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.
May 21, 2013
By Michele S. Byers It's been six months since Superstorm Sandy pounded New Jersey, and summer is almost upon us. Towns up and down the coast are preparing for Memorial Day weekend and the arrival of beach lovers, fishermen, surfers, and boaters whose tourism dollars keep the Shore economy ticking. Many Shore towns are still busy with post-Sandy repairs, like cleaning debris from the sand, helping businesses and homeowners recover, and rebuilding boardwalks. And they're counting on receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in state and federal funds to replenish eroded beaches and build dunes.
April 27, 2013 |
TRENTON - New Jersey lawmakers decided Thursday not to put stronger public access guarantees into a bill governing funding for beach replenishment projects in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The Senate Environment and Energy Committee agreed with advocates who argued for better access, but said it wanted to know whether there was evidence that projects had ever been rejected for funds as a result. The panel said it might consider amending the bill in the future to add access requirements.
April 23, 2013 |
Bensalem Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo calls his township's five-mile waterfront a "mishmash" of uses. There are light industry and chemical storage; parks and older apartment houses; riverside cottages and the 18th-century Andalusia estate. But on 45 open acres on State Road just over the Philadelphia line, tucked between a truck yard and small warehouses, the mayor sees the future taking shape. A builder will start building and selling the first of 600 homes, including townhouses, condominiums, and 16 customized, million-dollar houses.
February 28, 2013 |
A proposed conservation center that would serve as a bird and wildlife sanctuary, as well as help city schoolchildren gain a better understanding of science and nature sounds like a wonderful project with which few people could find fault. But the National Audubon Society and Outward Bound Philadelphia's proposed East Park Leadership and Conservation Center would be built on publicly owned land in Fairmount Park, and some city residents question whether the center would provide enough free public access.
December 21, 2012 |
NEWARK, N.J. - Rules recently implemented by New Jersey's environmental authority unjustly limit the public's access to beaches and waterways while protecting the interests of industry and wealthy landowners, two environmental groups claim in a lawsuit filed against the state. The notice of appeal was filed Tuesday in Superior Court in Trenton by the NY/NJ baykeeper and the Hackensack riverkeeper. It claims the state Department of Environmental Protection exceeded its authority when it adopted the rules last month.
December 10, 2012
Gov. Corbett is wrongly trying to circumvent Pennsylvania's open-records law by declaring his daily schedule off limits to public scrutiny. Is he trying to hide something? The governor's negative response to a reasonable request by the media to know what's on his daily agenda has morphed into a crucial challenge that could undermine the state's fledgling Office of Open Records and have a chilling effect on government openness. Corbett and his lawyers have put up roadblocks ever since Associated Press reporter Mark Scolforo filed a simple request in February 2011 to look at the governor's schedule and e-mails.
November 16, 2012 |
THE STONE staircase, sandwiched between rowhouses and connecting Water Street and Front Street on an Old City block, seems like any ordinary set of old steps. Residents store their trash cans on them, and fallen leaves line the treads, which dip a bit in the middle from the masses that have climbed up and down them. But neighbors of the Wood Street Steps in Old City say they are a historic treasure, the last remaining steps of about a dozen such staircases William Penn in 1684 ordered be built to ensure public access to the increasingly congested Delaware River waterfront.
October 28, 2012
Bob Martin is commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Gov. Christie and I view excellent public access to our ocean beaches, bays, and rivers in New Jersey as a fundamental right for everyone in our state. As millions of residents and visitors know, New Jersey already has wonderful access to our 127 miles of beaches and shoreline. To further enhance access and help redevelop urban waterfronts, the Department of Environmental Protection this month has adopted a public access rule that sets strict requirements but also provides flexibility.
October 10, 2012 |
A controversial proposal that would deny public access to records of private managers of charter schools has surfaced again in the Pennsylvania legislature after it was rebuffed during the summer. Disagreement over the proposed exemption to the state's Right-to-Know law was one of the reasons that a package of charter law changes submitted in late June was shelved until this fall. The proposal was part of a 53-page amendment inserted into a special education funding bill in an effort to get the charter changes passed along with the budget.