Connor Barwin’s Make the World Better Foundation‘s first major initiative in Philadelphia was dedicated yesterday afternoon in Point Breeze. The new Ralph Brooks Park at 20th and Tasker streets was a collaborative project with urban development non-profit Urban Roots, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Mural Arts and many more. The area now boasts a full-size basketball court, a state-of-the-art playground, a community garden that will produce fresh vegetables for the neighborhood, and a fresh new work from “Love Letters” muralist Steve Powers.
Ed Rendell slammed preparations for Pope Francis‘ visit Wednesday morning, saying the plan for a perimeter fence “boggles the mind.”
“The Pope went to Bolivia, Ecuador, and Paraguay and there was no fence,” Rendell said on Angelo Cataldi’s morning show on 94WIP. “It boggles the mind why we have to put up a fence in the United States of America.” Read more »
Mayor Nutter took over some op-ed space in the Philadelphia Daily News today to defend the planning for Pope Francis’ visit to the city next month.
Paul Nussbaum at the Inquirer had a good idea: ask big-time security experts what they think of the, uh, thorough, security and crowd control measures the city and its partners appear to be making for Pope Francis’s visit at the end of September.
Their thoughts, in a nutshell? This is overkill. By a lot. Drexel’s Scott White, a professor of homeland security and a former security official in Canada, scoffed to the Inquirer:
“What are we attempting to do here? Are we attempting to protect the pontiff, who already has – and always has – rings of security? Or are we attempting to protect one million or two million people?”
“We can’t protect 40 people in a cinema,” White said, referring to the spate of recent theater shootings. “How are we going to protect two million people?”
Edward Davis, the former Boston police commissioner, told the paper “it’s virtually impossible to set up a police perimeter around a crowd that large.” And Henry Willis, a security expert at RAND, told the Inquirer: “You have to do security in a way that doesn’t ruin the primary purpose of the event. You want to try to not disrupt the city too much.” Read more »
On Monday, Mayor Nutter faulted “little people with little pieces of information” for more or less inciting Pope panic in Philadelphia over the weekend.
On Tuesday, in a phone interview with Citified, Everett Gillison, Nutter’s chief of staff and point man on the Pope visit, said one of the big problems is that people are getting too much information. “It’s just the opposite,” Gillison said when asked if the lack of logistical details about the Pope’s visit was undermining public confidence. “They’re getting literally too much, too early, and that’s what’s causing all the angst. They’re getting inundated with what could or could not be …”
So that’s the official line: If anything, the city has been too forthcoming, and the real problem here is an over-competitive press and the uncharacteristic emergence of a mile-wide twitchy streak in too many Philadelphians. Relax, the city says, we got this.
Unofficially, the story is a little more complicated. Nutter administration sources in a number of departments tell Citified that the city very much wants to release more information and to firm up logistical plans sooner, but is being prevented from doing so by the Secret Service, the World Meeting of Families and Vatican security officials. The sources say that this dynamic — which effectively prevents the city from communicating openly with its own citizens — is extremely frustrating, particularly given the growing public clamor for information. Read more »
This afternoon, Mayor Nutter announced the launch of Playstreet Book Club, a pilot program that aims to keep children from low-income families reading while they’re out of school for summer.
“We know that children, particularly low-income children, can lose up to two months of reading skills during the summer, putting them behind before the new school year begins,” Mayor Nutter says in a press release. “By providing children with free books to read during the summer, we hope to instill a lifelong love of reading, help them to build their own libraries at home and give them the skills they to be successful in the classroom. … We know that children need access to nutritious meals, enriching activities and supportive adults all year long in order to reach their full potential. The Playstreet Book Club connects children to all three of these elements at one location during the summer months.”
Perry Betts, Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, John Speiser and Michael Spicer were all exonerated of federal corruption charges earlier this year. (A sixth exonerated defendant in the case, Linwood Norman, is not party to the suit.) They’re joined by their former supervisor, Robert G. Otto. The suit was reported Monday afternoon by BigTrial.net.
The lawsuit had originally been filed in a state court, then transferred to federal jurisdiction. An amended complaint (see below) was filed late last week. The suit stems from a 2012 letter from Williams to Ramsey, saying he wouldn’t accept drug cases — or warrants for affidavits — that required the testimony of those officers.
“There was no legitimate or reasonable or colorable basis whatsoever for D.A. Williams’ letter; to the contrary, the letter was written in bad faith and recklessly,” attorney Christopher Mannix wrote for the officers. Read more »
Mayor Nutter got into a brief physical confrontation with a homeless man Monday outside the Municipal Services Building across from City Hall — and the incident was recorded on cell phone video by an observer.
The video, obtained and aired by 6ABC, shows a man identified as George Creamer walking in the vicinity of the mayor and some staff members. A member of the mayor’s police protection detail then pushes Creamer as he begins to approach the mayor. Creamer tries to brush the officer off, and the two men get fall to the ground. Nutter is heard on the video telling Creamer: “You need to go.”
Creamer then rolls over on top of the protection officer as the two men wrangle on the ground. That’s where Nutter steps in. The mayor moves close, stoops down and firmly — but not violently — rolls the man off of the security officer. Read more »
Jimmy Carter poses with Mayor Michael Nutter, just back from a diplomacy trip to Mexico. The Mayor stopped by the Free Library to welcome the former president, who was on hand to sign his new book, A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety, for hundreds of people who waited in line to meet him.
Carter’s faith and spirituality are heavily talked about in the memoir. One such belief that made headlines this week came from a Huffington Post interview in which the former president revealed that even though he believes Jesus Christ would approve of same-sex marriage, we should respect churches that don’t share the same belief. He said the couple should just find a church that did agree or get married at the court house.