Remarkably little news out there. Perhaps the news-makers and reporters feel the same waiting-for-spring listlessness that many bloggers are feeling right about now. Anyway, here are a few bits:
- The Inquirer asks are we having too many mayoral forums? Even Zach Stalberg feels they might have a dulling effect, rather than leading to better exploration of the candidates' stances, especially with the tendency to pander to sponsors of issue-centric forums. They note 30 (!!) more forums scheduled between now and the end of April, in addition to broadcast debates. Hopefully the latter will allow some pushing of topics and challenging of positions; I suspect that the rest just give folks in various neighborhoods and constituencies a chance to "get a look at" the candidates for themselves... Also noted here is the strain on candidates trying to keep up with legislative jobs and fighting the perception that their occasional not showing up is a snub to the process.
- John Baer is on the warpath against legislative spending, especially on legal fees and consultations.
These contracts are part of $2.7 million the Senate rolled up just between November and January, mostly for legal services and consultant fees to cronies, former staffers and former elected officials.(Of course, the bulk of that figure tracks back to Fumo's legal defense needs.) I tend to agree with him that a lot of this smells of giving pals and onetime employees a cushy landing, and perhaps the current cycle of legislative reform could come up with a better way to rein in no-bid contracts for advice.
- Irv Ackelsberg has a piece at YPP about abusive lending practices, especially the huge increase in types of mortgages that all but guarantee that homeowners will come up short within a few years and end up in financial disarray (as well as losing their homes). A good overview of the problem, as well as a history of recent legislative attempts to fix it. Philadelphia's overall housing market is likely to remain strong for a long time, but that doesn't help those who got caught up in the frenzy and bought beyond their means...