Author: Gerry Senker

Breaking: Rescue Crews Working Feverishly at 22nd and Market

CNN, MSNBC, and FoxNews are all providing live coverage. News helicopters have been asked to stay away from the scene, to avoid unnecessary vibrations. Twelve people have been taken to local hospitals. No major injuries, so far. Update 2:29 PM NBC10 Reports One Dead, One Person Still Trapped

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Philly Officials Will Not Crack Down on Airbnb Rental Hosts

airbnb rental

Here's an Airbnb rental advertised for the Golf Open at $850 per night.

Airbnb.com is a hot, Silicon Valley-based company that’s enjoyed phenomenal growth with a very simple business model: It acts as a market maker for short-term vacation rentals. The company has been in the news lately because an administrative law judge in New York City smacked an Airbnb host, as they’re called, with a $2,400 fine for allegedly running an “illegal hotel.”

Nigel Warren used the Airbnb website as his promotional tool and logistical facilitator to rent out one of the two bedrooms in his East Village apartment. The rental was for three nights at $100 per night, and his roommate was there for all three nights.

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Oh, Rats!

ratAdmit it, you were morbidly fascinated by the story of the rat infestation at Green Eggs. And of course you clicked on that disgusting YouTube link.

But rats aren’t just in one restaurant, they’re all over the city. And readers have been asking: How do they get into a restaurant? How will the restaurant get rid of them once they’re in? And where do they live otherwise?

We talked to John DiDomenico from A.Amendt Pest Control. With 25 years experience as an exterminator, he knows his rats. DiDomenico said the broken sewer pipe explanation that Green Eggs gave was plausible, but rats have other ways of getting into homes and commercial establishments–including “climbing out of toilets.”

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Alleged: Butkovitz Spent Taxpayers’ Money to Score Political Points

Butkovitz-MandellOn Wednesday, City Controller Alan Butkovitz’s office released a study that concluded “the actual value initiative (AVI) did not improve accuracy, uniformity and fairness.” The full study (a real page-turner), which cost the taxpayers $27,000 (according to Philly.com), was done by Carnegie-Mellon Economics Professor Robert Strauss. It is 47 pages long and has lots of colored graphs and charts.

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New York Gets an Authentic Philadelphia Hoagie Shop

DaveBagan1LR

Last week a brand new eatery called Dave’s Hoagies opened in New York’s financial district (aka FiDi). Dave’s is not a steak shop, and it’s not a deli that makes all kinds of sandwiches. At Dave’s Hoagies the only kind of sandwiches they make are…oh, you must be psychic. They also offer a limited selection of the world’s finest pastries, sometimes known as Tastykakes.

South Jersey (Bridgeton) native Dave Bagan first lived in New York when he was attending Brooklyn Law School. He was a practicing attorney for a few years after graduating, and then spent 11 years as a trader, most recently on the floor at Deutsche Bank on Wall Street, about a two-minute walk from where Bagan opened his shop.

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New Website Is a “Rate My Professors” for Off-Campus Landlords

Ofo Ezeugwu, Founder/Publisher of whoseyourlandlord.com

Ofo Ezeugwu, Founder/Publisher of whoseyourlandlord.com

You wouldn’t expect a college kid to be quoting from Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider), but Temple University senior Ofo Ezeugwu knows the language of this law as well or better than the lyrics to his favorite songs.

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Hearings: Goldenberg Ready for Takeoff; Blatstein Understands Urbanity

Rendering of Market8

Rendering of Market8

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board held its second day of hearings at the Convention Center yesterday. During one of the breaks I had a chance to talk with Ken Goldenberg, founder and president of the Goldenberg Group, a leader of Market8, one of the six groups pitching the board to win the right to develop Philadelphia’s second casino. Goldenberg, a Harvard Law, Wharton and Germantown Academy graduate, argues that “the city’s future and fortune rise and fall with the success of Market East.”

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City’s Chief Assessor Disappointed By Quality of AVI Appeals

This is where all the AVI action goes down: the Curtis Center. Photo: Bruce Andersen via Wikimedia

This is where all the AVI action goes down: the Curtis Center. Photo: Bruce Andersen via Wikimedia

Let’s start with the bad news about Philadelphia’s never-ending property assessment saga: Richie McKeithen, the city’s chief assessor, says that out of the approximately 31,000 appeals the city’s received, “a huge number” will not result in reduced assessments for those who filed.

Now the good news: Only 31,000–according to McKeithen–filed, which means the other 548,000 city property owners did not ask to have their new assessments reviewed.

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