Archive: May, 2008
Neighbors of a former state mental hospital in East Falls, targeted as a temporary home for the city's Youth Study Center, will drop their opposition to the move if the city and state guarantee that the land is put to a "more "productive" use when the juvenile detention facility moves to a new and permanent home in West Philadelphia.
Residents of East Falls and North Philadelphia were not among those cheering last year when City Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell ended a three-year holdout and introduced legislation allowing the Youth Study Center, which houses juveniles awaiting trial, to move from its home off the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to West Philadelphia.
That's because the YSC will have to move for two years to the state-owned former Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Center in East Falls. The Barnes Foundation has signed a 99-year lease with the city for the land the YSC currently occupies. The YSC is supposed to move to East Falls by late summer.
So far, Mayor Nutter is a pretty popular guy in Philadelphia. But it's looks as though his appeal isn't limited to the city, or even to the region.
According to an internal presidential poll obtained by The Inquirer, Nutter has fast become relatively well-known and well-liked on a statewide level. More than 60 percent of respondents statewide were familiar enough with the mayor to have formed an opinion of him, and his favorable-to-unfavorable ratings ratio was almost 3.7 to 1, which is outstanding.
"I'm impressed," said Pennsylvania pollster Terry Madonna.
Jeff ShieldsThe Mayor of Iraq's third-largest city was touring city government Thursday, including a stop in City Council, where he received a warm welcome and got to watch a sleepy Council session.
Zuhair Mohsin Mohammed Abdulazeez, the mayor of Mosul in northern Iraq, is on a 10-day tour of the states, with stops in Minnesapolic, Philadelphia and New York. Mosul, a city of 2 million, is beset with problems, and Abdulazeez is examing everything from budgeting to cultural funding to solid waste.
Councilman Bill Green was his tour guide in council. Below is a briefing on his trip from the International Visitors Council:
City Council's Public Safety Committee on Wednesday will look at the way the city handles Protection from Abuse Orders.
Councilman Bill Green called for hearings to explore why some abuse victims apparently are made responsible for serving protection orders on their abusers. Philadelphia Police believe they should be in charge of delivering such orders, Green said. Nearby counties are expected to testify about how their systems are run.
The hearing is 10 a.m. in Council Chambers.
Crime has gone down by 13 percent in the areas where the city's first 18 crime cameras were installed beginning in 2006, a Temple University professor has found in a study.
With the city in the process of installing 250 cameras following the pilot project, Jerry Ratcliffe, an associate professor of criminal justice at Temple, found the decrease mostly among "disorder offenses" as opposed to violent crime. Ratcliffe and fellow researcher Travis Taniguchi took into effect the spread of crime to surrounding streets.
The first cameras were put up at 12 sites, but some were so close that Ratcliffe consolidated the study to 8 distinct sites.
The press crashed what Mayor Nutter intended to be a private budget briefing for City Council yesterday. The fullest accounts of the incident can be found here and here, while the Inquirer report dealt principally with the substance of the meeting. Reporters, who tend for obvious reasons to take an expansive view of state open meetings law, felt that the session (which included well over a quorum of council members) constituted a public meeting under the act. Nutter's administration takes the view that it is free to hold closed informational sessions with council, so long as no work is done on legislation. It isn't a new disagreement. Governments and the press dispute the scope of the law all the time. In December, for instance, City Council held what amounted to an illegal closed meeting to hammer out an agreement on minority inclusion for the Convention Center expansion project.
What was new was the tenor of the confrontation between the press and the Nutter administration. It wasn't a friendly disagreement. At one point Councilman Frank Rizzo cracked, "the honeymoon is over."
Nutter administration officials are plainly angry about the incident. They say that the administration has so far been remarkably open and transparent, and that is absolutely true. Reporters' questions are answered promptly. Facts and figures that in past administration were difficult to obtain without filing an official and time consuming right to know request are now handed over with little to no fuss. And Nutter and his senior staff remain remarkably accessible to the press.