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Archive: December, 2008

POSTED: Monday, December 15, 2008, 12:50 PM

About 1,000 Philadelphia firefighters and union supporters from the local chapter of the AFL-CIO marched around City Hall at noon today to protest Mayor Nutter's plans to eliminate five fire engines and two ladder trucks as part of his budget cuts.  The crowd chanted "no mayor, no!" and carried signs, as well as a coffin.

The Fire Department cuts are part of Nutter's plans to fix a more than $1 billion shortfall in the city's five-year financial plan. After the closures, the city will have 56 engine companies and 27 ladder companies.  No fire stations are being closed and no firefighters will be laid off through the restructuring, but some will be reassigned and current vacancies won't be filled.

Brian McBride, president of Local 22 of the International Association of Firefighters, mocked Nutter for taking a day trip to Harrisburg instead of attending today's rally.  He repeatedly said the budget cuts will endanger the lives of firefighters and city residents. "What kind of city would risk the lives of firefighters for a few measly dollars?" McBride asked.

POSTED: Monday, December 15, 2008, 11:50 AM

The Daily News told you a story 12 days ago about a dinner cruise company from Norfolk, Va. that wanted to open a business in Philadelphia but ran into problems finding a home along Penn's Landing for the triple-decker paddle-wheel vessel it wanted to bring here.  The company estimated the "Freedom Belle" would employ 40 people full-time and pump about $4 million per year into the city's economy.

Mayor Nutter promised in June to reorganize within a month the Penn's Landing Corp., a city-founded non-profit that runs the waterfront.  Nutter still hasn't followed through on that promise, although his staff told the Daily News two weeks ago that something is coming soon.

So what about Cruise Ventures Inc., the company that has been asking for help in bringing business to Philadelphia?  Tom Mountjoy, an executive with the company, e-mails that he still can't get a response from the city.  Mountjoy continues: "Actually, it seems typical of our experience in Philadelphia over the last several months. We meet with people, call, make proposals, offer ideas, send emails, etc. and never even get the courtesy of a reply in most cases. Not even a "thanks and we'll get back to you". A hard place to do business. I realize that our proposed business is not the end all for Philadelphia, but there are some benefits as we outlined, and we're not asking for much of anything except for a thoughtful response and at least a little "can-do spirit" (as opposed to the exact opposite)."

POSTED: Monday, December 15, 2008, 10:37 AM
President-elect Obama will appear in Philadelphia on the Saturday before the inauguration, as part of a whistle-stop tour to the capitol, according to a press release put out today.

Not many details are available yet, but here's the release:

President-Elect and Vice President-Elect to Host Events in Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore on Weekend Before Inauguration

Obama, Biden and Their Families Will Travel to DC by Train on Jan. 17th

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee announced that the President-elect, Vice President-elect and their families will travel - via railroad -- to Washington, D.C. on Saturday, January 17th and host events along the way in Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore. The trip marks the final leg of a journey that began on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Illinois and will culminate on the steps of the United States Capitol.

"As part of the most open and accessible Inauguration in history, we hope to include as many Americans as possible who wish to participate, but can't be in Washington," said Emmett S. Beliveau, Executive Director of the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee. "These events will allow us to do that while honoring the rich history and tradition of previous inaugural journeys."

In the tradition of past Presidents-elect, the daylong trip will include a series of events on the way to Washington, DC. Saturday morning, President-elect Obama and his family will hold an event in Philadelphia before boarding a train bound for Wilmington, Delaware, where he will be joined by Vice President-elect Biden and his family. Together, the families will travel to Baltimore, Maryland, and hold another event, before finally arriving in Washington, D.C. on Saturday evening.

In keeping with the theme of the 2009 Inauguration, "Renewing America's Promise," the President-elect and Vice President-elect will hold events in some of the cities instrumental to that promise: Philadelphia, where that promise was realized; Baltimore, where that promise was defended, then immortalized in our national anthem; and Washington, where Americans of all backgrounds will gather over four days, united in common purpose and resolved to renew that promise once more.

Additional details of the inaugural trip, including information on each event, will be released at a later date.

For the latest information on the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, please visit

POSTED: Monday, December 15, 2008, 10:23 AM
Negotiations between the city and the Mummers over the New Year's Day parade must conclude Thursday for the show to go on, according to the mayor's office.

Snooping pays off for a Philadelphia postal worker.

The editorial board asks why City Council won't hold hearings on the budget cuts.

POSTED: Saturday, December 13, 2008, 12:25 PM
The most lavish bash last night at the Pennsylvania Society gathering in NYC, was the reception at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel hosted by the electricians union. IBEW Local 98 Business Manager John Dougherty greeted politicians as they entered the event, which featured a live band.

On the way into the party, guests were offered a favor -- a copy of "Fearless: The Richard A. Sprague Story."

The biography of the legendary Philadelphia lawyer was authored by former Daily News scribe Jospeh Daughen. On the back of the slim hardback a message was printed: "Happy Holidays! In appreciation of our relationship, please enjoy this fascinating life story of a true Philadelphia icon, our dear friend, Dick Sprague. Best wishes, Your friends at IBEW Local 98."

POSTED: Saturday, December 13, 2008, 11:48 AM
Buzzing around last night at the cocktail parties and receptions in New York City that make up the Pennsylvania Society were many of the pols considering getting into the governor's race in 2010.

The list of Democrats making the rounds is lengthy. We saw Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato and Philadelphia businessman Tom Knox. We also hear that former state Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf, Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham and state Auditor General Jack Wagner are up here shaking hands.

On the Republican side, we spotted state Attorney General Tom Corbett, former U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan as well as U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach. The Harrisburg news service Capitolwire reported this week that Gerlach -- who represents the 6th District, which covers parts of Montgomery, Chester and Berks County -- was considering getting in the race.

POSTED: Friday, December 12, 2008, 11:20 AM
You can catch the videos on the It's Our City blog. Here's a recording of the Wednesday session at Benjamin Franklin High School.
POSTED: Friday, December 12, 2008, 10:40 AM
Earlier in the week, Politico reported that Hardball host Chris Matthews planned to attend the gala Saturday night dinner at the Pennsylvania Society gathering in New York City this weekend. But they later updated the report, saying that Matthews told organizers he could not attend after all. Here's the update.

Matthews is reportedly considering running for U.S. Senate in 2010 as a Democrat, for the seat currently occupied by Republican Arlen Specter. The PA society -- an annual weekend of lunches, cocktail parties and dinners in NYC -- would have given him the opportunity to rub elbows with state pols and other power players.

About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to
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