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Archive: May, 2012

POSTED: Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 6:37 PM

The dollop of paint that is part of the Claes Oldenburg sculpture on Broad Street does look a lot less like poop now that it has a shiny new coat of orange paint.

But why was the sculpture repainted? To make it less tempting to those who saw it and felt an urge to find a large plastic bag to scoop it up?

No, it was scuffed and dirtied, mostly by skateboarders, said Heike Rass, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, whose buildings bracket Lenfest Plaza, home to the sculpture.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 2:39 PM

A new set of city commissioners – Stephanie Singer, Anthony Clark and Al Schmidt – has been running Philadelphia’s election machinery for the past five months, delivering on campaign promises of more transparency and efficiency.

They’ve ended a double-dipping practice that allowed hundreds of election-day workers to do two jobs at once, collecting double and sometimes triple pay. They’ve opened up temporary jobs to anyone who wants to apply, not just those who submit their names through ward leaders and party organizations.

They’re investigating some voting irregularities in past years, where the official vote counts are higher than the number of people who signed in at the polls. They’ve invited the city’s inspector general to investigate any tips involving misbehavior in the commissioners’ offices.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 6:20 PM

The skirmishing inside Philadelphia’s Republican Party is heating up again, this time focused on the status of Vito F. Canuso Jr., who either is or was the party chairman, depending on which faction is telling the story.

Canuso is still listed as chairman on the party’s official stationery, thanks to a disputed vote of some Republican ward leaders two years ago at the United Republican Club in Kensington.  Some duly-elected ward leaders were barred from the premises, others were ejected before the vote took place and others were allowed to vote despite challenges that are still pending, two years later – overall, such a mess that the credentials committee of the state Republican party (already at odds with the party leadership in Philadelphia) said Canuso’s election was invalid and took away his vote at state committee meetings.

But the party’s de facto leader, general counsel Michael P. Meehan, says Canuso is still Philadelphia chairman in all other respects.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 2, 2012, 7:05 PM

The School District’s top man, Thomas Knudsen, made a dire prediction Tuesday night: If the city doesn’t cough up more money, schools won’t open in the fall.

So, how did that news play Wednesday in City Council, where members were listening to public testimony mostly opposing a property reassessment plan that would deposit an extra $94 million in the school budget?

“Unfortunately, it looks like the hyperbole has begun,” said Councilman Bill Green. “I would say that Mr. Knudsen should not start the conversation with Council with threats because we’re the ones with the votes.”

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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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