April 10, 2009
OUR city has drug dealers on just about every corner. Police are being killed on a regular basis. City services are just about null and void, and we have no budget to speak of. So what's our City Council (all paid more than $100,000) doing? Making sure our menus are labeled. Now that I know how many calories are in a Big Mac, I really feel safe and secure. George Madden, Philadelphia
February 3, 2012 |
WHEN HE WAS 13, Rich Negrin saw his Cuban-activist father gunned down by anti-Castro terrorists. He held him as he died, kneeling in the street covered with his father's blood. After he became a father himself, Negrin watched his 5-year-old daughter die in 2006 after a lifelong battle with an incurable neuromuscular disease that devastated her ability to breathe. Every day, the memory of his father and his daughter inspires the city's powerful managing director to reach out to its least powerful residents, and try to help.
May 22, 2014 |
How do you comfort a family that's suffered an unspeakable loss? Gloria Guard wondered that as she stood outside Families Forward, the West Philadelphia shelter that was home the 7-year-old boy who died Wednesday after falling ill at Jackson Elementary. "We are devastated," said Guard, the shelter's director. "We are trying our best to support this family, any way that we can. We are working with other families at the shelter to try to get them through this, one teeny step at a time.
August 26, 2007 |
Dear Aaron and Laura, This is a great issue that you've raised. We need to change the relationship between public officials and the people they serve. Philadelphians make an investment in their city through tax dollars, and they expect a return on that investment in the form of high-quality city services. City government must be in the business of providing superior customer service to the people of Philadelphia. If I am elected mayor, we will develop a customer-service training program for all public employees, making public satisfaction with city services a priority.
June 2, 2010
WHY IS IT that every time the mayors or Council members write a letter or talk to the media, they all talk about cutting city services, having to raise taxes, having taxpayers tighten our belts, but no one mentions cutting their huge budgets? I hope voters remember when they come up for re-election. Here's a ballot question: "Shall the City of Philadelphia abolish half the Council seats and all their perks in order to save the taxpayer's money to help reduce our property-tax increase and keep police and fire on the streets?"
February 17, 2009
I READ where Mayor Nutter had a 71 percent approval job rating. Is that true? Could it have been just 71 people total? With all the cutbacks in the fire department, libraries and other city services, and doubling the parking-meter rates, how many people would give him a positive approval rating? All he has done is give employers of ex-cons city tax credits and get ex-cons jobs at Goodwill. Could the ex-cons make up 71 percent of the people? Mayer Krain, Philadelphia
February 16, 1987
The city is decaying, make no mistake about it. All we have to do is look around. Consider the loud-mouth and defensive-looking members of City Council whose names immediately come to mind. Think about the corrupt judges and the farce called a Gas Commission. Think about the city services we're not getting. Call City Hall and you're exceptionally lucky if you get satisfaction. It's pretty bad when these civil servants think we work for them, rather than the other way around.
March 9, 2013
Saying he wanted to provide better service to Philadelphia's growing immigrant population, Mayor Nutter signed an executive order Thursday establishing the Mayor's Office of Immigrant and Multi-Cultural Affairs. The office will seek to improve access to city services for people whose English is limited. It also will help develop economic opportunities and educational resources. Nutter named Jennifer Rodriguez executive director of the office. She will be paid $100,000. Fernando Treviño-Martínez will serve as deputy director and will be paid $90,000.
June 8, 2008 |
To spend a day on the job with the city's new managing director, Camille Cates Barnett, is to pull your chair up to some of the cleanest, most paper-free desks and conference tables in all of North American municipal government. This is a woman who takes no notes. "I can remember what I need to know," says Barnett, 59. All day, her cell phone rings maybe one time, and it's the movers. She takes one crisis call, about Wi-Fi, and appoints a youngster to deal with it. Her handpicked performance management team keeps the details, a group of clean-cut wonkish youngsters who skate around her all day with charts and reports and solutions.
December 23, 2009
PITTSBURGH Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced a deal Monday between city government and local universities that effectively kills his proposal to tax college tuition. That's good news, since taxing tuition was a terrible idea. But it's also good because the agreement gets bigger contributions from local universities and nonprofits - often called Payments in Lieu of Taxes - to pay for city services. In Philadelphia, the city has tried to strike a balance between collecting money from these untaxed organizations and trying to keep the burden relatively low. But colleges, universities and nonprofits also consume a lot of city services that need to be paid for. The deal in Pittsburgh might be a framework that could also apply locally.