March 27, 2013 |
In recent weeks, City Council members have been getting waylaid by constituents bewildered by the new property assessments that are part of the mayor's property-tax reform effort. Members channeled much of that confusion and anger Tuesday during a budget hearing for the Office of Property Assessment (OPA), lobbing barbs at the citywide reassessment that is key to Mayor Nutter's Actual Value Initiative (AVI). Majority Leader Curtis Jones Jr. went so far as to label the process of assigning a market value to each of the city's 579,000 parcels a "wild-assed guess.
March 26, 2013
I AM AMAZED at the Nutter Administration, and even some of the newspapers that complain about a percentage of the city budget going to employees' wages and benefits. Government as a whole - whether it be local, state or federal - is designed to provide a service to its residents. The services that the government provides are performed by people, or people that manage technology. There is nothing else the government should be doing. I wonder if the Nutter Administration would be able to explain taxes if there were no firefighters, or social workers or trash collectors.
March 14, 2013 |
It seemed simple: Take the sample ballots to the post office in Bellmawr and distribute them throughout the borough, just over three square miles in area. Instead, the sample ballots for a once-defeated Bellmawr School District referendum began arriving a week later - after a trip to Newark, N.J., 80 miles north and angry phone calls from residents claiming a conspiracy. The sample ballots were for a special second-chance vote Tuesday on authorizing the district to borrow $3.1 million to repair the roofs on two elementary schools and one middle school.
March 7, 2013 |
Why didn't Philadelphia Magazine title its March cover story simply "Fear of Black People"? The catastrophically misguided article, "Being White in Philly," is basically devoid of facts while making the dubious claim that "in so many quarters, simply discussing race is seen as racist. " Staff writer Robert Huber offered anonymity to everyone he interviewed. He based the article on highly selective anecdotes while assuming his views were universally shared by readers. To wit, "I've begun to think that most people stopped looking around at large segments of our city, at our poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods, a long time ago. " Give Huber and his editors credit: The story accurately reflects the title "Being White.
March 4, 2013 |
'In the beginning was the Word," begins an ancient Middle Eastern text, "and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. " In time its anonymous author would be assigned the name John, and his mystical story of the life and death of Jesus - whom he presents as having existed before all time - would join 26 other texts in a book that has shaped Western civilization like no other. The New Testament is, for many millions of Christians, the inspired Word of God, sacred and immutable: the perfect account of Jesus, the perfect human.
March 1, 2013 |
Patrick Naughton is an enthusiastic social studies teacher and the dean of students at Robeson High School in West Philadelphia, but the first thing he did Wednesday morning was look for a new job. Naughton had read about the Philadelphia School District's initial contract offer to its teachers union - a 13 percent pay cut for those making over $55,000, an end to seniority-based positions, and smaller provisos such as an end to a guaranteed adequate...
February 27, 2013
FEBRUARY is almost over, and winter will soon come to an end. Oh, sure, March might hit us with another cold day or two. We might even get a little snow. But let's be honest: February is winter's last hurrah, and when its dark frigid nights slip away, the cold will be replaced by something even worse: spring. Why do I prefer the icy-gray winter to the warm, bursting colors of spring? The answer is quite simple, really. During the winter, people stay in their houses. When spring arrives, people come out. And so do my allergies.
February 26, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor accused a Texas federal prosecutor Monday of tapping into a "deep and sorry vein of racial prejudice" in his questioning of a black man facing a drug charge. The justices did not accept Bongani Charles Calhoun's request that the court review his conviction, but Sotomayor appended a scathing statement to make sure that the court's denial was not be seen as a signal of "tolerance of a federal prosecutor's racially charged remark. " Sotomayor did not name Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam Ponder in her statement, but she denounced his questioning of Calhoun, who maintained in court that he did not know that the friends with whom he was traveling were planning a drug deal.
February 24, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano had just begun her remarks to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration when the first protester leaped to his feet. "You have destroyed our community!" he shouted. Others in the audience joined him, chanting, "Stop the deportations!" The anger at President Obama's deportation policies among some of his otherwise most ardent allies could pose a surprising complication in coming weeks to the delicate negotiations to overhaul the nation's immigration system that are now under way. The Obama administration has deported more illegal immigrants than any in history, provoking deep political tensions that could narrow the president's ability to make concessions Republicans will likely demand as part of a comprehensive deal.