Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday news round-up

  • Politicians

    • Ed Rendell announces that this campaign will be his last. Not sure exactly what he means, as he is ineligable for another term as Governor, and says he's open to a tap for Vice President. I guess no threats to current legislators, no jumping into the Presidential flurry; he'd still be open to a plum appointment someday.

    • Apparently Bill Clinton plans a trip to Philadelphia in October (to receive a medal) and will appear at a big-ticket fundraiser for Chaka Fattah -- I'm *sure* it's all for his Congressional re-election campaign. [In completely unrelated news, there's now a flash-tastic website for the Fattah for Mayor Exploratory Committee. Thanks, Tulin.] The Daily News version of the story says that Clinton will also appear at an event for Bob Casey, but doesn't say more. Also no word on whether the Big Dog will do anything to help the hot races in the Philadelphia suburbs.

    • Green Party Senate candidate Carl Romanelli defiant in the face of recent set-backs. More legal wrangling ahead, as well as the slower and less dramatic process of validating a quabillion signatures. Meantime, I suspect I am not alone in knowing very little about the man.

    • I am totally mystified by the motivations of Councilman Wilson Goode, Jr., in suggesting that candidates who donate substantial amounts to their own campaigns should have contribution limits raised, allowing larger donations from others. Is it actually good that the "rich get richer" in public life? What am I missing?

    • Columnist Elmer Smith reports on another Goode measure, which aims to prevent parollee recidivism by giving employers increased incentives for hiring ex-cons (building on his own prior bill). This one makes quite a bit more sense to me.

    • Gar Josephs reports an amusing tidbit: tax-crusader Brett Mandel won a bike ride with Mayor John Street in a charity auction, but seems, um, unable to schedule a date with the mayor (who is either very busy or afraid of what 50 miles of questions might feel like). [Several other short snark bites at this link too, including who's flying planes with slogans down at the shore.]

  • Other bits

    • The Inquirer looks at the ubiquity of mercury in the environment and its increase due to human activity, as well as its health effects and some of the recent attempts to regulate it.

    • Continuing the theme of confidence-diminishing stories about the new casino industry in Pennsylvania, it appears that one of the machine suppliers has a criminal record. It may have been a while ago, but I'm not sure that will reassure many residents about the judgement being exercised by the Gambling Board.

    • And in related news, an anti-casino activist reports on a Harrisburg meeting of the Gaming Control Board, at which all involved seemed to discount the concerns of Philadelphians about the proposed slot parlors. Also, he notes the worrying support of local representatives for removing casinos from Zoning Board regulation, as though state oversight would automatically be more responsive and less corrupt than local oversight (with -- gasp! -- input from neighbors).

    • An Inquirer editorial applauds the decision to retain Paul Vallas, giving his widespread reform efforts a chance to get better established before the disruption of a change at the top. (Some sports metaphor battles ensue.)

    • Finally, Tulin, back from a summer hiatus, offers a schedule of political events and fundraisers over the next six weeks or so. Tis the season of a good local fish-fry...


Anonymous Terry said...

I have mixed feelings about Vallas. There is no question that scores have gone up during is tenure. However, his treatment of the Durham School neighborhood was so arrogant and deceitful that it really makes me wonder whether he can be trusted. (Inga Saffron has covered this issue in her blog, so check it out if you want details).

5:36 PM  
Blogger Friedman said...

Paul Vallas isn't perfect and I don't know anything about what happened in the Durham School neighborhood. I do know what he and his management team have been doing for the Mifflin School in East Falls and we couldn't be happier. Vallas, like Rendell for the City, has given the SDP a sense of mission and hope, and has raised our collective expectations of what public education in Philadelphia can do.

12:06 PM  
Blogger ACM said...

yeah, what's valuable to me is the hope, much more than scores, and definitely enough to cover for a few fumbles. it will be a while before we'll know whether his initiatives "worked," but they got people feeling like there might be prospects for the Philly public schools for the first time in decades.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous phillydem said...

Completely agree with the last two comments. The public schools suffered
far too long under low expectations.
When not much is expected from a student, or anyone for that matter, not much is received, but you expect a lot, you often get a lot.

2:00 PM  

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