PGW Sale Hopes Dim

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

The proposed sale of Philadelphia Gas Works to a private Connecticut company — a sale long considered on life support, at best — is one step closer to outright death.

UIL Holdings said Thursday that it is ending its pursuit of the Philadelphia utility; it will not renew its option to buy when that agreement ends at the end of December. The announcement came after Thursday’s City Council meeting, considered the last chance to jump-start the process to result in a sale by year’s end.

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Dwight Evans Mulls Mayoral Run

State Rep. Dwight Evans

State Rep. Dwight Evans

This was unexpected: State Rep. Dwight Evans says he’s contemplating a run for mayor — his third such race, if he makes it, since 1999.

The Inquirer reports that Evans was encouraged by an October poll showing him running second only to former District Attorney Lynne Abraham — among six likely candidates — in a mayoral matchup.

“I’m having conversations with people to see if there is an avenue to look at in this mayor’s race,” he said. “I’m looking, thinking, seeing what kind of political and financial support there might be.”

“I feel like I am in a pretty good position,” he said. “I still have a long way to go. Where you start is not necessarily where you end up. You just try to put together your message and organization, raise your money, and try to connect with people who think your candidacy has something to offer the city. I think mine would.”

Evans has held his office more than 30 years. He tried running for mayor in 1999 and 2007; Philly Mag profiled him during both runs.

People Power in Philadelphia

I’m so proud of my city.

Do we say that enough in Philadelphia? Outside of the Philly Love Notes blog, probably not often enough. But every once in a while, something happens that reveals the underlying character of the city’s population — and we sometimes surprise ourselves when that something is good.

Well, that something happened this week.

Here’s what happened. The state’s Basic Education Funding Committee came to town for two days of hearings. It had a lot of people on the schedule: Mayor Nutter. Superintendent William Hite. Experts from Penn and Temple. School choice advocates. A real array of the city’s smartest and best-known officials.

Not on the schedule? Parents.

Not on the schedule? Students.

The Basic Education Funding Commission wanted to come to town and hear from just about everybody except the people who are most directly affected by the inadequacies in how we fund our schools.

Crazy, right?

Well, Philadelphia didn’t let that stand.

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Comcast: Are Vultures Circling the Merger?

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

OK, so it’s probably a bit much to say the vultures are circling over the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. After all, the “vulture” in question is John Malone of Charter — the guy who originally was trying to buy Time Warner before Comcast swooped in — and he still gives Comcast’s efforts an 80 percent chance of succeeding.

Only thing: Those odds are less impressive than they used to be.

Deadline Hollywood reports:

Liberty Media Chairman John Malone hasn’t lost his lust for Time Warner Cable. That’s the unmistakable message he delivered today at Liberty’s Investor Day gathering when he was asked whether Charter — where he’s the top shareholder — would take another run at TWC if its current $45 billion deal with Comcast falters. “Hell yes,” Malone said, reaffirming his reputation as one of media’s most reliable straight shooters. The answer could be important: A small, but growing, group of investors question whether the Comcast-TWC deal will survive FCC and Justice Department scrutiny.

Multichannel News adds:

Liberty Media chairman John Malone said he would pursue Time Warner Cable again if Its current deal with Comcast is rejected by regulators.  However, he noted that his current arrangement with both companies is probably the best outcome.   “Oh yes,” Malone said in an immediate response to a question in whether he would want Charter Communications to restart its pursuit of Time Warner Cable in the absence of a Comcast deal. “That said, we’re happy with the deal that was negotiated. In many ways it’s a better deal than going after 100% of Time Warner Cable.”

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(UPDATE) Kane’s Office Clarifies Porn Email Clarification

[Update 10:30 a.m.] Well, you don’t see this every day in politics. Yes, a politician will make an explosive statement, only to have a spokesperson walk that statement back. But it’s rare you then see the walkback itself walked back. So it’s a pretty nifty trick Kathleen Kane’s office has just pulled.

What has happened: Kane spokeswoman Renee Martin is now withdrawing her Wednesday statement that racy emails at the heart of the recent Harrisburg scandal do not constitute child pornography. Martin made that statement in the aftermath of Kane’s Tuesday CNN interview asserting that some of the emails contained images of children.

Here’s the full statement from Martin, as sent out in a press release this morning:

Statement from Renee Martin, spokesperson for Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane

“When I said that the Pennsylvania Attorney General has decided not to prosecute regarding the emails as pornography, including depictions of children contained in some emails, I misspoke.”

In fact, the Attorney General has not made a decision one way or the other in light of the recent published opinion of the Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the emails he had seen were “clearly pornographic” and may be criminal. As a result of the issuance of a court order, the Attorney General cannot explain her views on the status of these emails, as she explained in a public statement she read prior to her testimony before the Grand Jury on Monday and on CNN on Tuesday night.

Prior to her grand jury testimony this week, Kane said publicly: “However, due to continuous, even overlapping court orders since last March, I am not allowed to explain why I am testifying or what my testimony has to do with the release of the pornographic emails under the Right to Know Law. These court orders also expose me to legal risk if I do my job as Attorney General that I was elected and trusted by the people of Pennsylvania to do. I am not allowed at this time to explain why.”

In other words: It may be awhile before this web is untangled.

[Original 6:12 a.m.] On Tuesday, Attorney General Kathleen Kane told a national audience — or, CNN’s audience, anyway — that racy emails discovered during the recent Harrisburg scandal included depictions of children. “Deplorable,” she said.

On Wednesday, she walked back the assertion a bit. The Inquirer:
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Philly Police, Activists Prepare for Ferguson Reaction

Matt Rourke/AP

Matt Rourke/AP

Over the summer, the nation’s attention focused on Ferguson, Missouri, for several weeks as protesters clashed with cops in the aftermath of the shooting of an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, by a police officer. Now officials in Missouri are bracing for the results of a grand jury — whether the officer will be indicted for the shooting — and police departments nationwide are preparing for possible protests in their own cities.

Philadelphia is no exception.
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Revel Buyer Brookfield Walks Away From Casino Deal

Photo | Dan McQuade

Photo | Dan McQuade

The company that won ownership of Atlantic City’s shuttered Revel Casino during a heated bankruptcy auction last month is walking away from the deal.

The Press of Atlantic City reports Brookfield US Holdings — which bid $110 million on the property — “has made the decision because bondholders controlling debt connected to construction of Revel’s power plant refuse to rework fixed costs connected to the plant’s construction.”
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