May 7, 2016
Given its outsize notoriety, it's worth noting that the cloth-draped chain-link fence corralling Franklin Square for the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival is not exactly the Great Wall. But it has caused great controversy for some good reasons. For all the suddenness with which the fence separated one of William Penn's five original squares from his "greene country towne," it's the result of a gradual accumulation of private prerogatives in public parks. Historic Philadelphia Inc., the nonprofit to which the then-shabby square was turned over a decade ago, has transformed it into a delightful urban oasis partly by virtue of money-making concessions such as a burger stand, an old-fashioned carousel, and a miniature golf course bearing adorable dollhouse versions of Philadelphia monuments.
March 29, 2016
For any Philadelphian familiar with the story, it's hard to forget the way Eddie Polec died. The 16-year-old was pummeled to death on the steps of St. Cecilia's Roman Catholic Church in Fox Chase as more than a dozen people, including a nun, called 911, only to be abused, ignored, and misunderstood by dispatchers. One caller held out the phone so that a 911 operator could hear the raging battle among teenagers from Abington and Northeast Philadelphia. But State Rep. Maria Donatucci (D., Phila.)
December 10, 2015
ISSUE | EMPLOYMENT Grim outlook Advances in technology are rendering many people unemployable or not employable at their former wages ("Where have all the wages gone?" Sunday). The problem is worsening rapidly, and there are no viable solutions. If the government tries to mandate employment and salary levels, that could drive businesses out of the region, out of the state, or out of the country. Closing the borders could lead to a scenario that would please Ayn Rand. Significant increases in education spending can buy us time, but better education alone will not solve the problem: Many people will simply lack the ability to function in the 21st-century workplace.
January 1, 2015 |
The system failed mass murderer Bradley Stone's victims and everyone who cared about them. Montgomery County law enforcement officials should show more interest in finding out how. Police say that in just 90 minutes on Dec. 15, Stone killed his ex-wife and five of her relatives during a bloody rampage through Souderton, Lansdale, and Lower Salford. He used a handgun to shoot five of the victims and was also armed with an ax, a machete, and knives. The next day, he was found dead of a drug overdose in the woods near his Pennsburg home.
October 19, 2014 |
The 25 or so people squeezed into a small television studio deep inside the Tredyffrin Township municipal building were told to relax, to accept not being ready for prime time. "The worst problem I have is, people beat themselves up because they're not Steven Spielberg," Gene Donahue, studio manager and a township employee, said to his class of aspiring producers. "Well, guess what? Steven Spielberg wasn't always Steven Spielberg. " Most students don't have experience shooting with a professional camera.
September 24, 2014
ISSUE | TONY AUTH Divisive caricatures At the risk of interrupting the recent hagiography of Tony Auth, I recall his consistently insulting and simplistic caricatures of people of faith and political conservatives ("A witness to Auth's genius," Sept. 21). While he was often insightful and his talent was undeniable, in my opinion he also contributed to our nation's culture of political invective and partisanship. |Andy Horvath, Towson, Md., email@example.com ISSUE | COMCAST Basic cable offering UPDATE : Comcast reported on Wednesday that, as of July, PCN was moved into its basic cable tier. What does it say about Comcast's claim to good public service that the only cable station carrying Monday's gubernatorial debate between Gov. Corbett and Tom Wolf was Comcast's channel 186 in its extra-cost service tier?
September 5, 2014 |
The official cloak of secrecy on political contributions made by companies working for the Delaware River Port Authority may soon be a thing of the past. The DRPA's audit committee on Wednesday approved a proposal to restore public access to vendors' political contributions. The full DRPA board will vote on the proposal, made by Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, later this month. "It's just common sense," DePasquale said Wednesday. "The public has a right to know who's donating to me. " "The idea of not letting this stuff become public is just silly.
May 22, 2014 |
The auction on Tuesday of The Inquirer's parent company will be closed to the press and the public, but the winner and the price should be publicly announced, a Delaware judge ordered Tuesday. "Having considered the parties' submissions, I conclude that the auction should be conducted confidentially and that the auction should be closed to everyone but the participants and the trustee," Delaware Court of Chancery Vice Chancellor Donald F. Parsons Jr. wrote in a letter accompanying his order.
July 4, 2013
Mayor Nutter's newest excuse for suppressing public information related to the fatal Market Street building collapse is that a grand jury is investigating the disaster. But the investigation doesn't change the public nature of the records involved. Experts in the field say they were public records before the collapse - and they're public records now. Nutter is blowing a chance to keep his word that his government would be transparent. State law even allows him to grant access to records that fall into a gray area if they illuminate public policy.
June 26, 2013 |
Throughout his 2007 campaign and five-plus years as mayor, Michael Nutter has promoted the virtues of government transparency and open records. At a U.S. Conference of Mayors event in Philadelphia last month, described as an "innovation summit," Nutter patted himself on the back for releasing 47 data sets covering everything from crime to property values. But in the last year, the administration has created new procedural and legal hurdles, with attendant delays, for people seeking access to city records.