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Archive: March, 2009

POSTED: Tuesday, March 31, 2009, 5:40 PM

Al Mezzaroba, who resigned as CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center last August, is back in action.

Today he was named chairman of the Reading Terminal Market Corp. board of directors. The Reading Terminal Market is, of course, across the street from the Convention Center.

The job doesn't pay anything, and lasts as long as Mayor Nutter's four-year term.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 31, 2009, 3:19 PM

City Council added another public hearing outside of City Hall to gather public input on the budget.

Council members Marian Tasco and Donna Reed Miller will host a hearing at 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 23 at Mount Airy Church of God, 6401 Ogontz Ave.

That was added today as a second hearing. The first hearing, requested by Councilman Darrell Clarke and Maria Quinones Sanchez, will be Wednesday at Temple University's Ritter Hall (Walk Auditorium), Cecil B. Moore Avenue between 13th and Broad Streets. That hearing is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

POSTED: Monday, March 30, 2009, 5:09 PM

From Inquirer reporter Martha Woodall:

Al Taubenberger, Mayor Nutter’s Republican opponent in the 2007 mayoral race and president of the Northeast Chamber of Commerce, was among the names that surfaced during last week’s speculation about who Nutter and Rendell would appoint to the Philadelphia School Reform Commission.

Taubenberger, 55, never got the call.

POSTED: Thursday, March 26, 2009, 2:24 PM

Back on June 29, 2006, then City Solicitor Romulo Diaz offered a formal bit of advice that ended up having some fairly big political consequences. The city's controversial DROP program, he said, was indeed open to elected officials. Since then, seven council members have enrolled in the program, giving them the ability to retire for a day, secure a handsome lump sum retirement payout, and then head back to work. Mayor Nutter wants Council to exclude itself and all other elected officials from DROP, but that will likely be a tough sell politically. The Committee of Seventy is now suggesting an end-run way to exclude elected officials from DROP: revisit the old solitictor's opinon.

Read Committee of Seventy President Zack Stalberg's letter to City Solicitor Shelley Smith below:

March 26, 2009

POSTED: Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 11:39 AM

City Council members are really letting senior members of the Nutter administration have it at today's budget hearing. Most of the complaints are about the budget, but not all. Councilman Darrell Clarke just let loose a broadside at Deputy Mayor Andy Altman, complaining that the mayor's plans to reduce hurdles to development are all talk and no action. Before that, Councilman Bill Green had a tart exchange with Finance Director Rob Dubow over the administration's contention that Harrisburg will punish the city if it raises the wage tax. Green is not buying that line at all.

Lots of questions about property taxes. Lots of distrust. The whole thing is tense and quite contentious. It's hard to see at the moment where Nutter will get the votes to pass his budget.

Click here for Philly.com's politics page.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 5:20 PM

Mayor Nutter will join Commissioners from Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties at the Convention Center Thursday, hoping to pose a united front for regional stimulus dollars.

 "This meeting will focus on the economic recovery and developing regional strategies in order to leverage Federal stimulus dollars. The Metropolitan Caucus is designed to bring together local elected officials from the five counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania to focus on issues of common interest, " Montgomery Councy spokesman John Corcoran said in a press release. 

The meeting, 2:15 p.m. at Room 109AB of the Convention Center, is closed to the public, but the mahoffs will be taking questions after the show. 

POSTED: Tuesday, March 24, 2009, 2:10 PM

Mayor Nutter introduced his apointees to a new task force on "tax policy and economic competitiveness" at a City Hall press conference that wrapped up recently. This task force has no budget and no dedicated staffers, and yet the mayor says he giving it a far broader mandate than the job assigned to the Tax Reform Commission, which published a lengthy array of conclusions (many of which were not adopted) in 2003.

"The premeise here of this task force, is, if we're starting over, what kind of tax structure would the city have?" Nutter said.

The mayor's press release on the new task force, and its members, follows:

POSTED: Tuesday, March 24, 2009, 2:01 PM

One of the most notable elements of Mayor Nutter's recent budget proposals has been his willingness to forthrightly go after a few of the perks that City Council holds most dear: the DROP program, their city-issued cars. Fiscally speaking, these are drops in a bucket the size of City Hall. But politically, they are a very big deal. By going after the perks, Nutter likely scores a few points - and maybe more than that - in the court of public opinion. But he also appears to have alienated quite a few members of City Council with proposals that really don't help him close the budget gap. And Council, of course, gets to approve or reject his budget.

Today, he was asked about the state of his relationship with Council. His remarks seemed designed to try and smooth things over a little bit.

"I’m certainly hopeful that my very longstanding positive working relationship with virtually every member of City Council will remain. There are situations from time to time where we may have a slight difference of opinion about an issue or a policy matter ..."

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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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