November 20, 2013 |
SPEAKING PUBLICLY for just the second time after the death of her daughter in June's Market Street building collapse, City Treasurer Nancy Winkler yesterday questioned whether the tragedy could have been prevented by her own employer - the city of Philadelphia. "How could L&I have granted a demolition permit in this instance if it did due diligence on those involved?" Winkler asked while testifying in a City Council hearing. "How could L&I have permitted the demolition to continue up to and on June 5, given the fact the site had previously been inspected and cited for violations?
November 18, 2013 |
WHEN the owners of New York City's popular Brooklyn Flea opened a similar, weekly market in Philadelphia in June, it promised to be a hipster heaven. But Brooklyn Flea Philly didn't draw the crowds the New York market did, prompting the out-of-town owners to bail on Philly. Some blamed the location, the Piazza at Schmidts in Northern Liberties. Others said sleepy Sundays weren't the best shopping day. And some saw the market, which kept "Brooklyn" in its name, as a Philly snub. But Mark Vevle never viewed the short-lived market as a failure.
October 25, 2013 |
ON MAY 13, 1985, Philadelphia police dropped a bomb on a West Philly rowhouse. Eleven people died and 61 homes went up in flames. Within a week, then-Mayor Wilson Goode agreed to appoint an independent commission to investigate exactly how and why the Police Department's final confrontation with the MOVE fringe group escalated to catastrophe. It has been four months and 19 days since the collapse of 2140 Market St. killed six people and injured 13. So far, all we have is the promise that Mayor Nutter will appoint a similar independent commission to examine how the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections might have averted the tragedy.
October 18, 2013 |
WEST CHESTER - A public works crew pulling up the sidewalk in the heart of West Chester last week heard an unexpected crack. What the workers uncovered is a mystery that has since perplexed the borough. Beneath the bricks on Church Street, they found a glass manhole cover. And beneath that opaque window, they looked down on a hidden room. Another layer down, beneath a film of dirt and dust, they saw a metal chair, a few bottles, and an archway long ago closed by concrete.
October 17, 2013 |
WHEN HE was running for governor in 2009, Steve Lonegan suggested that a bulldozer might best address Camden's blight by plowing over the thousands of abandoned homes and vacant storefronts sagging along the streets. Lonegan, 57, lost the GOP primary to Chris Christie, but Newark Mayor Cory Booker, his opponent in today's special election to fill the late Frank Lautenberg's U.S. Senate seat, mentioned the remark on a stretch of Market Street in the troubled city Monday afternoon as an example of how out of touch he believes Lonegan's politics are. "All of his views are representative of the extreme," Booker, his voice hoarse from touring the state, told a crowd of about 100 on the street.
October 17, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA Philadelphia architect Plato A. Marinakos Jr., who obtained the demolition permit for the Center City project where six people died in June, is fighting a federal subpoena for documents related to the fatal building collapse. The U.S. Department of Labor disclosed the dispute last week, asking U.S. District Court for an order compelling Marinakos to turn over eight categories of correspondence and other documents, photographs, and video tied to the demolition work at 2136-38 Market St. On Sept.
October 14, 2013 |
With the family business thriving nearly 75 years after its debut in South Philadelphia, the planned opening of a fifth Di Bruno Bros. store next Monday in the city's Washington Square West neighborhood might strike some as a "So what?" moment. It's anything but, say city economic-development professionals and business owners in the downtown pocket where Di Bruno's is bringing its high-end Italian foods market. "They have amazing brand recognition," said Ivy Olesh, vice president of marketing and business development at the quasi-public Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp.
October 4, 2013
TWO HUNDRED ninety years ago Sunday, Benjamin Franklin - Philadelphia's most celebrated beer drinker - stepped out of a boat on the Delaware and into a tavern. I was inspired to mark the occasion of the 17-year-old runaway's arrival in town by visiting the newly reopened Benjamin Franklin Museum in Old City. That's the place, tucked in a courtyard off Market Street, that features the steel-beamed "ghost house" marking the outlines of Franklin's long-gone home. The adjoining museum, dedicated to his life and legacy, has been spruced up with new exhibits.
September 30, 2013
City Council should be commended for its efforts to prevent future tragedies like the fatal Market Street building collapse. Its sweeping reform agenda includes mandated safety plans for demolitions, safety certifications for demolition workers, strict permitting guidelines to ensure contractors are competent, and more Licenses and Inspections employees with better training. Some of this sounds like common sense, but before the June collapse, the city didn't even inspect private demolition sites absent a complaint.
September 22, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA City Controller Alan Butkovitz threatened Friday to hold up paychecks in the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections if it doesn't speed up cooperation with his probe into how the city regulates demolition projects. Mayor Nutter's chief of staff, Everett Gillison, said the administration had been cooperating and accused Butkovitz of abusing his authority. "If he really wants to know how L&I works, our people are there to help him with that," Gillison said. "I think this is a case where Mr. Butkovitz is playing politics.