March 8, 2016
ISSUE | SODA TAX The makings of a better, healthier Philly The Philadelphia City Council must enact Mayor Kenney's proposed 3-cents-per-ounce tax on sugared beverages ("Kenney presents budget to Council," Friday). This tax has short-term and long-term benefits - it is an excellent means to raise an estimated $400 million for essential services, such as universal pre-K and repairs to libraries and rec centers, and to improve public health. Proponents say that a price increase for sugared beverages will cut demand sharply.
February 27, 2016 |
Philadelphia would offer municipal ID cards that could be used by undocumented immigrants to access city services, file police reports, or potentially open bank accounts if legislation introduced Thursday to City Council is approved. The cards, proposed by Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez, could also benefit a wider audience. In other cities, the cards come with perks ranging from gym discounts to museum memberships. The legislation has the backing of Mayor Kenney, who cosponsored unsuccessful municipal ID legislation in 2013 while a member of Council.
January 20, 2016
By Frank Gilliam The behavior of the New Jersey government toward Atlantic City in recent days can be compared to that of a mugger - a robber who takes his victim's money, demands his jewelry, and then threatens to shoot him for not having enough money. Let me explain. While it's without doubt that Atlantic City faces difficult financial circumstances, much of the difficulty is caused by the state. For decades, the state and its agencies have treated Atlantic City as their own bank, taking more than $1 billion.
January 12, 2016 |
Mayor Kenney used plain language to describe his vision for Philadelphia's government during his inauguration last week: City services will be effective and efficient. One tangible element of his strategy is to use existing school buildings to deliver social services - such as adult English-language instruction, health care, and homeless assistance - to neighborhoods, making them available to people where they live and sparing those who don't have the time or ability to trek to Center City for help.
December 4, 2015
EXCUSE US for being surprised by the news this week that the city will be picking up $8 million of the cost of the World Meeting of Families and the visit by Pope Francis in September. According to the city, the total bill for city services during that event was $17 million. The World Meeting of families has already paid $5.2 million and has said it will send the city another $3.4 million. The city will pick up the tab for the rest. During the run-up to the conference, the parties involved - including Mayor Nutter - said that all costs would be covered by the World Meeting organization.
November 15, 2015 |
A mix of old and new will fill the uppermost ranks of the Kenney administration. It's a mix, too, of races and genders. On Friday, Mayor-elect Jim Kenney announced his choices for managing director, chief of staff, chief education officer, and deputy mayor for intergovernmental affairs. The selections range in experience from longtime bureaucrats to a novice in city government. A hallmark of Kenney's mayoral campaign was building a diverse citywide coalition. Likewise, his major appointees revealed thus far include two African American men, two white women, and a white man. Kenney said Michael DiBerardinis, a familiar name in City Hall since the Rendell era, will be managing director.
August 21, 2015 |
Philadelphia's Office of Information Technology is investigating whether city employees used the city's email system and computers to access a website that promotes extramarital affairs. The website, Ashley Madison, was targeted by anonymous hackers, who posted a large data set Wednesday that they say exposes the website's millions of registered users. The website, whose slogan is "Life is short. Have an affair," is aimed at married people looking to cheat on their spouses. The full data dump is difficult to download and navigate.
May 21, 2015 |
CITY VOTERS approved abolishing the School Reform Commission and answered "yes" to each of three other questions on the ballot in yesterday's election. The vote to abolish the SRC won't elicit any immediate action, said City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who sponsored the ballot question - and also won the Democratic primary for re-election to her Council seat. "This gives us a chance to talk about it with the governor," Blackwell said of the SRC question in a phone interview before the results were known.
May 20, 2015 |
YOU CAN SKIP the recommendations that follow, which wrap up our endorsements for the candidates and questions in this race . . . as long as you do one thing: Show up at the polls today. It matters. In fact, given the attempts to erode voting rights in the past few years, exercising your right to vote matters more than ever. You'd think that the threats against voting rights would encourage people to get out to the polls, but the sad truth is that here in Philadelphia, it's the opposite: Voter turnout continues to decline.
May 15, 2015
REPUBLICAN at-large Council members could be pitied for holding some of the loneliest jobs in City Hall. That said, the two slots for Republicans on Council can be important, not just to carve out issues that might otherwise be ignored, but as loyal opposition to follow-the-leader members of the majority party. The current incumbents, David Oh and Dennis O'Brien, alas haven't provided that role when it was most needed: calling for public hearings on the proposed PGW sale to UIL. They fell in with their colleagues in letting the deal die without explanation or full airing of the issues.