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Archive: April, 2008

POSTED: Friday, April 11, 2008, 12:43 PM
Is now penning a column for the Committee of 70. His latest looks at the changing political landscape of Philadelphia's suburbs.
POSTED: Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 3:30 PM

Looks like the Ed Coryell and the Carpenters Union (obligatory disclaimer: they are investors in the company that owns the Inquirer) have chosen NOT to picket a minority contracting job networking event at City Hall today. At least not so far.

Although Coryell declined to talk to the Inquirer, he expressed his displeasure with the event to plenty of other folks. It wasn't the goal of helping minority construction firms get more work that ticked him off, but rather the sponsor: Associated Builders and Contractors, an organization that labor considers anti-union. In the extreme. Consider the words of Pat Gillespie, business manager of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, when he talked to Heard in the Hall about ABC late last month: "The whole predicate for their existence is to destroy the sanctity of collective bargaining. We couldn't hold them in any lower regard. They're as disingenuous a group as you can find. I wouldn't expect City Hall to allow the Klan to meet there, or Aryan Nation."

In any event, no carpenters are lined up around City Hall. The show has gone on.

POSTED: Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 11:23 AM

Mayor Nutter said this morning that Saturday's Philly Spring Cleanup exceeded all goals. A look at the numbers.

Trash collected: 2.56 million pounds (goal was one million)
Volunteers: 15,000 (goal was 10,000)
Commercial corridors cleaned: 71 (goal was 50)

The 15,000 volunteers filled nearly 80,000 trash bags.

POSTED: Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 5:29 PM

Here's an idea that just might tantalize City Council members: go ahead and cut the business privilege tax, but ONLY for smaller businesses. The big corporations? Keep squeezing 'em.

That's the pitch One Philadelphia has made recently in a letter to council members. Only about 500 companies pay more than $100,000 a year, and those big guys account for about 55 percent of the city's total BPT take. If they were excluded from the BPT cuts Mayor Nutter's proposing, the city would save over $60 million a year (by 2015, when the proposed cuts would be fully in effect) -- or so argues One Philadelphia.

But if the whole idea of cutting the BPT is to attract businesses and grow jobs, what's the logic in excluding the big corporations from the deal? Is Philly only interested in small employers? One Philadelphia's answer: for the biggies, the BPT is nothing more than a "blip in their accounting records."

POSTED: Monday, April 7, 2008, 10:51 AM

From Inquirer reporter Joseph A. Gambardello:

This may not qualify as guerrilla campaigning, but state Senate candidate John J. Dougherty’s people have struck on a way to get name recognition with young voters on a Friday night. A pub crawl.

Traveling in a trolley, Dougherty supporters -- including some eye catching young women -- visit selected bars. They wear Dougherty for Senate badges hand out literature and where possible also put up posters. Of course, they also patronize the bar they are visiting.

POSTED: Monday, April 7, 2008, 10:42 AM

So, you think Mayor Nutter is blowing it by cutting taxes too fast? Not fast enough? You're sure City Council's spending priorities are out of whack, and that instead they ought to invest in libraries, or the park system, or rec centers, or the schools?
Do you think, in short, that you could do better?

Late this summer, you'll get the chance to prove it. In August, the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia hopes to launch an interactive city budget simulation that will let citizens fund their pet projects to their hearts' content: so long as they make it up by slashing services elsewhere.

The idea is to give residents a dose of fiscal reality, as well as an understanding of the hard choices Nutter and City Council face.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 11:29 AM

From diligent Inquirer reporter Joseph A. Gambardello:

John Dougherty’s campaign has released polling data showing the labor union honcho leading his two opponents in the Democratic primary race for the state Senate seat Vince Fumo will vacate later this year.

But it also shows that even more voters are undecided — 37 percent — than support Dougherty with the primary just three weeks away.

POSTED: Tuesday, April 1, 2008, 6:37 PM

Still a popular guy, it seemed unlikely that Mayor Nutter would be booed by baseball fans Monday when he tossed out the first pitch at the Phillies opening game. And he wasn’t.

In case he had been, though, the mayor had his own cheering section on hand.

Fifteen members of Nutter’s staff received tickets to watch the game from the free box that Nutter now controls as Philadelphia’s CEO. They were raffled off as part of an intra-office lottery.

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

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