Archive: January, 2009
Remember these guys from the Nov. 4 general election? The U.S. Department of Justice does. The feds sued the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense today, accusing the organization of attempting to intimidate voters. The Justice Department is asking a judge for an injunction to prevent future "deployment" of New Black Panther members at polling places during elections. You can read the Department's full press release after the jump.
Justice Department Seeks Injunction Against New Black Panther Party Lawsuit Seeks to Prohibit Voter Intimidation in Future Elections
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit under the Voting Rights Act against the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and three of its members alleging that the defendants intimidated voters and those aiding them during the Nov. 4, 2008, general election.
Lawsuit Seeks to Prohibit Voter Intimidation in Future Elections
President Bush visits Philly today to celebrate the 7th anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act at a city school.
John Baer writes about five forums that state Rep. Dwight Evans is hosting around Pennsylvania to discuss the impact of the economy on the state budget.
More on Chris Matthews' decision to stay out of the Senate race.
Catherine LuceyThe New York Times is reporting that TV host Chris Matthews told the staff of his show tonight that he won't run for Senate.
Check out the story here.
Rumors have been flying for months that Matthews -- host of "Hardball" on MSNBC was considering running as a Democrat in 2010 for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Arlen Specter.
There’s been a lot of discussion online today about the $2.6 billion “wish list” the city put out of local infrastructure projects that need federal funding. The US Conference of Mayors last month released project lists from municpalities around the country, as part of their effort to get aid for cities in President-elect Obama’s stimulus package.
One particular Philly request has drawn interest -- $100 million to revitalize the Market East corridor. That area would, of course, surround the planned Foxwoods Casino.
Over on Young Philly Politics, an anti-casino activist has blasted the city for the request. The demand was also criticized by Republican leaders in congress who called it pork. (Read Heard in the Hall or It’s Our Money.)
Here's an update to the post below about word that calls to the city's new 3-1-1 Call Center about allegations of police brutality were inexplicably transferred to the Committee of 70, a local good government group. Mayor Nutter's press office researched the issue and could find no explanation of why the calls were forwarded there or evidence about when they came into the center.
Three different people made the calls in late December when the city's old main switchboard 215-686-1776, was forwarding callers to the new 3-1-1 center. That center had a "soft opening" in late October before an official launch last week. The call center's logs only show two searches by operators for "police brutality," both in November. The system, the press office confirms, suggests connecting such callers with the city's Police Advisory Commission. Call with a question about voting and the system suggests the Committee of 70.
The 3-1-1 system right now only records calls for 30 minutes at a time, making it impossible to check on the three calls that way. In the near future, recordings of all calls will be archived.
Mayor Nutter plans to head to Washington, DC tomorrow to take in President-elect Obama's speech on the economy.
Obama is expected to talk about the need for a massive stimulus package -- millions in both tax cuts and spending measures -- to help kick-start the plummeting economy. In a press release, his transition team said Obama would "make the case for urgent action on an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that will save or create over 3 million jobs while investing in priorities like health care, energy, and education that will jumpstart economic growth."
Nutter -- who is struggling with a more than $1 billion budge deficit over the next five years -- has been lobbying hard for direct federal aid to cities in the package. Last month he and other members of the US Conference of Mayors met with the Obama transition team in Chicago to talk about the stimulus package.
Mayor Nutter and Managing Director Camille Barnett launched the city's 3-1-1 Call Center a week ago today, describing the new non-emergency phone line as "the only number Philadelphians need to find out information or to access a Philadelphia City service." Unless, of course, you want to complain about getting beat up by a cop. That gets referred to an outside agency that has nothing to do with the issue.
PhillyClout has heard that at least three calls to 3-1-1 from city residents making allegations about police brutality were referred by the new operators to the Committee of 70, a non-profit good-government watchdog group that puts much of its attention on fair election practices.
What gives? PhillyClout asked Mayor Nutter's media team for an explanation on Monday morning. We're still waiting for answers. What gives with that, too? Every 3-1-1 call, reporters have been told, is assigned a tracking number. So the information should be easy enough to find. The 3-1-1 system, after all, is about increasing "internal and external government accountability," according to the mayor's news release from last week.
Hey, you think you're up to date on local news? Why don't you try out your knowledge on this City Paper year-end quiz.
One of our favorite questions:
9) Which factual error did Council aide Latrice Bryant make in responding to Fox 29's report on her faulty timesheets?