The Brief: Is George Norcross Staking a Claim in Philly Politics?

George Norcross | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

George Norcross | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

1. George Norcross lands the first post-win meeting with Jim Kenney.

The gistThe Next Mayor has a juicy little scoop: George Norcross, the political kingmaker of South Jersey, was the first person to meet privately with Jim Kenney after he won the Democratic mayoral primary last week. Lauren Hitt, Kenney’s campaign spokesman, deemphasized their discussion. “Jim met with a lot of people [that] night and he invited them all back into the staff room because it was the only way to have a real conversation with anyone, given the crowd outside,” she said. Read more »

Nutter Won’t Confirm Speed at Fault in Amtrak Derailment

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, center right, hugs Lori Dee Patterson, a nearby resident, after she handed him a cup of coffee after he spoke at a news conference near the scene of a deadly train derailment, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Philadelphia. An Amtrak train headed to New York City derailed and crashed in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, killing at least six people and injuring dozens more. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)xx

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, center right, hugs Lori Dee Patterson, a nearby resident, after she handed him a cup of coffee after he spoke at a news conference near the scene of a deadly train derailment, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Philadelphia. An Amtrak train headed to New York City derailed and crashed in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, killing at least six people and injuring dozens more. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The search for Amtrak derailment survivors has spread beyond the cars passengers were traveling in when Tuesday night’s accident occurred, Mayor Michael Nutter said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

“The search is very, very active” for missing people, including people who might’ve been thrown from the train, Nutter said. “We will not cease our efforts until we’re sure we’ve gone through every vehicle.”

Nutter refused to comment on reports the train might’ve been traveling 100 mph — in an area where rail traffic is limited to 50 mph — saying: “I don’t believe the NTSB would be in a position to confirm that … Let us please not try to speculate what you could find out in fact in a couple of days.”

Even as he spoke, though, the Associated Press reported it had seen a surveillance video showing the train exceeding 100 mph. Read more »

PHOTOS: Wall to Wall Legends at Dining Out for Life Host Restaurant in Philadelphia

Last Thursday night, diners across the region headed out to their favorite restaurants for the 25th anniversary of Dining Out for Life (DOFL). ActionAIDS‘s annual event raises funds for local HIV charities by asking participating restaurants to donate 33 percent of that night’s ticket sales to the cause. As of publish date, ActionAIDS hadn’t had a chance to tally all the money raised this year, but a rep from the organization tells me that by all accounts, restaurants across the city were packed, and the event should be on track to meet or beat its yearly average of $250,000 for the region.

This year’s host restaurant was Frankford Hall in Fishtown, and, as my friend Tammy Faymous would say, the place was packed with wall-to-wall legends. There, local community leaders gathered to dine and schmooze with superstar DOFL spokespeople Mondo Guerra (Project Runway) and chef Daisy Martinez (Daisy Cooks!). Among the locals who showed up were Mayor Michael Nutter, outgoing Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) President Drew Becher, mayoral hopeful Jim Kenney and leaders of many of the city’s HIV/AIDS service organizations, like Christopher Bartlett (William Way Community Center) Ronda Goldfein (AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania) Robb Reichert (AIDS Fund) and Jane Shull (Philadelphia FIGHT). ActionAIDS sent some photographs from the restaurant. Check them out below:  



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 »

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