Ramsey Comes Out Against Cop-Cloaking Bill in Harrisburg

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey poses with other police officers Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey poses with other police officers Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)

Philadelphia’s top cop is pushing back against a bill that would cloak the identities of officers in “police-involved shootings.”

CBS Philly reports that outgoing Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told KYW Newsradio, “I’m against it. I think it’s a huge mistake.” (His comments came before a Pennsylvania state trooper was wounded during a shootout on I-676 late Tuesday morning.)

The union representing Philadelphia’s police officers has been pushing hard for House Bill 1538, which would generally keep confidential the identity of officers involved in shootings, unless they are charged with a crime after an investigation. The bill passed the House with bipartisan support, and the Senate is expected to take it up soon. Read more »

Route 23 Split Goes Into Effect Sunday

Photo: Courtesy of SEPTA

Photo: Courtesy of SEPTA

Anyone who has used Route 23, the busiest of SEPTA’s surface bus routes, knows that the schedule is often an approximation. Heavy traffic, both in the form of riders and other vehicles in the buses’ path, causes frequent delays and bunching on the line.

SEPTA has had a fix for this problem on its To-Do list for several years now. This Sunday, the fix takes effect when new Route 45 officially begins service. (And no, the Nos. 23 and 45 do not reference Michael Jordan’s old numbers.Read more »

Lower Merion Police Say Lower Merion Police Did Nothing Wrong in Controversial Stop

Nathaniel Williams (left). Photo | Sandy Smith

Nathaniel Williams (left). Photo | Sandy Smith

The officers who ordered 56-year-old Nathaniel Williams to his knees, then handcuffed him, in a stop connected to a reported robbery at a TD Bank branch in Haverford acted in accordance with department procedure, according to an internal review conducted by the Lower Merion Police Department.

The LMPD reviewed the incident in response to a complaint filed November 2nd by the Main Line branch of the NAACP concerning the October 26th stop. The stop also sparked a protest at the November 4th Township Commissioners meeting, where South Ardmore residents added their testimony of similar treatment by police and called for reforms in police practices and police-community relations. Read more »

What Lots of Americans Don’t Get About Islam

Veterans during a rally Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, at the Statehouse, in Providence, R.I., held to demonstrate against allowing Syrian refugees to enter Rhode Island following the terror attacks in Paris.

Veterans during a rally Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, at the Statehouse, in Providence, R.I., held to demonstrate against allowing Syrian refugees to enter Rhode Island following the terror attacks in Paris.

I am a Christian. So is Pope Francis. So was the Rev. Fred Phelps.

I don’t think anyone reading this would confuse any one of the three of us for the other.

Yet too many of us here in America do exactly that when it comes to dealing with Islam and Muslims, and in our current paranoid state in the wake of the ISIS attacks on Paris, our inability or refusal to recognize diversity within Islam may mean that we will fail in meeting a humanitarian imperative. Read more »

ACLU App Lets Civilians Record Police

A screenshot from the ACLU app.

A screenshot from the ACLU app.

The last year has been filled with videos depicting — or purporting to depict — police misconduct across the United States. Now the ACLU is encouraging Pennsylvania citizens to join the trend.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania released a new smartphone app on Nov. 13. Called “Mobile Justice PA,” the app lets civilians record video of police-civilian encounters and send it to the ACLU automatically. Read more »

Front Street Cafe Now Open All Day

front-street-cafe-940After gradually expanding its operations from breakfast into lunch/brunch, then into dinner, Fishtown’s Front Street Cafe celebrated with an official opening party last night.

The restaurant at Front and Thompson streets had been the subject of much buzz in the months leading up to its opening, and now that it’s open from wake-up call to last call, it’s already attracted a local following.

A Fishtowner of my acquaintance said that it was already “the place for meetings” in the area, which includes next-door South Kensington and Northern Liberties. The second-floor dining area, where sofas and armchairs keep the tables company, is well suited to handle such functions.

Read more »

Philadelphians Seem Super Bullish on Philly, Until You Look Closer

Photo by Morgan Burke, Creative Commons license.

Photo by Morgan Burke, Creative Commons license.

On the whole, would we rather be in Philadelphia?

That depends on who “we” are. A survey just released by the Pew Philadelphia Research Initiative defines that “we” in a new way.

Instead of grouping Philadelphians by the usual statistical categories like income, race, geography, age or political persuasion, this survey breaks them down into four broad categories based on their attitudes about the city and its prospects.

The citywide numbers suggest Philadelphians as a whole are feeling good about their city. According to the survey, about 65 percent of residents think that “the city’s best days are ahead,” and 48 percent agreed that Philadelphia is headed in the right direction. Overall, just 33 percent said the city was on the wrong track. Compare that to the national mood; a depressing 65 percent think the U.S. is on the wrong track.

But those topline numbers oversimplify Philadelphia’s mood, as Pew’s survey shows. Read more »

Traveling To or From Philly For Thanksgiving? Google Maps Says This Is When You Should Do It

If you have plans to head elsewhere this Thanksgiving, or expect to welcome out-of-town friends, here are some travel tips courtesy Google Maps (scroll in the map above to find the Philly data), which each year searches its huge database of searches to tease out travel trends in a number of U.S. cities.

As Curbed Philly reports, the last time you (or your visitors) should be on the road to or from Philly before Thanksgiving is on Wednesday from 2 to 5 p.m., so maybe you should take off a day early and set out for your destination on Tuesday. The only worse time to travel around here is Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. Traffic in this area is 15 percent worse on Saturday than on Sunday, which is a good excuse to linger a while with your friends or relatives or have them stick around a bit longer.

Read more »

SEPTA, City Unveil Fancy New Bus Shelter Design

Photo | Sandy Smith

Photo | Sandy Smith

Mayor Michael Nutter, City Council President Darrell Clarke, SEPTA general manager Jeff Knueppel and Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities director Denise Goren all gathered at the northeast corner of Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia at 11 a.m. this morning to take the wraps off what may be the most useful and attractive piece of street furniture ever to grace Philadelphia’s streets.

That would be the new bus shelters that Intersection, an “urban experience” firm formed by the merger of urban technology design firm Control Group and the Titan advertising company, will install and maintain at more than 600 bus stops across the city. Read more »

Philly Cop Arrested for Assault

joseph marion

Philadelphia Police have arrested one of their own in connection with an attack that took place at a Dunkin’ Donuts in West Oak Lane last winter.

Officer Joseph Marion, 39, a four-year veteran of the force, was arrested today and charged with simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. Read more »

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