Saturday, June 21, 2008

Recent news roundup

A few recent stories have caught my interest, especially several that appear to be the culmination of events tracked here previously:
  • Apparently, Philadelphia's trend-setting citywide WiFi effort will not end abruptly with the (inevitable?) departure of commercial partner Earthlink: a local partnership has taken over the network and hopes to figure out later how to make money from it. (No really, that's about how it sounds.) Civic pride, perhaps, or a cunning sense of future opportunity, but good news for the region. More here, including a hat-tip to emerging surprise favorite City Councilman Bill Green.

  • The School Reform Commission is reclaiming 6 schools that had been ceded to private companies but have continued to underperform; there are threats that more could follow. Apparently the magic of capitalism doesn't cure all ills, heh. My favorite quote = "Adults must be held accountable." Um, yeah, kids don't teach themselves...

  • City Council has passed a measure to make Fairmont Park part of the city Recreation Department (now to be Parks and Recreation), rather than overseen by its own independent commission. Clark and Reynolds Brown have been pushing this measure for years (see previous here), so there must have been some signal from Nutter that he'd support the move, previously controversial but now passed nearly unanimously. (Some arguments against this merger are noted by Rep. Cohen in the comment here.) Will be interesting to see whether any of the previously noted delapidation and problems in Fairmont Park will be cleaned up by new management.

  • Mayor Michael Nutter gave his first major policy speech, and made clear that stronger city planning will be a centerpiece of his vision for Philadelphia's future. This comes as welcome news to many, and was widely well received, although architecture critic Inga Saffron noted that there were a few gaps in Nutter's proposals for tightening things up, most notably the right of individual City Councilfolk to grant exceptions for pet projects -- this seems a pretty huge hole, so I hope that the public puts some pressure on their representatives to do what's right. In related news, developers propose building the nation's tallest building at 18th and Arch, which is bound to generate much discussion...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Don't count out those WWC's

That is, white working-class voters. The ones that supposedly would never elect a black guy (or whatever your story of the week is). Because Obama has a large lead over McCain in Pennsylvania and several other WWC-heavy states according to a recent poll. So it looks like we (and the nation) are all in play after all...

(via dailyKos)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Recent happenings

Well! All sorts of interesting things brewing at the state level while I'm not watching (or at least not blogging, sigh).
  1. Much to my surprise, Pennsylvania passed a smoking ban at the state level! Where did that come from? Harrisburg is a mysterious place.

  2. Recent attempts to reform the effects of lobbying on the state legislature are having some effects, at least in keeping our legislators honest: some lobbying firms are reporting substantial gifts that the recipients conveniently forgot to report. oops!! Revised reports are a good place to start, kids; let's try actually being honest with the voters next time!

  3. There's an anti-gerrymandering bill stuck in committee in the state legislature right now. Chris Satullo suggests that everybody contact their representative to help get it back into the pipeline. Josephs is the Chair of the committee, so her perennial challengers should in particular take heed of this moment.
We now return you to your regular programming.