Monday, March 30, 2015

Archive: March, 2011

POSTED: Thursday, March 31, 2011, 12:50 PM

A day after challenging Mayor Nutter's revenue projections in the city's five-year plan, PICA chairman Sam Katz is patting the mayor on the back for stablizing city finances.

The Inquirer's Joe DiStefano on Tuesday wrote how Standard & Poor was considering upgrading the city's bond rating. That's a sign of more stable finances, and could make lower interest rates available to the city when borrowing for capital projects.

"In an environment where fiscal pressures on municipalities seem never ending, you and your team are to be commended for your performance and for the fact that the credit markets are recognizing it," Katz wrote in a letter Thursday.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 2:43 PM

City Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. probably spoke for several of his colleagues when he voiced considerable frustration this morning at the slow Internet access and outdated computer equipment that is found in Council offices.

"Let me put it this way," Jones told interim Chief Technology Officer Thomas T. Jones during a lengthy budget hearing on Jones' office budget request. "My 8-year-old granddaughter can get on the Internet faster." The councilman also said something about his office's Dell computers having probably been used by Fred Flintstone as well.

Council members can hardly be blamed for their frustrations. After all, legislative bodies in other cities even have laptops at their desks to use while in session. Forget that here.

POSTED: Monday, March 28, 2011, 4:24 PM

Carter Scott Shields, the Mayor of tiny Rutledge Borough in Delaware County who died in a sky-diving accident on Friday, was a colorful advocate in the courtroom and out. The following blog post goes back to January 2010, when he was defending a client in a libel suit by City Councilman Jack Kelly: 

C. Scott Shields is a defender of conservative causes by day, and Republican mayor of the tiny Delaware County borough of Rutledge by night. Last week, Shields was trashing his other calling in court.
"Politicians are the lowest form of life on earth," Shields proclaimed on Friday to a Philadelphia jury in closing arguments of a defamation suit against his client. Shields was quoting General George S. Patton Jr.; he did not mention to jurors that he has himself been a politician for the last 13 years.
Shields successfully defended Paul D. Corbett, 80, who showered church parking lots before the 2007 general election with leaflets proclaiming City Councilman Jack Kelly an ally of "the homosexual agenda which would promote sodomy to our youth." Corbett was irate with Kelly's May 2007 vote to end the Boy Scouts' rent-free lease on the building they built on city-owned property at 22nd and Winter streets in Philadelphia.
The jury found that Corbett had indeed misled readers of his pamphlets, and had hurt Kelly's reputation, but decided that he did not do so maliciously, handing Corbett a victory.
Shields spent a good amount of time over the five-day trial portraying Kelly (also a Republican,) as a greedy politician who "sicced his lawyer" on Corbett, rather than listening to his concerns.
Shields, 44, a self-described conservative, served on Rutledge Borough Council from 1997 through 2005, was elected mayor in 2006, and unsuccessfully ran for Court of Common Pleas Judge in 2007. Rutledge is a one-mile-square borough of 860 adjoining Swarthmore.
"That doesn't include me, because I'm Republican and conservative," Shields said Tuesday of Patton's appraisal of politicians. He happily pointed out the next line in Patton's quote: "Liberal Democrats are the lowest form of politicians."
Shields accused Kelly of being a typical politicians, pandering to anyone who would vote for him. On the stand, Kelly readily acknowledged that "I want everyone to be happy with me," Kelly said. "Do I try to please everyone? Yes, I do."
Shields said he doesn't try to please everyone, and that people know him for his conservative stances. "You can't be every man to everyone," said Shields, who doesn't collect the $2,500 salary reserved for the Rutledge Mayor's Office. "That's why people hate politicians."
The Media-based attorney is not related to the author of this blog post.

RIP, Mr. Shields.

POSTED: Friday, March 25, 2011, 10:44 AM

Councilman Frank Rizzo is not out of the woods yet.

The Republican ward leader who tried, unsuccessfully, to force Rizzo off the primary ballot has appealed his case to the Commonwealth Court.

Matthew Wolfe, of the 27th Ward in University City, is hoping to do better at the higher court in making his argument that the councilman made an "irrevocable" decision to retire when he signed up for the retirement program. 

POSTED: Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 2:40 PM

Malcolm Lazin, who is running for a Republican at-large seat on City Council, says his rival, Councilman Frank Rizzo, should resign because he is enrolled in the city's Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP.

Rizzo's DROP enrollment already caused him to lose the endorsement of his party and of the FOP, a shocker because his father was the city's legendary police chief.

DROP  requires participants to retire in order to collect a large lump-sum pension check. But some on Council have used a loophole to that allows them to collect the money and run again.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 12:38 PM

Milton Street has written a letter to the Inquirer to clear up questions about his qualifications to run for mayor - which a city judge ruled earlier this week he can indeed do.

Read on to learn why he says he meets the criteria and is up to the job of serving as Philadelphia's chief executive.

"Having read the comments regarding my efforts to be the democratic nominee for Mayor of Philadelphia I am left with a sense of awe in the intense feelings of those who support me as well as those who do not. But there is a common element that seems to be missing in this discussion - do I have the experience to be Mayor. To answer the question - "Is he qualified" should be part of the primary question along with the ability to lead. First, as a community activist I proved I was a leader that tried to made life better for small buinesses, entrepenures, taxi cab drivers, and the homeless. Maybe some Philadelphians are too young to remember the revoltion for change that was led by folks like Dave Richardson, Charlie Bowser, Hardy Williams, C Delores Tucker and myself in the seventies to the early eighties. As a State Representative and State Senator I used my position as a legislator and politician to fight for those in need. Since then I have experienced the up and downs of life. I have endured loss of position and financial hardships. I have experienced tragic losses of family and fought through Muscular Schlerosis but through it all God has allowed me to survive. I have come through a difficult time and am a better, stronger, and wiser man.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 10:55 AM

Philadelphians "strongly" favor Mayor Nutter's stop-and-frisk policy, though remain concerned about police officers' judgment in choosing their whom they frisk, a new Pew poll says.

The Pew Charitable Trusts Philadelphia Research Initiative surveyed 1,604 resients and found that 70 percent have at least a "good amount" of respect for city police. Those views cross racial, ethnic, age and economic lines, with 78 percent of whites in that category, 65 percent of African-Americans and 65 percent of Hispanics.

High levels of respect were voiced by 78 percent of whites, 65 percent of African Americans and 65 percent of Hispanics; by 82 percent of Philadelphians over age 65 and 63 percent of those between ages 18 and 34; and by 83 percent of individuals with household incomes over $100,000 and 67 percent with household incomes under $30,000, according to the Pew press release.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 10:20 PM

Carol Ann Campbell may have died in 2008, but the Phadelphia Democratic Party remains as loyal to her in death as life.

So does Bob Brady, the congressman, party chairman and confidant of Campbell, who served as the party's secretary and a city councilwoman.

Among those Common Pleas Court candidates the party decided to endorse Wednesday night are Edward Wright and Joyce Eubanks. Wright was Campbell's chief of staff on Council; Eubanks was her chief legislative aide, and was appointed briefly by former Gov. Rendell as a judge.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer's Chris Hepp, Tricia Nadolny, Julia Terruso, and Claudia Vargas take you inside Philadelphia's City Hall.

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