Philly Fireman Taking Heat for Charlottesville Post

fireman, charlottesville

FaceMePLS | Wikimedia Commons

The Philadelphia Fire Department and Mayor Jim Kenney have spoken out against what they called a “reprehensible” photo posted by a Philly fireman after the Charlottesville rally.

The fireman, John Deluisi, shared on Facebook a photo of himself holding a burning tiki torch and wearing a hat with a Confederate flag on it. The caption read “Headed to VA,” where dozens were injured and one woman was killed this past weekend as a result of violence spurred by a gathering of white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

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Mayor Kenney’s Waste Reduction Goals Are … Interesting

Photo illustration by Joe Trinacria.

This week, under the executive order of Mayor Kenney, the city’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet unveiled its plan to help reach the mayor’s extremely lofty goal to help Philadelphia emit zero waste by 2035.

Get this – the city disposes nearly one ton of waste for each of the roughly 1.5 million people living here annually. That garbage is, of course, taken from our curbsides to landfills and incinerators for disposal. But with these spaces filling up and the growing concern that incineration is more harmful to the environment than it’s worth, the mayor has proposed that Philadelphia eliminate both methods for remediation. Read more »

City Announces Two New Community Schools

Jim Kenney

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Samuel Gompers Elementary in Overbrook and the Northeast’s George Washington High School are the latest additions to Mayor Kenney’s ongoing community school initiative, city officials announced on Wednesday. Read more »

OPINION: Philly’s Soda Tax Is Shaping Up to Be an Epic Flop

It’s been six months since the city’s soda tax (or, more accurately, the sugary beverage tax) was implemented — and it’s off to a rocky start.

The city is currently $20 million short of its projected $46 million goal to close out the 2017 fiscal year, and based on the most available month’s numbers, it doesn’t appear as though they will reach it.

But I’m not surprised by any of this. By the time last June when Mayor Kenney pulled a fast one on City Council to strike the deal, I had already warned about the consequences in lower-income communities.

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Meet Mayor Kenney’s Secret Girlfriend

Left: Mayor Jim Kenney and girlfriend Letty Santarelli board an IcelandAir jet in Philadelphia. Right: Santarelli waits at the airport.

Mayor Jim Kenney is doing all right for himself. Not only did he get to take a free trip to Iceland last week as part of IcelandAir’s new nonstop service to the island country, but he got to do so in the company of his secret girlfriend, Letitia “Letty” Santarelli. Read more »

Does the Chamber of Commerce Have Standing to Challenge Philadelphia’s Wage Equity Law?

City Hall | Photo by David Gambacorta

Philadelphia’s freshly minted wage equity law was supposed take effect next Tuesday, but the city voluntarily put the brakes on the law pending the resolution of a lawsuit against it. The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce seeks a preliminary injunction against the law and the first order of business in court has been to determine whether the Chamber even has standing to challenge the law.

In a brief submitted at the beginning of the month to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the city argued that the Chamber lacks standing mainly because it has failed to reveal exactly which of its members will be affected by the law and how.

“Facts about those alleged members, including their names, practices, and any harms they have suffered, remain a mystery as the Chamber has studiously avoided identifying any individual member that will be harmed,” counsel for the city wrote. The brief also urges the court to question the Chamber about these individual members before looking into the claim that the law impedes employers’ free speech. (We’ve also questioned which Chamber members claim the law will harm them.)  Read more »

Here Are Kenney’s Pointers for the Biz Community

Mayor Kenney at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce's 34th annual mayoral lunch. | Photo via Twitter.

Mayor Kenney at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s 34th annual mayoral lunch. | Photo via Twitter.

At the Chamber’s 34th annual mayoral luncheon on Thursday, where hundreds of the region’s businesses were represented, Mayor Kenney made some promises to the business community and outlined a roadmap for growing Philadelphia’s economy.

For one, he told the business community that he wouldn’t raise or create new taxes in 2017, according to the Inquirer. The Chamber supported Kenney’s controversial soda tax last year to expand pre-K for three and four year olds and improve public spaces.

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OPINION: The Gayborhood’s Trump-Triggered Activism Is Hypocritical

new jersey pride

As news broke that President Trump might actually encourage discriminatory anti-LGBTQ policies in an upcoming executive order, Gayborhood leaders have been especially proactive in mobilizing the community for immediate action.

Last week, the community and its allies threw a “Queer Rager” that brought a crowd of 1,000 out to protest Trump’s visit to Philly. This past Sunday, Philadelphia Gay News founder/publisher Mark Segal moderated a private, predominantly white meet-and-greet with Senator Cory Booker on how the community can unite surrounding LGBTQ discrimination. Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club is now putting together a “March Against Discrimination” that diverse organizations across the city have signed on to co-sponsor. This newfound sense of activism has even gotten some thinking that we should skip Philly Pride this year and head to D.C. for a national LGBT march that’s happening on the same day (June 11th).

But as I notice all of this emerging enthusiasm for social justice, I ask myself: Where were all of these white community leaders and activists during the fight against Gayborhood racial discrimination?

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