How the Beverage Lobby Quietly Killed the Soda Tax in Philly, Again

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Much in the same way that the best lawyers kill lawsuits before they ever make it to trial, the best lobbyists kill legislation before it is ever introduced.

In Philadelphia, City Councilman Bobby Henon was seriously eyeing a tax on sugary beverages to help fund the financially crippled school district, according to several City Hall insiders. In fact, sources say Henon went to the trouble of drafting up legislation and putting together a plan to promote it. As a lawmaker who has launched anti-childhood obesity initiatives, it was a natural fit.

But when Council unveiled its education funding package last week, it included a hike in parking tax, a boost in real estate taxes, and an increase use-and-occupancy taxes … but no soda tax. Read more »

PHOTOS: AIDS Education Month Kicks Off With Opening Reception

This week, Philadelphia FIGHT kicked off its 21st annual AIDS Education Month (AEM) with an afternoon reception at the Independence Visitor Center. The event drew community leaders and local celebs, like CBS Philly’s Cherri Gregg, who was named an honorary chair of AEM 2015; Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack; and Mayor Nutter, who was there with the director of his Office of LGBT Affairs, Nellie Fitzpatrick.



Read more »

Nutter Helping Spearhead Obama Trade Campaign

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

There’s long been speculation that Michael Nutter would go to work for the Obama Administration after leaving office. But it looks like the mayor might have a head start.

Politico reports Nutter is helping spearhead the Obama Administration’s campaign for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade pact that opponents say would give corporations unprecedented powers and rights internationally.

Nutter is one of several big-city mayors pushing the trade agreement on behalf of the Obama Administration Read more »

Did Obama Help Produce Philly’s New Sick Leave Law?

President Barack Obama

Did President Obama help produce Philly’s new sick leave law?

That’s what USA Today suggests in a story that assertss the president has done an end-run around Congress to produce progress on progressive priorities. The paper notes that Mayor Nutter vetoed two versions of the bill from council — but that Philly is one of several cities to pass a paid sick leave law since the president called on municipalities to do so in his State of the Union address. Read more »

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 »

The Brief: Pay by Phone Parking Coming to Philly Really Soon

philadelphia-parking-authority-ppa-parking-ticket-2

1. Parking kiosk down again? No problem.

The gist: PlanPhilly reports that the Philadelphia Parking Authority has picked a company — Pango USA — to provide a pay by phone parking service. The cost to the consumer is one cent per transaction, PlanPhilly reports. The system could be ready to go within 60 days, but will be piloted between 4th and 20th Streets and Arch and Locust Streets first. Read more »

City Council Votes to Make Permanent the Office of LGBT Affairs

helen fitzpatrick

Director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs Helen FItzpatrick at this week’s IBA LGBT Business Leaders Luncheon. | Photo courtesy of JPG Photography

This afternoon, Philadelphia City Council passed a bill to make permanent the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, which is currently headed by Director Helen Fitzpatrick.

But the move isn’t completely official yet. In order to pass, the bill requires a change to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter, which must be signed by the  Mayor and voted on by the public in the November general election. The ballot measure will read:

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 »

Philadelphia Sick Leave Law Starts Wednesday

city hall sick leave

Believe it or not, Philadelphia’s sick leave law goes into effect Wednesday.

Why would that be so hard to believe? Consider: Mayor Nutter vetoed sick leave legislation twice in recent years before undergoing a conversion on the issue. And opposition to such worker-friendly requirements is so intense that Republicans tried to block Philly’s bill in the Pennsylvania Legislature. (They’ve only passed the Senate with their bill; even if they get the House, they’d have to do so in sufficient numbers to override a likely veto from Gov. Tom Wolf.)

Now, according to some estimates, 200,000 Philadelphia workers stand to benefit. Read more »

« Older Posts  |  Newer Posts »