Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wednesday highlights

  • Reflections on recent news

    • Mayor Street continues to leave the smoking bill unsigned, with tomorrow the deadline for a thumbs-up or -down. As a result, the once settled debate is set to start up its engines again, and Michael Nutter isn't there to hold up his end of various deals. Maybe he's waiting for Carol Campbell to come aboard in City Council and help provide him cover by retracting the measure. I confess myself annoyed and perplexed by the shenanigans here... Meantime Dan continues the pessimistic count-down...

    • Much chat about Perzel's proposal to hire more police. Tom Ferrick gives an assessment of the plan, its pros and cons and where the money would come from. [He offers further links and info at his blog here.] Even though Rendell had also once suggested using state funds for local police, he disparages Perzel's plan, opining that nobody could afford it. However, he did express openness to hearing more.

    • The Inquirer followed up D.A. Lynne Abraham's announcement that she won't run again by looking into the early-retirement benefits she has coming her way. Apparently this program will offer her a lump sum rather than a pension, but making news of the number feels oddly petty to me.

    • Common talk puts Carol Campbell as a shoo-in for one of the open City Council district seats, but it appears some legal sloppiness (including unpaid fines and unfiled campaign paperwork) could stand in the way of her taking office. At issue is what happened to some $60k of leftover campaign monies after her 1999 run for Council. oops. [This article is also the first to mention when the Ward Leader conclave will occur; they cite Monday.]

    • Gwen Shaffer has a piece in the new Philadelphia Weekly asking "Are City Council special elections simply rewards for the party faithful?" She describes the recent rally and other aspects of the controversy.

    • Jill Porter takes a closer look at Philly's shocking poverty rates, including some musings on other large cities and their different structural and social conditions.

    • A poster at YPP senses a mood for change in Philadlephia government among city residents, and wonders whether a new progressive movement may be underway; interesting discussions of older (or more recent) political movements ensues.

  • New stories

    • Amtrak plans new speedy train service from Philadelphia to Harrisburg. The new trip is 90 minutes one way at a cost of $19 -- perhaps it will entice the Philadelphia deligation of state lawmakers to give up their gas-guzzling and/or taxpayer-subsidized automobiles for the commute, while making it easier to stick around town between sessions.

    • Curt Weldon is making much of his economic record, pointing to regional coalition-building. His opponent, Joe Sestak, notes that thousands of jobs in the district have been lost on Weldon's watch.

    • Patrick Murphy fleshes out his position on Iraq, including a call for Rumsfeld to resign.

    • Dave Ralis notices that (state Senate majority leader) Bob Jubelirer, serving out the last months of his term after losing a primary battle, is still holding campaign fundraisers, and speculates about what might be up.

    • Who knew that Zack Stalberg had his own pundit-ish corner of the Next Mayor website? Each installment is a short video in which he ruminates about current affairs, from campaign ads to the likelihood that the candidates can distinguish themselves on the top issue of the day, city violence. Interesting bits there; I especially like this one.

    • People concerned about gun violence are invited to an open rally surrounding Harrisburg's special session on the issue (in two weeks). Buses are available; see the link for more.


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