5 Best Moments from Philly’s New Bike Share Launch

Photo by Holly Otterbein

Photo | Holly Otterbein

Philadelphia’s new bike share program, Indego, finally launched today at a giant party at Eakins Oval. Mayor Michael Nutter says the kickoff was seven years in the making. Seven years. That’s nearly the entire time he’s been in office!

At the event, there was a giddy, impatient energy in the crowd, perhaps from waiting for all those years. There was dancing. There were cheerleaders waving pom-poms alongside dudes sporting bike caps and waxed mustaches. There was a DJ playing MJ. Oh, and there was a scary, unidentifiable aircraft. Here’s what else you missed: Read more »

SJU Criticized for Mayor Nutter Commencement Speech

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

A conservative Catholic organization is criticizing St. Joseph’s University, saying it is “scandalous” that SJU is featuring Mayor Michael Nutter as a graduation speaker this year.

The university is one of eight Catholic schools being singled out by the Cardinal Newman Society for featuring speakers whose beliefs or actions it deems at odds with Catholic teaching. Read more »

PSA: Mayor Nutter’s Property Tax Hike Would Only Cost You a Cheesesteak a Month

spot-burger-cheesesteak-940

Say, can you spare a cheesesteak?

A new ad from the city government says that Mayor Michael Nutter’s plan to raise property taxes by 9 percent would cost the typical homeowner an extra $104 annually. Need that translated into your favorite stereotypical Philly food? The ad (below) does just that: $104 is the price of “a cheesesteak once a month” or “4 soft pretzels a week.” Read more »

3 Arguments For, and 3 Against, Darrell Clarke’s Alternate School Funding Plan

City Council President Darrell Clarke laid out a plan last week to help fund Philadelphia’s cash-starved schools: He wants to sell liens on commercial properties, which he says could raise “millions of dollars” a year.

Clarke also suggested lien sales would give residents more faith in the city’s tax collection efforts. Currently, Clarke said, “This city cannot say with full confidence that it is doing everything it can to collect from those who owe.”

Tax lien sales have both major pros and cons. As the debate on education funding moves forward, let’s consider a few of them. First, the potential upsides:

Read more »

The Brief: Are the Mayoral Candidates’ School Plans “Bogus”?

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

1. Mayor Michael Nutter said the candidates running to replace him have proposed “bogus” school funding plans.

The gist: Nutter made the attack while touring a city school with Gov. Tom Wolf last week. He said, according to the Inquirer, “You cannot run around this school, shake hands with students, take pictures, read to second graders, talk to middle schoolers, inspire high school students, and then when you’re back at your office comfortably not put forward the money that they need to educate their students. Let’s cut the phoniness. Let’s be serious about educating kids.”

The six Democratic mayoral candidates oppose Nutter’s proposal to raise an extra $105 million for the city’s schools by increasing property taxes by 9 percent. They’ve offered other plans to boost funding, such as hiking the liquor-by-the-drink tax and selling tax liens.

Read more »

The Brief: Carpenters Tell Democrats to Steer Clear of Convention Center

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1. The Philadelphia carpenters union is asking Democrats to stay away from the Pennsylvania Convention Center during the party’s national convention here next year.

The gist: Last year, four labor unions signed onto new work rules at the convention center by management’s deadline. The carpenters union was not one of them, and it has been locked out ever since.

A spokesman for the carpenters explained that union leader Ed Coryell’s letter to Democrats is an attempt to ask “our allies to stand with [us].” Pete Peterson, a spokesman for the convention center, countered that carpenters union leadership is growing “desperate” and “just saving some face.” He also said the convention center has already scheduled events as part of the Democratic National Convention.

Read more »

Philadelphia Academies Inc.’s “The Party”

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Thursday night the Philadelphia Academies, Inc. threw their annual shindig “The Party” with 300 guests filling the Fringe Arts/La Peg Brasserie building at 40 N. Columbus Blvd. The theme this year was “Out of the Box,” which Lisa Nutter, President of Philadelphia Academies, Inc. (PAI, ) and First Lady of Philadelphia, says is about creating a career by following your own path, even if it doesn’t fit society’s norm. PAI supports Philadelphia public school students with career-focused programs that prepare young people for employment and post-secondary education, and student ambassadors from Roxborough and Abraham Lincoln high schools were on hand to espouse the virtues of the program.

During the event, David L. Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast, accepted PAI’s The Party 2015 Stand and Deliver Award in recognition of the company’s commitment to innovation. Also honored were 2015 honorary chairs David Devan — general director, Opera Philadelphia, and Seun Olubodun, owner, Duke and Winston. PECO was presented with an Academy Award, for the company’s deep commitment to the PAI model, accepted by Mary Krick, PECO’s vice president of human resources; as was ESM Productions in recognition of the agency being a long-standing partner of PAI, accepted by ESM president Scott Mirkin. After the program, guests enjoyed delicious food, spirits, and dancing by the dueling DJs.

Photos from Philadelphia Academies Inc.’s “The Party”

Council to Nutter: Find Your $105 Million Somewhere Else

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

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

Close, but no cigar, Mayor Michael Nutter.

That was the general message from Council members at their hearing Tuesday on Nutter’s five-year fiscal plan, the first budget hearing of the season.

Lawmakers said they expect to provide additional money to the city’s cash-starved school district, but not in the way the mayor has suggested. In response to a request from school officials for an extra $103 million, Nutter has proposed raising property taxes by 9 percent in order to send slightly more than that, $105 million, to the district.

Read more »

Nutter Orders Creation of Police Oversight Board

Mayor Michael Nutter today ordered the creation of a new independent oversight board to monitor the Philadelphia Police Department as it implements reforms recommended in this week’s report from the Department of Justice.

“It is clear changes need to be made with the use of force, the use of lethal force, all across our city,” Nutter said. “It is an important report, it is a good report on the things we need to do, the things we need to change.”  Read more »

Here’s an Animated GIF of Mayor Nutter Dancing

Yesterday, a group of 10 local nonprofits — known as Get Hype Phillywere awarded a $5 million grant from GlaxoSmithKline. The money will go to promoting healthier lifestyles for kids in Philadelphia.

“Not only will Get Hype Philly make our young people healthier,” GSK VP Donna Altenpohl said at the event, “it will also help them to lead their peers, their families and their communities to make their neighborhoods a model of a happy, healthy and thriving environment.”

Sounds pretty good. Almost as good was this video posted to GSK’s Facebook page showing Michael Nutter dancing at the event. Read more »

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