Best of Philly: People & Power 2006
News for newspapers
The purchase of the Inky and Daily News by Brian Tierney et al. Yes, Tierney is a big, bombastic self-promoter who’s shilled aggressively on behalf of his clients. But a big, bombastic self-promoter who shills aggressively is exactly what the deadly dull, underperforming Philly papers need right now. The return of the press baron!
“Clout” in the Daily News Devoted to the movings and shakings of Philly’s movers and shakers, the Clout team—headed by city editor Gar Joseph—churns out a must-read column every Friday. (We’re overlooking the occasional shot at this magazine, Gar.) And when was the last time you saw the words “must read” pertaining to anything in a Philadelphia newspaper?
Amy S. Rosenberg Whether she’s riffing on faux entertainment in Atlantic City, American Idol fanaticism, or the curious rise of profanity in polite society, Rosenberg manages to deliver something we thought had gone the way of classified advertising in newspapers: voice and true wit.
Daily News byline
Dave Davies Yeah, it’s a little troubling that the brightest guy in Philly politics is covering things instead of running them, but we’ll take what we can get. Davies is sourced out the wazoo and smart, smart, smart. Oh, and we dig it when he fills in for Marty Moss-Coane on Radio Times — nice pipes to go with his big brain.
The Daily News’s Les Bowen When it comes to what’s really happening inside the Eagles’ clubhouse, Les is more.
Sign of hope for the Inquirer
THE Rick Mariano trial blog Written by reporters John Shiffman and Michael Currie Schaffer, the blog pointed the way forward for the paper: exhaustive, occasionally snarky coverage of stories people can’t stop talking about.
Move by a radio station I
WYSP owner Infinity dumping David Lee Roth for Opie & Anthony Local listeners have long wondered whether any program could match the depths of Sports Rock, the Howard Eskin-John DeBella debacle of the early ’90s. We now have our answer.
Move by a radio station II
WIP dumping Mike Missanelli And bringing back Steve Martorano, whom it had dumped to hire Missanelli. It was Missanelli’s off-air anger-management problems that got him tossed, but our gripe was with his on-air persona. Bitter, angry and cynical is no way to go through life, Mike. (Trust us, we’ve tried.)
Move by a radio station III
WXPN hiring Jerry Blavat Twenty years ago, the baby boomers who listen to ’XPN were undoubtedly mocking the Geator as a schlocky showbiz has-been; today, His Geatness—along with his classic collection of doo-wop, R&B and rock-’n’-roll records—has earned a newfound hipness. Big Boss, your Hot Sauce has never been hotter.
Longtime KYW sports reporter Phil Neuman Tired of what he called “shouting” and “micromanaging” by station programming head Steve Butler, Neuman quit and said, “If I wanted that kind of abuse, I would have gotten married.”
Chase Utley and Ryan Howard
A team once built around underperforming Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu has been taken over by these two budding superstars. You read it here: Sometime in the next three years, these two will break our championship curse.
The Phillies’ Larry Anderson Intelligent, funny, and immensely likable. And unlike certain members of the Phillies broadcast team, he doesn’t make you want to jam a meat thermometer in your ear.
Person to be the next mayor of Philadelphia
Carl Singley Run, Carl, run! Run, Carl, run! Example of sizzle beating out substance in politics Lynn Swann getting the GOP nomination for governor We know you can run a fly pattern, Swannie. But what is it, exactly, that you stand for?
Example of sleaze beating out substance in politics
The performance of John Street, John Dougherty et al. in the 2003 mayor’s race, as captured in Tigre Hill’s gripping film The Shame of a City. Voters generally get the public officials they deserve, but no one deserves the cynical, despicable spin put on the bugging investigation by Street and his slime-coated team.
Nose for the ball
Aaron Rowand Actually, make that nose for the wall. When the Phils’ new center fielder broke his nose running into the outfield wall at Citizens Bank Park, he earned himself a permanent spot in local sports lore. He’s Chuck Bednarik with a baseball glove.
Villanova’s Jay Wright Grace, class, and he knows basketball.
TV weatherperson on the radio
Bill Henley, NBC-10 Bill on TV has a gee-whiz, aw-shucks, clean-cut Middle American thing going on. Bill on the radio (on John DeBella’s WMGK show around 7 a.m.) suggests something darker and more demented. (We mean that in a good way, Bill.)
