Monday, November 28, 2005

Misc. Monday bits

  • LIHEAP (see prev. here). There's been much concern that this winter's combination of cold snap and high fuel costs could mean many low-income households going without heat. Making matters worse, the feds have cut support for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Pennsylvania has been one of the few states not to contribute toward this program, but is now considering legislation to change that.
    The legislation, which Gov. Rendell called for last month, passed the Senate earlier this week and must now be approved by the House. It would set aside a portion of the annual gross-receipts tax paid by Pennsylvania's utility companies for the state's emergency energy assistance fund. The money would then be disbursed to low-income residents to help them with their heating costs.
    Lawmakers hope the new funds would help keep some 20,000 families from being cut off. The House will consider the bill when it returns next Monday; Dan at YPP urges them on...

  • TABOR (see prev. here). Friedman at America's Hometown wonders about other ways to control spending and/or suggest desired cuts, and points out that some open debates on such issues would be a welcome development.

  • East Falls construction debate: the city is getting involved, bringing a lawsuit against the developer that cites a breach of the zoning allowance contract.
    Construction to expand the complex by 263 units began in January. According to the complaint, Winther and the general contractor, Tocci Commercial Corp., applied for a zoning change for the project in July 2002. The variance was granted only after Winther committed to using union labor for the work that was to be of the highest standard, the complaint says.

    But when work started on the new units earlier this year, Winther hired Tocci, an open-shop contractor that hired largely non-union workers.
    You mean those plans and stuff are supposed to be for real? Dan professes embarrassment over his fascination with the legal technicalities of the case (e.g., does the zoning board have any authority to require such concessions?). Never fear, you're among geeks here.

  • City life.
    1. A local college student notes that cabs in Philadelphia are shameless in their racism against potential fares and specific neighborhoods as destinations.
    2. A new performance space on Broad is on the way, according to a University of the Arts press release. The space will include two theaters and be located atop a building at the corner of Walnut and Broad.
    3. Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky is embarrassed by the local papers' outpourings of grief over their own fates. How much of his rant is intended as reality-check versus biting commentary is a bit hard to tell...
      Update: Will Bunch has a choice response to this piece. (via Philadelphia Will Do)
    4. America's Hometown notices an alternative energy pilot program underway in a smallish town in Masschusetts, using technology that could link heating your home to generating its electricity. No word on what happens during the summer...


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