Philadelphia Metropolis

January 2010 Archives

Banana Republican

Philadelphia Republican party leaders have decided to change the rules by which Philadelphia Republican party leaders are elected. Now, when it comes time to elect the party chair, each of the 67 ward leaders gets one vote. In the future,... (Comments)

Bicycle City III: Making the Future Work

By Elise Vider When bike advocates wax rhapsodic, sooner or later Copenhagen comes up. The Danish city of about 500,000 has more bicycles than residents and a staggering 37 percent of the population commutes by bike --compared to Philadelphia's 1.6... (Comments)

Chairman Bob Speaks

To: All Ward Leaders From: Chairman Bob Re: The Need for Reform It was with a great deal of distressment that I read of the negative reaction of certain members of City Council to Councilman Wilson Goode's proposal to place... (Comments)

The Lead Balloon

Terms limits on City Council? We don't need no stinkin' terms limits. So went the reaction Thursday (Jan 28) to Councilman Wilson Goode Jr.'s bill to limit Council members to three terms.  Goode said he did it because he felt... (Comments)

School Days: A Sub's First Day

By Alex Harne Anyone who has ever started a job has had the first day jitters. And why not?  But eventually, that period passes: you fall in line, you get used to the way things work, and suddenly you can't... (Comments)

Win Big Prizes!

Well, win at camcorder at least.  The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia is running a new project on the future of the region and is kicking it off by asking folks to give their thoughts about what challenges and potential the region faces. ... (Comments)

Endgame For Foxwoods

The state Gaming Control Board Wednesday (Jan. 27) gave the owners of Foxwoods Casino a March 3 deadline to come up with a plan to build a casino on its South Philadelphia site or face revocation of its license.  Gaming... (Comments)

School Days III: Educating Immigrants

By Dale Mezzacappa The incident at South Philadelphia High School involving violence against Asian students has drawn overdue attention to another important issue: how the school district absorbs and educates its immigrant students. Like other big cities, the district has... (Comments)

Sticker Shock Moratorium

Mayor Nutter has put an end to mind-boggling property-tax increases until after the next mayoral election.  That's not exactly the way the mayor put it, but that it the effect of the ban announced today (Jan. 26) on property reassessments.... (Comments)

Guilty of Politics

By Tom Ferrick Jr. It is journalistic heresy to say it, but I think Rep. John Perzel is innocent of the charges brought against him.  Ditto for former state Rep. Stephen Stetler, once head of the House Democratic Campaign Committee,... (Comments)

What About Me?

State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams for governor? It seems implausible, but there he is in the Inquirer saying that folks (read: himself) have approached him and asked him to consider it. Williams is an astute politician.  He knows his chances... (Comments)

School Days II: Fiasco at South Philly High

By Dale Mezzacappa  Last spring, with solemnity and a great sense of closure, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) settled a desegregation case against the Philadelphia School District that had dragged on for decades. In doing so, Commission leaders expressed... (Comments)

Schools Days: Substitute Teacher

By Lori Mehler I broke up with a long-time boyfriend the night before a substitute-teaching assignment at a school in Bensalem. The break-up wasn't a surprise, but it was emotionally draining. I got two hours of sleep, then mustered the... (Comments)

Schools Days: Superintendent Arlene Ackerman

By Dale Mezzacappa Philadelphia School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman is certainly a woman of ups and downs. Her December was marked by her embarrassing and troubling reaction to assaults against Asian students at South Philadelphia High School, in which she refused... (Comments)

Do the Math

There's an odd turn in the Inquirer story today (Jan. 23) about the contract negotiations between the city and its unions,  Miriam Hill wonders out loud whether the long-term gains -- concessions from the unions over benefits -- is worth... (Comments)

The Big Dogs Win

Expect major repercussions from this week's (Jan. 21) U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations to spend money on political activity.  It is likely to result in the overturning state laws that restrict or prohibit corporate contributions, as does Pennsylvania.  But,... (Comments)

Hoeffel To Take the Plunge

Joe Hoeffel is going to make it official and announce his candidacy for governor, reports today. (Jan 22).  The Montgomery County commissioner -- and former congressman and state legislator -- has been testing the waters in recent months and... (Comments)

Expect A Knox Exit

Word on the street is that Tom Knox will be quitting the race for governor.  The Daily News reports today (Jan. 22) that the Philadelphia millionaire was negotiating with Dan Onorato, one of his rivals for the Democratic nomination, on... (Comments)

