December 16, 2014 |
It was a quiet victory on a rainy Saturday, the results announced not to a cheering crowd but to a dozen people huddled under a sidewalk awning in North Philadelphia. Rodney Muhammad had been elected the new president of the Philadelphia NAACP, a victory that in past years might have guaranteed public adulation but that now promises mostly hard work. Muhammad, 62, takes over the leadership of a venerable organization torn by internal dissent, assuming local command amid national protest over the police killings of unarmed black men in New York City and Ferguson, Mo. "He's got a big job," said A. Bruce Crawley, a public relations executive who has known Muhammad for more than 20 years.
December 11, 2014 |
NANCY WINKLER, whose daughter was among the six people killed in the June 5, 2013, Market Street building collapse, yesterday warned a City Council committee against giving initial approval to a proposal that would change how the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections operates. The bill, championed by Council President Darrell Clarke, would create a new Department of Planning and Development, under which the functions of the dissolved L&I would be placed, along with the functions of a handful of other building-related offices.
September 19, 2014 |
CITY CONTROLLER Alan Butkovitz took a serious shot at Mayor Nutter's legacy yesterday, accusing him of running a "VIP hot line" for the well-connected to call round-the-clock for city services. For Nutter, who ran for the city's top office in 2007 promising to provide equal access to all city services, that could not stand. His staff quickly pushed back, saying Butkovitz didn't bother to learn the facts before issuing a news release to the media. Everett Gillison, Nutter's chief of staff, said the six people who answer the phone line are the "nerve center for the city," answering calls only from city employees and elected officials.
September 3, 2014 |
The furniture has been rearranged, and new decorations adorn the walls and bookshelves of Room 312 in City Hall. Former State Rep. Ed Neilson is officially moved into his new Philadelphia City Council office and is preparing for the start of the Council session next month. He is making use of the quiet time this week to prepare his new office, get up to speed on issues, and tour various city neighborhoods. Neilson, a Democrat and former political director of Electricians Local 98, was sworn in this month to finish Bill Green's at-large City Council term.
June 20, 2014 |
CITY COUNCIL yesterday passed a $4.5 billion operating budget for next year, complete with a smorgasbord of bills out of Council, closing out the final session before its 12-week summer sabbatical. Council approved borrowing $27 million to help the school district with its needs for the current fiscal year, and Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced a bill that asks to borrow an additional $30 million to ease next year's funding fix. Brown says the loan would be covered by the reimbursement from the extension of the sales tax. Councilman Jim Kenney prevailed with his controversial but veto-proof Small Amount of Marijuana bill, which amends the Philadelphia Code to create a civil penalty for possessing an ounce or less of weed, punishable by a $25 fine.
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.
March 24, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA'S political, business and labor leaders gathered behind closed doors yesterday to prepare for a bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, one week after Congress made that a more expensive proposition. Former Gov. Ed Rendell will serve as chairman of a new nonprofit hoping to raise $50 million to make the bid and host the event at the Wells Fargo Center. The U.S. Senate last week approved legislation to strip the Democratic and Republican parties of public financing for conventions.
February 28, 2014
After five contentious years, Mayor Nutter has reached a tentative agreement with the city's white-collar workers that strikes a balance between fairness to employees and cost control for taxpayers. Nutter stuck to his plan to begin stabilizing pension and health-care funds by requiring increased contributions from workers. The employees' new costs would be partly offset by a bonus and modest raises. Both the administration and the 4,000-member American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees District Council 47 can claim victory on an agreement that should serve as a model for other city labor deals.
February 27, 2014
It's been said that you can't get to heaven on the Frankford El. After midnight, though, you can't even get to 15th Street. Though SEPTA officials are powerless to address the first fact, they're right to reconsider service during the wee hours, which would promote more use of a valuable public asset and encourage healthy trends toward a round-the-clock repopulation of the city. SEPTA officials told The Inquirer last week that they are pondering a pilot extension of service on the Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, starting this summer.
January 24, 2014 |
When Jamie Timmons looked out her window Tuesday morning and saw snow starting to accumulate on the street, she knew to take an overnight bag to work. Good thing she did. As a 311 call agent for the City of Philadelphia, Timmons and her colleagues were about to work round the clock from 8 a.m. Tuesday through Wednesday afternoon or even to midnight, taking calls on everything from trash pickup to requests for plowing and salting on city streets. The 26-person crew, tucked inside a first-floor office in City Hall, received the city "mandate" at 11 a.m. Tuesday that it would be going into an emergency 24/7 operation.