July 2, 2016 |
As Center City has shined up over the last couple of decades, Broad Street became the dividing line between the increasingly upscale west side and the stubbornly scruffy east. Philadelphia's most stylish shops and restaurants tended to gravitate to the west side, close to Rittenhouse Square, even while fine 20th-century commercial buildings sat half-empty and unkempt on the east. The 1100 block of Chestnut Street was one of the worst spots, a black hole of blight. Trash swirled in the doorways of dollar stores, while the vacant upper floors became canvases for elaborate graffiti narratives . A 2013 study by the Center City District found that the dreary block had the lowest pedestrian counts of any commercial street in its survey, an extraordinary statistic considering its proximity to City Hall and the Convention Center.
June 14, 2016
ISSUE | PA. LIQUOR SALES We deserve cheaper prices, more choices As a former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue (like Gov. Wolf), I find it almost humorous that the General Assembly passed legislation to allow four bottles of wine to be sold in certain licensed stores, restaurants, and hotels in the commonwealth and that the governor signed it ("Law signed loosening Pa. wine sale restrictions," Thursday). The governor says this is an opening of the door to privatization of our archaic State Store system and brings convenience to our citizens.
March 22, 2016
ISSUE | STATE STORES Monopoly is failing State Rep. Maria Donatucci's defense of Pennsylvania's liquor monopoly gives an incomplete picture of a broken system and includes an unfair attack on privatization ("Business is booming," Tuesday). She praised the Liquor Control Board for record sales, yet state law bans private businesses. An increase in sales looks less impressive when it's the result of a government-sanctioned monopoly. The LCB ended 2015 more than $238 million in the red. It knows its finances are in trouble, which is why it suggested raising prices in 2014.
March 16, 2016
ISSUE | STATE STORES Business is booming As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I was pleased to hear that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board sold a record $2.34 billion in wine and spirits in fiscal year 2014-15. To ensure that sales keep increasing, however, the LCB has agreed with House Democrats that we must make the state system more convenient by expanding store hours and Sunday sales, establishing flexible pricing, and allowing lottery ticket sales in stores.
November 20, 2015 |
Thanksgiving can be predictable when it comes to the drinks. Pinot noir. Zinfandel. All-American choices. But as a nod to this year's Italian American-theme menu from chef Joe Cicala, we've decided to suggest a splash of Italian flavors, too. For example, why not loosen up the aunts and uncles with a cocktail made to echo some of the same amaro flavors they'll be tasting in that bird (due to the herbal liqueur used in the brine)? For this two-drink recipe for a "Manhattan all'Ascolana," blend six ounces of good old American Bulleit rye with two ounces of Meletti amaro and two dashes of bitters; shake well with ice, strain, and serve in two chilled martini glasses with Amarena cherries for your favorite relatives.
October 26, 2015
Charlie Mooney had his white notebook binder with him, complete with a revenue analysis chart. Mooney is not a high-flying CEO, or a bean counter from Wall Street. He is director of retail operations at the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which runs the 604 Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores in the state. State stores have long been despised for limited selection, high prices, and poor service. But Mooney uses such terms as "rebranding" and "consumer-friendly" in describing the state's effort since 2010 to revamp the stores to boost sales and fend off privatization, which continues to be a goal of the GOP-run legislature.
September 28, 2015 |
A 1999 white from Domaine Weinbach, a winery in France's Alsace region. A Kosta Browne pinot noir. A Syrah from the Ojai Vineyard. All nectar for wine connoisseurs. All unavailable for purchase in Pennsylvania. And all, along with 2,444 other high-end bottles, found in the wine cellar of Arthur Goldman, the Main Line lawyer who was accused last year of running a black-market wine-selling operation. (His lawyer contends Goldman was simply sharing wine among friends. The case was settled last year, and Goldman was admitted into an accelerated rehabilitative disposition program.)
June 30, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - The Republican-controlled legislature on Sunday began fast-tracking yet another budget proposal that Gov. Wolf has said he will not support: privatizing the state-run liquor stores. The measure, introduced Sunday evening by GOP senators, would allow beer distributors, bars, restaurants, grocery stores, and others to sell for takeout wine and hard liquor, which now can be purchased only at one of the state's wine and spirits stores. The proposal, which passed a key Senate committee, also calls for leasing the wholesale operations of the state Liquor Control Board.
June 21, 2015 |
Cleanup trucks and pumps lined the muddy parking lot at the Bakers Centre shopping complex in Philadelphia's Nicetown section on Friday, as businesses mopped their floors and assessed damage from the second major water-main break there in less than two years. Officials estimate that seven million gallons of water gushed out Thursday when a 48-inch transmission main broke, flooding several stores and the parking lot at the shopping center. Water Department spokesman John DiGiulio said officials have not yet determined the cause of the break or how much the main will cost to repair.
March 16, 2015 |
Stop panicking about Pennsylvania pensions, says Randy Albright, Gov. Wolf's budget secretary. Yes, the state's history of overpromising and underfunding, so veteran public workers (and elected officials) can collect nearly their old take-home pay as retirees, has dug taxpayers into a hole. Sure, the state workers' (SERS) and school (PSERS) pensions have scraped together just around $75 billion of the $130 billion- plus they would need to invest to pay pensions for today's public employees and retirees until they're all dead.