Did you know Philly311 has its own talk show? We didn’t either!
Have you seen the Philly311 Show? Get an inside look at City government at work. Check out Season 1 at… http://t.co/755Ou7DHmp
— Philly311 (@philly311) March 31, 2014
We’re not sure we’ve often seen a story reported in such close detail as the Inquirer’s series of stories about the sting operation that targeted Philly Democrats with under-the-table cash payments, along with Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s decision not to prosecute any cases resulting from that operation. While the framework has stayed the same, each story — drawn from case summaries and interviews — has added a new layer of detail.
Still, we have questions, some of them prompted by the political aftermath, some by the reporting itself.
Here’s a question for buyers wanting to privatize Philadelphia Gas Works: How quickly would you modernize the city’s aging, leaky miles of gas mains?
You probably thought that there wouldn’t be any major election shenanigans in Philadelphia until 2015, when we’ll be deciding who gets the delightful job of running the city. But no such luck.
May 20th is the date of Pennsylvania’s primary elections, and scores of legal challenges have been filed against nominating petitions for both statewide and local seats.
Jay Paterno’s petition to get on the ballot for Lieutenant Governor is being challenged. And so is Babette Joseph’s petition to run against State Rep. Brian Sims, who unseated her in 2012. Prominent blogger Atrios (aka Duncan Black) charges that he didn’t sign Joseph’s petition, on which his name appears.
And in Philadelphia proper, there have been 396 legal challenges filed against potential candidates for City Committee. Now, if you’re not exactly sure what a Committee Person does in Philadelphia, you’re not alone.
Quick question: What’s government for, anyway?
There are lots of answers to that question, of course, but for the sake of argument, let’s boil it down to two possible answers in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania:
• Government’s job is to provide certain services to the public, a byproduct of which is also providing jobs to a number of people.
• Government’s job is to provide jobs to a number of people, a byproduct of which is also providing services to the public.
In the real world, the answer is probably a little bit of both — conservative fantasies of bare bones governance notwithstanding. The problem around here is that we’ve drifted a little too close to the second answer being the right one.
The Inquirer‘s Andrew Maykuth notes today UIL Holdings’ plan has some concerned:
“We do need to implement some higher rates at some point, and that would be in the 2018 time frame,” James P. Torgerson, UIL Holdings’ chief executive, told analysts March 3, the day his company announced the purchase agreement. [...]
“The first thing on the agenda with this employer is trying to cut health care, trying to cut pensions, and trying to cut jobs,” said James F. Runckel, the attorney for the 1,140-member gas workers’ union.
Matt Wolfe, a Philadelphia attorney and Republican, on Thursday announced his candidacy for the City Council seat recently vacated by Bill Green. He has almost no chance of winning the May 20 election: In a town where Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans, Dem candidate Ed Neilson would have a hard time losing.
That doesn’t deter Wolfe, who wants to “shake up “ City Hall on issues ranging from taxes to city services to the relationship between the city and Harrisburg. After his announcement, he spoke to Philly Mag about his candidacy this week. Some excerpts:
Mayor Michael Nutter’s proposal to sell the city-owned Philadelphia Gas Works to a Connecticut utility holding company for nearly $1.9 billion goes before a skeptical City Council for review in the next few weeks. And while some of that skepticism arises from Council’s frosty relationship with the mayor, some of it also has a legitimate policy basis.