Former City Representative Desiree Peterkin Bell sued City Controller Alan Butkovitz yesterday, claiming he defamed her earlier this month by saying she used a city-established nonprofit “as if it were a special slush fund.”
After a voter registration drive and policy speech in Philadelphia Tuesday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign launched “Pennsylvania African Americans for Hillary” on Wednesday. Included in the announcement was a list of the leadership council for the initiative, made up of people from across the state.
The group includes a number of Philly-area politicians and activists, including City Council President Darrell Clarke, Council members Cindy Bass, Jannie Blackwell, Derek Green, Kenyatta Johnson, Curtis Jones, Jr., and Blondell Reynolds-Brown; State Reps Jordan Harris and Dwight Evans; Former Mayors John Street and Michael Nutter; and activist/political consultant Malcolm Kenyatta.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia announced Monday that former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has been appointed to the Economic and Community Advisory Council (ECAC). The council is comprised of 15 leaders tasked with advising “the Bank’s senior leadership about emerging trends, issues, and market conditions in the Third Federal Reserve District and nationwide,” according to the statement.
City Controller Alan Butkovitz alleged during a press conference Tuesday that a top aide to former Mayor Michael Nutter used a nonprofit “as if it were a special slush fund.”
Butkovitz called the news conference to discuss the findings of his office’s audit of the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia. He said the review revealed several questionable expenditures allegedly made by the fund’s former chairperson and Nutter’s onetime city representative, Desiree Peterkin-Bell. Read more »
Because this is 2016 and I’m a journalist, I was on Twitter when I first saw the news that FBI agents were raiding Johnny Doc’s home. This was around 8:30 a.m., so I’d already had several cups of coffee, but even so, this obviously momentous development barely registered. “Huh,” I thought, and kept right on scrolling to the next hot Trump take, the next wry 140-character blast about SEPTA or improvised dumpster pools, which apparently are now a thing.
I felt a little guilty about that later. This is John Dougherty we’re talking about. Kingmaker, yes, but also judge-maker, Council-maker, deal-maker. The longtime union honcho is probably the most powerful political figure in Philadelphia, and the feds had just packed an iMac and a couple of metric tons of files from his Local 98 electricians union into a moving truck. True, he hasn’t been charged with anything, and he may never be — the feds have investigated Doc before without finding anything that would stick. But this was big news, nonetheless. And I yawned. Read more »
Former Mayor Michael Nutter just addressed the crowd at the Democratic National Convention and, shockingly, managed not to break into “Rapper’s Delight” like he always does in public appearances. Read more »
“Michael Nutter is also a frequent and enthusiastic performer of The Sugar Hill Gang’s 1980 classic, Rapper’s Delight.”
One of the longest and most expensive political wars in recent Philadelphia history has come to an end. On Thursday, City Council voted 13-4 to enact a tax on sugary drinks and diet sodas. The American Beverage Association has spent nearly $5 million since March to flood the airwaves with anti-soda tax ads. But even that doesn’t capture the full scope of the soda industry group’s spending: It worked diligently to fight off a soda tax since 2010 — when former Mayor Michael Nutter first floated the idea — by lobbying Council members and donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to political campaigns.
This year, though, the soda lobby’s deep pockets weren’t enough to kill Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed tax. In the end, only Democrat Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and Republicans David Oh, Brian O’Neill and Al Taubenberger voted against the 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax on Thursday.
Philadelphia is the biggest city in the United States to approve a soda tax. The only other city in the country with a sugary drinks tax is Berkeley, California. Here, the levy will fund expanded pre-K, community schools, and an overhaul of the parks system, among other things. These are the biggest winners and losers in the city’s years-long battle over the soda tax:
This is a career-defining victory for Kenney. The mayor took on one of the most powerful lobbies in the United States and won, which has boosted his national profile and proven that he has a critical number of allies on City Council. The fact that the soda tax will help pay for the renovation of the city’s parks, libraries and recreation centers — and that the administration will determine how to divvy up that spending with district Council members — means that Kenney could potentially have favors to give out for years to come. But how much political capital has the mayor spent in the fight over the soda tax? We may soon find out: District Council 33’s labor contract expires on June 30th. The city’s blue-collar union was one of the many groups that supported the mayor’s soda tax, which could make it more difficult for him to negotiate with it.
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OK, so a lot of people are intrigued by the idea of the Philadelphia Police Department possibly moving its headquarters to 400 N. Broad Street, the former home of the Inquirer and Daily News, as Philadelphia magazine reported this morning.
At this point, it’s still just a hypothetical scenario — although Mayor Jim Kenney didn’t hesitate to list a number of advantages to the site when he was questioned by reporters earlier today. (We’ll get to his comments in a minute.) In the meantime, we couldn’t help but wonder how much money the city has already shelled out as part of former Mayor Michael Nutter‘s previous plan to have the Police Department, the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Department of Public Health all housed in the Provident Mutual Insurance Building at 46th and Market streets in West Philly.
City Council approved borrowing up to $250 million to transform the 13-acre site into the Public Safety Services Campus. According to Kenney’s spokesman, Mike Dunn, the city has already borrowed $64.9 million, and spent $39.7 million on “acquisition costs, design plans, environmental remediation, selective interior demolition [and] exterior renovation, including windows and roof.” Read more »