Friday morning edition
- Gar Josephs' DN column today questions Tom Knox's outsider status, pointing out that 10 years ago, Vince Fumo was considering backing him for mayor (and only residency questions prevented it). Knox in fact backed Fumo's eventual choice with a heap of money, and this time around he asked for Fumo's endorsement (although he didn't get it). Rather a twist for a man positioning himself as running against the machine... Dan at YPP reflects on this revelation here.
- Scandal rocking the pleasant burb of Haverford: secretive dealings surrounding redevelopment of a public property there are leading to bribery charges against one township commissioner, allegations that confidential bid information was shared with some contractors, and general calls for greater openness in meetings and other decision-making.
- The Pennsylvania Gaming Board is bringing suit to block the referendum planned for May 15 in Philadelphia. The Board argues that state law gives them complete control over the location of any casinos, and thus that the referendum will lead only to needless delay and loss of revenues. Stay tuned!
- An Inquirer piece looks at the importance of transportation issues for the city's next mayor, from SEPTA to parking to better regional cooperation. Summaries are given of each candidate's position statements to date.
- Feds suggest that Fumo get a new lawyer, as his current lawyers have represented organizations being considered victims of fraud in the case. They cite possible past conflicts of interest (did they work for those firms in a way designed to protect Fumo) as well as possible future ones (if they were called to testify) -- my favorite is the note that Fumo sent Senate staffers to the lawyer's house to have his shirts laundered...
- Senator Casey speaks out against cuts in federal funding for public housing proposed in the next Bush budget. Sounds like a Democrat to me...
- The Metro has two pieces looking at the new Ethics Board and its attempts to get up to speed in the midst of a fractious election season: one peers into the office, its two dozen or so investigations underway, etc. Confusingly, Stalberg is quoted as saying he "hopes they take a position" at their next meeting. (on what??) The second piece is an interview with one Ethics Board member, the interim executive director, about how he's finding the work, especially the tight deadline between final disclosures and the election.
- Chris Carney's House seat is one targeted by the GOP next year, and they're holding their breath while their first-choice candidate makes up his mind.
- A Daily News editorial traces the alarming loss of maternity wards/staff from the Philadelphia area in recent years, with many obstetricians moving away and several substantial hospital wards closings. They note that this is merely a typically absurd side-effect of treating health-care like a for-profit business.
- Pittsburgh is losing population faster over the last few years than any city other than post-Katrina New Orleans, possibly due to a lack of immigration to the area.