February 1, 2013 |
IT'S A WRAP. City Councilman Mark Squilla on Thursday will not seek to override Mayor Nutter's veto of a bill that would allow for a huge digital advertising billboard on the Electric Factory, at 7th and Callowhill streets, near the Vine Expressway. "I don't want to move something forward without having something to counter [the administration's] claims," said Squilla, who requested feedback from the U.S. Department of Transportation after a letter from PennDOT and the Federal Highway Administration, clarifying violations if the billboard were to be erected, made him reconsider the bill.
February 10, 2013
When six competitors vie for the city's second casino license at the Convention Center on Tuesday, the Gaming Control Board will hear from someone once considered a foe of gambling houses: Councilman-turned-consultant Frank DiCicco. In a video presentation, DiCicco will make the case that the Gaming Control Board should award the license to Market East Associates, which proposes building a casino and shops on what is now a parking lot at Eighth and Market Streets. During his 15-year tenure as a councilman, DiCicco fought the proposal for the Foxwoods Casino on the Delaware River.
March 10, 2011
FOUR DOWN, two to go. With Frank DiCicco's decision to take the money and leave office, we are left with two Council members - at-large Councilman Frank Rizzo and district Councilwoman Marian Tasco - who plan to take the Power Ball payout from the Deferred Retirement Option Plan and then return to work (if they are re-elected). Weeks earlier, perhaps fearing citizens with pitchforks and torches, Council members Anna Verna, Jack Kelly and Donna Reed Miller decided to take the pot o' gold and scoot, rather than seek re-election.
March 8, 2011 |
Frank DiCicco has conquered many a controversy over the years. He switched from Republican to Democrat in an allegiance with former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo and years later was rewarded with a ticket to a federal grand jury to discuss Fumo's use of public money. He survived the casino wars in his South Philadelphia district, tiptoeing around precarious and sometimes contradictory positions. But to keep his job as councilman for the city's First District, DiCicco was now staring at a half-million-dollar campaign, a probable court battle over the controversial DROP retirement program, and some unfriendly ward leaders.
June 30, 2011 |
A majority of City Council members say they'll refuse a cost-of-living raise they are slated to receive today. While the city faces harsh economic times, Mayor Nutter, Council and other elected officials are entitled to a 1.9 percent cost-of-living increase under a 2003 law. According to Finance Director Rob Dubow, Nutter and 19 Cabinet members and commissioners declined to take the raise,. For the last three years, Nutter and every member of Council have given some of their salary to the city or to charity.
March 20, 2011
In old-school city politics, no currency is more valued than the patronage job. No one knows that better than Register of Wills Ronald R. Donatucci. So how many jobs did it take to persuade pesky ward leader John P. Sabatina Sr. not to run against him? The answer is two. Donatucci is a fixture in the Democratic political establishment from South Philadelphia, and Sabatina has been the formidable leader of the 56th Ward in the Northeast since 1980. Sabatina, whose son, John Jr., is a state representative, saw an opportunity in the register-of-wills race, with Donatucci embroiled in the controversy over the city's Deferred Retirement Option Plan.
June 20, 2011
A SHORT POLITICAL quiz: What's worse than City Council? If you said, "Nothing," you're right. What, you're thinking, not even the Legislature? Nope, not even. That's because with Council set to vote this week on higher property taxes and parking fees to pour still more money into questionably run city schools, it could take a lesson from the Legislature. For the last few sessions, the Legislature has ended lame-duck lawmaking, the practice of permitting defeated or retiring members to vote on important issues.
June 29, 2011 |
After a bruising budget season that ended for a second straight year with a property-tax increase, Mayor Nutter and a majority of Council members are refusing the annual cost-of-living pay bump they are eligible to receive. Nutter, who has slashed his salary in some form each year since the fiscal crisis of 2008, again is leading the pack in austerity. He not only refused the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, but will cut his salary by 10 percent and take two weeks of furlough, said budget director Rebecca Rhynhart.
June 24, 2011 |
LIKE IT OR NOT, a temporary property-tax hike is on the way for a second year in a row. City Council concluded its final session before its summer break yesterday by passing a $3.5 billion budget that included a temporary 3.85 percent property-tax increase to collect $37 million for the cash-strapped school district. Additionally, Council will reduce the city's surplus-fund balance and raise parking-meter fees for a total of $53 million to restore yellow-bus transportation, maintain reduced class sizes for K-3 classrooms, preserve accelerated schools at the same level as this year and restore 270 slots for students in an early-education program.
November 16, 2012 |
The fight over a billboard on the Electric Factory building - perhaps the most litigated sign in the city - has returned. After a decade of legislation and lawsuits over whether the owners could throw a "wall wrap" advertisement over their building at Seventh and Callowhill Streets, the proposal was thought dead when chief patron Frank DiCicco retired from City Council this year. But DiCicco's successor, Mark Squilla, resurrected the proposal on Thursday with a twist. Under his bill, 20 percent of the advertising revenue would go to three local elementary schools and possibly several community groups.