the nation's two largest tobacco companies to meet about their lobbying against a cigarette tax to fund the city's public schools.

State Senators Anthony Williams and Shirley Kitchen sent letters to Martin Barrington, CEO of the Altria Group, and Susan Cameron, CEO of R.J. Reynolds, asked for a sit-down with them and their Harrisburg lobbyists.

The Daily News reported Thursday that those lobbyists had pushed for a five-year "sunset provision" to be inserted in pending legislation that would put a $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes sold in Philadelphia. 

POSTED: Friday, July 11, 2014, 9:24 AM
Gov. Corbett gave his John Hancock to the state budget yesterday. He's using millions to work on pension reform, an issue state voters say isn't a crisis, poll shows. BRADLEY C. BOWER / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Gov. Corbett has discovered the one think Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly can agree on:  Their mutual dislike for him.  Also in Clout today, former City Solicitor Ken Trujillo staffs up for a likely 2015 run for mayor as a Democrat while Mayor Nutter's former press secretary mulls a run as a Republican.

The Daily News sorts through the many strange things that turn up in the Lost & Found Department at the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

U.S. Department of Justice officials found themselves neck-deep in a thick, simmering stew of raw emotion in City Council chambers last night in a packed forum moderated by the Police Advisory Commission

POSTED: Thursday, July 10, 2014, 4:09 PM
FILE PHOTO Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility

A Commonwealth Court panel today denied the city prison guards union's appeal of a 2012 arbitration award that resulted in less generous pension benefits for new hires and lower wage increases than the union had sought.

The union, Local 159 of AFSCME District Council 33, argued that the arbitration award was flawed because it took into account the city's ability to pay for the award based on a law the union considered inapplicable to their negotiations.

But Commonwealth Judge Bernard McGinley wrote in today's decision that the city's financial condition is fair game, siding with lawyers for Mayor Nutter's administration and a Common Pleas Court decision that was under appeal.

POSTED: Thursday, July 10, 2014, 7:53 AM

How big tobacco derailed cig-tax bill: Tobacco lobby's jockeying helped delay cigarette tax - and money for schools, writes Chris Brennan and Solomon Leach. 

Mayor taking the heat: Protestors, Liberian ambassador go to City Hall, by Sean Collins Walsh and Dylan Segelbaum.

Cops: we nailed the cad burglar. Stephanie Farr offers us the latest on the 'bum' accused of breaking and entering and terrorizing a Delco woman. 

POSTED: Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 12:09 PM
Liberian Ambassador Jeremiah Sulunteh (center) with Red Cross CEO Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes visits Gesner Street where a fire claimed 4 young children early Saturday morning. The ambassador met with members of City Council Wednesday morning. ( Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer )

Jeremiah Sulunteh, Liberia's ambassador to the United States, this morning met with City Council members and relatives of the four children - all of Liberian descent - who died last weekend in a fire in Southwest Philly.

"We come with heavy hearts," said Sulunteh, who stressed the the strength of the U.S.-Liberian relationship before pledging to investigate the matter.

"Was this something that would have been prevented? ... What actions were taken?" Sulunteh asked rhetorically. "That is the question that [Liberian] President [Ellen Johnson] Sirleaf wants me to get back to her with an answer: What went wrong?"

POSTED: Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 8:47 AM

Inmate's letters asks the DN to let victim's parents know of his vow to honor their son. They don't want to hear it, writes Ronnie Polaneczky. 

Chief: You're asking for superheroes. 9-1-1 recordings show Philly Fire Deptartment acted quickly, in this report from Morgan Zalot, Vinny Vella and Dylan Segelbaum. 

Cig tax back-and-forth turning into a nail-biter. Solomon Leach writes of the how the Senate's changes send the bill back to the House. 

POSTED: Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 4:45 PM
U.S. Rep. Bob Brady (center) speaking in March at the Union League about bidding to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention as former Gov. Ed Rendell (right) and Local 98 leader John Dougherty (left) listen.

The odds of Philadelphia hosting the 2016 Democratic National Convention just improved a bit.  And the thanks goes to Cleveland, Ohio.

The Republican National Committee today announced that it is recommending Cleveland for its 2016 convention.  Cleveland is one of six cities that filed applications last month to host the Democratic convention that year.

The Democratic National Committee's "exclusivity clause" in that bidding process will cut Cleveland from the running if that city signs a deal with the Republicans. 

POSTED: Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 12:11 PM
Eva Gladstein, head of the Mayor's Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity. Janurary 14, 2012 (RON TARVER / Staff Photographer)

The city today opened six BenePhilly Centers to assist low-income Philadelphians who are eligible for benefits but are not receiving them. 

Increasing benefits access is a major goal of Shared Prosperity, an anti-poverty plan that Mayor Nutter unveiled last year. He tasked Eva Gladstein, the executive director of the Mayor's Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, or "CEO," with developing and implementing the plan. 

The centers, Gladstein said, will help people "get benefits that can help alleviate some of the worst affects of poverty."

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
 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
 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
 Follow Sean on Twitter

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