Philly Police Get a Raise, and a Rebuke

Philadelphia’s police officers are getting a raise for the next three years — but they’re also getting a rebuke for the “unprecedented wave” of corruption cases against officers in recent years.

Mayor Michael Nutter, Commissioner Charles Ramsey and FOP President Tom McNesby made the announcement at an 11 a.m. news conference.

And the city got a big concession in its contract with the union: It will now be able to transfer members out of the department’s narcotics unit who have served in that unit for at least five years. Commissioner Ramsey had previously sought that power, saying that “bad habits” had spurred some recent high-profile cases of corruption.

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9 Cities Mayor Nutter Should Be Visiting

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During the past few years years Mayor Nutter has taken over six international trips including visits to China, England, Israel, Italy, and now this past week … Paris.  Last week’s trip, according to this report, was “meant to attract new business to the city and promote Philadelphia as a cycling mecca and tourist destination.

Let’s turn the tables. Suppose the mayor of Paris visited Philadelphia to promote his city. Would that persuade you to go? Or would your decision to visit be because Paris is just Paris — a great, vibrant capital of art, food and commerce in Europe. Do you visit a city just because the mayor asks you to? Does a business move to a city for the same reason? When you think of a mayor, any mayor, do you think of him (or her) as a salesperson? A world traveler? An ambassador of the city? I don’t. It’s nice to have a mayor that we’re all proud of. And I’m proud of Mayor Nutter. He’s professional, honest and capable. He reflects our city well.

I don’t mind our mayor visiting other cities. But unfortunately, he’s visiting the wrong places. And he has the wrong agenda.

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264 Charged With Marijuana Possession Since City Council Voted to Decriminalize

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On June 19th, Philadelphia City Council voted to decriminalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, passing a bill introduced by Councilman Jim Kenney. But Mayor Michael Nutter opposes the bill, and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has said that he will continue to make marijuana arrests, even if the bill is signed into law. In the month following the bill’s passing, 264 citizens were charged with the crime.

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Philly, You’re No Houston

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Why is Houston doing so well? In an interesting Wall Street Journal piece earlier this week, two urban planning experts say that Houston’s “pro-growth policies have produced an urban powerhouse — and a blueprint for metropolitan revival.” The writers say:

[T]he city’s low cost of living and high rate of job growth have made Houston and its surrounding metro region attractive to young families. According to Pitney Bowes, Houston will enjoy the highest growth in new households of any major city between 2014 and 2017. A recent U.S. Council of Mayors study predicted that the American urban order will become increasingly Texan, with Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth both growing larger than Chicago by 2050.

But really? Is Houston that good? Better than Philly? For the most part, no. But for one big part: yes.

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City Council Study of PGW Sale to Cost Nearly $100K More Than Expected

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

On the eve of a deadline that would allow Connecticut-based UIL Holdingsto back out of an agreement to purchase PGW for $1.86 billion, the Inquirer reports that the studies commissioned by City Council to evaluate the deal will end up costing $522,750. That’s nearly $100,000 more than the $425,000 Council had previously announced it was going to be paying Concentric Energy Advisors. The reason? Council modified its original RFP:

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Is Michael Nutter Too Honest?

Philadelphia Schools

Over at Politico as part of the magazine’s “What Works” series on innovative ideas and urban reinvention, WHYY’s Holly Otterbein takes a look back at the Michael Nutter-mania that swept Philadelphia back in 2007 and wonders, as we prepare to select our next mayor, if it’s possible for a Philadelphia government to be “honest and effective”:
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A Hollow Victory for Philly Schools

Dave Davies nailed it, as he so often does, when he described last week’s surprise deal enabling Philadelphia to tax cigarettes and send the proceeds to the schools as simultaneously “awful” and a “stunning, come-from-behind legislative win.”

The $2-a-pack cigarette tax looked dead right up until Wednesday night, when a surprise amendment offered by State Rep. John Taylor-the lone Republican in Philadelphia’s 34-strong delegation to Harrisburg-won enough support for the initiative to enable it to pass the tax-averse House. 119-90

Considering the alternative, there’s little doubt that this was a win for the city (and a reminder that a 100-percent Democratic delegation is clearly not in the city’s best interest). Parents, students and educators owe Taylor, the rest of the delegation, Mayor Nutter and Council President Clarke (all of whom lobbied hard for this) their gratitude.

But let’s look at what was won.

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Kenyatta Johnson Consultant Asks Staphmeal Blogger to Start Anonymous Anti-Ori Feibush Site

Joshua Scott Albert (left); Micah Mahjoubian

Joshua Scott Albert (left); Micah Mahjoubian

Micah Mahjoubian is one of the most connected players in Philadelphia politics. He had a high-ranking job in John Street’s administration for eight years. He was senior adviser for Johnny Doc’s ill-fated run for State Senate. He was recently elected to be a member of the Democratic State Committee in the 1st Senatorial District, an office he holds today. And he is on the board of the Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club. So what’s Mahjoubian doing consorting with ex-convict Joshua Scott Albert, the notorious creator of the blog Staphmeal, who is still on probation after spending 8 months in jail? Read more »

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