The Brief: Dems Ditch Council Candidate with Crazy Facebook Page

Manny Morales Facebook Page

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It seems even Philadelphia’s Democratic City Committee has its limits.

Manny Morales, who is challenging 7th district City Council incumbent, Maria Quiñones Sánchez no longer has the blessing of party elders, who withdrew their support two days after Sánchez posted screen captures of some pretty out-there ravings on the Manny Morales Facebook page. Read more »

The Brief: Why Have City Dems Endorsed a Council Candidate Whose Facebook Page Compared Gay Men to Flatworms?

Maria Quinones-Sanchez | Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Maria Quinones-Sanchez. Not the tapeworm candidate. | Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

María Quiñones-Sánchez is one of the more consequential members of Philadelphia’s City Council. She was the driving force behind the new land bank. She’s gotten major small business-friendly tax reform legislation enacted. She just pushed through a charter amendment that, if approved by voters, would require all city departments and agencies to have plans in place to serve city residents who don’t speak English. And that’s to name just a few of her accomplishments. Read more »

Philly, These Three Questions Could Be on Your May Ballot

Philadelphia City Council  | Photo Credit: City Council's Flickr page

Philadelphia City Council | Photo Credit: City Council’s Flickr page

The Philadelphia City Council passed legislation this week that would put three questions on the ballot in the May 19th primary. These are the pesky little queries that you may or may not have heard a damn thing about in past years until the moment you stepped into the voting booth on Election Day.

Here are the questions Council approved this week in separate measures. They all seek to amend the city charter:

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Council Member Honors, Then Denounces, Palestinian Official

Maria Quinones-Sanchez

Maria Quinones-Sanchez

Council Member Maria Quinones-Sanchez has condemned a Palestinian official who allegedly supports terrorism — but only after honoring that official with a Citation of Honor and a replica of the Liberty Bell during a January ceremony in Philadelphia.

Laila Ghannam, Palestinian District Governor of Ramallah, reportedly “has publicly and repeatedly praised and glorified Palestinian Arab terrorists and murderers specifically for those acts of terrorism and murder, including suicide bombings, stabbing captives to death, building of explosives, and torturing not only Jews and other Israelis – including the Israeli athletes murdered at the Munich Olympics, as well as dozens of children – but Americans, including American diplomats,” The Jewish Press Reports.
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Half of City Council Just Got Cybersquatted

The 5th Square's website.

The 5th Square’s website.

Go to MarkSquilla.com, and you won’t find a word about the South Philadelphia Councilman bearing its name. JannieBlackwell.com, too, has nary a sentence about the longtime Councilwoman representing parts of West Philadelphia.

Instead, both websites redirect visitors to 5thSq.com — the site of a new urbanist PAC known as “The 5th Square.”

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What Philly Should Have Learned From Baltimore About Land Banks

maria-quinones-sanchez-head-Shot-400x400After two years of crafting a land bank bill that would streamline the messy, maddening process of buying land from the city, Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez’s legislative magnum opus finally passed a first-reading last week, but far less triumphantly than many would have liked. In the 11th hour, Sanchez capitulated to an amendment by Council President Darrell Clarke that would effectively retain the stifling councilmanic control over the sale of land. (The bill  has since been passed.)

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Philly FIGHT and City Councilwomen Announce HIV Clinic for Spanish-Speakers

Philly FIGHT Executive Director Jane Shull and councilwomen Maria Quinones-Sanchez and Marian Tasco announce a new HIV clinic at a City Hall press conference this morning.

Philly FIGHT Executive Director Jane Shull and councilwomen Maria Quinones-Sanchez and Marian Tasco announce a new HIV clinic at a City Hall press conference this morning.

In a forward-thinking move, Philly FIGHT and city councilwomen Maria Quinones-Sanchez and Marian Tasco announced at a press conference this morning the development of a brand-new HIV clinic that caters to Spanish-speaking Philadelphians.

The clinic will open Dec. 11 at the North Philadelphia Prevention Point space, located at 166 W. Lehigh Ave. It is the first of its kind in the city, and a testament to the growing Hispanic population in Philadelphia. Census data from 2010 demonstrates as much: Philly added 58,683 Hispanic residents in a 10-year period, an increase of 45.5 percent. As a region, it also has the second-largest Hispanic population in the Northeast.

Jane Shull, executive director of Philly FIGHT, says FIGHT applied for a Department of Health and Human Services Special Projects of National Significance grant in February, receiving a response two weeks ago that the department would fund the project. Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez has contributed as, Shull says, “a strong voice for services in the community” — the starring role of “rallying the troops,” so to speak. Read more »

Is the Current Land Bank Bill Strong Enough?

Landbank_FlowChart_final-1-page-002

The coalition of developers, Realtors and community development corporations pushing to create a city land bank praised the bill Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez is sponsoring for streamlining the city’s cumbersome process for getting vacant land into the hands of those who will redevelop it. But at a news conference today, they argued that the bill could speed things up even more and urged supporters to work for changes that would improve it.

The main purpose of the news conference called by the Philadelphia Land Bank Alliance (PLBA) was to spell out in detail just how cumbersome the process is and how both the current and improved bills would return vacant land to productive use faster.

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