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.

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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.

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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.

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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 »

Milton Street: “I’m Running, I’m Running!”

Photo Credit: Holly Otterbein

Photo Credit: Holly Otterbein

By Milton Street’s standards, it was a pretty boring affair.

Street, the city’s favorite gonzo candidate, kicked off his campaign for mayor Thursday in a perfectly normal-looking church in North Philadelphia. There was no singing. No coffin as a prop. No funeral parlor.

Perhaps Street was too busy with more serious matters to orchestrate one of the kooky publicity stunts he’s known for. The first words out of his lips were about the news the Inquirer recently broke about his campaign: Street has been registered as an Independent since 2012, according to city records, though he is running as a Democrat in the May 19th primary election. That’s, um, a big no-no. If a candidate or a voter files a legal challenge, they’ll almost certainly succeed in kicking him off the ballot.

“I’m running, I’m running!” he declared defiantly at the front of the New Jerusalem Baptist Church. “I don’t see that keeping me from being on the ballot.”

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City Council Won’t Debate Property Tax Hike Until After the Election

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

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

The Philadelphia City Council must decide in the next few months whether to support Mayor Michael Nutter’s plan to raise property taxes by more than 9 percent to fund the cash-strapped schools.

That’s not an easy choice for legislators to make during an election year.

Lucky for them, that debate won’t take place until after the May 19th primary, in which 15 of 16 Council members are up for reelection. That’s because Council has scheduled its hearing on education funding for May 26th.

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Mayoral Campaign’s First TV Ad Bought by Special Interests

[Editor’s Note: This is a continuing story that will be updated throughout the day.]

Today marks a turning point in Philadelphia’s mayoral race: The first TV ad is on the airwaves. The spot is a soft-focus introduction to former City Councilman Jim Kenney, “one of Philadelphia’s most progressive voices,” says the narrator.

But Kenney’s campaign isn’t behind the ad. Instead, a labor-affiliated super PAC known as “Building a Better PA” is responsible for it. That makes this a turning point in city politics, too: This appears to be the first time in a Philadelphia mayor’s race that the inaugural TV ad of the season was aired by an outside group, rather than a candidate. In other words, it’s a super PAC, not Kenney himself, introducing the candidate to many voters.

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Michael Nutter Wants 16 Times as Many Police Body Cameras Next Year

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

For the past few months, a police district in North Philadelphia has equipped about 30 cops with body cameras as part of a pilot program. If Mayor Michael Nutter gets his way, police around the city will be provided with an additional 450 body cameras in the coming year.

Nutter has set aside an extra $500,000 in his proposed 2015-16 budget to purchase, store and install the cameras.

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