Cheesesteak in society

Posted: June 25, 2008

THIS spring, Councilman Goode and I introduced a resolution authorizing City Council's Committee on Commerce and Economic Development to hold hearings examining the operations and effectiveness of the numerous economic-development entities in Philadelphia.

Over the last year, I've been looking into the public dispute between the Reading Terminal Market and Rick Olivieri that was the subject of a recent column by Jill Porter ("Booting of Rick Olivieri Has a Bad Smell to It," June 4) that seems to provide a case in point about why increased oversight is needed.

The situation at the market is one small, already public example of a much broader problem: people entrusted with preserving public assets apparently abusing their positions of authority to advantage their friends and associates.

While I have a personal connection to Mr. Olivieri (we went to elementary school together), my concern with this matter is not based on advancing a private agenda or helping a single businessman - in light of the recent settlement between the market and Mr. Olivieri, it may well be too late to save Rick's Philly Steaks.

My concern is based on doing the public's business and ensuring that prized public assets are appropriately protected and managed.

Our first committee hearing under the resolution is scheduled for the week of Sept. 22.

In the meantime, I'm calling upon members of the public who know of similar situations to contact my office. We stand ready to inquire into these issues through the committee and work collaboratively to address them, as is already starting to happen with the Reading Terminal Market.

Bill Green, Councilman-at-Large

Leftward, ho!

I guess the Daily News staff are like giddy schoolgirls - a communist is getting the Liberty Medal, and they're supporting a socialist for president.

Tom Bell, Philadelphia

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