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Archive: February, 2012

POSTED: Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 12:46 PM

City Council is going on the road this year to solicit public opinion on the city's finances, starting with the year's first budget hearing, slated for the St. John's AME Church on 71st Street in Southwest Philadelphia.

That hearing has been set for March 14 at 6 p.m. Additional community gatherings will be scheduled shortly.

The hearings would fulfill new Council President Darrell L. Clarke's pledge to get his colleagues out of City Hall and more engaged with the public. Clarke said today that "the added perspective these neighborhood hearings provide will be extremely valuable as we move through the 2013 budget schedule."

POSTED: Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 7:13 PM

Six vacant seats in the state House will be filled in special elections on April 24, the date of the Pennsylvania primary, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The six vacancies include three Philadelphia districts — seats formerly held by the new city sheriff, Jewell Williams, and two new City Council members, Dennis O’Brien and Kenyatta Johnson — as well as the seat held by new Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro.

Under party rules, Democratic and Republican ward leaders whose territories include parts of each legislative district will meet in coming days to choose their respective party candidates for the special elections.

POSTED: Monday, February 27, 2012, 2:24 PM

THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED AT 6:48 P.M.

For the time being, three York County Republicans are giving up their bids for the Northeast Philadelphia House seat that used to belong to Dennis O’Brien, now a City Councilman.

Leroy E. Wentz, a tax collector for the borough of Hanover, had filed for the seat along with chicken farmer Allan R. Case and businessman Marc Woerner.  But they withdrew their candidacies last week,  as  the prolonged dispute over legislative redistricting made clear that Philadelphia voters  -- not York County residents – would be choosing the candidates in the April 24th primary election.

POSTED: Thursday, February 23, 2012, 9:26 PM

Cities around the world – Boston, Milwaukee, Providence, San Francisco, Paris, Seoul – have been knocking down and moving highways so that residents can enjoy their waterfronts. Should Philadelphia be next?

That was the question at the Academy of Natural Sciences Thursday during a discussion on the future of I-95 and the Delaware waterfront.

Many of the speakers showed pictures of depressing urban landscapes, where large highway walls cut off access to rivers, just as I-95 does along the Delaware.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 11:26 AM

Mayor Nutter's prominence on the national stage just keeps on growing. He's already vice president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which bills itself as The Voice of America's Mayors in Washington.

And today comes this accolade from the Reader's Digest We Hear You America campaign: Michael Nutter is their Mayor of the Week.

What did he do to get this award? According to the press release, the campaign organizers consider "how actively engaged Mayors are in finding ways to make their communities better places to live and in encouraging a high level of community spirit."

POSTED: Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 5:58 PM

While he didn't use the word "lobby," Mayor Nutter said he made lawmakers in Harrisburg knew how he felt about threats to the city’s share of the proposed Marcellus Shale “local impact fee.”

“If there is a bill moving and if something is going to happen, I need to make sure Philadelphia gets … our fair share,” Nutter said today.

The mayor was in Harrisburg Tuesday, when Gov. Corbett gave his budget address and the state Senate began maneuvering to pass the impact fee.

POSTED: Monday, February 6, 2012, 2:53 PM

For those watching and speculating on what kind of relationship - if any - would develop between Mayor Nutter and new Council President Darrell L. Clarke, Nutter dropped a few clues today during his annual luncheon speech to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

Nutter described a Council "under the strong leadership" of Clarke and agreed with Clarke's standing proposition that selling some city assets would be a useful and relatively painless way to raise money. He even quoted favorably from an Econsult report that has been the basis of Clarke's revenue-generating ideas.

"I applaud City Council for championing the idea," Nutter said. "My administration is ready to work with City Council on it."

POSTED: Saturday, February 4, 2012, 6:37 PM

Put this news in the dog-bites-man category: City Council is about to honor John J. Dougherty, the leader of the city electrical workers union and the biggest fund-raiser in local politics, for his selection as grand marshal of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, scheduled for Sunday, March 11.

A Council resolution honoring Dougherty was introduced Thursday by Councilman Bobby Henon, the union’s former political director, and Councilman Mark Squilla. Both enjoyed strong support from Dougherty and the union as they won their seats in last year’s elections.

Dougherty is not the first grand marshal to be honored by Council, and he won’t be the last. But the resolution puts at least one councilman in a curious position: How will David Oh vote after Dougherty spent tens of thousands of dollars on mailings and radio trying to derail Oh’s bid for a Republican council-at-large seat?

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

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