Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wednesday news roundup

  • Crime

    1. Philadelphia came in #1 among big cities for violence rates, according to the FBI. Local experts bemoan the omission of Detroit from the list, which would have bumped us. Great.

    2. The Philadelphia Weekly profiles Police Commissioner Johnson and his attempts to do his job under a constant barrage of criticism.

    3. A PhillyFuture piece looks at the problem of repeat offenders and the gaps in oversight of those out on bail and those on parole.

    4. Some state money suddenly appeared to fund 100 new police officers in Philadelphia. Part of a general Rendell plan, or an attempt to steal thunder from Perzel's new proposal on the same subject?

  • Council election

    Ferrick's column is far from flattering of Ward Leaders, who chose from among themselves the new Council nominees. He saves particular barbs for Carol Campbell, "that poster girl for election-law abuse."

  • Pay-hike blovation

    1. State Chief Justice Cappy defends the judicial pay-keep. In related news deposed Justice Nigro considers another run for the bench. Both premium examples of honed political instincts, I tell ya'.

    2. A Daily News opinion piece agrees that the judges are within their rights to keep the pay raise, but calls for overhaul of the system so clearly rife with conflicts of interest.

  • Legislative races

    1. An Inqurer piece looks at the centrality of Reading to the tight Gerlach-Murphy battle, with a trash referendum expected to play an important role.

    2. A veterans organization has put together an ad concerning body armor provided in Iraq, which has created something of a sensation since it launched in VA (against Allen). Now it's being brought to PA and run against Santorum, who voted against the same bill.
      (via Talking Points Memo)

    3. AAJane offers blow-by-blow coverage of the first Murphy-Fitzpatrick debate, for those wanting all the details. I see that Fitzpatrick's staff still hasn't learned any manners.

  • PGW scandal

    1. Jill Porter is insulted that PGW execs thought word of the bonus wouldn't come out.

    2. Mayor Street defended management at the company, on the grounds that they need to reward good people or lose them.

  • Overseeing the overseers

    1. Butkovitz audits L&I (Department of Licenses and Inspections), finds lapses on safety -- following up on complaints and making regular inspections. They frequently don't even follow up on their own citations. Understaffing and lack of resources may be partly to blame. L&I Commissioner questions the audit's claims and competence.

    2. More on L&I at the Daily News here.

    3. Another story that I haven't been covering has involved Butkovitz audits of the school system and criticism of its adherance to safety guidelines, etc.; this was followed by a critical editorial by the Daily News, and a rebuttal by Butkovitz. Today a letter on the topic defends the audit on principle and in practice. (Tracking the previous pieces is left as a boring exercise for the reader.)

  • Other

    1. Ben Waxman of YPP is starting his own blog on youth issues. I wish him luck, but hope he still chips in some political ideas at YPP.

    2. Inga Saffron offers two pieces in response to the news that Boyd Theater renovation has been put on hold: one suggesting that maybe local government officials could get involved (as they would for other development crises), and the second looking at strategies in a similar revival effort underway in Chicago.


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