Saturday, December 20, 2014

POSTED: Tuesday, December 31, 2013, 1:26 PM

City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown has introduced a bill to allow bill boards, building wraps and other signs on school district owed or controlled buildings. The bill specifically exempts the signs from the Zoning Code. The Councilwoman's intent is to raise much needed funds for the schools, a laudable goal that might well backfire.

There is school district controlled property in almost every residential neighborhood, including East Falls. Do you want to see a billboard from your bedroom window or as you walk around your neighborhood? This bill, as written, would allow billboards in places where they have been prohibited for decades.
Concerned about this proposal, the Crosstown Coalition of neighborhood civics arranged a meeting with the Councilwoman's staff to talk about it.

First, we asked if anyone had considered the impact of such advertising, or even the possibility of such advertising, on nearby residential property values or future residential development? In fact, someone has. The Fels Institute did a study last year and concluded that there would be a negative effect, that there is a statistically significant negative impact between proximity to bill boards and property values. The property value reduction was $30,000+ for homes within 500 feet of a billboard and the more billboards in a census tract, the lower the values. I suspect that the impact is way higher for higher value residences. Would you want to buy a home across from a bill board, if you had a choice, for any price? Would a developer considering a residential project want to build near a legal bill board site?

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 1:26 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, December 30, 2013, 11:54 AM

The article on revenue from taxi medallions flowing to the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) didn't cover the whole issue of why such a predatory agency is permitted to exist in the city.

Although it has the reputation of being a Republican patronage haven, the Democrats feed at the trough also. I once read the PPA was the price the Democrats pay to ensure Republicans run candidates who can't win. Remember GOP mayoral candidate Karen Brown?

Parking regulations exist to help businesses with reasonable turnover of customers. But it seems to me that the PPA exists solely to write more tickets, which equals more patronage. Our politicians talk about economic development and good government while remaining silent about PPA. Why? Because they all have their hands in the patronage cookie jar.

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 11:54 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, December 19, 2013, 3:29 PM
President Obama (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

After three decades of Reaganomics installed permanent civil service workers dedicated to make the federal government fail, virtually unbroken even in the Clinton and Obama administrations, due to Republican parliamentary abuse, the government is poorly staffed, disorganized and dysfunctional.

Harry Truman also faced the prospect of a disorganized government with a dysfunctional do-nothing Congress. He was not faced with an economic collapse when he came into office, and the wars in Europe and Asia had been resolved. He called on a bipartisan commission of business, political, and legal minds to put together the Hoover Commission — to reorganize the responsibilities of Congressional oversight, and to reorganize the machinery of government, which President Eisenhower was glad to take advantage of.

The contrast with Barack Obama is clear and obvious. Obama did not have the luxury of resolved wars or of tentative postwar recovery, to pay serious attention to government dysfunction. He had national dysfunction to deal with. In addition, he was burdened with the extra impediments which Republicans provided by a badly designed Bush TARP program, by refusing to approve 1000 mid-level appointments, and by refusing to approve regular Congressional business — budget, appropriations, and authorizations; increases in the debt ceiling; routine foreign treaties, many negotiated in the Bush Administration — which held his attention because regular business comes first.

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 3:29 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 9:05 PM
FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2013 file photo, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., announce a tentative agreement between Republican and Democratic negotiators on a government spending plan, at the Capitol in Washington. With the new budget deal in place, economists say the U.S. economy has a good chance to accelerate at its fastest pace since before the Great Recession struck six years ago. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

 After all the calculated posturing and speech-making had been made, the Senate today finally approved a bipartisan budget agreement. Americans can only hope the deal signals a shift from the animosity in Congress rooted in the tea-party movement’s domination of the Republican Party.

The House overwhelmingly voted for the budget agreement, 332 to 94, a week ago. The Senate followed suit today by a 64 to 36 margin. That welcome result was signaled Monday when 12 Republicans joined 55 Democrats to exceed the 60-vote procedural threshold needed to allow the bill to be approved by a simple majority.

The budget pact avoids scheduled sequester cuts in defense and domestic spending over the next two years by making up those funds through other cuts spread out over 10 years. Sen. Marco Rubio said Congress can’t be trusted to make the promised cuts later. But the Florida Republican’s opposition appeared to be more of his tacking right in preparation for a presidential campaign.

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 9:05 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, December 19, 2013, 3:40 AM
Santa isn't the only one who hears secrets these days. (APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer)

So much for the United States government being the only one in the world that has perfected the art of being nosy. It was recently reported that the government of France spies just as much on its friends and its own citizens as we do.

In tribute to this age of eavesdropping, I present the following lyrics to the tune of the Yuletide classic, "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

Do you know what we hear?

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 3:40 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 11:34 AM
Swarthmore campus

Would the NAACP would invite a member of the Ku Klux Klan to speak (“At Swarthmore, Jewish group sets own path,” Dec. 14)?

I support open discussion and have attended many debates through the years which usually involved some vitriolic exchanges. But it stands to reason that Hillel would not want to pay for speakers that deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state.

Many supporters of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement are protesting more than just Israel’s presence on the West Bank.

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 11:34 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 5:28 PM
Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan confers with Democratic Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray. (AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin, File)

EDITORIAL

After all the calculated posturing and speech-making had been made, the Senate today finally approved a bipartisan budget agreement. Americans can only hope the deal signals a shift from the animosity in Congress rooted in the tea-party movement’s domination of the Republican Party.

The House overwhelmingly voted for the budget agreement, 332 to 94, a week ago. The Senate followed suit today by a 64 to 36 margin. That welcome result was signaled Monday when 12 Republicans joined 55 Democrats to exceed the 60-vote procedural threshold needed to allow the bill to be approved by a simple majority.

Harold Jackson @ 5:28 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, December 17, 2013, 2:30 PM

Michael Griffin was fired from his faculty position at Holy Ghost Preparatory School because he is gay and in a committed relationship which he and his partner wanted to celebrate. Apparently, the contract at the school “requires all faculty and staff to follow the teachings of the church.”

So what of employees who are having sex outside of marriage? How about the folks who cheat on their income tax, a form of stealing? Oh, and what if someone does not go to mass every weekend?

How about the gossips who engage in slander? Or those who covet their neighbor’s spouse, or the new Lexus in a friend’s yard?

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 2:30 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog

The Inquirer Editorial Board's Say What? opinion blog showcases the work of the editors and writers who produce the newspaper's daily and Sunday opinion pages.

Find out more about The Inquirer's Editorial Board here.

The Inquirer Editorial Board
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected