Archive: March, 2009
We told you last week about a web site -- nopropertytaxhike.com -- that was being circulated by e-mail and through social networking web sites in response to Mayor Nutter's call to temporarily increase property taxes by 19 percent in the fiscal year that starts on July 1 and by 14.5 percent for the fiscal year that starts in July 2010. PhillyClout found it curious that the web site, set up as an on-line petition seeking names, e-mail addresses and home addresses, didn't say who was running it. The site was registered by a guy who lives near Chicago and refused to identify the people behind the effort.
Alexis Michels reached out to us a few days later, after the web site was updated to list her name as president of the "Philadelphia Homeowners Alliance." Never heard of it? PhillyClout too. Michels, in an e-mail and later in a phone call, described herself as a "long-time Philadelphia resident."
While preparing for our conversation, PhillyClout figured we would try to calculate how much more Michels might be paying in property taxes if Nutter's plan is approved. But a Lexis-Nexis search turned up no property records for her in Philadelphia. What we found was her listed at several addresses -- all in Montgomery County, where she runs a financial and political consulting business and also operates with her mother a firm that provides household help. We also discovered her brother is a real estate broker in Wayne who specializes in Main Line and Center City properties.
Common Pleas Judge Allan Tereshko opened a hearing today on a bid by one candidate for district attorney - Dan McCaffery – to knock another candidate – Seth Williams – off the May 19th Democratic primary ballot, on grounds that Williams should have listed his campaign organization as a source of income in the financial disclosure forms that were filed last week. The proceeding adjourned for the weekend without any decision from the judge, but there were a couple of interesting disclosures:
* Williams uses an American Express card for which his mother, Imelda, gets the bills. Williams described this more as a matter of convenience than anything else, and said he reimburses his mother for his use of the card. The card has Williams' name on it.
* Though Williams has been running for DA for around five years (having run against Lynne Abraham four years ago), he’s still having trouble keeping track of his campaign finances. His lawyer, Abbe Fletman, told the judge this afternoon that the campaign would be filing an amended report for 2008, reflecting the discovery that Williams was reimbursed twice for $561 worth of campaign expenses put onto his mother’s Amex account. It happened, according to Fletman, because he was reimbursed one-at-a-time, as they occurred, for individual expenses that went onto the credit card, and again in November 2008, when there was a lump-sum payment of $561 to cover Seth’s share of the credit-card bill. Fletman said Williams would reimburse the campaign.
For your Friday afternoon entertainment, check out this video from the great "Muppet Show." Dr. Teeth sings the "Money Song."
We're guessing Mayor Nutter -- who wants to temporarily raise taxes to deal with a budget shortfall -- knows just how he feels...
Mayor Nutter takes on the city unions.
Governor Rendell tells Sunoco not to cut jobs in Philadelphia.
The Clout column reports that Controller Alan Butkovitz is using a polling firm to test negative messages against opponent Brett Mandel.
Casino-Free Philadelphia has been railing about Mayor Nutter since he held a press conference last week to say the city would not try to stall construction of two proposed casinos in the city. Here's the headline from a recent CFP e-mail to reporters: Mayor Breaks Multiple Promises Regarding Casino Development in Philadelphia. You can read more about that here.
Nutter yesterday burst out laughing yesterday when asked if his position on casinos helped him win the mayor's race last year, saying he "rarely talked about casinos." Nutter did voice support as a candidate for a ballot measure that would have asked voters if casinos should be banned from building within 1,500 feet of residences, schools, churches and other public places. A legal challenge stripped that question from the ballot.
Nutter still says casinos would "not be my first choice" for economic development. But the two casinos -- SugarHouse in Fishtown and Foxwoods, approved for South Philly but now considering Eighth and Market streets -- were approved by the state and the mayor has no power to stop them, he added.
Yes, Mayor "Mixmaster Mike" Nutter will be appearing tomorrow night at Muldoon's Saloon, to serve as a "celebrity bartender" at a fundraiser on behalf of Project H.O.M.E.
Here's a link to all the details. Nutter will be shaking martinis from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Mayor Nutter's call in this morning's budget address for City Council members to give up their city-owned cars didn't go over too well with many of the people he was speaking to. Thirteen Council members use city cars. Council members Jim Kenney, Frank DiCicco, W. Wilson Goode and Bill Green do not drive city cars.
Council Majority Leader Marian Tasco not only refuses to give up her car, she says city should replace her five-year-old model. Tasco added it would cost the city more to reimburse her 54 cents a mile for using her own car. "So it’s not a savings," Tasco said. "The numbers are misleading. It is the cost of doing business."
Council Majority Whip Darrell Clarke said saving money on cars was "symbolic" but he wasn't giving up his car. "Anybody that lives in my district recognizes that car," Clarke said. "I do not in any way shape or form feel that I need to apologize about the use of a city car for my job for work purposes."
The city has posted the budget and five year plan on their website. Check it out here.