Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wednesday whoosh

  • Pennsylvania news:

    1. Apparently Harrisburg is close to passing a tax relief plan.
      And so, after months of bickering, the Senate voted yesterday, 40-9, to approve a proposal that, in its first stages, would more than double the number of senior citizens eligible for property-tax rebate checks, and later would help offset property-tax bills for other homeowners through revenues generated from slot-machine gambling.
      The article notes the obvious desire of state legislators to sooth voter feathers ruffled by the summer pay-raise, as well as the fact that many of these benefits wouldn't be felt for another year (or considerably longer). But it's apparantly the first property tax cut in decades, so I think there will be very little cynical grumbling among homeowners.

    2. The Inquirer catches Sen. Rick Santorum in a moment of hypocrisy, calling for a cut-back in lobbyist- and corporate-subsidized jet trips while catching such a ride himself. He hasn't taken a ton of such flights, but they do seem to correspond nicely to his advocacy for the companies involved... It's hard out there for a would-be reformer!

    3. In the State Senate 10th District, the Inquirer endorses Chuck McIlhinney, retiring from his State Rep. seat, for the Republican primary.
      He's a proven lawmaker with achievements on open space, anti-sprawl efforts, liquor-licensing reforms, and open records law. Plus, voters have a shot at sending McIhinney to the Senate, where he could grow his influence as a moderate, sensible voice.
      His opponent sounds like a bit of a nutter, and he's after the wrong guy from a Clean Sweep perspective, since McIlhinney opposed the pay hike at every stage.

    4. In the PA-08 Congressional race, AA Jane rounds up some news coverage of and snipey bits between the Democratic primary candidates.

    5. Phila Will Do notes that a former Trump Apprentice is still planning to take on Allyson Schwartz for the Congressional seat from PA-13 this fall. Is a minor TV star a real challenge? I honestly don't know anymore.

    6. Albert doesn't understand why Ned Lamont is so beloved of the netroots, while they say nothing about Chuck Pennacchio. It's a reasonable question, although Lieberman has had a long time to prove himself an idiot, while we're mostly speculating at this point about how Casey would behave in office.

  • Philadelphia:

    1. Tom Ferrick looks at local politics and declares that we live under the rule of political tribes. He mentions the Cohens, Blackwells, and Streets, among others, and I noticed the Wilson Goodes and Rizzos some time ago (see the Scorecard). A symptom of the hometowniness of Philadelphia, but surely a rarity for a city this large in the 21st century.

    2. The Committee of Seventy, Philadelphia's political watchdog, is suing a raft of mayor aspirants for not adhering to the city's campaign contribution limits (see prev. in second piece here). They have now officially removed Councilman Michael Nutter from their lawsuit, since he's the only one who has, in fact, been following the law. In related news, here's a summary of how the various candidates are responding to the lawsuit (either legally or rhetorically).

    3. Before I really got a chance to figure out what it was all about, the carpenters' walk-out was settled with a 3-year contract. Um, whew?

    4. In a great development for transparency and potential reform, the city has decided to post a list of its no-bid contracts on its website. Great work, everybody who voted for the November ethics ballot measure! step by step . . .

    5. A lawyer from Community Legal Services responds to the discussion about PGW's charity burden (see, e.g., here) by pointing out that poor customers are held to high standards in order to receive assistance.
      To remain in CRP and preserve service, they are required to pay 8 to 10 percent of their gross monthly income, month in and month out. In fact, the report finds that PGW's CRP customers pay a larger portion of monthly income for gas service than similar enrollees in other states. Even at the discounted rates, a third of CRP enrollees went without or put off buying needed food, and a fifth went without or delayed needed medicines while paying their bills.
      Perhaps those jumping to anger over "carrying deadbeats" should take a deep breath.

    6. PoliticsPhilly provides an impressive calendar of political events, fundraisers, and lectures for the month of May. Check out the options for meeting and/or supporting a number of local candidates!
Update: several links fixed by light of Thursday...


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