Brian Dawkins B Dawk didn’t have his best year in ’05 — what Bird did? — but every time we hear him talk, we come away with one feeling: This man will hurt you. (Honestly, it gets us a little hot.)
Sign of hope for the Sixers
Sorry, that’s a tease. There are, in fact, no signs of hope for the Sixers.
Carrie Rickey She’s been a fixture at the Inquirer since the 1980s, but her Friday film reviews are reliably sharp and snappy — and remain the perfect way to kick off the weekend.
Comcast’s fantastic Comcastic campaign
In case you ever doubted the impact of (good) advertising: With one funny campaign, Comcast transformed its image from boring cable guys to hip, happening entertainment guys. Too bad they had to go to an ad agency outside Philly (Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco) to do it.
Human being. Ever U.S. Olympic Committee head Peter Ueberroth, who will decide whether Philly gets a shot at hosting the 2016 games. (We hope he likes sucking-up.)
Best non-elected public official
Paul Levy The longtime head of the Center City District—he’s married to the Inquirer’s Carrie Rickey, by the way, making them the official “Best Power Couple”—doesn’t get enough credit for our downtown’s spectacular turnaround in the past decade. What started as an outfit dedicated to cleaning the sidewalks has become a shadow government for Center City—one with a far more clear-eyed view of how to move Philly forward than the real city government.
Sign of hope for Philly’s future
The fact that we can’t swing a dead realtor without hitting a construction crane in Center City, Old City and University City We’re building the condos, suburbanites. You’re coming, right? Right? Don’t screw us on this. (Sorry, glass-half-empty pessimism dies hard.)
Sign of hope for Atlantic City’s future
The uptick in planned residential development in A.C. A town can’t live by the Borgata alone. Now let’s hope the city’s incompetent politicos don’t mess things up. (See: glass-half-empty pessimism, above.)
TV sports team
The entire crew at Comcast SportsNet Nine years after the network’s launch, it’s hard to imagine Philadelphia sports without Michael Barkann, Ron Burke, Leslie Gudel, Neil Hartman and the rest of the crew.
School Reform Commission head Jim Nevels and union leader Pat Gillespie The two brokered a historic agreement between the commission and the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council to create at least 250 apprenticeships a year for Philly public high-school graduates. The deal means the union’s workforce—which has long been overwhelmingly white and suburban—will become more diverse and city-based.
Guys to call if you want your IT problems to get worse
Vince Fumo staffers Leonard P. Luchko and Mark Eister The pair were arrested in June for allegedly deleting all the e-mails about Fumo’s controversial nonprofit — except the ones where they talked about deleting all the e-mails.
Reminder of life in the Soviet Union
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board The group, which will choose who gets slot-machine licenses in the state, has taken a Kremlin-esque approach to giving the public information about what it’s doing. According to HallWatch.org, as of mid-June the board had yet to release 98 percent of the supporting documents casino applicants filed with it in December.
Example of why the Phillies are the most pathetic organization in professional sports
The despicable decision to play pitcher Brett Myers the day after he was arrested for allegedly hitting his wife Season after season of disappointing, dreadful baseball is frustrating enough, but this — along with GM Pat Gillick’s comments that the team had nothing to be embarrassed about — marks the end of any lingering loyalty we may have felt. We used to think the organization was run by a bunch of decent guys who were in over their heads when it came to baseball. Our new position: It’s run by a roomful of creeps not worthy of being associated with the game. It’s time to hand over this team, Dave Montgomery, and for you and your partners to take up residence under a slime-covered rock. You’ll feel right at home.
For serious arts and culture l BroadStreetReview.com Dan Rottenberg is a longtime Philly iconoclast, and in this online magazine he and other provocative voices sound off on local theater, art, dance, books and more. for city lifE l Skyline Online (changingskyline.blogspot.com) Inky architecture critic Inga Saffron not only updates architecture and development news, but also adds her savvy voice to all sorts of city issues. for Sports l WarNest (eagles.scout.com) Kick-ass Birds site with news, press conference transcripts, stats, message boards and more. for High-school sports l TedSilary.com Silary is a Daily News sportswriter, and this website is solely devoted to local high-school sports. Scary amount of detail. for Art l Artblog (fallonandrosof.blogsport.com) Cool news and ideas about the Philly art scene.