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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: May, 2008

POSTED: Wednesday, May 21, 2008, 1:36 PM
Managing Director Camille Barnett has been redecorating her spacious office on the 14th floor of the Municipal Services Building.

In addition to a bookshelf and coffee table she brought from home, Barnett also has two new sofas and a loveseat. Barnett said the dark red couches were made by the furniture division of PHILACOR, the prison system industry shops.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 21, 2008, 10:15 AM
The city is arguing in court for the right to enact local gun laws. The NRA calls Mayor Nutter a "tyrant."
Local reaction to the news that Sen. Ted Kennedy has brain cancer.

The District Attorney announces a special misdemeanor court.

Gas prices above $4.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 20, 2008, 1:44 PM

Mayor Nutter used a press conference at Police headquarters this morning to take aim at the National Rifle Association and two local gun shops for suing the city in an attempt to block enforcement of five new local gun control laws.  Nutter said the NRA was "virtually criminal in their actions" for blocking efforts at local gun control.  He also suggested that gun sales data shows the two gun shops -- Colosimo's Inc. and The Firing Line Inc. -- have made multiple sales of guns to individuals in five-day spans.  One of the new city laws would limit handgun sales to one a month. "I think you have to use common sense and your own moral decency to say: Why would I continue selling this person weapons?" Nutter asked about the multiple sales. "It's clear that they probably are not using it for their own protection. How many guns do you need?"

Nutter stopped short of accusing the shops of purposely helping customers make "straw purchases," where guns are sold legally to those who can possess them and then re-sold on the streets to people who can't legally possess them.  But still Nutter was hitting hard at the gun shops. "They stepped up big and bad, wanting to file a lawsuit," Nutter said. "If you file a lawsuit, be prepared to take some coming back at you. The facts are the facts. I don't need to accuse them of anything. The data lays out what they're about and what they do. They need to be held accountable."

Common Pleas Court Judge Jane Cutler Greenspan is about to reconvene a hearing in City Hall on the NRA's request for a permanent injunction to keep the five gun control laws from being enforced.  From the way Greenspan spoke during a hearing yesterday, it seems likely that the NRA is going to get it's way.  But that may be fine with the city, which is hoping to take the case to a higher court on appeal. City Solicitor Shelley Smith this morning seemed almost eager: "Certainly if she intends to grant the permanent injunction, we would prefer that she did it sooner rather than later."  The city will have 30 days to appeal but Smith said she'd be ready to go in a week to 10 days.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 20, 2008, 1:13 PM
Rain boots prompt wisecracks.

Wrapping up a press conference at Police headquarters this morning, Mayor Nutter couldn't resist poking a little fun at City Solicitor Shelley Smith, who dressed for the inclement weather in a pair of bright yellow high rubber boots.  With a yellow sweater to match, Smith had a certain rubber ducky theme going on. 

Nutter used WPVI-Channel 6 reporter Vernon Odom to crack a joke, saying AccuWeather reports on the longtime journalist's televised newscast had prompted Smith to prepare for "monsoon activity."

Without missing a beat, Odom told the crowd: "Actually, I wear boots to a lot of his press conferences."  The wisecrack seemed to hang in the air for a moment before the room exploded with laughter. "I usually put mine on after I see your newscast," Nutter responded to Odom, who has known the new mayor for three decades.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 20, 2008, 10:13 AM
The city and NRA will face off today on local gun control laws.

Four cops were fired for beating three men during a car stop several weeks ago. Elmer Smith says police and protesters are upset. Ronnie Polaneczky praises Mayor Nutter for holding them to high standards.

U.S. Reps Chaka Fattah and Patrick Murphy support security guards in their effort to unionize.

POSTED: Monday, May 19, 2008, 3:49 PM
Jessica Griffin/Daily News

A Philadelphia Common Pleas judge this morning ordered attorneys for the city and the National Rifle Association to condense into writing by tomorrow morning what might have been testimony for a two- or three-day evidentiary hearing this week in the battle over five local gun control laws enacted last month. Judge Jane Cutler Greenspan, who last month issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the city from enforcing the new laws, will resume the hearing tomorrow afternoon at City Hall. 

The NRA, representing its members, two firearm organizations, two gun shops and four firearm owners, says the state Supreme Court ruled in 1996 that only the state can regulate firearms.  The city counters that it is attempting only to regulate illegal gun possession, not lawful gun ownership.  The laws limit handgun purchases to one a month, make it a crime to not report a lost or stolen gun within 48 hours, allow police to confiscate guns with a judge's approval from people considered a danger to themselves or others, prohibit gun possession by people subject to protection from abuse orders, and ban semiautomatic weapons with clips that hold 10 or more rounds.

The NRA has asked Greenspan to issue a permanent injunction to prevent the city from enforcing the laws.  Greenspan seemed at times to agree with the argument that only the state has the power to regulate firearms, calling it "plain as day" at one point. "Your claim has to go to the state," Greenspan told city lawyers. "That's where you need to make your case." The city seems eager to take the case to a higher court, which could set up a re-argument of the 1996 ruling.

POSTED: Monday, May 19, 2008, 12:23 PM
The Inky reports that contractor Donald "Gus" Dougherty has pleaded guilty in federal court to a plan to not invoice union leader John Dougherty for the full cost of renovations to his home. (The two are not related.).

Check out the report for all the details. John Dougherty's spokesman Frank Keel sent us a statement, which read in part:

"Today, Donald Dougherty did what he believed was in his and his family’s best interests.  His plea agreement validates what we’ve been saying all along: that John Dougherty did nothing wrong and had no knowledge of Donald Dougherty’s plans or activities, either on the two remaining counts against Donald or the ninety-eight other counts to which he previously pleaded guilty. John never agreed or intended that he would get a deal or not pay anything other than fair market value for this job."

POSTED: Monday, May 19, 2008, 11:31 AM
School District lawyers are pulling in big bucks.

The Fraternal Order of Police is mad at a judge who reportedly praised two robbery defendants for not using firearms.

Mayor Nutter and Police Commissioner Ramsey are today announcing the results of an internal investigation into the police beating of three men.

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 brennac@phillynews.com
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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 dehuffj@phillynews.com
 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 walshSE@phillynews.com
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