New Police Contract Creates $70 Million Budget Hole

Philadelphia Schools

One thing about the big raise an arbitrator granted to Philly Police last week: City Hall hadn’t really budgeted for it.

The raise — officers get hikes of at least three percent each of the three years of the contract — will cost $70 million. Now Mayor Michael Nutter must find money for that extra expense in his five-year budget. He says he’ll try to avoid cuts in other services while doing so.

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Anger Follows Cancellation of School Funding Vote

School District of Philadelphia

If you are involved in Philadelphia Public Schools — an administrator, a teacher, a parent, a city official trying to find funding — you are most likely angry this morning. Thursday’s decision by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to cancel a vote on a cigarette tax that would help fund city schools has left the community reeling.

School may not open on time. And activists are planning protests.

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Philly Police Get a Raise, and a Rebuke

Philadelphia’s police officers are getting a raise for the next three years — but they’re also getting a rebuke for the “unprecedented wave” of corruption cases against officers in recent years.

Mayor Michael Nutter, Commissioner Charles Ramsey and FOP President Tom McNesby made the announcement at an 11 a.m. news conference.

And the city got a big concession in its contract with the union: It will now be able to transfer members out of the department’s narcotics unit who have served in that unit for at least five years. Commissioner Ramsey had previously sought that power, saying that “bad habits” had spurred some recent high-profile cases of corruption.

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9 Cities Mayor Nutter Should Be Visiting

nutter-paris-anne-hidalgo-twitter-940x540

During the past few years years Mayor Nutter has taken over six international trips including visits to China, England, Israel, Italy, and now this past week … Paris.  Last week’s trip, according to this report, was “meant to attract new business to the city and promote Philadelphia as a cycling mecca and tourist destination.

Let’s turn the tables. Suppose the mayor of Paris visited Philadelphia to promote his city. Would that persuade you to go? Or would your decision to visit be because Paris is just Paris — a great, vibrant capital of art, food and commerce in Europe. Do you visit a city just because the mayor asks you to? Does a business move to a city for the same reason? When you think of a mayor, any mayor, do you think of him (or her) as a salesperson? A world traveler? An ambassador of the city? I don’t. It’s nice to have a mayor that we’re all proud of. And I’m proud of Mayor Nutter. He’s professional, honest and capable. He reflects our city well.

I don’t mind our mayor visiting other cities. But unfortunately, he’s visiting the wrong places. And he has the wrong agenda.

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Mayor Nutter Tours France

CBS Philly reports: “Mayor Nutter is in France for the next six days for a trip that officials say is aimed at promoting French investment in Philadelphia. Joining him are his wife, Lisa, and six members of the local business community.”

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City Pays $1.4 Million for Posting Gun Permit Appeal Data Online

Two years ago, the city posted a list of Philadelphia citizens who had been denied a gun permit in the state. It eventually took the information down, after outcry from those whose information had been posted. (“I was wrongly accused of being a bartender,” one appeal read.)

Two of those listed sued on behalf of all 3,265 gun permit applicants who had their names and addresses posted on the city website. Last month, they reached a settlement that was announced today: The city is paying $1.4 million to settle the suit.

As part of the settlement (below), the Nutter administration says it still believes the information is not confidential and it had done nothing wrong.

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Jim Kenney Urges Mayor to Sign Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Yesterday, Victor Fiorillo reported that there had been 264 arrests for marijuana possession in the month following City Council’s vote to drop pot possession to a $25 fine.

With the bill — which passed 13-3 — likely to become law in September, it looks silly that there are still pot arrests in the interim. And the author of the marijuana decriminalization law, City Councilman Jim Kenney, is urging Mayor Michael Nutter to sign the law and at least start the debate over whether cops are going to follow it. (Citing state statutes, cops say they plan to ignore the new law and continue to arrest people for pot possession anyway.)

“Just this week, it was reported that another 264 citizens have been arrested since this Bill overwhelming passed City Council on June 19, 2014. Every day Mayor Nutter fails to act, more young people will be handcuffed and jailed for a minimal offense — something that doesn’t happen anywhere else in Pennsylvania”, Kenney said in a statement. Hey, that’s Philly mag’s reporting! If we were a tabloid newspaper, we’d be running an inset image of yesterday’s story alongside this update.

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264 Charged With Marijuana Possession Since City Council Voted to Decriminalize

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On June 19th, Philadelphia City Council voted to decriminalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, passing a bill introduced by Councilman Jim Kenney. But Mayor Michael Nutter opposes the bill, and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has said that he will continue to make marijuana arrests, even if the bill is signed into law. In the month following the bill’s passing, 264 citizens were charged with the crime.

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Judge Slaps Down Nutter Appeal on Lap Dance Tax

A Philadelphia judge today heard an important appeal from the mayor: The Nutter administration was in court today attempting to allow the city to tax lap dances. Unfortunately for the the mayor, the measure failed. Lap dances are now tax free in Philadelphia!

Last June, the Revenue Department decided that lap dances should be taxable and hit several strip clubs with big tax bills. Delilah’s, Club Risqué and Cheerleaders appealed and were successful: The tax bills — totaling around $900,000 — were thrown out. The city’s amusement tax was ruled too vague to apply to lap dances. Now a judge has upheld that ruling.

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