Philly.com reports: “City Council’s committee on law and government favorably passed a bill that would end mandatory custodial arrests for the crime of possessing a small amount of marijuana. … Sponsored by Councilman Jim Kenney, the ordinance now goes before the full City Council Thursday for first reading.” Later this week, though, another council committee will consider sharply restricting the sale and use of e-cigarettes in Philadelphia.
One of the cruel things about gentrification is that it can be like wanting someone who doesn’t want you back. Those who face the impact of gentrification have an unrequited love with a neighborhood that changes right before their eyes, only to do tell them that things are different now.
It’s not you, it’s me.
The building uncertainty, insecurity, change and devastation involved in gentrification is like a real estate break up that leaves former partners, who once grew together, standing on opposite sides as the other moves on to become a bigger, better (and probably greener) pasture.
The Daily News reports: “City Council overrode a veto from Mayor Nutter yesterday that clears the way for an elected official to seek another public office without resigning from his existing one. … As it stands, anyone holding elected office in city government must resign before seeking a different office at the city, state or federal level. Council unanimously reversed the mayor’s veto and the decision now goes before the voters on the May 20 ballot.”
When I was a rookie reporter making the rounds in small-town Kansas, I returned to the newspaper offices one day and told an older reporter that the fine folks at the Fire Department had shared a cup of coffee with me. The older reporter was livid: “Never take a cup of coffee!” he ordered me.
We were journalists, he said, and journalists shouldn’t take so much as a packet of sugar from the people we covered—no reason ever to give the public the idea that we were compromised in the news we were giving them.
I still think that reporter was perhaps a bit extreme in his outlook—a cup of coffee was never going to buy me off—but I think the impulse was a good one. Serving the public interest (as journalists believe they do) means holding oneself to a higher standard.
Which means it’s a no-brainer to outlaw gifts to Philadelphia city employees.
Bill Green’s move to head the School Reform Commission means there is now officially an open seat on City Council. The Daily News reports that Council President Darrell Clarke “holds the power to call a special election for someone to finish the last year-and-a-half of Green’s four-year term.”
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.
Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke and City Councilman Bill Green are pushing a bill that would ban cash gifts to city employees and officials and cap the total value of gifts at $99 a year. City employees and officials and councilpeople can currently receive cash gifts, because of course they can. (In reality, the City Code is vague on the issue.)
As the Internet continues to grow and the economy continues to suck, more people are going to try to sell goods and services online for extra income. One such way to do that is to rent out your house short-term. This is the world we live in now. Fortunately, there is an easy way to do that: Airbnb. Owners can rent out their places or parts of their places for money; renters can get much cheaper rates than they would in a hotel. Wikipedia says listings on Airbnb “include private rooms, entire apartments, castles, boats, manors, tree houses, tipis, igloos, private islands.” Next big snowstorm, I’m renting an igloo.