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Archive: March, 2009

POSTED: Wednesday, March 18, 2009, 4:06 PM

The city's two slots licensees -- Foxwoods and SugarHouse -- will meet on April 8 in Harrisburg to give the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board status reports on their projects.

It's not a hearing but a public meeting to "provide full and complet update on the status of their projects," said the gaming board Wednesday. Board Chair Mary DiGiacomo Colins said representatives of HSP Gaming (SugarHouse) and Philadelphia Entertainment and Development Partners (Foxwoods) will be given the opportunity to not only make a presentation but also answer questions from the Board.

"Many qusetions have been raised as to why they have not yet started construction even two years after the licenses were granted," Colins said. "The Board wants to know what the obstacles are and what the operators plan on doing to overcome these and deliver their projects to Pennsylvania."

POSTED: Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 12:22 PM

Few Philadelphians can truly understand what Vince Fumo is going through. Here is one who can.

"I hope somebody realizes all the good this man did. He did more good than any political person in the history of Philadelphia. It's just a shame," former City Councilman Leland Beloff said.

Charged in 1986 with conspiring to shake down local developer Willard G. Rouse 3d for $1 million, Beloff served five years of a 10-year prison sentence.

Recalling his own days following his conviction, he said, "I'll tell you what went through my mind - you are in a fog state. It's overwhelming, everything you think about. How much time am I going to be away? How much time will I get? What's going to happen to my family? It's indescrible, unless you have lived it."
 
Beloff also pointed this out: While in prison, he said, Fumo "took care of my family. If my wife, my kids needed something, he was very attentive. That is very much appreciated."
POSTED: Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 10:08 AM

The Committe of Seventy has just called for the elimination of six elected city government positions - the Sheriff, the Clerk of Quarter Sessions, the Register of Willis and the three City Commissioners - a group of little-known but politically important public servants who head offices that perform relatively mundane municipal tasks, such as organizing elections, and processing court documents and wills.

The non-partisan organization makes its case in a 56 page report titled "Needless Jobs." The header pretty welll sums up Seventy's view: that there is no need to have elected officials performing these functions, that the jobs they perform can be easily transferred to other city units, and that doing so will save money and reduce patronage.

See the report below.


Needless Jobs Needless Jobs patrickkerkstra
POSTED: Monday, March 16, 2009, 2:00 PM

City Council President Anna Verna, whose Second Councilmanic District overlaps with Vince Fumo's First Senatorial District in South and Southwest Philadelphia, said the city's doesn't realize what it's missing without Fumo in Harrisburg to fight for city funding.

"Let me tell you, I think we’re going to miss him something terrible in Harrisburg," said Verna, who most recently worked closely with Fumo to find a home for a new state-built produce terminal in the Southwest.

Verna, who came to know Fumo after her election to City Council in 1975, said Fumo's particular talent for bringing home city funding -- from a state legislature with little sympathy for Philadelphia -- would have come in handy during a budget crisis.

POSTED: Monday, March 16, 2009, 1:23 PM

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Chairman Mitchell Rubin - Ruth Arnao's husband and close friend to Vince Fumo - is awaiting the 2 p.m. bail hearing.

"I'm disappointed," Rubin said. "Listen, my wife is a good person. She has worked hard her whole life. Other than that, there is nothing to say."

Click here for Philly.com's politics page.

POSTED: Monday, March 16, 2009, 1:07 PM

Longtime Fumo friend Rosanne Pauciello, Democratic leader of Ward 39A, was distressed and saddened by the news.

"I am devastated, I am devastated," she said in a phone interview about an hour after the verdict was issued. "The senator worked so hard… And Ruthie (Arnao) was an angel in my life," she said, recounting how Arnao stood at her sister's side when she was ill in 2001.

"They were wonderful, wonderful people, as far as I'm concerned, wonderful to me and all the people around me. … I can't believe a jury can go through all those counts in that limited amount of time."

Click here for Philly.com's politics page.

POSTED: Monday, March 16, 2009, 12:58 PM

Councilman Jim Kenney is usually good for some frank words, particularly when he's exasperated with someone or something. And let's face it: he's exasperated pretty often.

The folks irritating him recently are none other than his own colleagues. Kenney is having a hard time understanding those council members who are a) unwilling to accept tax hikes and b) unwilling to make spending cuts.

"I have been increasingly mystified in my inability to determine what council members are thinking," Kenney said. "For this particular councilman, who can read, who can understand what's going on across this country, it's obvious that we need to batten the hatches down and do what we need to stay afloat."

POSTED: Monday, March 16, 2009, 12:39 PM

Philadelphia City Councilman Jim Kenney, a leading figure in Fumo’s organization for years, said “it certainly is a sad day for him, his family, and the people who were friendly with him over the years. I wish him well.”

Kenney said he was not surprised by the sweeping verdict.

“I’m saddened, but not shocked. I think these days juries are coming back with those types of verdicts,” Kenney said.

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