Archive: January, 2013
Former State Sen. Vincent Fumo, 69, was recovering Thursday from bypass surgery in Kentucky, sources said.
Fumo, who has been serving a 5-year sentence in federal prison stemming from charges that he defrauded the Pennsylvania Senate and a nonprofit, is expected to leave the hospital and return to his Ashland, Ky., prison early next week.
Doctors had discovered three blockages during an exam. Sources said the surgery went well
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The bike race is back on.
Although Bob Brady has not yet publicly identified financial backers, the congressman on Thursday said he had formed a nonprofit to organize a race he is calling the Philly Cycling Classic, to be held on June 2, the date previously reserved for the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship. That race was cancelled in January when organizers could not find a sponsor.
Brady, who prides himself on preserving events such as the Mummers Parade and the Dad Vail Regatta that he says define Philadelphia, immediately began seeking ways to save the bike race, best known for its climb up Manayunk’s Levering Streets and Lyceum Avenue, a section of the course known as the wall.
“As long as there is a wall in Manayunk there will be a world class cycling event in Philadelphia," Brady said.
The Republican floor leader of the state Senate, Dominic Pileggi of Delaware County, said the Traffic Court indictments boosted his resolve to pass legislation abolishing the court.
“They confirm my opinion that the Traffic Court is not an institution that has any reason to continue to exist,” Pileggi told reporters in a conference call. “They accelerate the urgency of enacting the reforms that I proposed.”
Since proposing the court’s abolition three weeks ago, Pileggi said, he had yet to hear from a single state lawmaker or other public official defending the court.
“I would have expected at least a handful of people who would have tried to present some defense of the status quo,” Pileggi said. “I’m pleased with that, because I think the status quo is indefensible.”
Some of City Council’s Democratic members are maneuvering to strip City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown of her leadership position as Council’s majority whip, in reaction to a Board of Ethics investigation that found she had used $4,700 in campaign contributions for personal expenses, among scores of other offenses.
Sources said Brown had warned her colleagues in advance that the Ethics Board was investigating the financing of her 2011 campaign, but she had suggested the probe focused on bookkeeping problems. Some Council members privately expressed amazement at the conduct detailed in the actual report, released Monday.
It revealed dozens of previous-unreported donations, running into tens of thousands of dollars, and her use of a fictitious expenditure to cover up the repayment of a personal $3,300 loan from Chaka Fattah Jr., the son of the West Philadelphia congressman. The campaign listed the $3,300 as a payment to a printing firm.
The Ethics Board levied a record penalty, $48,834 in fines and restitution, against Brown and her campaign committee, and set up detailed disclosure requirements to check on how Brown would come up with the money to pay off the fines.
Did you have problems voting during last year’s presidential election? If so, the Nutter administration wants to hear from you.
The city is investigating why higher-than-expected numbers of voters had to use provisional ballots Nov. 6.
If you want to tell you story, find out how here:
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA REQUESTS PUBLIC FEEDBACK ON ELECTION DAY VOTER EXPERIENCES
At first blush, Mayor Nutter isn't much of a sports fan.
He had a free box available at every professional sports event in the city in 2012, but the latest list of people who used the mayor's seats showed Nutter went to just nine contests all year - four 76ers games, three Eagles games, and one each for the Flyers and Phillies.
But the figures are wrong, according to spokesman Mark McDonald.
"People don't ask him for a ticket; they just let him in," McDonald said. "Then he goes up to the mayor's box and chums around with the folks who are there. It's a lot more than nine games, but not as many as he'd like."
State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams has created a new political action committee, Believe Again, viewed in political circles as a fund-raising vehicle to fuel an eventual run for mayor.
Williams, who ran for governor in 2010, has acknowledged he's considering the mayoral race, most recently in an interview with the Philadelphia Tribune, but he hasn't formally declared his candidacy.
The next Democratic primary for mayor won't be until May 2015.
Williams reportedly has been soliciting donations for Believe Again within the city's contribution limits – now $2,900 for individual donors and $11,500 for PACs, law firms, and other unincorporated businesses.
The owner of the Forum Theater has obtained a permit to demolish the Market Street property, according to records from the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections.
Theater owner Richard Basciano could not be reached for comment immediately but he has said that he wants to knock the property down as soon as possible as part of a plan to develop the 2100 and 2200 blocks of Market Street, where he owns multiple parcels.
The Forum, believed to be Center City’s last porn theater, for decades inhibited development in the area because other businesses did not want to locate near it.
After the demolition, the Forum will be a parking lot. Many obstacles stand in the way of developing the entire area, including the unwillingness of some property owners in those two blocks to sell what they own so that it can be developed.
We posted earlier this week about a city Ethics Board ruling that will allow a lawyer for City Council, Shoshana Bricklin, to circulate her own nominating petitions to run for judge, without giving up her job on City Council. As long as she doesn’t publicly announce her candidacy, the board said, she could stay on the Council payroll until she officially becomes a candidate by filing those petitions. Until then, she could be viewed as just “testing the waters” for a possible candidacy, the Ethics Board ruled.
Turns out, the situation is more complicated – and the ruling less significant – than we thought.
The City Charter’s resign-to-run requirement forces city employees to resign their jobs if they want to seek public office, and the standard for deciding whether someone is a candidate is two-pronged – either a public announcement that they’re running, or the filing of nominating petitions, whichever comes first. So Bricklin is not a candidate until she files – if she’s careful to tell the people signing her petitions that she’s just considering a run for judge, that she hasn’t yet made a decision.
But the Ethics Board’s executive director, Shane Creamer, called our attention to another set of regulations, interpreting another City Charter provision that says none of the city’s appointed officers or employees shall “take part in the management or affairs of any political party or in any political campaign, except to exercise his right as a citizen privately to express his opinion and to cast his vote.” This provision WOULD prohibit most city employees from circulating their own nominating petitions – but not City Council employees, who were exempted when the Ethics Board adopted political activity regulations in March 2011.
Former Democratic State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo was back at his Kentucky prison Friday after a visit to a nearby hospital to investigate three heart blockages discovered during a checkup.
Doctors have recommended that Fumo, 69, have heart bypass surgery to deal with one, in which an artery is 95 percent closed. Congressman Bob Brady said he had talked to members of Fumo’s family who said they were trying to determine where to have the surgery.
Fumo’s family had hoped to have him treated at a hospital in Philadelphia, but that will be difficult because he is a federal prisoner. Another source who asked not to be named said Fumo would have to go to a hospital near the prison. The 69-year-old former senator is serving a 5-year sentence on multiple charges related to defrauding the state Senate, a nonprofit he helped found, and the Independence Seaport Museum.
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