Friday, April 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 9:29 AM
Work was canceled for some employees today, Wednesday, April 16, 2014, because of elevator problems at the city office building at Arch Street and the Ben Franklin Parkway. (Photo/Google)

The 18-story city office building at the foot of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, formerly the local headquarters for Bell Telephone, will be closed through the weekend as contractors try to repair the building's elevators, damaged by water from a broken pipe.

Mayor Nutter said Wednesday that the 1,900 workers assigned to various departments inside the building should check with their supervisers to see if they should report to alternate work locations for essential services on Thursday. The building was already to be closed Friday because of a city holiday.

The building houses the city's Department of Human Services, Law Department, Parks & Recreation, Planning Commission, Commerce Department, the city Board of Ethics and the Philadelphia film office, among other agencies.

POSTED: Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 4:36 PM

A  fight over Democratic leadership of South Philadelphia’s 36th ward is on again. A Commonwealth Court judge issued a ruling Tuesday reinstating petition challenges against 27 candidates for Democratic committeeman,  generally allied with longtime ward leader Anna C. Verna, the former City Council president.

Developer Ori Feibush had organized the challenges, claiming the neighborhoods would benefit from new, more independent leadership.

 Common Pleas Court Judge Charles J. Cunningham initially threw out 37 challenges on technical grounds ­– 27 because copies of the relevant voter signature petitions had not been attached to the legal paperwork, 10 others because of late notice to the candidates.

POSTED: Monday, April 14, 2014, 1:20 PM

T. Milton Street Sr., who managed to snag 24 percent of the Democratic vote from Mayor Nutter in 2011 despite having just finished a federal prison sentence, said on his Facebook page Sunday that he intends to run for mayor again in 2015.

His post was accompanied by a picture of the Bartram High School “conflict resolution specialist” who was knocked unconscious by a student in March. Street, who attended a meeting at Bartram last week to discuss violence in the school, said he had organized the “414 community movement to stop the violence.”

He said he would make a formal announcement of his candidacy and describe the 414 community movement “in detail” after the May primary.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 6:08 PM

City Commissioner Stephanie Singer doesn’t think the schedule City Council set for budget hearings is respectful of the Jewish holiday Passover.

The city commissioners, who oversee elections in Philadelphia, are scheduled to testify in a budget hearing before Council on April 14, which happens to be the start of Passover. Singer said she planned to observe the holiday with her family in Washington D.C., and she “assumed it would be easy” to get the hearing moved.

But, she said in an e-mail sent Wednesday from her campaign account, “Council President Darrell Clarke has explicitly refused to accommodate my religious tradition.”

POSTED: Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 3:34 PM

Philadelphia Phuture PAC, one of the numerous political action committees funded by the city electricians union, IBEW Local 98, has agreed to pay a $1,000 fine for failing to make a timely disclosure of $17,975 worth of printing to promote various candidates in the 2013 Democratic primary election.

The PAC had ordered an assortment of flyers, bullet ballots, sample ballots and door hangers from Strassheim Graphic Design.  The material was distributed on Election Day by Concerned Irish Americans, another of Local 98’s satellite PACs.

 The $17,975 printing bill was eventually paid by Philadelphia Phuture in September 2013, but it should have been reported immediately, before the election, and listed as a debt to Strassheim when the PAC filed its post-election report in June,   the city Board of Ethics said in a settlement agreement released Wednesday.

POSTED: Monday, March 31, 2014, 3:49 PM
State Rep. Pamela DeLissio, whose district includes Roxborough, Manayunk and East Falls, has survived a residency challenge, based on her ownership of a suburban Harrisburg property where she had registered her car and claimed a homestead exemption. (PA House)

State Rep. Pamela DeLissio, whose district includes Roxborough, Manayunk and East Falls, has survived a residency challenge, based on her ownership of a suburban Harrisburg property where she had registered her car and claimed a homestead exemption.

Commonwealth Court Senior Judge Rochelle S. Friedman ruled Monday that while DeLissio used the Harrisburg property to ease her commuting while working in the Capitol, and took advantage of it to save money on her auto insurance, the evidence was insufficient to prove that she had changed her stated domicile in Roxborough, the base for her legislative seat.

“Candidate credibly testified that the Philadelphia property has been her permanent residence since 1997 and is the place to which she returns when she is not working in Harrisburg,” the judge said in a six-page opinion, noting that DeLissio’s voting address, family, doctors, bank and credit card statements and home garden remained in Philadelphia even after she bought the Harrisburg property in 2006.

POSTED: Thursday, March 27, 2014, 1:24 PM
An employee exhales vapor from a V-Revolution e-cigarette inside the company's store in London.

City Council unanimously passed two bills Thursday to add electronic cigarettes to the Philadelphia’s public indoor smoking ban and to forbid the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

If Mayor Nutter signs the bills, Philadelphia would join a growing number of cities and states that have taken action to regulate e-cigarettes, even while studies and debate over the products continue.

The sponsor of the bills, Councilman William K. Greenlee, said enough respected health officials have raised concerns that he thought action was warranted.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 6:03 PM

State Rep. Pamela DeLissio made arrangements this week to double her bill for auto insurance – not to get better coverage, but to move her drivers’ license, registration and insurance to her house in Roxborough, instead of the house in Harrisburg where PennDOT had her registered since 2007.

The new arrangements were provoked by a legal dispute over DeLissio’s residency, now pending in Commonwealth Court and threatening her bid for re-election to a third term.

 Though DeLissio has owned her Roxborough home since 1997 and has always considered it “home,” she testified Wednesday, she bought a house in Harrisburg in late 2006 while running a business there, and filed tax returns from the address from 2007 through 2010. She continued to use her Roxborough address for her voter registration, bank accounts, credit cards, weekends, family dinners and gardening, won election to the state House from Roxborough's district in 2010 and resumed filing taxes from Roxborough in 2011.   

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The Philadelphia Inquirer's Troy Graham and Bob Warner and Claudia Vargas take you inside Philadelphia's City Hall.

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