Comcast Today: With Time Warner Scrutiny Pending, Program for Poor Families Gets New Life

In all the talk of downsides to the Comcast-Time Warner merger, one possible upside has been overlooked: It might be a boon to poor families.

After all, the Internet Essentials program (which offers $10-a-month broadband service to those poor families) was created three years ago as a way to gain approval of the Comcast-NBCUniversal from federal regulators. Under that agreement, the program was due to end in June. Instead, Comcast vice president David L. Cohen said Tuesday afternoon that the program is being extended “indefinitely” — and that if the merger with Time Warner is approved, be available to eligible families in 19 of the nation’s 20 most-populated cities.

“Why are we doing it?” Cohen said during a conference call with reporters. “Because it’s just that important.”

Perhaps. But with federal scrutiny of the proposed merger with Time Warner loom, Tuesday’s announcement might’ve been more than coincidental. It’s a fair bet regulators might’ve required Comcast to extend the program anyway.

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Philly’s LGBT Senior Housing Center, the John C. Anderson Apartments, Gets Opening Ceremony Treatment

Photo by HughE Dillon.

Photo by HughE Dillon.

Tenants began moving into the John C. Anderson Apartments in mid-January, but Philly’s only housing center for LGBT seniors got official opening-ceremony treatment this morning. Local paparazzo HughE Dillon pointed out that it was one of the most power-filled events he’d been to in a while, and he was right. All kinds of Pennsylvania dignitaries showed up to be part of the festivities — from Governor Ed Rendell and Mayor Michael Nutter to Representative Bob Brady and State Treasurer — and gubernatorial candidate — Rob McCord.

More photos after the jump

Nutter to Curtail Police Cooperation With Immigration Authorities

The Inquirer reports that Mayor Nutter is on the verge of signing an order that would greatly curtail Philadelphia’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Under current policy, if a person arrested by Philadelphia Police is found to be in the country illegally—an “undocumented immigrant”—then U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can have the jail hold the arrestee for possible deportation. Nutter’s order would end those holds, “except those charged with first- or second-degree felonies involving violence.”

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PHLCVB Unveils “PHL: Here for the Making” Campaign

phl-here-for-making-signs-940

Jack Ferguson, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, joined Mayor Michael Nutter and regional sales, marketing, business, and economic development leaders on Wednesday to launch “PHL: Here for the Making,” the city’s first joint attraction campaign. The campaign celebrates the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in Philadelphia, a city with a long history of people who make and do.

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At White House Dinner, Michael Nutter Speaks a Small Frenchman

Mayor Michael Nutter attended Tuesday’s state dinner at the White House for French President Francois Hollande, and the results were hilarious:

At Tuesday night’s state dinner honoring French President Francois Hollande at the White House, several guests, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, said they spoke “petite francaise,” which means “a small Frenchman,” not “a little French.”  The correct phrase, according to a French journalist we stood close to, would be “un peu francais.”

Que sera, sera, eh Mayor? [Washington Post]

Nutter, Clarke Agree on Love Park Future

NewsWorks reports that Mayor Michael Nutter and Council President Darrell Clarke have reached agreement over the future of Love Park—a joint vision that involves creating new green space while offering urban amenities like restaurants.  ”I want to say how excited I am about the prospects of having a well-balanced approach to redoing this park and bring some level of vibrancy to this park,” Clarke said. “No longer will people be talking about Bryant Park in New York and in London, they are going to be talking about Love Park in the city of Philadelphia.”

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Mayor: Change Rules for City Sick Leave

Sunlit Philadelphia City Hall

The Daily News reports today on the Nutter administration’s attempt to change city work rules, noting that city workers get a ton of paid time off. Because they’re city workers.

Look no further than the city of Philadelphia, where the typical municipal worker gets almost 50 days of paid leave and uses an average 38 days per year – more than the average state or local government employee and far more than private-sector workers, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Most city workers get paid for 11 holidays, up to 15 sick days, two to three weeks of vacation and other days for funerals and administrative leave. Longtime employees can get up to five weeks of vacation and 20 sick days. Police officers get a day off for their birthdays.

Police get off for their birthdays! That is the most incredible perk. The police union did a good job in negotiations in that sense, at least. The paper also notes city workers are off for Good Friday.

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