Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tuesday deluge

  • Casinos

    • The new casino at the Chester racetrack is open for business.

    • Anti-casino activists who had been arrested for trying to get better disclosure of Gaming Board documents were acquitted yesterday, with the judge issuing a rebuke to the Board for denying access to public information, as well as for locating their offices in a privately owned building. More here and here.

    • Philadelphia City Councilman DiCicco will introduce today a package of new regulations for the planned riverfront casinos, ranging from attempts to challenge the Gaming Control Board's site deicisions to alterations to relevant zoning code. (One of the latter is the restriction on casino developments to locations at least 1,000 feet from any residences, as discussed yesterday.) DiCicco's district includes both approved sites and is the site of much unrest over the decisions; he also faces a probable challenger in the Democratic primary who has made fighting casinos one of his central aims...

  • Politicians

    • Is anybody surprised by this? Brady announces for mayor, or, um, says he will on Thursday. (I guess Stu might be surprised...) John Baer bucks the conventional wisdom on how a Brady candidacy might play out, especially in an era where voters feel the need for change.

    • Gov. Rendell shuffles cabinet personnel.

    • Dwight Evans (state Rep. and mayoral candidate) plans to introduce two bills on Philadelphia-related issues: one authorizing the city to set its own campaign-finance laws, and the other allowing the Public Utility Commission to take over PGW. More on the latter notion here.

  • Guns

    • A new report announced at City Hall shows that area gun dealers sell to straw buyers and others who then pass guns along into the illegal market. Dealers protest innocence and inability to tell good buyers from bad.

    • Mayor Street joins a slew of mayors in DC today to press for gun control.

    • In related news, the Daily News opinion page calls on the city to collect more data on homicide victims and perpetrators, to help with formulation of better policy to reduce such crimes.

  • Ethical/legislative reforms

    • Republican state legislators are calling for a broader open records law as part of more transparent government. Their suggestion would open up records of legislative spending (by the body, not just its members), as well as judiciary expenses and outlays by state colleges, and would improve turnaround for information requests.

    • Apparently State House Speaker O'Brien has named the two-dozen members of his Legislative Reform Commission; Jane seems to feel that's a bit too many.

  • Other stories

    • The Independence Seaport Museum is accusing its ex-president of embezzlement to the tune of some $2 million. The FBI is investigating, and a lawsuit is attempting to freeze his assets in Massachusetts.

    • More on Philadelphia's plan to put high-tech public toilets in high-traffic pedestrian areas. They will cost the city nothing, as whoever runs them will have exclusive rights to advertising displays on the new units as well as on new bus stops, news stands, and trash cans (in places undescribed). whoop?

    • The Inquirer notes that its Great Expectations forum series continues, with some upcoming meetings to take place in the suburbs. They also have the results of participant brainstorming posted online. I went to one of these held downtown and found it both invigorating and challenging; if every group came up with the level of creative suggestions generated by my small group, there should be some great fodder here for improving the city.

    • A YPP poster suggests a book that might make good required reading for mayoral wannabees, depicting the underground economy among the urban poor. I'm gonna read it myself!


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