Archive: October, 2008
It's been five weeks since Foxwoods, a casino approved by the state for the Delaware riverfront in South Philly, offered to move to the Gallery at 11th and Market Streets. City Councilman Frank DiCicco, who had opposed the South Philly location, introduced zoning legislation today that would allow Foxwoods to convert Gallery space for the casino. But DiCicco and Mayor Nutter, who also opposed the South Philly site, were quick to say the legislation doesn't mean the Gallery is a done deal for Foxwoods.
DiCicco said Foxwoods, if the zoning changes are approved, will still have to gain approval from the City Planning Commission for its project plan. That would take a "minimum of five to six months" from today, he said, adding that the legislation is a "good faith effort" to show Foxwoods it should come up with plans for the Gallery.
Community groups from nearby Chinatown have been complaining that they have yet to see any plans or sketches for what a casino at the Gallery might look like. Nutter said his staff has asked "on a number of occasions" for something from Foxwoods to show the community. "The bottom line here is you can't get approval on something if we can't see it, understand it, look at it and test the assumptions," Nutter said.
Mayor Nutter was on the phone last night and this morning with Phillies officials, trying to figure out how to squeeze a rally for the team into the schedule before next Wednesday's start to the World Series. Nutter greeted the team after an overnight flight home this morning. "The hard cold reality is they have to get ready for the World Series," Nutter said. "We'd love to have some sort of celebration. It needs to work with their schedule."
Nutter heaped praise on the team for their National League Championship Series win against the Los Angeles Dodgers, capped with a victory last night. "They keep coming back and coming back," Nutter said. "Even if they find themselves in a deficit position, you can’t count them out."
Speaking of deficits, the city's in a bit of a budget hole itself. Nutter was asked if his administration could take any lessons on how to bounce back. He told reporters he has a deal with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and Eagles coach Andy Reid -- he doesn't tell them how to play their games and they don't tell him how to spend the city's cash.
Catherine LuceyChris Brennan sends this in from the floor of City Council:
"Although I understand cricket better then baseball and though I speak with an English accent: In the name of God, go Phillies."
-- The very Rev. (And British) Alan Neale, rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity on Rittenhouse Square.
Catherine LuceyYep, we know all news pales in comparison to the Phillies' big win. The city went a little nuts last night.
A political action committee run by the electricians union has admitted it was behind anonymous negative fliers in the 2007 mayoral primary.
The state Supreme Court has once again ruled in favor of a proposed local casino in a dispute with the city. The circumstances, however, have completely changed since that fight started three months ago. The court on Tuesday approved a request made by Foxwoods in July to appoint a "special master" to oversee any requests the proposed casino makes to the city on zoning, permits and other bureaucratic matters. The court appointed Joseph McCloskey, the senior judge on the state Commonwealth Court, as special master.
But that all had to do with the fight Foxwoods, approved by the state in December 2006, had with the city about its proposed site on the Delaware riverfront in South Philly. Foxwoods last month agreed to consider a move to the Gallery at 11th and Market streets in Center City. The special master can make calls on either location.
City Councilman Frank DiCicco, who led the fight against Foxwoods, briefed his colleagues this afternoon on his plan to introduce zoning legislation for the casino at the Gallery tomorrow. While Chinatown residents and businesses are angry and opposed, DiCicco said the zoning move is just the first step in the process and no guarantee that Foxwoods will win city approval for the new location. And DiCicco warned that the Supreme Court could always step in again. "We can put up all the road blocks we want," DiCicco said. "The Supreme Court has overruled us 14 out of 14 times."
Catherine LuceyYep, the city has refused bus posters for the upcoming comedy movie "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," according to this Associated Press report. At issue is the word "porno."
Deputy Mayor for Transportation Rina Cutler told the AP: "If they want to call the movie `Zack and Miri,' that's fine, but Zack and Miri cannot make a porno on my bus shelters."
Some TV stations and newspapers have also refused to run ads for the movie, which stars Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks and was directed by Kevin Smith. It comes out on Oct. 31.
Catherine LuceyCity Finance Director Rob Dubow and Treasurer Rebecca Rhynhart briefed City Council this morning on the fiscal crisis facing the city.
Last week, Mayor Nutter announced that the city faces a budget shortfall of up to $850 million over the next five years. He has repeatedly said that “everything is on the table”, including layoffs and service reductions, when it comes to how the city will scale back. Nutter plans to release a comprehensive financial plan later this month.
Before a number of Council members and staffers, Rhynhart and Dubow talked mostly about the fact that the bond market -- the market that buys up municipal debt -- has been frozen for weeks, preventing cities and states from borrowing. And rising interest rates are making standard borrowing transactions much more expensive. (Check out this primer on the bond market from last week’s Daily News.)
As usual, Dan Gross is dead-on with his insight: What to watch, the Phillies might seal the deal on their first World Series appearance in 15 years or the final debate between U.S. Sen. Barack Obama and John McCain? Where's the remote? How do you work the split-screen function on this TV?
Speaking of McCain, he rolled out new economic proposals in Montgomery County yesterday.
Two years after the city's Medical Examiner came under scrutiny for how unidentified bodies were treated, PhillyClout's Catherine Lucey updates us on procedures and policies.