Walk down Chestnut Street in University City and you lose count of the churches. There seem to be two on every block. There’s even one called the Church of God, at 41st. “A gospel-spreading church.” Keep going and you hit the old church where the steeple collapsed about a decade ago. Across the street is a strip mall. The neon beckons.
FINE WINE AND GOOD SPIRITS.
Yesterday, a fancy new state store (aka, Fine Wine and Good Spirits) store opened at 43rd and Chestnut, in the strip mall location previously occupied by Risque Video. It had been a while: The old state store at 41st and Market closed in January 2012. It was small and dingy. The LCB attempted to open a new location at 43rd and Walnut, but community concerns—general NIMBY anti-drug protests, plus there’s a mosque across the street—derailed the idea. The zoning board rejected the 43rd and Chestnut location in 2012 before reversing itself.
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State attorney general Kathleen Kane, in a controversial move, announced she won’t defend the state in a federal lawsuit that challenges Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage. However, she has thusfar remained silent regarding her stance on the Pennsylvania law prohibiting the use of goldfish as bait, The Philly Post exclusively reports. Also unknown: Will she will defend the law that forbids ministers from performing marriages when either the bride or groom is drunk (a condition that would nullify many of the unions The Philly Post has been a party to)?
Here are 12 more outdated or useless laws Pennsylvania needs to strike from the books:
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Tom Corbett and the Republican-controlled PA House are either very smart, or very dumb. As they push their liquor privatization bill through Harrisburg, they are either trying to pull a fast one on Pennsylvanians who expect better selection and lower prices (which they know cannot happen with this bill). Or they’re very dumb, and actually believe the bill they’re peddling will accomplish those things. Read more »
Tom Corbett is halfway to reaching one of his major campaign promises: privatizing liquor and wine sales. Tonight, the House passed a bill to phase out state stores, and gradually hand over liquor licenses to private sellers, 105-90, after 7 hours of debate.
Under the plan, grocery stores could sell wine; beer distributors could sell wine and liquor; and, after the first year of implementation, licenses to sell wine and liquor would be up for sale for other private entities such as big-box stores.
The bill now moves to the Senate, where Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi has 30-60 days to bring the bill to a vote. He seems lukewarm, however: “It is not something that has been an item of active interest and discussion in the Senate,” he said, adding that even if it’s passed, it’ll probably feature a host of amendments. “I don’t think anyone expects the Senate to simply take up the House bill and move it to the governor’s desk as is.” [Newsworks]
Remember those complaints last month that state-owned liquor stores were giving prime shelf space to the PLCB brand of Table Leaf wine? Well, during his testimony in a Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing yesterday, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board member Robert Marcus said that Table Leaf, at one point, became the 17th-most-popular wine brand in the nation: “Our private label program is part of our ongoing program to give consumers more and better low cost choices and to simultaneously increase the money we return to the General Assembly,” Marcus said of Table Leaf. But that still angers privatization advocates, who wish the state would get out of the liquor business altogether. “I walked into my state store last week and was distressed to see that your TableLeaf wine was displayed right in the front, very predominantly,” State Sen. Pat Vance, a Republican, told Marcus. “I do have a problem with your competing with the private sector.” [Pennsylvania Independent]
Now before you go all Clubber Lang on me, you should know that I am not one of those Philadelphians who has an inferiority complex about this city. Quite the contrary. I love Philadelphia, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. That said, our neighbor to the north does have (at least) a few things going for it that would make Philadelphia an even better place to be. Here, my wish list. Read more »
You know what sounds really unappealing? Liquor and wine produced by the state of Pennsylvania. Maybe that’s why the state has been sneaking its “in-house” brands ($8 “Table Leaf” Merlot, anyone?) onto the very best shelves at your neighborhood LCB booze emporium. According to an investigation by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “Table Leaf” has been displayed at eye-level, often quite prettily, at the stores’ best sales spots for most of the 20 months the product has been available. This news comes on the heels of another Trib investigation that found the LCB had spent close to $500,000 marketing “Table Leaf” and other brands like LA MERIKA, despite promising it hadn’t. Because there’s nothing more LAMERIKAN than self-dealing, free-market flouting, shady state-run maneuvering. [Tribune-Review]
Almost every one of us has been there, or at least experienced something like it: It’s Saturday afternoon and you’re standing in the grocery store checkout line, skimming the latest issue of US Weekly, when there’s a tap on your shoulder. You turn to see a befuddled out-of-towner with a shopping cart full of snack food and ice and a look on his face like he just lost his puppy.
“Um, excuse me, but where do they keep the beer in here?” Read more »
It’s the time of year to take stock of what has passed and what is to come. Last year, I wrote a column for the Inky that made five predictions for 2011. Some were on the mark. Others, not so much. Hey, you get what you pay for. It’s time to revisit those calls while making new ones for 2012.
Prediction No. 1: I said the Phillies would win the World Series and the Eagles would not make the Super Bowl. I was half right, but am hoping I was just early with my Phils call. Next fall is now or never for the current group of Phillies.
As for the Eagles, say goodbye to Andy Reid. He had some great years, but his team was lost most of this season. Jeff Lurie can’t be too happy about shelling out big bucks for top talent only to miss the playoffs. But no matter who coaches the Eagles next year, they will not win the Super Bowl with Michael Vick. Like Randall Cunningham, Vick is a great and entertaining talent but not a money quarterback. Read more »
If Pennsylvanians need any more proof it’s time to dismantle the state store system of wine and liquor distribution, that system’s biggest proponent kindly provided it yesterday. Even as he announced that the Liquor Control Board was abandoning its idiotically ill-conceived grocery-store kiosks, board CEO Joe Conti defended the white elephants to the death. What did he think of the kiosk experiment?
“It certainly wasn’t a failure,” he said.
Um … the facts that the machines never worked properly and that their manufacturer is suing the LCB for $81 million in damages might seem to argue otherwise?
“It didn’t end up successful,” Joe argued, “but we learned a lot.”
Oh. Gee. Read more »