Archive: October, 2009
It looks like Mayor Nutter won’t get his way on a pension measure he hoped would help him in contract negotiations with city unions.
Tomorrow is the deadline for the city to enter a state recovery program that would require the administration to set up a lower cost pension plan for new hires.
But to enter the program, City Council must pass a resolution pledging to create a lower cost pension plan for new city hires. Council has balked at the request from the mayor to do so and no member would even introduce a resolution.
Gov. Rendell just urged the Transport Workers Union, Local 234, to drop the threat of a strike this weekend if it is still making progress with SEPTA in negotiations for a new contract. Rendell said a strike while national attention is focused on the World Series games being played here by the Phillies and Yankees would be "a little bit of black eye" for the city but produce no real gains for the union since the series shifts back to New York City -- if necessary -- next week.
"This is a great opportunity for the city to shine in these next three days," Rendell said of the series, with games scheduled at Citizens Bank Park tomorrow, Sunday and Monday. "It's not like the union can get leverage by doing this because the leverage goes away in three days. By the time the weekend is over, the leverage is gone. All they do is give the city a little bit of a black eye."
Rendell said he has not been asked to intervene in the contract dispute but would be happy to do so if asked. Here's a run-down of what SEPTA services would be impacted by a TWU Local 234 strike.
Here's the press release:
Friday, October 30, 2009 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA DECLARES PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY
Gov. Rendell sporting a Yankees skirt? He doesn't think so.
After more than two decades, Pat's Steaks wit sidewalk seating is going legal.
The Yankees are coming to town. Can a transit strike be far behind?
Who should be collecting back real estate taxes on behalf of the city?
Councilwoman Marian Tasco raised that issue today in Council with a blistering speech criticizing the Nutter administration for allowing a New Jersey based collection agency to pursue delinquent property taxes. Tasco said a Center City law firm hired by the city to collect some taxes has sub-contracted with the New Jersey firm XSPAND, which she says uses predatory lending tactics.
“I am so angry I can hardly speak,” Tasco said. “I want to know from our City Solicitor why this transaction was allowed.”
Looks like City Council and the administration are close to revising the $500 trash fee for small businesses, included in the Mayor's budget this year.
Councilman Frank DiCicco today introduced legislation that would reduce the fee to $150 and include small apartment buildings among those taxed. Currently, the bill says it would cover landlords with six or more units in a building, but DiCicco said ultimately he'd like to revise the bill to include landlords with two or three units.
If all those landlords are included, DiCicco said about 47,000 entities will be taxed, which should capture the $7 million that the original tax was expected to raise annually.
There have been all sorts of political bets this week on the outcome of the Phillies-Yankees World Series but U.S. Rep. Bob Brady's ranks as the strangest. Brady's staff just called PhillyClout to let us know that he has offered to shave his head of thick hair in the unlikely event of a Yankees victory. TMZ.com broke the news after catching up with Brady with a video camera in Washington D.C. Brady's fall-back bet was to offer up a Mohawk hair-do.
"Nobody would shave their heads with me," Brady said of New York's congressional delegation. "None of them New York people had any guts."
Well U.S. Rep. John Hall, a New York Democrat, apparently found the nerve. TMZ.com reports that Hall has agreed to shave his head if the Yankees can't prevent the Phillies from repeating as World Series champs. Wow. Way to go, Congressman. Hall, by the way, is bald.
Today, City Council literally sent in the clowns.
Councilman Curtis Jones this morning brought a clown to Council to be honored with a resolution.
The entertainer, who goes by the name Onionhead, is part of the Universoul Circus, which is currently doing shows in Fairmount Park. He was wearing giant shoes, a floppy tie and full sad face makeup.