Archive: March, 2009
Should the city's 120 newsstands be allowed to post larger and more creative advertising on their outsides, or will that add to the city's visual clutter?
Members of the Newsstand Association of Philadelphia want their members to be able to run larger signs on the street side of the newsstands and electronic ads in a 6" band around the whole stand. Two-foot wide video monitors would also be allowed under the proposal. The Association represents 89 of the 120 newsstand owners.
The Nutter administration doesn't want Council to approve it. Nutter wants to study the impact of the advertising later this year as part of a look at ads on "street furniture", including transit shelters, benches, trash containers and public toilets. Newsstand Association President John Rocco, at today's hearing on Council's Committee on Streets and Services, called it "offensive and demeaning" for newsstand operators to be included in that category.
City Council is getting into the transparency business.
Council President Anna Verna's office just announced that a public hearing on the budget has been scheduled to take place at Temple University - at 5 p.m. April 1, at Ritter Hall (near Cecil B. Moore Avenue and 13th Street).
It is the first time in recent memory that Council has held a budget hearing somewhere other than in Council chambers in City Hall. This meeting was at the request of Council members Darrell Clarke and Maria Quinones-Sanches. Additional meetings in other neighborhoods will also be scheduled.
That is what some folks in the Nutter administration may be uttering this afternoon after City Council offices received a still-in-the-works version of testimony to be presented Wednesday by chief of staff Clay Armbrister.
Kicking off a series of hearings on the 2010 budget, Armbrister is to present an overall picture of the administration's five-year financial plan.
The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia has a new tool up that gives users the opportunity to try and balance the city's budget deficit on their own. You can find it here. It works a little like a digital version of the Penn/WHYY sponsored budget workshops of past weeks, which turned out to have a pretty significant influence on the mayor's proposed budget and five-year plan. The budget tool has some good information in it, with pro and con arguments for each spending cut / tax increase included in the exercise. On the other hand, the budget options available in the tool are fairly limited. It's a better fit for budget novices than budget geeks.
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He got word at about 4 p.m. Friday that the city's 250 or so paramedics would soon be subject to schedule changes in an effort to cut overtime and reduce costs. In fact, the Fire Department issued a news release addressing the shift on Saturday, at 6 p.m.
Right now, paramedics work two 10-hour days and two 14-hour nights, McBride said. He was told that would change so that all the paramedics would work 12-hour shifts, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., for three years.
Mayor Nutter today took yet another trip to Washington - but this time it wasn't to talk federal stimulus funds.
Nutter was one of several mayors to meet with U.S. Transporation Secretary Ray LaHood to discuss the benefits of various federal agencies pooling their funds in considering how they could leave a bigger, and better, imprint.
The way it ususally works, individual agencies such as Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation and Energy distribute grant money for specific projects that may be unrelated to one another, he said. Under discussion today was the prospect of a more coordinated effort to combine resources from those agencies to revitalize an entire neighborhood or other geographical area. "It would open the floodgates," Nutter said.
The mayor is still in the middle of delivering his budget, but we've already gotten press releases from big business movers and shakers at the Chamber of Commerce, who praise him for not raising wage or business taxes. They don't love the tax increases that are included, but they acknowledge the mayor has few attractive options. Press release follows: