Friday, January 05, 2007

Burst of new-year news (Friday round-up in disguise)

A little round-up of today's news, with some context of stuff that went on during the last week when I was elsewhere (experiencing winter)...
  • Abraham-Street clash

    • Philadelphia's District Attorney Lynne (Death Penalty) Abraham decided to close out the year by trashing Mayor Street for the surge in homicides, saying that he should have reached out to her to help find a solution. Apparently her anger was sparked by planned cuts in her budget for next year.

    • Street fought back in the publicity war, calling her statement a "temper tantrum."

    • Meanwhile, over at YPP, there's speculation that Abraham might be positioning herself for a mayoral run, as well as some simple enjoyment of the spectacle that Tough Cookie serves up.

  • Mayoral horserace

    • Party boss Bob Brady continues undeclared, but makes more moves that suggest the intent to join in: he signs onto a plan for cleaner government written by the Committee of Seventy. Is the consummate insider really the most credible source for reform? Or is he the one who knows best what can be achieved?

    • A DN story expands on this, noting that two candidates have endorsed the reform package in its entirety -- Brady and Dwight Evans -- although all of them (that is, also Fattah, Nutter, Knox, and Doc) say that they are committed to ethics more generally. Some of these folks plan to put together their own lists of reform goals.

    • A new poll looks at some combination of name recognition and political preference, finding Fattah on top by a dozen points or more, although a few others make it onto the map, and also noting that response patterns crossed racial boundaries. Anything could happen to those numbers once the campaigns (and intense coverage) get underway starting next week. [Also note, far down in this story, the line "Brady's supporters said the congressman would officially enter the race in three weeks." So much for undeclared...]

    • Also, via Above Average Jane, a substantial Philadelphia Magazine profile of Michael Nutter, seemingly focused on how his reformer orientation dovetails with his mayoral aspirations, but also giving lots of great background on his interests and political career. I hope this one stays available online.

  • Newspapers

    • The Inquirer lays off 68 newsroom staffers. Blinq paints the grim scene of desks being packed up, while PhillyFuture rounds up the coverage, including the statistic that this is some 16% of news staff.

    • The Philadelphia Weekly discusses Tierney's reign at the Philly papers, including a crack-down on criticism of management in the wake of challenging contract negotiations. Also described are the changes that resulted in those contracts and their likely repurcussions.

    • Dan at YPP notes the departure of some key regional columnists and reporters, not least Tom Fitzgerald, who receives much deserved praise in the comments as well.

  • New legislatures/legislators

    • A Daily News opinion piece looks at the new state legislature/leadership and wonders whether recent changes are likely to lead to meaningful reform, and anticipates that handling of three proposed constitutional amendments may reveal the answer. Can anybody tell me why these aren't regular laws, instead of amendments?

    • AAJane went to DC for the Congressional swearing-in (I barely missed joining in, sigh) and offers a report from the halls and party rooms.

    • Daddy Democrat offers a similar report from Harrisburg festivities (held a couple of days earlier), including a sense of how bizarre the real-time wrangling was leading up to the Speaker vote.

    • AAJane catches a news conference with Rendell, DeWeese, and O'Brien, and gives us the gist of a seeming love fest for "bipartisanship"...

  • Other news

    • America's Hometown summarizes the stats on gambling problems among those who try their hand. Get braced...

    • A lengthy post from Marc Stier on regionalism and tax issues is worth a read, suggesting a novel idea for how Philadelphia could work better with its suburban neighbors to address regional needs while reducing tensions between them.

    • Inga Saffron offers an architectural top 10 developments for 2006, encompassing planning changes and other trends as well as specific buildings and proposals. These aren't her favorite ten things, but those with the greatest significance for the city as a living, changing organism.

    • And, speaking of architecture, PhillySkyline has a contractor's-eye view of the Comcast Center in progress, from scaffolding to the overlooks from some scary heights. spiff!
      (via Albert)


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