February 8, 2012
AFTER reading Valerie Russ' account of the defeat of the planned Chinatown/Reading Viaduct Neighborhood Improvement District, I thought about a tale of two cities. One is Philadelphia and the other, New York City. In New York, city leaders, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, prominent city council members, leaders in business and industry, and the community as a whole came together and, over a lengthy process, agreed on a plan to fund and create a fabulous urban park on a dilapidated, unused portion of an elevated rail line.
February 4, 2012 |
The City of Philadelphia wants to hire an efficiency expert. Believe it or not, this may be a first for the city government. The Nutter administration issued a request for proposals Thursday, soliciting qualified firms to submit credentials to become an "Overhead Cost and Revenue Collection Consultant" to deal with multiple city agencies. On the cost side, the city is looking for an outside analysis of its utility bills, gasoline purchases, leasing, supply, and advertising costs, and outside legal fees.
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.
January 14, 2012 |
Louis Applebaum, 75, of Langhorne, a business owner who was procurement commissioner for the City of Philadelphia for 10 years, died of lymphoma Friday, Jan. 13, at home. In 1991, newly elected Mayor Ed Rendell asked Mr. Applebaum for a one-year commitment to public service as procurement commissioner. Mr. Applebaum, who had recently retired as head of a furniture and office-supply company, agreed to take the job. The one-year commitment turned into 10 years, covering Rendell's eight years in office and two years of John F. Street's administration.
January 4, 2012
With the stunning Academy of Music as his backdrop, Mayor Nutter began his second term by vigorously promising to fix two of the city's most intractable problems - poorly performing schools and street violence. But if his speech sounded like a new arrangement of an old aria, that's because it was. Education and crime were among the monumental and interwoven tasks he promised to address four years ago. Today, they top Nutter's list of unresolved issues that he says are "holding us back as a city.
October 23, 2011
When Michael Nutter became mayor in 2008, he took over a city reeling from at least a murder a day, a government beholden to selfish business and political elites, a stressed tax base, and a troubled School District. Then the recession hit. But the pragmatic optimist has made progress on each of these fronts, albeit some more than others, and well deserves a second term. The Inquirer endorses MICHAEL NUTTER for mayor. Republicans again fielded a poor candidate. Karen Brown has pandered to police and firefighters, promising virtually anything for their support.
September 29, 2011
Northeast of Broad Street and the Vine Street Expressway is where Chinatown and an emerging loft district meet. The neighborhood bustles with small businesses, row houses are being fixed up, and old warehouses are being converted into apartments and condos. It's convenient to Center City, with great views of the skyline, but it's also afflicted with vacant lots, trash, graffiti, and unkempt spaces along the old Reading Railroad viaduct. The area needs more public services than a cash-strapped city can give it with today's tight budgets, which is why some businesses and residents are trying to form a neighborhood improvement district.
September 25, 2011
When glasses of vino are raised at the Vendemmia Festival in South Philadelphia's Girard Park on Sunday, it's safe to say few people will be toasting City Hall. Members of the board of directors of the Vendemmia Foundation, a nonprofit group that has put on the wine, food, and music celebration for 15 years, say they were blindsided last week when the city handed them a bill for the party that was twice what they expected. Vendemmia chairman Jerry Vernose said organizers of the festival, which costs $40 a head and begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, expected to lay out about $15,000 for electricity, police, trash pickup, and other costs associated with the four-hour event.
August 24, 2011 |
3-1-1 IS SUPPOSED to make dealing with the city easier. Dial the number, state your problem and 3-1-1 does the rest for you, by either answering your question or making sure your complaint gets referred to the appropriate department. But here at the City Howl Help Desk, where we look into problems people have with city services, we've noticed that people often don't know how to make the most of 3-1-1. For instance, they report a deteriorating abandoned house, nothing gets done about it, and they don't know where to turn.
June 21, 2011
It's getting harder and harder to find signs of the mayor that Michael Nutter wanted to be. The man who won office as the city's greatest tax-cutting champion is now the guy who is disappointed when City Council raises property taxes only 3.8 percent, instead of doubling the price of soda as he'd asked. The mayor who made education the central theme of his inaugural address was forced to resort to a nine-page temper tantrum - CC'd to the world - to remind his own school board appointees that hello, he is the mayor and he does matter.