Panel Recommends L&I Be Split in Two

Photo by Bradley Maule from  June 5, 2013 collapse at 22nd and Market.

Photo by Bradley Maule from June 5, 2013 collapse at 22nd and Market.

The Inquirer reports this morning that a “blue-ribbon panel” is recommending that the Department of Licenses & Inspections be split into two agencies — one focused on construction, the other on the remaining licenses offered by the existing department.

The report comes a year after demolition on a neighboring building caused the deadly collapse of the Salvation Army thrift store at 22nd and Market streets.
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Law Firm Asks Court to Forgive Bob Brady’s $450,000 Debt

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

It seems a bit late to make a donation to Congressman Bob Brady‘s failed 2007 mayoral campaign — but not, perhaps, if you’re a well-heeled law firm.

The Legal Intelligencer reports today that the firm Cozen O’Connor is asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to let it forgive $450,000 owed by Brady from when the firm defended him from Tom Knox‘s challenge to his spot on the Democratic ballot that year. Stephen Cozen argued on behalf of his firm. (Earlier reports put the tab at $500,000.)
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In Praise of Mayor Nutter

Michael Nutter

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Mayor Nutter did a good thing this week.

Really. His decision to come to an accommodation with Councilman Jim Kenney on pot decriminalization will have widespread benefits in Philadelphia. It will save thousands of otherwise-law-abiding young men and women from an arrest record in their future. It might save some dough at the police department. And it’s probably good for his legacy: In 10 years, almost nobody will remember that he fought Kenney to nearly the last possible moment; they’ll just remember that he was the Philadelphia mayor who signed the decriminalization bill.

He even tweaked the bill in a way that improves it: By adding a $100 fine for smoking pot in public, Nutter moved to ensure that pot use will be a closed-doors activity rather than one for the street corners.  Nobody has to worry about young men smoking weed out in front of a grandmother’s stoop anymore.

Good job, Mayor Nutter! You’re going to get kudos and you deserve them!

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City Picking Up the Pace on Tax Collection

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

For the first time since Mayor Nutter took office, the City of Philadelphia made significant, measurable progress over the past 18 months in its long-running fight against the property tax delinquency epidemic.

The total debt owed the city and School District of Philadelphia in unpaid property taxes fell over the past year, edging down $10 million between April 2013 and April 2014, according to a Philadelphia magazine and PlanPhilly analysis of city tax data. The total number of property tax deadbeats declined as well, dipping about 1,400 over the same period.

To be sure, the gains are modest given the massive scale of property tax delinquency in Philadelphia; nearly 96,000 delinquent parcels and $512 million owed, figures that dwarf those in all other big cities except Detroit.

But it’s notable nonetheless that the city managed to stop — for a time at least — the spread of tax delinquency (the epidemic has grown quickly in most years of the Nutter administration), and more notable still that the city is now reducing the total amount owed.

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OK, So Not Everybody Hates Dilworth Park

dilworth-park-rendering-940x540

On Monday, we ran an article citing some objections to City Hall’s new Dilworth Park, most notably from Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron and Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky. We titled that article “Everybody Hates Dilworth Park.” And what we’ve learned since is that the new park has plenty of boosters and defenders. Below, a selection of reader responses.

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Everybody Hates Dilworth Park [UPDATED]

dilworth-park-panorama-940

UPDATE 9/9/2014: OK, OK. So not everybody hates Dilworth Park.

ORIGINAL:

Well, the redesign of City Hall’s Dilworth Plaza debuted last week as the $55 million Dilworth Park, with all of the political blowhard speeches, self-back patting and pompous fanfare that you’d imagine with such an event in Philadelphia. But make no mistake about it: Everybody hates Dilworth Park. Read more »

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