Archive: June, 2009
This is coming up this afternoon:
MAYOR NUTTER, PHILADELPHIA YOUTH NETWORK TO ANNOUNCE SUMMER JOBS FOR YOUTH
FUNDED BY RECOVERY ACT
WHO: Mayor Michael A. Nutter
Kenneth Lawrence, Temple University Senior Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs
Stacy Holland, Co-President of the Philadelphia Youth Network
John Baer suggests the top 10 reasons why the state General Assembly should quickly pass the budget and get out of Harrisburg for the summer.
Common Cause, a Harrisburg government watchdog group, wants state legislators to voluntarily disclose campaign contributions from the gaming industry while considering two bills to expand gambling in Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia School District Superintendent Arlene Ackerman is looking for major changes in contract negotiations with the teachers union.
Watchdog group the Committee of Seventy today released the second installment in their informational series about the city budget. They're calling the series of Q&A stories, "The Long Hot Summer."
You can read part two -- which focuses on city labor contracts -- here.
You may remember that back on the campaign trail, Mayor Nutter made a promise about crime statistics. He pledged that if elected mayor, he would not run for re-election, if the murder rate in 2010 was not below 288.
Nutter made that promise at a mayoral forum in early 2007, not long after the city racked up 405 murders in 2006. But the rate has been steadily declining since 2006. So far this year, there have been 137 homicides, according to the Philadelphia police website. That’s down 12 percent from this point last year.
If the city remains 12 percent below 2008 – when there were 332 homicides – then, by our math, this year’s murder rate would come in at about 265.
With contracts for the four municipal unions due to expire one week from today, the Pew Charitable Trusts is planning to release this week an updated version of a study released with the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia in January 2008, warning about the rising costs of employee benefits for those unions. That report, entitled "Philadelphia's Quiet Crisis," riled union leaders, especially District Council 47 and Local 22 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. Those unions attacked the report in the Daily News, denying that there was a crisis and calling the research "fatally flawed." Pew said the city needed to reign in benefits or they would consume 28 percent of the city's annual budget by 2012.
District Council 47 isn't waiting for the updated report to attack it. Bob Bedard, a union spokesman, sent out a long e-mail Sunday complaining about inaccurate information he said the union found in a partial draft of the report supplied by Pew for fact-checking. Bedard also complained about the timing of the updated report, coming out so close to the expiration of the contract. "It can only have the impact of coloring the discussion," Bedard told PhillyClout.
We asked if the timing might inform the discussion, since union benefits are expected to be an important topic during the current contract negotiations. Mayor Nutter is seeking $125 million in labor savings in the next five years. Bedard said he didn't want to guess at Pew's motives but again called the timing "suspect."
The deadline for the current PhillyClout contest is 6 p.m. tonight. For details on how to enter, click here.
Should the state regulate political robcalls? Some local residents are fed up.
The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is upset with the School District's contract proposals.
There are numerous scenarios for how the city budget could play out next week.
Contract talks resumed this morning between the city and AFSCME District Council 33, the union for blue-collar workers, after a break of more than a month. The contracts for the city's four municipal unions expire June 30.
But DC 33 President Pete Matthews said little had changed since their last meeting with the city.
"The city was asking for concessions," Matthews said after the two-hour session, adding that he is "absolutely not" making concessions.