Philadelphia Metropolis

December 2009 Archives

I Want My M&Ms

When it comes to quirks, former House Speaker Bill DeWeese is up there with Captain Queeq. DeWeese was recently indicted for making political use of his legislative staff, but testimony before the state grand jury also gave an insight of... (Comments)

A Squiggle in Time

   By Patricia McLaughlin Honestly, I was so over it. Shopping, I mean. I could stroll through a mall with impunity, expose myself to the blandishments of Neiman's, Nordstrom, Macy's, Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdale's, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Sears, Victoria's... (Comments)

Is New Jersey Sinking?

It is -- and at a rate faster than anyone previously thought, according to a study by a group of geologists reported by Sandy Bauers in an interesting, hows-this-for-the-long-view story in today's Inquirer (Dec. 29th).  There are two powerful factors... (Comments)

Tapping into Parent Power

By Matthew Ward As a parent of a two-year-old son, it is already time our family to be seriously exploring our education options, and that is tricky, considering we live in Philadelphia. In suburban districts, the decision is far simpler... (Comments)

Money Talks

This year it practically shouted in the race for Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  The two candidates seeking to fill one vacancy ended up spending $4.5 million on their campaigns, according to a study done by Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (PMC), a group... (Comments)

The Gathering Storm

You have to read between the lines, but Gov. Rendell is signaling that next year's state budget process will be even more excruciating than this year's 101-day extravaganza. See the reference to a fiscal "tsunami" in this Inquirer story. The... (Comments)

Swine Flu Blues

By James Lawler "I am afraid you have H1N1 Type A Influenza," the doctor said. I replied: "What?  Influenza? It's 2009! " To my un-medically trained mind, influenza was something that was wiped out long ago, much like the Black... (Comments)

More Pension Fund Woes

But not in Philadelphia. While the Nutter administration is grappling with city unions to lower the cost of its pension obligations, Pittsburgh is in crisis. That city's pension fund has a huge shortfall and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is trying to... (Comments)

Red Light, Green Light

 By Tom Ferrick Jr.   Years ago, I was talking to Carol Ann Campbell, the late ward leader and councilwoman, about a matter near and dear to both our hearts: campaign finance disclosure. As a columnist and political writer, I... (Comments)

Police Pact Inked

The long-awaited contract agreement between the Philadelphia FOP and the city finally arrived on Friday (Dec 18).  For better or worse, this arbitration agreement will influence the city contract talks with the fire fighters union, the blue-collar workers (District Council 33) and the... (Comments)

Serial Hostage Taking

In Pennsylvania, politics has devolved into serial hostage-taking.  The latest group under the gun are state employees. Gov. Rendell threatened Thursday (Dec. 17) to lay off 1,000 state workers if the legislature fails to act on a bill to expand... (Comments)

Time to Tax Natural Gas

By Sharon Ward   A few years ago, Pennsylvania ran an ad campaign encouraging urban dwellers and suburbanites to explore Route 6, which cuts a path through the forests, waterfalls, and mountains of the Commonwealth's northernmost tier of counties. Today,... (Comments)

Back to School for Asians

She wagged her finger.  She stomped her feet.  She first ordered the Asian students to end their boycott at South Philadelphia High School and return to class.  But, in the end, school Superintendent Arlene Ackerman had to plead with the students... (Comments)

The Christmas Shopping Wars

 By Patricia McLaughlin   Remember when people used to get all gooey and sentimental about Christmas shopping? They'd rhapsodize about the lights, the carols, the scent of fresh-cut evergreens, crowds of twinkly-eyed shoppers, department store windows full of whimsical mechanical... (Comments)

Bismarck Was Right

Those who respect the law and enjoy sausages should never watch either being made, the German uber-chancellor once famously remarked. Witness the bill passed by the Pennsylvania  House Monday (Dec. 14) ,expanding gambling in the state to include table games.  It... (Comments)

Justice Denied

By Tom Ferrick Jr. This is about a factory that is normal in almost every respect. It has workers who gather up the raw material used in the manufacturing process.  It has a section devoted to the initial sorting of... (Comments)

100 Years Young

The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.  Originally known as the Bureau of Municipal Research, PEL was a Progressive Era institution created by Philadelphia do-gooders to study issues of importance to the city "without... (Comments)

