Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wednesday news

  • Things vaguely mayoral

    • The Philadelphia Weekly has a profile of Michael Nutter in terms of his apparent constituency, and includes discussions of candidates and issues that transcend the city's usual racial divisions. Everybody needs to get out of their comfort zone this year.

    • An Inquirer piece declared yesterday's Brady ruling an exception from precedent, but it seems to me that it completely fits with the precedent that insiders get the benefit of the doubt while outsiders are told they should have known better. Best quote goes to this:
      "Judges in previous cases have ruled in a very different manner under eerily similar circumstances," said Evans' spokesman, Tim Spreitzer.
      Anyway, this won't be the last of this debate. [More here, including the judge's argument that state courts are moving away from the "fatal flaw" standard for such rulings.]

    • Michael Nutter's first TV ads take aim at Mayor Street as a way to highlight Nutter's leadership on issues while in City Council.

    • Fattah still not releasing tax returns, but no longer blames his wife's contract. Sounds like the choice is related to her desire to be left out of such disclosures, though. Snippets from his federal filing mentioned here too.

    • The DN opinion page criticizes Rendell's intervention in the CCP strike negotiations, calling it a poorly considered gift of political capital to Bob Brady's mayoral run (and one that reinforces "who you know" politics at a time when that needs overhauling). They also note ironically that the net effect was to undermine the value of collective bargaining by working around it.

  • Other news

    • Councilman DiCicco has unearthed a part of the existing Philadelphia Code which could prohibit the Sugarhouse Casino site.
      At issue is the North Delaware Avenue Special Control District, a "zoning overlay" that was created by Council in 2002 in an effort to crack down on rowdy riverfront bars and nightclubs. Dance halls, cabarets and restaurants were all prohibited, and so were establishments where "entertainment of guests and patrons" was the principal use.
      This could lead to squabbles over definitions, or it could be a genuine victory for neighborhoods attempting to protect themselves from just such developments.

    • A state Supreme Court candidate is having his ballot rights challenged for financial nondisclosure, although it seems based on speculations about his living costs, rather than a known income stream that wasn't reported.

    • The Daily News notes that Philadelphia has not improved its percentage of minority contracting of city business during recent years. Efforts are being made to reach out to small businesses, to little avail. Systemic factors at work, anyone?

    • Months after surveillance cameras were installed on a number of high-crime streets, most of them still haven't been activated, due to some wrangling over how such monitoring should be centralized. Note also that the active ones have yet to be used in any criminal investigations...

    • Casino dealers in Atlantic City will be unionized for the first time in a quarter century.

    • Missed this yesterday -- Ben Waxman has a DN column about the positive signs for decreasing racial polarization in Philadelphia and beyond.

    • AAJane reviews the State Senate Journals from February and finds slim pickings -- amazing to me was that they only worked 5 days as a full body.


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