City Council Votes to Halt Electric Vehicle Parking Program

via wellphoto/iStockphoto.com

wellphoto/iStockphoto.com

City Council voted 11-6 this morning to halt Philly’s electric vehicle parking program.

It’s a win for those rallying for more public parking spots in Philly, and bad news for EV car owners – especially those who have likely invested between $4,000 and $5,000 to apply for, secure and install parking spots that double as charging stations (because, you know, you have to plug in and charge EV cars).  Read more »

Philly Lawmakers Weren’t Up for Reelection in 2016, but They Raised $2M

City Council Entrance

Philadelphia City Council members aren’t up for reelection until 2019, but they raised almost $2 million combined last year, according a report by City & State.

Bobby Henon, a former political director for the city’s powerful electricians union, was the most successful fundraiser on Council in 2016. He brought in nearly $366,000, with roughly one-third of that cash coming from PACs connected to electricians union boss John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty and other labor groups. Hey, why let a little FBI raid slow you down? Read more »

I Love My Job: Lew Blum

Philly tow guy Lew Blum (center) with artist Marc Brodzik (left) and Philly performer Darren Finizio (right).

Philly tow guy Lew Blum (center) with artist Marc Brodzik (left) and Philly performer Darren Finizio (right).

Is Lew Blum the most hated man in Philadelphia? It’s possible. The 61-year-old owner of Lew Blum Towing is the public face of Philly tow-truck companies, the guy who gets the call when you park your Honda in front of a driveway you didn’t even realize was there. (Or at least you claimed you didn’t.)

Blum is a guy who likes to keep to himself, but he recently came out of the woodwork thanks to a new Philly “ticket to tow” law that he says puts the stranglehold on the towing industry. Business may not be good, but Blum says he still loves it. Read more »

State Bill Would Squash Philly’s New Wage Law

Kenney Senate

The fight against Philadelphia’s new wage law may be far from over, and this may come as no surprise to its Philadelphia backers. Comcast already threatened to sue the city over it and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce has condemned the law as a misguided assault on business.

And now, legislators in Harrisburg passed senate bill 241 on Wednesday that would serve to nullify the Philly law that bars employers from asking a job candidate what they’ve earned in the past.

The bill, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Tom McGarrigle of Delaware County, was first brought forward on January 31st. Sections of the bill make amendments to the state’s Equal Pay Law. One clause for example, prevents employers from retaliating against an employee who files a pay equity lawsuit in court. And another section basically says that employers can’t force workers to keep quiet about what they’re paid. The measures ostensibly foster equity—employees can’t face consequences if they take action in court and less secrecy around pay gives employer’s less of an opportunity to discriminate.

Read more »

Mayor Kenney to Sign Pay Equity Bill

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Mayor Kenney’s support for the pay equity bill hasn’t wavered over the last week. He’s expected to sign the bill into law on Monday, the Inquirer reports.

Kenney made it clear that he will not veto the bill, which will ban employers from asking job candidates what they earned in the past. And he’s made it clear that he’ll sign the bill in the face of opposition. Comcast threatened to lob a lawsuit at the city over First Amendment claims, and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce has argued that the bill would create a bureaucratic hassle for businesses that rely on wage history to make decisions about job candidates.

“We just wanted to make sure that all the legal aspects of it were tight before we signed it,” Kenney said. “We may get sued, we may not. But Council passed this measure by a unanimous vote, and I see no reason why I shouldn’t sign it.” Read more »

Philly’s Biggest Losers of 2016

Background image by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™

Background image by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™

Now that the last shreds of wrapping paper have been vacuumed up and the good dishes are finally put away, we revisit our time-honored tradition of taking a look back at the year and the losers, miscreants, and ne’er-do-wells it spawned. (For a more optimistic view of Philadelphia, consider Holly Otterbein‘s Biggest Winners of 2016.)

Ed Rendell

The once-lovable former champion of the everyman now spends his time being largely irrelevant and making facepalm-worthy comments in places like the Washington Post. But when you’re pulling in a cool $5,000 each month to do virtually nothing for a casino in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you probably don’t care. Read more »

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