Archive: December, 2008
Catherine LuceyDistrict Attorney Lynn Abraham said today that she's interested in running for U.S. Senate as a Democrat in 2010 if television host Chris Matthews decides not to run.
CBS-3 reports that Abraham made the remarks at a press conference today. Check out their report here.
Matthews, who hosts Hardball on MSNBC, is rumored to be considering a run for the senate seat, currently held by Republican Arlen Specter.
Mayor Nutter said today that the court ruling to keep 11 libraries open could damage his plans to lease the buildings to private or non-profit operators.
"This really runs the risk of significantly hampering our efforts to get the reuse plans in order," Nutter said, noting that the ruling has "caused confusion with potential funders."
On Monday Nutter announced plans to lease the 11 libraries -- which are slated for closure due to budget cuts -- to private foundations, non-profits or community groups, who would run them as "knowledge centers." But yesterday Court of Common Pleas Judge Idee Fox ruled that Nutter could not close the branches without first getting City Council approval.
... and PhillyClout feels fine. Turning to today's newspaper:
A group of library patrons and a trio of City Council members win a big battle in the war on library branch closures.
City Controller Alan Butkovitz warms up some leftover ideas on how to save the city some money.
Shortly after 10 a.m. today, Mayor Nutter took the first official call into the new 3-1-1 non-emergency call line, formally kicking off the long awaited service in Philadelphia -- and providing recycling information to a curious resident.
"We promised you at the begininning of this year that we'd have 3-1-1 up and running by the end of the year," Nutter said during a press conference. "Now all Philadelphians only need one number."
Nutter said all non-emergency calls -- whether it's an inquiry about your trash day or a request to fill a pothole -- should now be made to 3-1-1. The 3-1-1 service will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via telephone. Or citizens can use a walk-in center located in room 167 in City Hall.
Here's the formal statement, just released by the press office. We bolded sections for effect.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mayor's Statement on Today's Court Ruling on Library Closures
Mayor Nutter doesn't seem too happy about Judge Idee Fox's ruling that the city cannot close 11 library branches as of 5 p.m. tomorrow without getting City Council approval.
Nutter called the ruling -- which references a section of the Philadelphia Code that states city buildings cannot be closed without Council approval -- a "complete violation of the fundamental tenants of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter."
"The law department is reviewing exactly what the judge said and what we'll do," Nutter said, adding that he expects to appeal.
City Solicitor Shelley Smith just told PhillyClout that her department will file an appeal of the order just issued by Common Pleas Court Judge Idee Fox that put an immediate stop to Mayor Nutter's plan to close 11 library branches as of 5 p.m. tomorrow. The closures were part of Nutter's plan to close a $1 billion-plus gap in the city's five-year financial plan.
"The city needs to appeal this ASAP because of the finances," Smith said. "The city needs to appeal this because of the principle."
At issue is section 16-203 of the Philadelphia Code, passed by Council over then-Mayor W. Wilson Goode Sr.'s objections, which requires the mayor to get Council approval before closing any city buildings. A Common Pleas Court judge in 1988 ruled that the new law violated the city Charter. Council appealed and a Commonwealth Court judge returned the case to the lower court, where it didn't go any further.
This just in from Chris Brennan at 1:15 p.m.:
Court of Common Pleas Judge Idee Fox just ordered Mayor Nutter and the Free Library of Philadelphia to halt their plans to shutter 11 branch libraries after 5 p.m. tomorrow.
A group of seven library patrons, along with the union that represents librarians, sued Nutter and the Free Library, saying that a 20-year-old ordinance prohibits the mayor from closing city buildings without approval by City Council. Three Council members — Bill Green, Jannie Blackwell and Jack Kelly — filed a similar lawsuit.