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.
December 8, 2013 |
ONE OF THE city's savviest money men says the city could save millions by trimming the fat from the more than 10 million square feet of office space the city owns and leases. Tom Knox, chairman of the Mayor's Task Force on City-owned Facilities, and Mayor Nutter yesterday presented the task force's report finding the city could save as much as $121 million over five years by better managing its unused office space. "This is real, serious money," Nutter said. "This report joins a growing body of work . . . that urges the city to become more data-driven and begin tracking all the costs of maintenance and operations facilities, citywide.
September 27, 2013
I COULDN'T help but read your article on Philly gambling and "all there is to know" about the six proposals that want to make Philly a new home for their casino, and wonder when you say "Learn more about the 6 proposals" if you are really being honest. For each proposal, you gave us insight on "the bidder," "the backers" and "the connected," but what I think is the most important information that you forgot to provide was: "The opposition. " What I am trying to say is, how about a story on those (and there are a lot of them)
September 27, 2013 |
The University of Pennsylvania, with its Ivy League pedigree and large health system, is one of the nation's most prestigious colleges and is Philadelphia's largest private employer. With a $6 billion-plus budget, a $7.7 billion endowment, and a recently completed $4.3 billion fund-raising campaign, it's also arguably wealthy. But Penn, like other nonprofits in the city, is largely exempt from paying property taxes on its West Philadelphia campus. The Philadelphia School District's financial crisis has yielded a renewed cry from some corners for Penn, Drexel and La Salle Universities, and other colleges and nonprofits to make payments to the city - known as Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILOTs - as they did when Ed Rendell was mayor and the city needed every penny.
August 9, 2013 |
U.S. Rep. Bob Brady wants to bring the Democratic National Convention - a huge economic boon, but also a complicated, expensive event - to Philadelphia for the first time since 1948. Brady, the city's Democratic Party boss, convened a group of the region's political, labor, and other leaders Wednesday morning at the Union League to discuss the effort. Notably absent from the gathering was Mayor Nutter, who later expressed his "enthusiasm about the possibility and the prospect of the city hosting another national party convention.
July 30, 2013 |
Now that Detroit has filed for bankruptcy, will other financially challenged big cities follow Motown to U.S. Bankruptcy Court to escape some of what they owe? Maybe, but Philadelphia is unlikely to be one of them. Michigan officials wanted their biggest city to go bankrupt. They expect this will enable the city to trim what it has to pay investors who own city bonds, retired police who collect city pensions, and other creditors. "Michigan's antipathy for bondholders is startling," said Matt Fabian, managing director of Massachusetts-based Municipal Market Advisors.
July 22, 2013
Coroner: Teen in Asiana crash killed by vehicle SAN MATEO, Calif. - As the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214 burned, Ye Meng Yuan was lying on the ground just 30 feet away, buried by the firefighting foam rescue workers were spraying to douse the flames. No one knows exactly how the 16-year-old Chinese student got to that spot, but officials say one thing is clear now: She somehow survived the crash. And in the chaotic moments that followed - flames devouring the fuselage, those aboard escaping by emergency slides, flight attendants frantically cutting away seat belts to free passengers - a fire truck ran over Yuan, killing her. The new details - released yesterday by the coroner's office - compounded the tragedy for her family and confirmed the growing suspicions that emergency workers have had since soon after the July 6 crash: One of the three who died did so by rescuers' actions.
July 20, 2013 |
Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation's history Thursday, marking a new low in a long decline that has left the U.S. automaking capital bleeding residents and revenue, while rendering city services a mess. The city, which was the nation's fourth largest in the 1950s with nearly two million inhabitants, has seen its population plummet to 700,000 as residents fled increasing crime and deteriorating basic services, taking their tax dollars with them. As Detroit faced an estimated debt of $19 billion, the state in March appointed an emergency manager vested with extraordinary powers to rewrite contracts and liquidate some of the city's most valuable assets.
July 15, 2013 |
When we talk about poverty in Philadelphia, let's keep one basic concept in mind: We are all in this together. The effects of poverty ripple out beyond those directly affected to everyone who lives and works in this city. Poverty means fewer people have money to spend on goods and services in local businesses, and therefore fewer dollars flow through the economy. It means an increased burden on city services, and therefore a higher burden on city homeowners and taxpayers. But this isn't all about dollars and cents.
July 14, 2013 |
The Philly311 Mobile App for smartphones has released new features to help immigrants and residents who speak English as a second language navigate city services, city officials announced Friday. Information about translation programs to help users communicate with city services and a list of community resources are two new features. The app can be translated into 16 languages, including Spanish, Korean, Russian, and Vietnamese. Click on the globe icon labeled "Language Assistance" in the Philly311 app to explore resources for other language speakers.