Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday downpour

Yeah, it's raining outside, but it's the 20-something tabs I have open in Firefox that are frightening me...
  • Pay-raise revisited
    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a ruling yesterday concerning the constitutionality of last year's unpopular pay raises, and the result is raising new outcry.

    • They ruled the mid-term raises illegal (including use of unvouchered expenses), after having approved such games previously, but they also (1) said that legislators had no obligation to return the funds that they had already accepted, and (2) reinstated the judicial pay-hikes that were passed at the same time. There are pretty clear legal bases for these subtle distinctions, but that doesn't mean anybody is impressed with the split decision. (Conflict of interest is ignored in state Supreme Court appeals!)

    • Columnist John Baer heaps some snark on this cynical outcome, especially in a time when voters are already distrustful of their governmental branches.

    • Dave Rialis considers this a black day for the state.

    • Pennsyltucky Politics reports on reaction from the middle of the state, where pay-raise anger burned hottest last summer and may be rekindled by this decision.

  • Senate race follies

    • Bob Casey reaches out to religious voters, part of a wider effort on the part of Democrats to disprove the myth that they're hostile to religion.

    • Carl Romanelli's fate is still up in the air, with Democratic lawyers making their case yesterday that too many of the signatures on his ballot petition were invalid. Green Party lawyers will have their say (blaming errors in the voter registry for falsely invalidating signatures) in another week.

    • Pennsyltucky Politics notes that Rick Santorum has opened the door for ethics discussions with his strange recent anti-Casey ad. I have to admit that I thought immediately of Abramoff and K-Street, which are substantially uglier connections than any of the his-neighbor-kid-once-kicked-a-dog sideswipes made at Casey. The worry is that the really terrible corruption infesting the GOP, with Santorum in the middle, will be converted into an "all politicians are dirty" image in the voters' minds, removing the issue from this race.

    • Meanwhile, Santorum's performance at a recent Women for Santorum (cough) gathering rather rubbed AAJane the wrong way.

  • Council race chat

    • Gar Josephs looks ahead to Monday's City Committee meeting, calling Bill Greenlee and Carol Campbell done deals, and describing ongoing battles over the remaining seat, in the 4th district. [The column also has a passle of other unrelated tidbits.]

    • Jill Porter calls Carol Cambell the wrong choice for Nutter's former Council seat, if for no other reason than the symbolic back-slide from civic reformer to consummate insider (with plenty of shady shenanigans in her past).

  • Smoke signals

    • The Inquirer notes Street's two-faced handling of the smoking ban bill; instead of signing in front of white coats and TV cameras, he did it in private and came forth only with mutterings and dissatisfaction. News to me: the ban goes into effect immediately. I presume that bars wishing wavers have their applications already prepared.

    • The Daily News described Street's body language as more appropriate for a tragedy than for the culmination of an effort that he originally spearheaded. They also note that he said nice things about Nutter, although I suspect that nobody was fooled. This piece also clarifies that "into effect immediately" will be qualified a bit to let bars make adjustments, and DiCicco has a bill on the schedule for fall that will push it back until Jan.1.

    • Dan UA looks forward to breathing easier soon. I look forward to going back to bars and dance clubs again... Some interesting discussion here too about some of the uncertainties, such as how the new law will be enforced. [Also this priceless quote in a comment:
      I should have presented on this at Council: "Madame President, I'm here to speak in objection to the proposed smoking ban. I like to hit on randoms when I go dancing, but I'd prefer not to waste my time talking to the ones who smoke. As a busy person, I only get to go out every now and then, and this measure will force me to waste time chatting up ladies with ash-tray mouth."
      heh heh . . .]

    • The Daily News also breathes a sigh of relief that Street actually did the deed.

  • Other stories

    • The renovation of Philadelphia's Boyd Theater (once the Sameric) may be coming to a halt, with its owners citing ballooning construction costs; however, it may be that the company is now more interested in rock concert venues than broadway-style theaters, a grimmer outlook. Both preservationists and neighboring businesses are dismayed by the uncertain prospects.

    • Culture shock: Reading Terminal is going to start opening on Sunday, on a trial basis. Personally, I'm thrilled by the additional brunch and shopping option, but it kind of dissipates the Amish/mennonite aura of the place.

    • The state legislature has approved a new program of low-interest home loans for making improvements to properties, available to middle and lower income residents. A poster at YPP gives an overview of other home loan ideas in the pipeline, most trying to protect the poor from predatory lenders.

    • Finally, Tulin caught sight of some Dougherty for Mayor signs in a Center City window. help.


Blogger Friedman said...

On the "Dougherty for Mayor" signs, I love the Santorum signs in the other window.

5:18 PM  
Blogger ACM said...

oh man! I didn't squint hard enough.
says a lot...

5:24 PM  
Blogger GM-Carson said...

I have a funny and thoughtful Phillies blog that I think you might enjoy. Come check it out at http://pabaseball.blogspotcom

Hope to see you there!

9:34 AM  
Blogger ACM said...

sadly, C&C, I'm one of the 7 people in Philadelphia with no interest at all in baseball. but love the half-naked babes and joint jokes! (?!?!?)

9:53 AM  

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