Kane Back in Court Today

Kathleen Kane

Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane is going back to court this today — this time to challenge a judge’s inquiry into her firing of a key staffer.

CBS Philly reports:

Judge William Carpenter is overseeing a grand jury investigation into allegations that Kathleen Kane’s office leaked secret information. He thinks she may have fired her deputy, James Barker, because of his testimony in the case.

That might violate a protective order that covers grand jury witnesses. Carpenter assembled the three-judge panel to hear whether she could be charged with “indirect contempt of court,” but Kane’s lawyers filed motions challenging the proceeding.

AP adds:

They want Carpenter to recuse himself, saying he’s biased against Kane, and they say his order barring retaliation expired before Barker was fired. In any case, Kane says Barker’s firing wasn’t retaliation.

The hearing is expected to get under way this morning.

Airport Expansion Is Big for Philly Economy

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Shutterstock

Now that a long-awaited settlement between the Philadelphia International Airport and neighboring Tinicum Township is a done deal, it’s an interesting time to examine the potential economic impact of the airport’s expansion plan.

It features an extended runway to accommodate larger planes; a new “automated people mover system;” a consolidated rental car area to cut down on traffic; and a redesign to Terminals B and C (which I know from personal experience can get very busy).

Airport officials have been saying for quite some time that the economic impact of PHL would grow from $14.4 billion annually to $26.4 billion in 2025. CEO Mark Gale says he plans to release updated figures in the future.

Read more »

Want to Live Longer? Move to Lancaster.

They say this city can kill you. Well now we have proof.

Graphic from Measure of American of the Social Science Research Council's report "<a href=

The Social Science Research Council’s Measure of America project has released a report called “Geographies of Opportunity: Ranking Well-Being by Congressional District” in which they measure health, access to knowledge and living standards within the country’s 435 congressional districts as well as Washington, D.C. Only a few states get called out for special notice, and wouldn’t you know it, Pennsylvania is one of them.

pa-district-2There’s a special section called “A Tale of Two Districts: Life Expectancy in Pennsylvania.” The reason the state gets special attention is because it’s an outlier in terms of the health metric, and not in a good way. “Only four districts outside the South have life expectancies of less than 76 years,” the report reads, and one of those is Pennsylvania Congressional District 2, shown at left, which covers much of West Philly, and  other surrounding neighborhoods. The average life expectancy in this district is 75.6 years, to be precise, which is several years below the national average. Read more »

Wolf Promises Veto of Sick-Leave-Killing Bill

Not so fast Republicans.

Not so fast Republicans.

With the Republican-controlled state Senate moving forward with a bill that would essentially kill Philadelphia’s new paid sick leave requirements, Gov. Tom Wolf said he would veto the measure, according to Newsworks.

Philadelphia’s new law requires that businesses employing 10 or more people must provide one hour of paid sick leave per every 40 hours worked. But the Pennsylvania State Senate passed a bill earlier this month that would pre-emptively stop local governments from passing laws requiring companies to offer paid sick leave — essentially eradicating the Philadelphia law.

“Governor Wolf supports paid sick leave for workers, and local municipalities’ ability to pass ordinances for leave that they believe will help families and the economy,” a spokesman from the governor’s office said.

Read more »

The Empty-Nester’s Guide To Center City

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Congratulations! You made it. Your kids are grown. You’ve managed to save a few bucks. You still have a mostly-intact prostate. And now, you want to live the empty-nester lifestyle. You want to sell your house, dump all that old junk, store a few heirlooms, burn the furniture and start afresh in Center City. That’s what my wife and I did a couple of months ago. So to help you I’ve put together a few things that I’ve learned about living in town that you will also need to know. Read more »

The Comcast Merger: What They’re Saying

The death isn’t official yet — Comcast is expected to announce today that it’s walking away from the merger with Time Warner Cable it has spent the last year pursuing — but the post-mortems are already being written. (Update: The company made it officials this morning: Merger’s off.)

The Wall Street Journal calls the broken deal a “black eye for Brian Roberts:” Read more »

Civic League, Williams Want Police Commissioner Gone

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. AP | Matt Rourke

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. AP | Matt Rourke

If the Guardian Civic League — a group representing Philadelphia’s black police officers — has its way, the next mayor will put a brand-new police commissioner in the department’s top job.

If he becomes mayor, Anthony Williams will be happy to oblige.

“I’m not gonna say I’ll fire someone. But we differ, and I don’t compromise,” said Williams, citing Commissioner Charles Ramsey’s implementation of “stop-and-frisk” policy during his tenure here.

NewsWorks reports on objections raised by the league — led by Rochelle Bilal — to Ramsey: Read more »

Police Officer Shot in West Philadelphia

Daniel Kostick, an eight-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, was shot in the arm Thursday in West Philly while investigating a possible narcotics violation.

The incident took place after 10 p.m., near 51st and Master streets.

CBS Philly:

Police say Officer Daniel Kostick was assigned to bike patrol and was with his partners in the area of Wilton and Girard when they went to investigate a male inside a van for possible narcotics violations.

Police say when they approached, the van backed up and made a U-turn.

According to police, Officer Kostick found the male at 51st and Master Streets. “At that time they’re having a brief discussion, Kostick is still on his bike, the male turns to him and says, and I quote ‘I don’t want to have to do this,’ but then he fires at Officer Kostick, striking him in his right arm,” said Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross.

NBC 10:

Ross said Kostick, an eight-year veteran assigned to the 19th District was in “good spirits.”

“He’s very lucky given the circumstances,” said Ross.

Police later found the suspect in an alley behind the 5000 block of Master Street. Police also took a second person into custody along the 4900 block of W Stile Street, said sources with knowledge of the investigation.

6ABC adds: “One suspect was also shot. That person was apprehended and taken to Hahnemann Hospital.”

Kostick is reportedly a married father of two.

Pinot by Post: House Committee Approves Direct Wine Shipments

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Shutterstock

The House Liquor Control Committee on Wednesday approved a bill to let wineries ship their product directly to the homes of oenophile Pennsylvanians.

PennLive reports:

House Bill 189 would allow wineries that obtain a special license from the state Liquor Control Board to ship any type of wine in any quantity to state residents. The winery would then have to collect the states’ 6 percent sales tax and 18 percent liquor tax on any shipments.

Under current law, out-of-state retailers can ship up to 9 liters of wine per month per resident. That provision, however, excludes wine already available at state liquor stores.

The bill goes to the full House for a vote. Gov. Wolf has signaled he might support such a bill if it gets approval from both houses.

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