Philadelphia Metropolis

September 2012 Archives

Going Squirrelly in Bryn Mawr

By Paul Greeley» I'm matching wits with a certain furry rodent that is getting into my house somehow. When I realized I had a squirrel or possibly his entire family in my walls, I did what every modern person does when they have a problem and need a solution, I Googled 'how to remove squirrels from your attic'. In .24 seconds, I got more than a million results. So, I'm guessing this is a common problem. If you think of squirrels as cute little furry animals that dart through the trees in your yard with amazing acrobatic grace like I did, then you've never had one in your house. Because once they cross that line of demarcation, once they go from outside to inside, they become evil rodent aliens. (Comments)

Becoming the Bottom Rung

Germantown High School, circa 1915 There is a clear loser in this age of competition in education in Philadelphia.The city's 26 neighborhood high schools are becoming the last choice among parents -- the default they choose only if they... (Comments)

My Quarter-Life Crisis

By Kyre Gottschalk» When I was 16, I always thought by the time I was 25 I would have a full-blown successful career, own my own home, be married and perhaps even have a couple of kids. Well, I am 25 now and I recently lost my job, I am single, and I currently live in my father's basement. I look at the people I'm connected with on Facebook and there seems to be a trend of engagements, marriage, and children. It's as though they have a look of success on their faces. They ran the age/success race and made it before the age of 30. They are the ones who have taken on the challenge and won. A part of me gets bitter when I see them smiling in their pictures. Talking about their new careers, showing off their brand new apartments or homes they just bought, hugging onto their spouse with delight, warmly smiling as they hold up their new born baby. I have to ask these acquaintances and friends, now what? Is it the end that matters or is it the journey? (Comments)

Cops Behaving Badly

By Mike Burke» An experience I had this summer has changed my opinion of those dedicated "to protect and serve" us in Philadelphia. Let me set the scene. My friends and I were on the Broad Street Line, heading South Philadelphia for Game 1 of Flyers/Devils playoff. Having tied one on the night before, none of us were planning on tailgating until we got to the stadium. I had a cup of coffee, my roommate was sitting with his girlfriend and having a beer, and there were two other people with us, neither one drinking. It was about noon. When we got to the station, my roommate grabbed his two empty cans and walked into the station to throw them away. There was a police officer there (who looked like he had just gone to prom), but we paid him no mind, as we're all 26, and not in the habit (Comments)

The Misery Index

There is no other way to put it: Philadelphia got a kick in the head during the Great Recession.  The "Misery Index" increased on a number of fronts: the poverty rate, individual wealth, unemployment...the list could go on. There was and... (Comments)

A Taxing Situation

There's a classic good news-bad news split in a new study on state and local taxes done by Pew's Philadelphia Research Initiative. For Philadelphians, the good news is that city residents are no longer among the highest taxed in the region.... (Comments)

Call Me!

By Roz Warren» When I was growing up in the 1960s, every house in my neighborhood had a telephone. It wasn't called a "land line." It was called "the telephone." It wasn't a smart phone. It was an imbecile. It didn't have call forwarding. Or call waiting. It couldn't take messages. And there was no caller ID. When the phone rang, you actually had to answer it to find out who was calling. If you wanted to talk to a friend, you dialed her number. If she was there, she picked it up and said "Hello." If she wasn't home, or if her older sister was tying up the line, you were flat out of luck. Sounds primitive, doesn't it? (Comments)

Time to Think Big

As Ryan Briggs' piece on City Council makes clear, that body tends to think small.  It is also better at reacting than acting. That's about par for the course when it comes to the legislative branch. In America, big and bold... (Comments)

City Council Rising

What happens when you have a strong-mayor form of government with a weak mayor? Now in his second term, Mayor Nutter is looking more and more like a lame duck and City Council has started to assert its power. Report Ryan Briggs offers this snapshot of who's who in Council in a story based on insider interviews with Council staff and others. (Comments)

Was Blind, Now I Can See

By Bethany Skinner» never grew up with a 'man of the house' to reel in my wild and curious nature. By the age of two, my parents were separated. By age 10, I was a smart-mouthed terror. By the time I was 20 I had three failed relationships with boyfriends, for various reasons. Though I made many male friends in an attempt to fill a void, I closed myself off to the idea of sharing committed relationships with them. I was resigned to believe there were no success stories with love; it would be only a matter of time until even the solid couples I knew fell apart, too. (Comments)

The Pagan Fire

By Jerome Przybylski » You see these kiddies who leap from sidewalk-square to sidewalk-square. Everyone knows the stakes: step on a crack and break your momma's back. And then you see these homeless magi who conduct the cosmic clockwork from a park bench. The sunrise. The sunset. They're also deeply staked. They know that all it would take for the world to end is one false move. Like crossing left-leg over right-leg, or breaking their daily pigeon feeding routine. It's funny and not so funny. Personally, I have rarely flattered an artist or a comedian by calling him "crazy." When you have mental illness in your blood-lines, you develop an insider's concern. Imagination is like fire. Only the controlled-burn serves a sane purpose. Okay. Okay. I live in a rooming house in Philly. I've got stories of drifters who (Comments)

One Foot Out the Door

When you boil it down, there are two kinds of jobs for Philadelphians. The first is the kind where you can walk, bike, take a bus or drive to a destination in town.  The second is where you have to... (Comments)

Leaving on a Jet Plane?

Negotiation of long-delayed contracts with city workers.  Implementation of the controversial plan to reassess all real estate. Stemming the rise in violent crimes.  Balancing a city budget that threatens to wobble off the tracks. Those are just a few of... (Comments)

Backgrounder: All About AVI

City government is nearly finished the task of reassessing all of the 500,000-plus residential properties in Philadelphia. The new numbers are due to be mailed out in February. The project is called the Actual Valuation Initiative. What is AVI? Why is it needed? And how is the project being done? We provide answers with a Backgrounder on AVI that is just a click away. (Comments)

Backgrounder: Setting the Value

How is the city going about reassessing properties in Philadelphia? Reporter Jared Brey reveals the steps the Office of Property Assessment is taking -- and the complicated formulas it uses -- to determine the "actual value" of your house in Part Two of our Backgrounder on the Actual Valuation Initiative. Click to read more... (Comments)

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