Knox presses ahead with health-center plan

Posted: August 20, 2007

Who needs City Hall?

Not Tom Knox - well, at least not to make one dream come true.

Knox, who came in second in May's mayoral primary, is still plowing ahead with a campaign promise to open small, neighborhood health centers where appointments wouldn't be needed and treatment would be delivered in 30 minutes - or it would be free.

Instead of setting up the centers through government, he is trying to form a nonprofit to do the job. And instead of establishing 40 of these health centers throughout the city, now he is talking about doing it statewide.

"I hope in another 60 days to have an idea of whether I can really get it up quickly or not," Knox, who made millions in the health-insurance business, said last week. "The more research I do, the more I think it is going to work."

Knox is still thinking about a run for the U.S. Senate, or even for governor. But with those elections three-plus years away, "it's a little early," he said. "Things change." - Marcia Gelbart

Ethics Board makes hires

Here are two jobs out of any mayor's reach.

After almost 10 months in an acting capacity, Shane Creamer has been formally named executive director of the Philadelphia Board of Ethics, and veteran city attorney Evan Meyer was appointed the board's new, and first, general counsel.

As such, they report only to the board, which has sole authority to hire and fire, without the say-so of anyone. Creamer will be paid $124,800, Meyer about $110,000.

No news release was issued to highlight these hirings, which mark an advancement for the 10-month-old board, since it now has permanent staff.

Board chairman Richard Glazer said it wasn't an oversight. Rather, no public release was sent because it was unclear when the city Law Department would formally let go of Meyer.

That should happen as of this week.

A tide of misinformation

Philadelphia Water Commissioner Bernie Brunwasser has a dirty reputation, and it's time to give the man back his good name.

More than a few people seem convinced that Brunwasser, in name alone, stands as a symbol for city government. From a local blog: "The Philadelphia Water Commissioner is named Bernard Brunwasser. Brunwasser translated from German means 'brown water.' This has to be the best name in Philadelphia government since we had Alfred Outlaw as our Revenue Commissioner."

If only such sweet irony were true.

Blogger Chris Hiester isn't the only one having an errant chuckle at Brunwasser's expense. Several local officials were under a similar impression.

But Brunwasser says his name means something more refreshing - well-water or spring-water, the compound of the German brunn or brunnen (well), and wasser (water). "Brown water" would be braunwasser.

Cassell's German Dictionary confirms it. He should be happy his name isn't stehendeswasser (stagnant water) or wasserlassen (to pass water).

- Jeff Shields

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