The Phillies Unchained

A bad hair day for local cable giant Comcast. The Federal Communications Commission Wednesday (Jan 20) voted to end Comcast's near monopoly on broadcasting Phillies, Sixers and Flyers games. Philadelphia fans who wanted to watch the teams regularly had to... (Comments)

The Fatal Moment

By Tom Ferrick Jr. Let us consider the brief and sad political career of Earl Vann, an ancient tale with a modern lesson. Vann was a Philadelphia City Councilman in the 1970's who decided to endorse Mayor Frank Rizzo... (Comments)

Beau Geste

Ed Rendell to the rescue. One moment he was in Harrisburg, the next he was flying to Haiti to rescue orphans left adrift by the earthquake. It was dramatic, it was positive, it was pure Rendell.  Rendell returned to Harrisburg... (Comments)

The Long Goodbye

It's been 17 months in the making, but it appears the Philadelphia School District has reached agreement on a new contract with its teachers.  The Inquirer reports today (Jan.19) that members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers have been alerted about... (Comments)

Campaign 2010: U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter

By Dan Hirschhorn The political universe worked itself into tizzy on that day last April when U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, Philadelphia political icon of four decades, decided to switch parties from Republican to Democrat.  It seemed he was doing the... (Comments)

Republican Rumble

Bob Warner reports in the Daily News today (Jan. 18) that the state Republican Party leadership is trying to goose the Philadelphia party organization into...well, breathing would be a good start.  The focus of displeasure is Michael Meehan, the local GOP... (Comments)

Campaign 2010: U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak

By Dan Hirschhorn Going up against U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, one of the most skilled political tacticians in modern Pennsylvania history, is hard enough. Going up against Specter, the White House, the Gov. Rendell and more than 300 establishment Democrats... (Comments)

The Perils of Woman Math

By Nina BaltierraI have a confession to make.  I used to be guilty of "Woman Math." If you've never heard of it, here's how it works: You have a goal that you want to accomplish by certain date.  Then you... (Comments)

Form Follows Process

Inga Saffron makes a convincing case that the future of American architecture is being made here in Philadelphia.  She profiles a quartet of (mostly) young architects who are exploring ways to reinvent not just design, but also construction. Making architecture green... (Comments)

Tax It Now

Gov. Rendell has had a change of heart over taxing the gas drawn from the Marcellus Shale.  He rejected the idea as part of last year's budget settlement, saying the fledgling industry needed a chance to develop.  Then Rendell took a... (Comments)

The Perfect Prom Tie

Best of VoxPop» Did you ever want to strangle a man with a necktie? The man in question is actually only the torso of a man made of plastic, but wrapped around his neck is the last tie of a particular color and pattern -- yellow with small white checks. It looks like a picnic tablecloth with an identity crisis, but the woman bouncing impatiently next to me!. I struggle. I wrestle. Dust rises around us as I scuffle with the plastic man. Finally, I raise the unknotted tie above my head and declare victory. After all, it's part of my job as a clerk at Macy's Springfield to get the customer what she wants, when she wants it. (Comments)

Off With Their Heads

School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman has been taking a lot of hits lately. There was the imbroglio over her handling of the violent incidents at South Philadelphia High. Then there was the critical (though also complimentary) Queen Arlene piece in Philly mag.... (Comments)

The New Gold Rush: Drilling for Gas

By William Ecenbarger   The play began in the fall of 2003 in the Appalachian foothills of rural Washington County, Pennsylvania, when the business end of a drill began a mile-long journey through sedimentary rock deposits formed from the mud... (Comments)

Marcellus Shale

is not a point guard for the Houston Rockets.  It is a rich vein of natural gas that runs under Pennsylvania.  Metropolis is running  series on the potential and perils of drilling operations.   The ying and yang of Marcellus... (Comments)

The New Gold Rush II: The Smell of Money

By William Ecenbarger             Natural gas is almost odorless, but it has nevertheless filled the air of northern and southwestern Pennsylvania with a powerful scent. It is the smell of money. If you're a landowner, a driller or a politician,... (Comments)

The New Gold Rush III: Dangers to the Environment

Drilling for natural gas presents challenges to Pennsylvania. There are environmental concerns over the polluted waste water produced by the drilling and worries about what mass drilling will do to forest lands. (Comments)

A District in Denial

By G.W. Miller III After 26 Asian students were assaulted at South Philly High in December, dozens of Asian students boycotted classes for more than a week because they didn't feel safe at the school on South Broad Street. They... (Comments)

