Montco Township Facing $3.2 Million Deficit

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Franconia Township, in Montgomery County near the border with Bucks, recently told its residents it had racked up $3.2 million in budget deficits since 2011. The township has around 13,000 residents.

The Inquirer reports on a raucous — well, raucous for a suburban supervisors meeting in a township of 13,000 — meeting held earlier this month where township supervisors voted to lay off a third of its employees (including six cops, though two were part-time) and raise taxes 19 percent.

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Delaware Casino Bailout Stinks

 

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Something stinks in Delaware and it’s not just the horseshoe crabs decaying on the beaches of the Delaware Bay.

It is the bailout of the state’s three casinos, which may be the worst deal in the history of bad state government deals.  And that is really saying something considering New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave Revel casino in Atlantic City $300 million last year, and this year Revel is declaring bankruptcy.

The Delaware deal stinks even more than that one.  Let’s go through the reasons why.

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It’s One Year After Edward Snowden and Philly’s All Too Happy Living in a Surveillance State

Photo | Shutterstock.com

Photo | Shutterstock.com

Philly, it’s about time you exercised your rights and told government enough was enough.  Instead of actually solving the schools crisis, your government seems more obsessed with spying on you and telling you what you can put in  (or who you can pay to fuck) your bodies.

And, you’re perfectly OK with this. After all, who needs actual civil liberties when you’ve got Judge Judy educating your children on the television?

Then again, I can’t blame you:  This is the cradle of American identity so we might as well behave like the average American, right? (The average fat, wheezy, ignorant American is more concerned with waddling down to Walmart for another fix of sugary dope than safeguarding his constitutional rights).

This month marks the one year anniversary of the hubbub surrounding the National Security Agency and its former employee, and amateur twink model, Edward Snowden. Last year, Snowden shocked the world by disseminating evidence of NSA overreaches, arguably some of the most intrusive in America’s history.  He obtained this evidence while working there.  Upon learning that the federal government was spying on U.S. citizens domestically, a big no-no, we all clutched our pearls and made very loud noises indeed.

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Sam Katz Is Right: It’s Time for Philly to Get Creative and Privatize

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Sam Katz is right.

In a recent Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece, he urged “creative solutions” to the city’s funding crises. Among his recommendations were the passing of an additional sales tax and completing the sale of the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) so that the proceeds could be used to partially fund the city’s pension liabilities and school district budget gaps. “In approving the sale of PGW and dedicating the first $120 million of the sales tax to our schools, the city can tackle both problems and send a powerful message to the skeptical state leaders that Philadelphia is innovatively addressing challenges with smart policy choices,” he wrote.

By why stop there? Katz, a former mayoral candidate and a business man, is only proposing what any other rational business person would do when faced with too much debt and not enough cash flow: Sell assets and pay down liabilities. He wants the city to be more creative, more innovative. And he’s on to something.

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Candy Factory Owner: Mayor Nutter Ruins Easter for Philadelphia’s Children

The City of Philadelphia shut down Blasius Chocolate Factory on Wednesday over a tax dispute. The 88-year-old candy company’s owner, Philip Kerwick, says he has a $12,000 delinquent tax bill.

Blasius is a popular place to buy Easter candy. “These last four days make or break me,” Kerwick told Action News. “I don’t think I will be able to survive this year.” Last year, Kerwick said Easter candy made up half of his sales. The shop is only open from late November to Mother’s Day.

Kerwick is disputing the tax bill, and says city officials didn’t appear at a hearing to negotiate a payment. He’s (quite understandably) angry. And he ranted on the Chris Stigall show on 1210 this morning.

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City Council Has an Ethics Committee! (But It Never, Ever Meets)

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Philadelphia is one of the most corrupt major cities this side of Lagos. From the ABSCAM convictions in 1981 to Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown’s 2013 admission that she broke campaign finance law, we’ve had nine lawbreakers on City Council over a 32-year period. If you’re not particularly good at math, know that this averages out to more than one lawbreaker for every four-year Council term. Read more »

Did Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown Really Think She Could Get Away With This?

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Earlier this week, local blogger Christopher Sawyer published a solicitation letter from Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, in which she clearly attempts to drum up business for 900 WURD-AM, a for-profit radio station in Philadelphia. In the letter, Councilwoman Brown directly asks people to buy ad time on the station. And Sawyer wonders, “Is it OK to solicit biz for a company from your office using city time/staff/materials?” Read more »

Five Reasons Ending Philadelphia’s “Resign to Run” Law Would Be Bad for the City

City Hall

Photo | Jeff Fusco

We gave politicians the right to be corrupt. We did it when we gave them the power to pass legislation that benefits no one but themselves. It is a power they flaunt and abuse regularly when they give themselves pay raises, manipulate campaign laws and grant themselves immunity from insider trading laws.

Philadelphia is especially adept at abusing its ability to pass laws that benefit the members. The Council sets its own budget, giving the members cars, expenses, cell phones and staff with no hearings or oversight. And, of course, there is the DROP boondoggle that allowed council members to dip into the city’s pension fund without retiring.

Now Council is about to abuse its power by changing the rules again.

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Can Someone Help James Dupree?
And Let’s Fix Eminent Domain
While We’re at It.

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Would someone please help James Dupree already?

For weeks I’ve been following his story.  Hopefully you know it by now.  In case you don’t, he’s the artist who owns a building in West Philly and he’s being forced out, under the city’s “eminent domain” rules in order to make way for a grocery store.  Apparently, the neighborhood really needs a grocery store.  So much so that the city is compelled to make him an offer he can’t refuse:  Sell his property at a much-lower-than-market price or watch his building be bulldozed.  Nice.  Dupree is fighting the city.  He’s enlisted some major people in the art world to back him up too.

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As Promised, Welcome to Chris Christie Scandal No. 3

AP Photo | Julio Cortez

AP Photo | Julio Cortez

Don’t you hate when people say “I hate to say I told you so” — when you know at that moment there is nothing they relish more than saying those words? I am at that moment right now. I won’t lie. I love telling you I told you so. As promised in my post last week, the third in the continuing series of Chris Christie scandals is here.

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