August 18, 2016 |
Norristown has assets that other towns would envy: Excellent transportation access, proximity to employment centers, the seat of one of the state's wealthiest counties. Yet it has not enjoyed the prosperity of its counterparts in Bucks, Chester, and Delaware Counties - Doylestown, West Chester, and Media, respectively - and Norristown has issues that no other town would envy, including high crime, poverty, and property-tax rates. But after years of false starts, regional planners think that a major highway-construction project could be just the thing that can get the municipality on the road to recovery.
April 25, 2016 |
Unemployment is down, wages are up, and business is growing, a bit, the economists say. So why are so many Americans voting for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders , who yell that this nation is heading in the wrong direction, fast and hard? Because there's not enough prosperity, or belief in it, to go around. "Populism is foremost about economic discontent," as development financier Jeremy Nowak put it in his weekly Philadelphia Citizen column. Trump and Sanders are winning votes with retreads of familiar arguments from lost elections: that free trade costs Americans factory jobs, that politicians help rich donors and lobbyists, and that neither party cares to solve basic problems such as hospital and school costs, rundown roads, terrorism and cybersecurity, and immigration.
January 29, 2015 |
Philadelphia merchants, in the spirit of "if life gives you lemons, make lemonade," tried to turn snow into snow cones Monday and Tuesday, making up for revenue lost in the storm-that-wasn't. Ten years ago, that money would have been gone, buried in the blizzard. But these days, social media - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, e-mail blasts, listservs - has made it possible for merchants to pull off spur-of-the-moment marketing blitzes, offering discounts and deals to persuade customers to come out in the snow.
August 22, 2013 |
Less than two months before its former state director squares off against Newark Mayor Cory Booker in the U.S. Senate special election, members of Americans for Prosperity celebrated the opening Tuesday of the group's new field office in Cherry Hill. The conservative nonprofit now has five offices in New Jersey - including another new one in Washington Township - in an effort to expand its influence and voice across the state. "It'll allow us to go out and meet more individuals and carry our message of economic freedom to a larger community and widen our base," said Daryn Iwicki, the nonprofit's deputy state director.
August 6, 2013 |
This planned show of force by Major League Baseball is quickly devolving into farce. If Alex Rodriguez plays baseball Monday night in Chicago, within hours of being suspended for 50 or 150 or 214 games, commissioner Bud Selig's attempted display of strength will serve only to remind everyone how weak MLB has been throughout the steroid era. That is fitting, because Rodriguez apparently has been cheating in plain sight throughout his career, just...
August 2, 2013 |
IS THE DEPARTMENT of Licenses and Inspection's primary focus economic development or public safety? That question was one of several at the forefront yesterday during City Council's fourth hearing held to investigate the Center City building collapse that claimed six lives in June. Bennett Levin, one of two former L&I commissioners who testified before Council yesterday, said the department's focus has shifted away from public safety. "L&I has equivalent public safety responsibilities to the Police Department and/or the Fire Department, but we tolerate and even accept sloth and unaccountability in the name of political expediency and economic development," said Levin, who was the department's commissioner under Mayor Ed Rendell.
March 28, 2013 |
More jobs! More money! So say the people backing Gov. Corbett's plans to turn the Pennsylvania Lottery and the State Store system over to private operators. As I noted in this space in January, the lottery-sale plan - currently on hiatus - is designed so the promised jobs and revenue are added only if private managers persuade Pennsylvanians to bet more, through new games like keno (bingo, sort of) in new locations like bars and restaurants. As the pro-privatization Commonwealth Foundation said in a report last week, State Store opponents promise that: "ending the state-run monopoly will create thousands of additional jobs across the state and unleash millions of dollars in new business investment.
March 19, 2013 |
When the Philadelphia Electric Co. hired my father as an engineer in 1946, little did the freshly minted graduate of Tufts University and the Navy V-12 program realize that he had hit the jackpot. For the next 41 years, he and his wife would prosper from a rarity today: remarkable job stability, regular salary increases, and gold-standard benefits that enabled them - on a single "family wage" - to raise five children and send them to college. Moreover, his coveted compensation package was graced with a defined-benefit pension and health-care coverage at retirement for him and my mom, including survivor's benefits after he passed away.
December 24, 2012 |
Just a rocket's throw from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli desert town of Netivot has struggled for years with economic-development and safety concerns when missiles fall. Since 1997, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, under a program of U.S.-Israel community partnerships, has donated about $500,000 a year to the city of 30,000. A new link in that partnership - to be highlighted on Monday at a conference in Netivot - compounds traditional checkbook charity with innovative venture philanthropy.
November 10, 2012 |
When Shake Shack took over the space Dom's Shoe Repair Service had occupied since 1994, Dom's owner Leandro Montalto found a storefront down the street. The Roxborough native made very few modifications to the former dry cleaner's space. He ripped up wall-to-wall carpeting in favor of laminate hardwood flooring, and changed the color of the faux-wood wainscoting from blue to white. Why? "It's a little more appealing," Montalto says, shrugging. It's fair to say he put less thought into designing interactions with his customers than Shake Shack did. There, the order-taker asks your name before handing you a buzzer so when you go to pick up your food, the server can thank you personally.