Yet Another Task Force

This one will be called the Task Force for Racial and Cultural Harmony, which unfortunately sounds like something the Chinese Communist Central Committee would have set up circa 1968.  It is being created by Philadelphia School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman to address the... (Comments)

Special Report: Violence at South Philly High

By G.W. Miller III               Wei Chen called me from South Philadelphia High School in the midst of the violence on Thursday, December 3rd. "I need your help," he said in a message, his voice sounding desperate.             When... (Comments)

Special Report, Part II: Violence at South Philly High

The man who served as the Safe School Advocate in Philadelphia argues that the roots of the trouble at South Philadelphia High School can be traced to the district's lax approach to discipline and safety in the schools. (Comments)

One Hand Clapping

One-and-three-quarters cheer for Mayor Nutter.  That seems to be the consensus of recent articles and columns appraising the mayor at the approach of his midterm. A major theme: the mayor has disappointed a lot of folks, but he says he... (Comments)

Another "F" for Philly

Another dubious distinction for Philadelphia, this time on the Nation's Report Card, which reports on educational attainment among students in 4th and 8th grade, both across the nation and in select urban districts. The Philadelphia students who took the... (Comments)

Deja Vu All Over Again

By Brett Mandel  Taxes have been described both as "the price we pay for a civilized society" and "the power to destroy." In Philadelphia, the price we pay for our civilized (and sometimes not so civilized) society is also destroying... (Comments)

That Sinking Feeling

Bad news on the money front for Pennsylvania. Tax collections are still lagging and continue to fall below estimates set at the beginning of this fiscal year. So far this year, , collections are down two percent -- or about $217... (Comments)

The Mr. Potato Head Budget

By Tom Ferrick Jr.   Watching the Pennsylvania legislature trying to pass a state budget this year was like watching a drunk trying to assemble a Mr. Potato Head.The best thing to say about the process is that it is... (Comments)

This is Metropolis

   Metropolis is a website dedicated to the notion that the time has come to stop worrying about the future of local journalism and to start creating it.    The need is clear.  Local newspapers, TV and radio stations are... (Comments)

The Last of Howard the Cruel

By Jacob Lambert       What is the fate of a deposed king?      In 1298, Germany's Adolph of Nassau was hacked to bits in the Battle of G√∂llheim.  In 1327, England's Edward II was smothered with a mattress.  In... (Comments)

Running for Judge: The Money Game

By Tom Ferrick Jr.   Running for judge in Philadelphia is still a money game. This year, the candidates who ran for Common Pleas and Municipal Court spent nearly $2.3 million on their campaigns, the highest total ever in a... (Comments)

A Hip Without Hop

By Mike Mallowe In less than three days I will lose my status as a person and once again become a patient. Becoming a patient ages you faster than Father Time. I will become instantly dependent on people I... (Comments)

Running for Judge: A Most Dangerous Woman

By Tom Ferrick Jr.  You'd never know it from talking to her, but Diane Thompson is a dangerous woman. This year, Thompson challenged the collective might of Philadelphia's Democratic party organization and beat it: hands down and with ease. ... (Comments)

If It Can't Move, Tax It

Before it is consigned to the dustbin of history, it might be worthwhile to glance at the report issued by Mayor Nutter's Task Force on Tax Policy & Economic Competitiveness. In many ways, it is deja vu all over again... (Comments)

Bad News for Arlen

U.S. Sen Arlen Specter keeps getting beat up in the polls.  A late October poll, done by Terry Madonna's shop at Franklin & Marshall College, showed that only 23 percent of Pennsylvania's believes the state's senior senator deserves re-election.  Specter... (Comments)

The Perzel Indictment

Attorney General Tom Corbett dropped the other shoe in the "Bonusgate" scandal and it hit former House Speaker John Perzel.  The Philadelphia Republican, along with former aides, was charged with creating a $10 million computer system with taxpayer money that... (Comments)

The Baby Buggy Brigade

Center City is having a baby boom. That's the news included the latest report from the Center City District.  Some of the other findings about Philadelphia's downtown from the report: residents remain optimistic. The employment picture isn't all that bad and the... (Comments)

Voters are down on Rendell

Gov. Rendell's standing with the voters took a beating because of this year's long (longer, longest) fight over the state budget. The latest Quinnipiac Poll shows only 42 percent of Pennsylvanians approve of his performance. If it is any consolation to the... (Comments)

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