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Archive: December, 2010

POSTED: Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 3:54 PM

Democratic political consultant Chester A. Fulton III, who was charged with filing a false tax return in 2009, is headed to federal prison in early January.

Fulton, who had charged city political candidates thousands of dollars in political fees in exchange for help getting out the vote, was convicted Nov. 24, and received a five-month sentence. He also was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, and restitution of $108,000 to the IRS.

Charged at the same time as Fulton in 2009 was longtime Philadelphia political operative Pete Truman. But unlike Fulton, Truman is now a free man - or at least free of prosecution, as WHYY's Dave Davies reported.

POSTED: Monday, December 13, 2010, 11:15 AM

From Heard in the Hall in Monday's Inquirer:

Editor's note: This week's column is dedicated to the Tartaglione family political dynasty, a constant source of controversy, wisdom, and entertainment.

Instead of criticizing Marge Tartaglione for threatening to knock out a reporter last week, "Heard in the Hall" would like to congratulate the 77-year-old city commissioner on learning restraint.

POSTED: Friday, December 10, 2010, 12:06 PM

In the Philadelphia Board of Ethics settlement agreement released earlier this week, Renee Tartaglione admitted to participating in the re-election campaign of Philadelphia state Rep. Angel Cruz - by ordering 2,000 sample ballots that deliberately misled voters who wanted Cruz back in office.

That and other political activities were enough to get Tartaglione, the 27-year-long chief deputy of the City Commissioners Office, in trouble with the ethics board. She wound up quitting as a result, and agreeing to pay a $2,700 civil fine.

But her actions aren't enough to trigger the interest of District Attorney Seth Williams, not so far anyway.

POSTED: Thursday, December 9, 2010, 2:22 PM

It turns out that not only did several Philadelphia state legislators not file campaign finance reports so far this year with Philadelphia's Board of Elections - as Heard in the Hall reported yesterday - but they also neglected to submit those reports to the Pennsylvania's Department of State.

Here's the rundown:

Rep. Vanessa Brown - Failed to file reports for election cycles 3, 5 and 6 with the city and state. She owes late fees of $1,160 to the city, and $1,150 to the state.

POSTED: Thursday, December 9, 2010, 1:24 PM

Say what you want about Philadelphia's Department of Licenses and Inspections - and there is a lot to say  - but the department has never been one to fear breaking out of the box.

Last year, L&I Commissioner Frances Burns arranged for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. to impart words of wisdom about image-building to 40 department employees tasked with customer service duties. The customer is always right, right?

Now comes word that last week, about 60 L&I employees spent a day at an executive training session with five professors from both the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business and its Fels Institute of Government.

POSTED: Thursday, December 9, 2010, 1:13 PM

Al Schmidt, a candidate for City Commissioner, on Thursday released documents that he said show repeated use of public equipment by local politicians, including Congressman Bob Brady and State Rep. Rosita Youngblood.

"It is a crime to use public resources for political campaigns," Schmidt said at a news conference Thursday morning at Philadelphia's Union League. "It is the stuff indictments are made of." 

Schmidt, who also announced his candidacy for City Commissioner at the conference, obtained the documents by making public-information requests to the City Comissioners office. He then checked the numbers of the fax machines and found they belonged to government offices.

POSTED: Thursday, December 9, 2010, 12:41 PM

Hey Philadelphians: Happy days are here again.

So says the US Airways-produced magazine tucked in the back seat of the passenger chair in front of any of the airline's travelers. Read all about it in this news release from Mayor Nutter's office:

Philadelphia, December 9, 2010 – The City of Philadelphia was ranked by U.S. Airways Magazine as being the best city to celebrate the holiday spirit. The City received the #1 rank out of 15 cities around the world in the Magazine’s December, 2010 issue. Since 1955, the Macy’s (formerly the John Wannamaker department store) Christmas light show in the Grand Court has been a Philadelphia tradition that continues to draw thousands of spectators from Black Friday through New Year’s Eve. New York City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, San Francisco and London were among the cities Philadelphia was compared to in the Magazine piece.

POSTED: Thursday, December 9, 2010, 5:53 PM

A white Christmas will mean more work for Philadelphians, now that City Council has mandated a new shoveling requirement. 

Anyone owning or occupying a building in the city knows they can get ticketed for failing to shovel a path -- 2 1/2 feet wide -- on the sidewalk of their property within six hours of a snowstorm. On Thursday, City Council approved a bill that upped the inch-count on that law by 6 inches, and all shovelers will now have to make a 3-foot-wide path.

Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller, the bill's sponsor, wants to make room for wheelchairs. Mayor Nutter is expected to sign the bill. Now let's see if the city can abide by the new requirement -- City Controller Alan Butkovitz this summer reported that city properties were among the worst violators of the shoveling rule in 2009-2010.

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

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