Officials: “We Have the Tools” To Manage Ebola in Philly

Nurse Nina Pham, right, is assisted off of a plane to a waiting ambulance after arriving at Frederick Municipal Airport, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Frederick, Md. Pham, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, was diagnosed with the Ebola virus after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan before he died of the same virus.  Philadelphia City Council held a hearing Thursday to determine whether the city is ready for Ebola's arrival here.

Nurse Nina Pham, right, is assisted off of a plane to a waiting ambulance after arriving at Frederick Municipal Airport, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Frederick, Md. Pham, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, was diagnosed with the Ebola virus after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan before he died of the same virus. Philadelphia City Council held a hearing Thursday to determine whether the city is ready for Ebola’s arrival here. | Associated Press

City Council held a hearing Thursday to determine if Philly is ready to meet the challenge of Ebola appearing here. The answer? Yes. Maybe.

Mostly, there was confidence. But there was one caveat.

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This Is the Monster We Celebrate on Columbus Day

Sebastiano del Piombo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sebastiano del Piombo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A version of this story ran in 2012.

Imagine, if you will, that the man who murdered your entire family, raped your daughter, sister, and mother before killing them, tortured your son, brother, and father before killing them, and then robbed you of your home before moving in is celebrated with a party each year by his friends whom he had later brought in to take over your neighborhood. Well, that’s exactly the outlandishly evil shit that Columbus did and the outlandishly racist shit that his friends in Philly and America are doing. Read more »

Kenney Wants Council to Consider Approving Uber-Style Ride Sharing

Councilman Jim Kenney, reportedly thinking about a run for mayor, may be positioning himself as the city’s libertarian superhero.

Just weeks after his bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana got the approval of both the City Council and Mayor Nutter, Kenney has introduced a resolution calling for the Council to consider approving ride-sharing services like Uber, UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar for operation in Philadelphia.

State legislators are considering bills to legalize those services — and also considering whether Philadelphia, with its own extensive taxi service already operating, should be exempted from that authorization.
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Firm Says PGW Sale Poses Concerns

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

KYW Newsradio reports that a new report is raising concerns about the sale of Philadelphia Gas Works to UIL Holdings, a private Connecticut company.

The report from Concentric, a consultant to City Council on the sale, hasn’t been made public, but council members have been briefed on the contents. And it raises two main questions, council member Maria Quinones Sanchez says:

Among them: the possibility that UIL would turn around and resell either PGW’s Liquid Natural Gas facility, or resell the entire utility.

“The concern is — what is to stop a company from coming in, figuring out it can’t make a profit, flipping it or splitting it, Quinones Sanchez says, “and creating a situation where the city would be dealing with two potentially different entities?”

Also questioned by the consultant, according to Quinones Sanchez, is one key premise of the sale — that private owners would run a tighter ship, thus keeping rates down.

“The ability for a private company to be more profitable or efficient is not as clear cut as folks would like us to believe,” she says

Quinones Sanchez, however, said the report contains neither an explicit thumbs-up or thumbs-down on the deal. That will be up to council — and the state’s Public Utility Commission, which also holds power of approval. The sale of PGW is expected to net nearly $2 billion, from which proceeds would be used to shore up the city pension system.

Councilwoman Decries “Scare Tactics” in PGW Sale

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Councilwoman Marian Tasco is criticizing a new radio ad from UIL Holdings, the company that’s trying to buy Philadelphia Gas Works from the city.

The ad suggests that the “dangerously outdated” gas infrastructure of century-old cast-iron pipes is an “accident waiting to happen.” It’s a suggestion that has stirred Tasco’s ire.
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Philadelphia City Councilman Wants to Outlaw Realistic-Looking Toy Guns

Toy Gun

Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson has introduced legislation to ban toy guns. His bill, which he introduced at City Council on Thursday, comes after a man holding a toy gun was killed in an Ohio Walmart and a recent rally in Point Breeze that convinced a corner store to stop selling BB guns.

Johnson’s ban on toy guns would exempt ones that are “white, bright colored or entirely transparent,” according to the Inquirer, and would also allow historical replicas and props. Atlantic City recently passed a toy gun ban with similar exemptions. Johnson is also pushing legislation that would increase the penalty for selling a BB gun, which is already illegal in Philadelphia.

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