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Archive: November, 2009

POSTED: Friday, November 6, 2009, 12:05 PM

Mayor Nutter yesterday said he had "no idea" what he did to provoke SEPTA union transit chief Willie Brown, who has called the mayor a "little Caesar" and blamed him for the union's decision to strike.

Today, Gov. Rendell said the same thing.

"He told them the same things I did," Rendell said in a phone interview this morning. "He did not say or do anything that would have precipitated ill will." The governor made his comments after briefly discussing what happened in the final minutes Monday night after he and the mayor relayed to Brown SEPTA's contract offer, and why they both thought it was a good deal. Brown, of course, summarily rejected it and called for the 3 a.m. walkout.

POSTED: Thursday, November 5, 2009, 4:55 PM

SEPTA union transit leader Willie Brown  - who is now meeting with Gov. Rendell - stopped by City Hall this afternoon and spoke with eight City Council members.

During the meeting, Brown continued to voice frustration with the mayor, referring to the walkout as “Nutter’s strike,” according to Councilman Frank Rizzo. Previously, Brown called the mayor "Little Caesar."

He and others who were there also said Brown depicted the mayor himself as the deal breaker that ended talks Monday night, and that led Brown, in anger, to call for the 3 a.m. strike. “Apparently the mayor did something that he (Brown) didn’t elaborate on,” Rizzo said.

POSTED: Wednesday, November 4, 2009, 3:04 PM

For a relativley quiet Election Day, it was a noisy afternoon today at The Palm.

In one corner sat the Republicans, including losing District Attorney candidate Michael Untermeyer. No doubt, though, that the others with him - city GOP leader Michael Meehan, Republican City Committee chairman Vito Canuso, state Reps. John Taylor and George Kenney, and Philadelphia Parking Authority executive director and ward leader Vince Fenerty - were juiced by big GOP gubernatorial wins in New Jersey and Virginia, as well as for Pennsylvania's open Supreme Court spot. State Rep. John Perzel also stopped in.

Dining in another corner - literally - were members of electricians' union Local 98. It was a true building trades moment, with applause breaking out sporadically as they celebrated victories as well, and hoped to be celebrating yet another one with an anticipated win by state Superior Court candidate Anne Lazarus. At last count, Lazarus was said to be up about 1,500 votes. Besides Lazarus, others seated in the Local 98 section included Building Trades Council President Pat Gillespie, Local 98 business manager John Dougherty, new Municipal Court Judge-to-be Joe Waters and City Councilman Bill Green.

POSTED: Monday, November 2, 2009, 2:26 PM

The call for the elimination of the city's four row offices got a little louder today with the release a new report by the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority.

The authority, which oversees Philadelphia's finances, said the city could save as much as $15 million a year by scrapping the offices, and stated that as the goal given that their joint functions are "primarily administrative in nature." The offices include the sheriff, register of wills, clerk of quarter sessions and the city commissioners.

In addition, the authority argued that their continued existence goes against the spirit of open government: “The independent status of the row offices adds a layer of bureaucratic expense, diminishes the mayor’s ability to properly budget and oversee their administrative functions, allows circumvention of city hiring rules, and creates the potential for patronage and political favoritism,” the report said.

POSTED: Monday, November 2, 2009, 2:03 PM

Gov. Rendell and Mayor Nutter met with representatives of Transit Workers Local 234 this morning at the Governor's Broad Street offices as part of the union's bargaining process with SEPTA, and the parties broke for lunch with the expectation to return early this afternoon.

Nutter left The Belleview about 1 p.m. after the union went to lunch, saying he expected to return. SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney said the two sides are "basically crunching numbers" and began about 10 a.m.

The two sides postponed talks scheduled for Sunday night, after reaching agreement Saturday on health-care issues with a commitment from the union not to strike for the World Series games in Philadelphia Saturday, Sunday and Monday. An agreement on wages was reported to be close.

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

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