Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday bits

Mayoral news:
  • Well, the first big TV debate among the Democratic contenders aired this weekend. I thought that all five men did pretty well, although Brady avoided a few substantive questions and Knox appeared to be dredging his answers up from a distant databank with a faulty connection. Nutter continues to make a strong impression in these events, although some of his personal humor is lost in the formality required by tightly timed responses.

    Anyway, impressions of others: Sty Bykofsky was underwhelmed, in part because the format led to more scripted points and fewer exhanges between the candidates (I can't disagree), and he gives his impressions of the individual performances; AAJane offers a blow-by-blow recap of what was asked and offered.

  • In case anyone missed it, the appeals court says Brady can stay on the ballot; we should know soon whether the case will go to the state Supreme Court for final arbitration.

  • Albert offers a report with photos from another mayoral forum, held a week ago on the subject of design/planning. Albert seems to get to a lot of these things, which makes his summaries valuable but a bit backlogged. A few lesser known issues were raised here.

  • Nutter's latest ad brings out his softer side via his family.

City planning in the air
  • The head of the Center City District presented a plan for Center City focused on leveraging the area's strengths to bring in more people and jobs. He argues that continued development of downtown is critical for the health of the larger metropolitan area and should be a priority for the next mayor.

  • The same guy (CCD head) offers a DN opinion piece on why planning matters, and what has changed in the 20 years since Philadelphia last formulated a plan for Center City.

Other items of note
  • An Inquirer piece details the range of tactics being used by anti-casino activists and those who want more city and neighborhood input over any development that does occur.

  • The Urban Warrior reports that public health is not a priority of the Street administration, noting promised funds that aren't being spent to improve staffing.

  • The DN looks at the current stem-cell funding bill in the US Congress and notes that a single vote might be needed to make it veto-proof in the Senate; should that time come, they hope that Bob Casey will decide to follow his constituents' views rather than his own.

  • Two moves by state legislators to improve government funding: Lentz tries to strengthen sunshine laws and Marsico bravely attempts to depoliticize legislative pay by setting up an independent panel to make periodic recommendations.
    (both via Keystone Politics)

  • Finally, DanUA at YPP has a piece on City Councilwoman Marion Tasco, which notes her importance in getting predatory lending laws passed in Philadelphia, which would have prevented many of today's problems, had the state not overruled them almost immediately. Commenters note that she'd be even more effective on this and other fronts if she had more fellow progressives on City Council...


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