lutton's blog

public school teacher bashing in local media

At least two local media reports Thursday morning discussed Philadelphia public school teacher absences during the first two days of student attendance this fall.

Largely an outlet for bashing public school teachers by their own employer, the reports verged on propaganda, relying solely on quotes from the School District administrative offices. Phrases like 'truant' and 'teachers just didn’t show up for work' were used to describe the absences.

How Does Your Garden Grow? Plan your vegetable garden now.

Just a quick reminder that these short winter days and long winter nights are a good time to think about planning and planting your own vegetable garden.

By growing your own, you'll save money, have less concern about chemical use and health issues, likely improve your landscape, and reduce energy consumption shipping food stuffs to you.

You'll save the most money if you start plants from seed, which means getting going in February and March, so you can plant outside in April and May.

I've been happy with Vermont based company Gardeners Supply ( for many years for supplies, equipment and advice.

As for seeds (and more advice), local company Burpee ( has been in the business for well over a century, and some friends recently introduced us to Seed Savers Exchange ( which specializes in collecting and propagating unique heirloom vegetables, herbs and plants (more than 13,000 different varieties!).

traffic free areas? South St? MLK drive? if Times Square can do it, why not us?

or as the Phillies fans say "Why can't us?"

via Paul Krugman, I see that some very busy areas of NYC are getting pedestrian-friendly makeovers: [free link with ad view]

NYC's Times and Herald squares remade for walking

May 25th, 2009 | NEW YORK -- New York's Times and Herald squares just got a lot more pedestrian-friendly.

Sections of Broadway from 47th to 42nd streets and 35th to 33rd streets have been closed to cars in a city effort to reduce traffic and pollution and cut down on pedestrian accidents.

A movie will be shown on a giant screen and street performers are expected to help celebrate the newly created pedestrian mall in Times Square on Monday. Beach chairs will be set out for the crowds.

for comparison: NYC holds extra election for potentially ineligible victor

He won the special election, but might not have met residency requirements to take office. Now NYC will hold another special election to overcome the potential residency snafu:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave his approval Friday to a new special election that could allow an embattled candidate Mathieu Eugene to join the City Council.

Thursday the city's Board of Elections certified Mathieu Eugene as the winner of last month's special election for City Council in Brooklyn, but he still could not take office under the current rules which required him to live in the district on Election Day.

Eugene insisted that he lived in his apartment since before the election, but he refused to provide any proof.

The City Council will give Mathieu Eugene another chance on April 24th to win a seat representing Brooklyn’s 40th-district.

Uncle Miltie Street goes after Brady bunch

Good for them all. They've cultivated the system here where the big shots, their friends and their relatives benefit, and newcomers who haven't 'paid their dues' are frowned upon and bamboozled. Now their little 'Star Chamber' is running afoul of its own rules and norms.

Milton Street Tries to Get Bob Brady Off Mayoral Ballot

by KYW's Mike Dunn

Milton Street, the mayor’s indicted brother, says he’s going to court to have Congressman Bob Brady tossed off the mayoral primary ballot because Brady failed to list some income when he filed to run this week.

Brady says he forgot to list his city pension as income when he filed his nominating petitions on Tuesday. His campaign spokesperson, Kate Phillips, says it was a simple oversight which has since been corrected:

“Ultimately this will all just become a blip in Bob’s candidacy.”

good news: Kenney pulls bills back

a quick quote from the paper this AM:

In a surprise move late yesterday, Councilman James Kenney decided to hold back his campaign-contribution bills until after the May primary election.

"I think that in the current environment there's too much entrenched confusion about the bills," he said.

"A clear conversation about the legislation simply can't take place."

While not the full dismissal of the idea, it gives us this primary season under the current rules, and a chance to have a full and frank discussion of the idea when there isn't any potential conflict of interest involving candidates...

See you next fall. And thanks to all the cadidates who stood up against this proposal--an accounting of their actions here:

Governor Rendell's regressive tax increase proposal

What I'll be writing to my state rep:

I am disappointed with the details of Governor Rendell’s budget proposal. I see a number of items which are designed to lower taxes for suburban property owners by regressively raising sales taxes.

It is also highly questionable to lease Commonwealth property such as the Pennsylvania Turnpike to private interests. While the state may see a quick profit, why should we give away long term revenues as a quick fix today? Fiscal responsibility demands that more be done now to lower expenditures. What will happen two or ten years down the road to cover budget gaps? What will the Commonwealth have to barter away then?

No Sales Tax Increase To Help Property Owners

News reports indicate that Gov. Rendell will propose raising the state sales tax from 6% to 7% to offset property tax reductions. This is simply a regressive tax policy designed to help the weathly property owners outside of Philadelphia.

We were already promised revenue from gambling would be used to reduce property taxes (expect here in Philadelphia), which was one of the main reasons so many supported allowing gambling in Pennsylvania.

Now the Governor wants to raise one tax to reduce another. Obviously someone benefits more than others here; you wouldn't be doing it all if was a zero sum game at the individual level. So who benefits the most: owners of large parcels of real estate in suburban areas - the wealthier part of our population. And who loses: renters and the poor, who spend a higher percentage of their income on taxable purchases. And likely Philadelphia residents, who are usually written out of the property tax reduction formulas.

This is yet another case of shifting the burdens of society down to the lowest earners among us.

If property owners feel they pay too much tax to support their township and community schools and services, than they should move to smaller places or less costly towns.

Funding Limits and Bob Brady

Okay, let's get down to the real deal here: Repealing campaign contribution limits in the mayors race is clearly a move to help Bob Brady.

But, should Bob Brady not win election, he'll still be chair of the party here in Philadelphia, and a freakin' US Congressman, for chrissake. Does he really need the piddly little help of a councilman at large? Is he that much of a pushover that he can't win without unlimited money?

meet bloggers/founders of dailykos &

A Drinking Liberally Philadelphia Special Announcement

"Crashing the Gate" book tour and signing

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 (6:00 PM - 8:00 PM)

Drinker's Tavern
124 Market St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106-3015

Two of the most popular political bloggers in America, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga of, and Jerome Armstrong of, visit Philadelphia in support of their new book, "Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics."

hors d'oeuvres, cash bar

free, but please RSVP if you plan to attend; thanks. And feel free to share this invitation.

Did Rep Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) make a back room deal to benefit Toll Bros?

>>News releases by the VA and U.S. Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, (R.,Pa.) whose district includes Bucks County, did not mention that the agreement was contingent upon the zoning change for Toll Bros.

Toll Brothers is willing to sell land for use as veterans cemetery, but only if they are given zoning variances allowing three times as many houses as zoning usually permits.

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