Fire Deaths Down

There were 30 fire deaths recorded in Philadelphia in 2009, the lowest number recorded since 1952, the year these statistics began to be kept.  The number of people killed in fires has been on the decline both here and nationally... (Comments)

From Riches to Rags

By S.A. Gibbins In the spring of 2001, I moved to lower Delaware, starting both a new relationship and a new business. Construction in that area was strong and my painting business took right off, along with my new love.... (Comments)

It's Not Either/Or on Guns

By Phil Goldsmith One of the problems in discussing the gun problem that impacts so much of our society -- from urban streets to small towns to even NBA locker rooms -- is that people want to discuss solutions... (Comments)

The Oxymoron of the Week

is SEPTA customer service. Jeff Gammage has a piece in today's (Jan 11) Inquirer about how the transit agency is working to wrap its mind around the concept.  It's not easy -- given the size of the system, plus its... (Comments)

Duddy At Twilight

Tom Fitzgerald offers a long, deep and generally sympathetic portrait of U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in today's (Jan. 10)  Inquirer. It goes to show how hard it is to capture Specter using the traditional political vocabulary. Is he liberal? Conservative?... (Comments)

Last Man Standing

Now that Jim Gerlach has decided to seek re-election to congress instead of running for the Republican nomination for governor, the question is: Who benefits? Answer: Tom Corbett, the state attorney general, who already was considered a frontrunner in the... (Comments)

Cartoon Network

Philadelphia's Clerk of Quarter Sessions office could be a show on the Cartoon Network.  Almost comically inept, it's been criticized for years by court insiders. Since it operates in a small little corner of the court system, though, no one... (Comments)

More Money Please

This falls under the category of Man Bites Dog.  It is not unusual to hear someone argue that more money is needed for public education in Philadelphia, but when that someone is a Republican it is news. David Girard diCarlo,... (Comments)

Slicing the Pie

By Robert W. O'Donnell Since the dawn of time those who govern have had to face two conflicting demands. On one hand, government is organized to deal with problems collectively that are difficult to deal with individually. On the other... (Comments)

Eagles' Fan Shame

By Peter Kerr As a Philadelphia Eagles fan, I find myself in a bit of funk. (No surprise there.) Is my problem with McNabb?  With Andy Reid?  With the pass-happy offense?  No, my problem is not with the team.  My... (Comments)

Good News on Crime

Despite the lousy economy, crime is down in Philadelphia almost across the board -- homicides, robberies, assaults, vehicle theft.  You name it. (The exceptions are burglaries and rapes among the so-called Part One major crimes.)  Mayor Nutter and Police Commission... (Comments)

Photo Essay: Mummers 2010

Mummer 2010 Flickr Pool

Pay Raise Pain

No one in the Nutter administration has quite come out and said it, but it looks as if the cost of giving pay raises to city employees is going to have to come from the hide of city employees.  A... (Comments)

Abraham for AG?

That's the speculation in Politics PA about Lynne Abraham, who stepped down today Jan 4)as Philadelphia District Attorney.  In a Comcast interview, Abraham told Larry Kane that she does intend to run for another office, but declined to say which... (Comments)

Real Men Do Stroll

By Jacob Lambert I am not a particularly manly fellow.  For instance, I just used the word "fellow."  That's not manly at all.  Worse, I do most of the cooking in my house, and am actually pretty good at it. ... (Comments)

Less Is More

Mayor Nutter appears to be verbally assuming the fetal position in an interview today (Jan. 3) with The Inquirer, To sum up the mayor's remarks: Times are tough.  We face many challenges. The economy is recovering, but the situation is still dire.... (Comments)

Prehistoric Indeed

Amy Worden did a piece that ran in today's (Jan. 2) Inquirer about the skeleton of a mastadon, originally unearthed in the Poconos, going on display in Harrisburg.  Some wry copy editor gave it the headline: A prehistoric beast in... (Comments)

Nutter vs. Green

It's clear that Mayor Nutter and Councilman Bill Green don't get along. Now, the two men confirm it in an article in the Philadelphia Tribune.  "If I say left, he says right just for the sake of it," Nutter complains... (Comments)

The King of Pork

The Washington Post has taken a look at the pork U.S. Rep. John Murtha has brought home to his district centered around Johnstown, Pa. and discovered it has come at a high price per pound -- $1 million per job... (Comments)

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