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Archive: April, 2013

POSTED: Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 10:57 AM

If Gov. Corbett learned anything from his 2010 campaign, it should have been the perils of anecdotal claims about Pennsylvania's unemployed residents.  But there was Corbett Monday, explaining during his monthly "Ask The Governor" show at why the state is lagging in job growth.

“There are many employers who say, look, we’re looking for people but we can’t find anybody that has passed a drug test, a lot of them," Corbett said. "And that’s a concern for me because we’re having a serious problem with that.”

Corbett didn't cite any sources or name any employers passing along this troubling information.  And that had a familiar ring to it. Corbett, as the Republican nominee for governor, said three times in July 2010 that employers had complained to him about potential hires who preferred staying on unemployment to taking new jobs.

POSTED: Monday, April 29, 2013, 4:47 PM

Mayor Nutter on Monday appointed Julia Chapman, legislative director for the first two years of his administration, to chair the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Chapman, Nutter's longtime chief of staff during his City Council days, will replace Lynette Brown-Sow, who became chairwoman of the Philadelphia Housing Authority on Friday. 

“Throughout my many years of public service, I have been keenly aware of the critical role the Zoning Board of Adjustment plays in balancing neighborhood preservation and the economic growth of the City while insuring the integrity of the zoning code,” Chapman said in a statement.

POSTED: Monday, April 29, 2013, 1:21 PM

The Philadelphia Bar Association has released the full results from its Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention for the May 21 primary election.  There are six seats open on Philadelphia's Court of Common Pleas and three seats available on Municipal Court.

The Bar Association recommends for the Court of Common Pleas: Giovanni Campbell, Derrick W. Coker, Anne Marie Coyle, James C. Crumlish, Joe Fernandes, Vince Giusini, Daine A. Grey, Jr., Timika Lane, Daniel D. McCaffery, Kenneth J. Powell, Jr., Stephanie M. Sawyer, Katie Scrivner.

The Bar Association does not recommend for the Court of Common Pleas: Frank Bennett , Deborah D. Cianfrani, Conor Corcoran, Leon A. King, II, Rania Major, Jon Marshall, John J. O'Connor, Jr., Tracy B. Roman, Sean P. Stevens, Sierra Thomas Street, Dawn M. Tancredi.

POSTED: Monday, April 29, 2013, 11:14 AM
After 100 days on the job, Philadelphia School District superintendent Bill Hite talks with reporter in his office January 2, 2013 ( TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer )

The school district's financial woes continue as it faces a $304 million shortfall and officials voted recently to shutter 24 schools. 

"A $304 million shorfall presents cold, harsh scenarios: Schools with no assistant principals or administrative assistants, no guidance counselors, librarians, music teachers or school-based instructional aides, no athletics, extracurricular activities and summer programming," Schools Superintendent William Hite told City Council during a budget presentation today. "If this budget scenario comes to pass, then the activites that enrich their talents, interests and lives would disappear, and there would be fewer adults to help them navigate their childhood years with an eye towards the future."

Hite said the school district's budget crisis is real. School officials are seeking $60 million from the city and $120 million from the state. Council members have said the request comes at a tough time when the city is moving to a new property-tax system, the Actual Value Initiative. Not to mention the city has provided the schools with additional money for the last three years.

POSTED: Monday, April 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
Tom Corbett

Pennsylvania's registered voters continue to cast doubt on Gov. Corbett's ability to win a second term in 2014.  But Corbett's potential Democratic foes are little known, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this morning.

Nearly three out of five -- 59 percent -- of the 1,235 registered voters polled from April 19 to April 24 didn't know enough about the Democrats to offer an opinion.  U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Montgomery County and former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak of Delaware County each drew 15 percent when the voters were asked which candidate they would vote for in the Democratic primary election. State Treasurer Rob McCord got just 3 percent.

But the poll found those three Democrats with healthy leads over Corbett, who is particularly unpopular with female and independent voters.  The poll found 50 percent said Corbett should not win a second term while 32 percent support him for another four years in office.

POSTED: Friday, April 26, 2013, 7:22 PM

The Office of Property Assessment released its methodology today, explaining in an online presentation how it arrived to the new assessments under the Actual Value Initiative.

OPA even included the much requested "formula" which is Market Value = Constant * B1 ^ X1 * X ^ LN (B2)... enough to make anyone's head spin.

OPA spent two years reassessing properties, by analyzing sales, conducting field inspections and creating valuation models. Under AVI some property owners will see their tax bills decrease while others will see large spikes. Elected officials and community groups began requesting the "formula" and criteria used to reassess properties several weeks ago and some have called into question the accuracy of the assessments.

POSTED: Thursday, April 25, 2013, 3:34 PM
Tom Knox. (David Swanson / Staff Photographer, File)

Tom Knox, a wealthy businessman who finished second in the 2007 Democratic primary election for mayor, today announced that he has filed paperwork to again seek that office in 2015.  Knox, in a news release, said he may hold "a formal launch of his mayoral candidacy as early as next month.

The likely reaction from Philadelphia's political community to all this?  They'll believe it when they see it.

Consider this time-line: Knox ran briefly for governor in late 2009 and early 2010 and then dropped out of the race.  Then he flirted publicly for months with a run for mayor in 2011 as a Democrat or as an independent.  In February, Knox announced that he was considering another run for governor but was looking at "other opportunities." Three weeks ago, Knox said he would not run for governor but might run for mayor in 2015.

POSTED: Thursday, April 25, 2013, 1:07 PM

City Council approved a bill that would require among other things that newly constructed or renovated city-owned buildings have gender-neutral bathrooms.

The bill, sponsored by Councilman Jim Kenney which has been lauded by the LGBT community passed 14-3 with nay votes from Councilmen Brian O'Neill, David Oh and Bill Green.  

The bill would also provide tax credits for companies that offer healthcare for life partners, their children and transgender medical needs. Kenney's bill would make online city forms gender-neutral and establish transgender health benefits for city employees to cover psychotherapy, hormone treatment, laser hair removal and gender confirmation surgery.

About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to
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