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Archive: May, 2012

POSTED: Thursday, May 31, 2012, 7:05 PM

In her honor, City Council yesterday renamed the Criminal Justice Center after the late Justice Juanita Kidd Stout.

Stout was the first African-American woman elected to a court of record in the U.S., the first to sit on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and the first appointed to the state Supreme Court.

The bill passed 16-0, Councilman Bill Green was absent. The renaming followed years of political haggling. The new name of the Criminal Justice Center on Filbert Street near 13th will be the “Justice Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice.”

POSTED: Thursday, May 31, 2012, 5:09 PM

This property tax debate is getting really nasty.

Mayor Nutter today held a press conference with State Sen. Tony Williams, calling on state lawmakers to support enabling legislation he needs for his property tax plan, known as the Actual Value Initiative (AVI), which would calculate tax bills using properties’ market values. Both pols said the city needs AVI to happen, both to make the property tax system more equitable and to get the $94 million in additional revenue Nutter wants for the schools.

But Williams mostly used the platform to hammer Philadelphia elected officials for not uniformly supporting AVI.

POSTED: Thursday, May 31, 2012, 2:50 PM

Next week the budget process is sure to heat-up as City Council mulls over a number of proposals to raise money for the cash-strapped school district.

Today Clarke said a majority of Council members are interested in raising money for the schools the question remains as to how. Council must pass a budget by June 30.

“I believe there will be additional funding for the school district, how much and in what manner it’s not clear yet,” Clarke said. “Next week I believe that all of the action and legislation before us will start to crystallize into a single budget. This is a very complicated process.”

POSTED: Thursday, May 31, 2012, 1:10 PM

Cheers turned to boos and back to cheers again in City Council today.

Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez sponsored a resolution calling for the School Reform Commission to find a way to prevent the layoffs of 2,700 school district employees and establish a fair contract with blue-collar union SEIU local 32BJ. The resloution also calls for the state to restore critical funding.

The resolution was set to be approved by City Council today, but Quinones-Sanchez wanted to hold the resolution for another week to allow school employees to continue to speak about the issue, but they demanded it be approved.

POSTED: Thursday, May 31, 2012, 10:47 AM

The New York Times reports today that Mayor Bloomberg plans to ban the sale of large sodas and sugar-sweetened drinks at movie theaters and restaurants.

From the story:

The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.

POSTED: Thursday, May 31, 2012, 8:24 AM

The Inspector General's Office is trying to figure out why the cash-strapped School District of Philadelphia gave nearly $150,000 to a non-profit that's run by an ex-con.

Friends and family want to know what happened to a local young mother, Franchesca Alvarado.

City Council is cobbling together a tax relief plan for residents in gentrified neighborhoods.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 2:50 PM

Attention Mayor Nutter: State Rep. Rosita Youngblood would appreciate a phone call.

At a hearing today in Philadelphia, Youngblood unleashed an angry tirade on members of the Nutter administration, complaining that the mayor never talks to her on casino issues, even though she is the Democratic chairwoman of the House Gaming Oversight Committee.

"The mayor doesn't talk to me for gaming oversight," Youngblood said. "Stop telling us who the mayor talks to because he doesn't talk to us in Harrisburg!"

POSTED: Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 2:42 PM

UPDATED: This post has been updated to reflect additional comment from the Nutter administration.

This property tax debate just keeps getting stickier and stickier.

State Rep. Mike O'Brien today tried to throw another wrench in the complex debate over Mayor Nutter's proposal to move to a property tax system based on market values and to collect an additional $94 million for schools.

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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