Morning Headlines: Taxi, Limo Drivers Threaten DNC Boycott

They want authorities to crack down on cheaper ride-sharing services like UberX and Lyft.

Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today:

Philly taxi and limo drivers are threatening to boycott the Democratic National Convention.

PlanPhilly reports that taxi and Uber drivers want the city to crack down on UberX and Lyft — lower-cost ride-sharing services that operate without authorization from the Philadelphia Parking Authority. “Both UberX and Lyft have been operating illegally in Philadelphia since 2014 with impunity,” says a joint statement from the Philadelphia Limousine Association, Philadelphia Cab Association and the Philadelphia Taxi Association. “They operate without any oversight, fail to serve the disabled, engage in so-called ‘surge pricing’, do not have to pay for any licenses to operate in the city and do not guarantee minimum wage.” Says a spokesman for the groups: “We just want a level playing field.” The DNC, July 25-28, is expected to bring as many as 50,000 visitors to Philadelphia.

City Council on Monday held a marathon hearing on youth violence in the city.

Philly Mag’s David Gambacorta reports: The goal, according to City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, was to hear from all of the different parties who are impacted, in one way or another, by youth gun violence, and begin stitching together a comprehensive strategy to combat a problem that has become a full-blown epidemic in the city. “Youth gun violence, here in the city of Philadelphia, needs to be our number one priority,” said Johnson, who chairs the Committee on Public Safety.

The numbers certainly paint a desperate picture. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Reed testified that more than 4,700 people have been murdered in Philadelphia since 2001. More than 22,000 people have been shot in the city during that same period of time. Johnson said upcoming budget hearings will be an opportunity to evaluate how well the city is supporting anti-violence efforts.

A Philly lesbian couple says they were denied service at a Virginia hotel.

Philly Mag’s Victor Fiorillo reports that the incident involving South Philadelphia residents Meredith Murray and Chivonn Anderson happened on Sunday night. Murray says that when she first approached the Red Roof Inn check-in counter at 2 a.m. on Monday morning — they’d booked for late arrival — the employee behind the counter was perfectly nice. She says she realized that she accidentally booked a smoking room, and that he offered to help change it to non-smoking, she recalls. But then, her girlfriend walked in. “He just started staring at us,” says Murray, 34. “He wasn’t even trying to fake it. He said that he couldn’t help us.” The employee denies discriminating. Red Roof’s corporate office says it is investigating the incident.

To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee wasn’t a big fan of the Taj Mahal.

Philly Mag’s Dan McQuade reports: The year was 1990. Harper Lee was writing to a friend in Alabama. She mentioned the Trump Taj Mahal, which had opened earlier that year at the north end of the Atlantic City boardwalk. Lee was not kind to Donald Trump‘s billion-dollar casino. “The worst punishment God can devise for a sinner,” Lee wrote, “is to make her spirit reside eternally at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.” Oh, burn! The letter — dated August 25th, 1990 — is up for sale at Nate D. Sanders Auctions, a Los Angeles auction house once based in Baltimore. It did not return a request for comment; the letter has currently received two bids, with a current price of $1,209.

An overtime victory Monday night helped keep the Flyers in contention for a playoff spot.

ESPN reports the Flyers beat the Jets, 3-2, on Claude Giroux’s overtime goal. “Our guys battled until the bitter end and that’s what it took,” coach Dave Hakstol said. The Flyers and Detroit are tied with 87 points of piece, battling each other for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

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