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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: August, 2013

POSTED: Friday, August 30, 2013, 1:54 PM
Finance Director Rob Dubow (left), shown at a news conference with Mayor Nutter.

Top Nutter administrations officials will answer questions from city residents in two "telephone town hall meetings" on Philly's new property-tax system, the Actual Value Initiative, and tax-relief programs like the Homestead Exemption.

Finance Director Rob Dubow, Chief Assessment Officer Richie McKeithen and Revenue Commissioner Clarena Tolson will be on the calls: 

- 7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3 

POSTED: Thursday, August 29, 2013, 12:03 PM
Joan Krajewski seen in 2011 during a send-off for departing council members. (File photo)

Former City Councilwoman Joan Krajewski died this morning. She was 79.

Krajewski, the brawler, straight-shooter councilwoman represented the 6th District in the Northeast since 1979 before retiring two years ago.

She fought absentee landlords, sponsored "right-to-know" legislation and led the charge in efforts to address prison overpopulation.

POSTED: Thursday, August 29, 2013, 8:35 AM
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter held a press conference at Philadelphia City Hall to announce details of upcoming Labor Day weekend concert, Budweiser Made In America. Photograph from Tuesday, August 28, 2012. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ) (Philadelphia Daily News)

In a news release Wednesday the Nutter administration announced it will be moving ahead in partnership with the School District on a "more streamlined" plan to sell and repurpose shuttered school buildings.

The announcement, though rubbed some in City Council the wrong way. It comes two weeks after Mayor Nutter and Council president Darrell Clarke offered competing plans to get the district $50 million to ensure schools open on time.

Nutter wants Council to back Gov. Corbett's plan that would allow the city to borrow $50 million from an extension of the city's 1 percent sales tax to give to the schools.

POSTED: Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 3:59 PM
DROP has Frank DiCicco squirming on the barbie. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff photographer)

It was an intense budget season two years ago in June.

Mayor Nutter badly wanted City Council to approve his proposed 2-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks as part of a plan to raise $100 million for the struggling school district.

And for a brief moment there were nine votes for a 1-cent-per-ounce soda tax, then Councilman Frank DiCicco told PhillyClout. But, in a matter of moments it all fell apart, likely due in part to the soda industry's aggressive lobbying and Nutter's lack of support in Council.

POSTED: Monday, August 26, 2013, 1:39 PM
The Convention Center's size was almost doubled by a $786 million expansion. Center City hotels agreed to a boost in the hotel tax to help pay for the work. (DAVID M WARREN / Staff Photographer)

The Pennsylvania Convention Center hosted 226 events during this past fiscal year bringing in $728 million to the region.

The Center's economic impact included hotel tax revenue which was six percent higher than the previous fiscal year and nine percent higher than budget projections, according to the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority (PCCA).

"The Convention Center continues to be the number one driver of the region's hospitality industry," said Gregory J Fox, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority. "When the center hosts an event, attendees drive business at the region's hotels, restaurants, retailers  and attractions which helps to support more 88,000 regional jobs."

POSTED: Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 6:20 PM
Donatucci

Last month we reported that most elected officials --13 were keeping a 1.3 percent cost-of-living pay increase this year, but one elected official contacted us to say he has declined his.

Register of Wills Ronald Donatucci told us he wrote a $7,500 check to the city. We reported Donatucci as one of the elected officials that was keeping the raise. Donatucci, who was enrolled in the controversial Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), said he made a committment when he ran for reelection last year to return some of that money to the city over the next four years.

We also reported that Mayor Nutter and 10 others declined the pay increase.

POSTED: Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 2:24 PM
Federal agents remove boxes of evidence from K&O Sporting Goods in South Philly in August, 2010. (Ed Hille / Staff Photographer)

Mark Olkowski, business partner to state Rep. Bill Keller of South Philly, was sentenced today to three months in federal prison for filing false taxes and unemployment claims.

Olkowski, who runs K&O Sporting Goods with Keller, pleaded guilty in April to 19 counts, including $148,078 in unreported income and $16,046 in bogus unemployment claims.  K&O prints t-shirts and other items for labor unions and political campaigns.

Keller's former chief of staff, Lorraine Dispaldo, is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 16 for unrelated financial crimes. 

POSTED: Thursday, August 15, 2013, 11:18 AM

Just trust us. We'll get you the money. 

That appears to be the message from Mayor Nutter and Council President Darrell Clarke when it comes to findingthe $50 million the School District says it needs to open schools on time Sept. 9. 

With one day to go before Superintendent William Hite's deadline for city leaders to show the dough, Nutter and Council continue to push divergent plans - both of which may require the other's approval. But both men say the district should plan to open schools as if the $50 million was a sure thing. 

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
 Follow Chris on Twitter

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
 Follow Jenny on Twitter.

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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