Garces to Operate Rosa Blanca Cafe at New Dilworth Park

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A rendering of the forthcoming Rosa Blanca cafe.

Philadelphia super-chef Jose Garces will operate a new Rosa Blanca Cafe on the north end of the renovated Dilworth Park when that spot — on the west side of City Hall — re-opens next month.

Garces was on hand for a press conference Tuesday morning describing the renovations. He said the cafe will offer “Cuban-inspired” cuisine and be open in time for the breakfast crowd.

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Dilworth Plaza to Reopen With 3 Days of Celebrations, Jose Garces

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An artist’s rendering of the Dilworth Park lawn.

The newly renovated and re-christened Dilworth Park will re-open September 4th with three days of celebrations to inaugurate the $55 million makeover of the once-drab space on the west side of City Hall.

Paul Levy, director of the Center City District, described the renovations during a Tuesday morning press conference across the street from the plaza. The aim, he said, was to create a “link space” that connects the Avenue of the Arts on the south to the remodeled Pennsylvania Convention Center on the east to Temple University to the north to University City on the west — in other words, to make Dilworth the city center, both from a transit perspective and “life of the city” perspective.

Levy said Center City officials have been in talks with City Hall about renaming the property from “Dilworth Plaza” to “Dilworth Park.”

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New Police Contract Creates $70 Million Budget Hole

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One thing about the big raise an arbitrator granted to Philly Police last week: City Hall hadn’t really budgeted for it.

The raise — officers get hikes of at least three percent each of the three years of the contract — will cost $70 million. Now Mayor Michael Nutter must find money for that extra expense in his five-year budget. He says he’ll try to avoid cuts in other services while doing so.

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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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