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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: February, 2012

POSTED: Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 5:43 PM

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court this afternoon ordered state House Speaker Sam Smith to schedule special elections for six vacant House seats, including three in Philadelphia, on April 24, the same day as the primary election.  The court's 4-to-3 ruling comes in response to a petition filed Feb. 17 by local attorney Kevin Greenberg, who was representing 11 voters from those House districts.

The election calendar was thrown into flux last month when the Supreme Court tossed out the reapportionment plan approved in December by the General Assembly. The lines for state House and Senate districts are redrawn every 10 years based on the latest census information.  The state Legislative Reapportionment Commission has not produced a new version of the plan.  Smith had wanted to wait until the new plan was approved before setting special elections.

"A new reapportionment plan, once final, takes effect at the next ensuing primary and general election; it does not operate retroactively to remake the districts of the House members for the remainders of their terms; it simply does not disrupt existing terms," the court ruled.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 12:49 PM

It’s that time of the year again…budget season!

City Council announced it will hold its first budget hearing at St. John’s AME Church on 71st street near Yocum, in the 2nd Councilmanic District on Wednesday, March 14 at 6 p.m. Council plans to have more budget hearings in the community.

"I look forward to beginning this year's budget process hearing from the people our decisions directly affect, the citizens of Philadelphia," Council President Darrell Clarke said today in a statement. “The added perspective these neighborhood hearings provide will be extremely valuable as we move through the 2013 budget schedule.  I strongly encourage all constituents to take this opportunity to participate in their government."

POSTED: Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 11:54 AM

Former Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Jimmie Moore announced he’s bowing out of the race for U.S. Rep. Bob Brady’s 1st Congressional District just roughly a month before the April 24 Democratic primary election.

"Today, I, Judge Jimmie Moore, after giving full consideration in an effort to unify the Philadelphia Democratic Party, have decided to withdraw my candidacy for the United States House of Representatives for the First Congressional District, Pennsylvania," he said in a statement.

“Judge Moore has made a selfless decision to withdraw his candidacy in the best interest of the unity of the Democratic Party in Philadelphia,” Brady said in a statement. “Judge Moore has been a tireless jurist on the Municipal Court and I commend his efforts with the Second Chance community. He is a loyal Democrat and a c ommunity advocate. I look forward to working with him to improve the quality of life for citizens of the First Congressional District and the Greater Philadelphia area.”

POSTED: Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 10:34 AM

The Fraternal Order of Police took shots yesterday at Kathleen Kane, a candidate for attorney general.

In the Republican race for president, Mitt Romney has two wins under his belt and next is…Super Tuesday.

Good news folks, no new tax hikes.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 4:35 PM

Forget the rent.

A large number of Philadelphians would be charter members of the "City Taxes Are Too Damn High" party, according to a poll that was released earlier today from the Pew Charitable Trusts' Philadelphia Research Initiative. 

This bit of late afternoon news is for any city resident who also feels that his taxes are too high: Mayor Nutter doesn't plan to include new tax increases in his fiscal year 2013 budget, which will be unveiled next week.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 12:29 PM
Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy (Getty Images)

The Fraternal Order of Police's Lodge 5 in Philadelphia endorsed former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy this morning for state Attorney General in the April 24 Democratic primary election in an event that made clear a nasty three-person* race is ahead for the next eight weeks.  Union president John McNesby predicted a campaign season of innuendo and mud-slinging while taking a shot at Kathleen Kane of Clarks Summit, Murphy's primary rival.

"Pat's record of telling the truth is what we go by," McNesby said when asked about Kane's campaign bringing up today Murphy's past support in Congress for legislation opposed by gun-control groups. "Candidate Kane, she doesn't even know where Broad Street is in the city of Philadelphia."

District Attorney Seth Williams, who endorsed Murphy last June, dismissed as a "bullshit argument" Kane's recent focus on Murphy's lack of courtroom experience in Pennsylvania. The Associated Press last month reported that Murphy passed the bar exam in Minnesota rather than Pennsylvania but was later admitted in this state to practice law. 

POSTED: Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 10:34 AM

A Pew Charitable Trusts poll released this morning found that city residents are concerned about how much they pay in local taxes but would pay more in return for better city services.  Forty-nine percent of those polled said they favor higher taxes for more services while 42 percent wanted to reduce taxes and have fewer services.

When asked about the city's tax burden, 40 percent called it very serious, 30 percent called it somewhat serious and 26 percent called it not very serious.

A majority, 56 percent, favor the idea of commercial advertising at City Hall and other municipal properties to raise money while 34 percent oppose that.  The residents polled were split on the idea of taxing sugary drinks like soda to raise money -- 32 percent favor the idea strongly, 14 percent favor it but not strongly, 16 percent oppose it but not strongly and 33 percent strongly oppose it.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 9:09 AM

Will Bunch tries to conjure up what life in America would be like if former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum became president next January.  To make his point, Bunch digs up some of the political thoughts Santorum has expressed over the years.

A retired Philadelphia police officer and his son face charges for what the state Attorney General's Office calls an illegal gun sale.

Another retired Philadelphia police officer is ordered by a judge to stay away from the man he is accused of threatening over an unpaid debt.

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
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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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