Half of City Council Just Got Cybersquatted

The 5th Square's website.

The 5th Square’s website.

Go to MarkSquilla.com, and you won’t find a word about the South Philadelphia Councilman bearing its name. JannieBlackwell.com, too, has nary a sentence about the longtime Councilwoman representing parts of West Philadelphia.

Instead, both websites redirect visitors to 5thSq.com — the site of a new urbanist PAC known as “The 5th Square.”

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Will District Slap Anti-Testing Teachers?

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Teachers at a Philadelphia school say they face discipline from the school district for helping parents opt their children out of standardized tests.

Kelley Collings, a teacher at Feltonville School of Arts & Sciences, said Monday she is one of a half-dozen teachers called to an “investigatory conference” on the matter, scheduled for Thursday. Collings is also on the steering committee of the Caucus of Working Educators, which helped organize the effort to help students and their families opt out of the tests.

The nature of the accusation against the teachers is unclear, Collings said, but she said the district is attempting to “instill fear” in educators who resist the testing regime. “I’ve never been written up, and I’ve been doing this 15 years,” she said.

Officials at the Philadelphia School District did not respond to inquiries on the topic.

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Greenlee: Paid Sick Leave Will Become Law With or Without Mayor

Bill Greenlee, photo City Council Flickr | Michael Nutter, photo Jeff Fusco

Bill Greenlee, photo City Council Flickr | Michael Nutter, photo Jeff Fusco

City Councilman Bill Greenlee says his bill requiring Philadelphia businesses to provide paid sick leave to their employees is going to become law, with or without Mayor Nutter.

Greenlee says, if necessary, he has lined up the minimum of 12 votes on Council needed to override a veto by Nutter.

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State Examiner: City Can’t Just Change DROP

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Two initial decisions by a state hearing examiner have found that the city of Philadelphia violated the law when it made changes to the Deferred Retirement Option Plan three years ago.

Overriding a veto by Mayor Nutter, City Council voted unanimously in 2011 to reduce the cost of the retirement program by tweaking its eligibility requirements and changing the way the interest rate is calculated on workers’ DROP accounts. Nutter vetoed the legislation only because he didn’t think it went far enough: He wanted to nix DROP altogether.

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How to Improve City Council

"And please, god, let me be re-elected.. Amen." Photo Credit: City Council Flickr page.

“And please, god, let me be re-elected. Amen.” Photo Credit: City Council Flickr page.

Philadelphia’s City Council is about as popular as I was in high school.

The legislative body’s approval rating stands at a sad 30 percent, according to Pew’s most recent survey. And that poll was conducted months before the local news media ripped City Council day after day for killing Mayor Nutter’s proposal to sell Philadelphia Gas Works behind closed doors. (You know you’ve screwed up when Dave Davies, perhaps the most measured reporter in town, calls you “cowardly.”)

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Q&A: Marian Tasco Explains Why She’s Quitting Council

Marian Tasco | City Council Flickr Page Read more at http://www.phillymag.com/news/2015/01/13/marian-tasco-retiring-council-darrell-clarke-statement/#c5SFdluhl6uj7R4V.99

Marian Tasco | City Council Flickr Page 

A day after Council President Darrell Clarke announced that he won’t be running for mayor, veteran Councilwoman Marian Tasco came out with the huge news that she won’t be seeking reelection this May. Tasco is endorsing Democratic State Rep. Cherelle Parker, who was formerly her top aide in Council, to replace her.

We talked to Tasco Tuesday afternoon about her long career, why she’s endorsing Parker, and whether her announcement had a little something to do with Clarke’s.

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Marian Tasco to Retire From Council

[UPDATE, 11:40 a.m.] City Council President Darrell L. Clarke on Tuesday issued the following statement on 9th District Councilwoman Marian Tasco’s announcement that she will not seek reelection this year:

“Councilwoman Tasco’s fierce advocacy for the most vulnerable Philadelphians has shaped her long and admirable career in public service. She is a spirited ally and friend who will be greatly missed. I am thankful to have known and worked with her.

“Marian Tasco is a terrific mentor to women in an arena that has a long way to go toward full inclusion. Councilwoman Tasco has also been so generous to her offer support and guidance throughout my own career in public service. Those who’ve landed on her bad side, such as predatory lenders and payday loan operators, have learned firsthand that she is a formidable advocate. She also has used her strong knowledge of government to help shape the annual budget process.

“It is selfish to be sad at this time, so instead I enthusiastically congratulate Councilwoman Tasco on a well-deserved retirement.”

[ORIGINAL, 8:45 a.m.] Longtime City Councilwoman Marian Tasco is not seeking reelection in the May 19th primary, according to a press release from State Rep. Cherelle Parker’s campaign.

Tasco, a Democrat, represents the 9th Council District in Northwest and Northeast Philadelphia. She is currently serving her seventh term on City Council.

Tasco could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Paul Steinke, Former Reading Terminal Manager, Will Announce City Council Bid

Paul Steinke (right) at Reading Terminal Market. Photo | Facebook

Paul Steinke (right) at Reading Terminal Market. Photo | Facebook

The Philadelphia City Council at-large race is starting to get crowded. Democrat Paul Steinke, who stepped down from his position as general manager of the Reading Terminal Market last month, will officially announce Tuesday that he’s running for an at-large seat in the May 19th primary.

His announcement is taking place at the Field House, a sports bar across from — where else? — Reading Terminal. More from the Steinke campaign’s announcement:

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Will State Bigfoot Philly on Paid Sick Leave?

Illustration courtesy of Shutterstock.

Illustration courtesy of Shutterstock.

The debate over mandatory paid sick leave in Philadelphia has been a lively one. Traditional liberals, which includes most of City Council, support paid sick leave. More business friendly Democrats, such as Mayor Nutter, oppose it. Council has twice passed paid sick leave bills, and Nutter has twice vetoed them.

But just when it looked like Nutter and Council were getting close to a compromise on sick leave, two state senators have announced that they plan on introducing a bill that would strip all municipalities from enacting sick leave ordinances. It’s not a coincidence. The bill is explicitly aimed at Philadelphia. The sponsors are Republican Senator John Eichelberger and Democratic Senator Lisa Boscola.

They write: Read more »

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