May 7, 2010
5:30-7:30 p.m.
1906 S. Rittenhouse Square


Phoebe Coles
Executive Director, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful

Coles has worked consistently for the past 20 years in the people business. She currently manages Keep Philadelphia
Beautiful, an environmental non-profit agency that works to engage individuals in taking greater responsibility for
improving the physical and visual aspects of their neighborhoods.

Jane Golden
Executive Director, Mural Arts Program

Golden spearheads the Mural Arts Program, which has created more than3,000 murals in Philadelphia. These murals are an integral part of the civiclandscape and a source of inspiration to thousands of residents and visitors
who encounter them each year. And, they have earned Philadelphia international recognition as the City of Murals.

Lily Yeh Founder, Village of Arts and Humanities& Executive Director, Barefoot Artists

Yeh engaged residents — young and old — of an innercityneighborhood to reclaim an abandoned lot, which they turned into a summer art park in 1986. The seeds Yeh planted grew into a tree with far-reaching branches: The Village of Arts and Humanities, a multi-faceted, community-based artorganization; and Barefoot Artists, an organization working with poor communities around the globe practicing the arts to bring about social change.

Karen Bojar
Philadelphia NOW President 2001-2009

Hon. Kathy Manderino
Pennsylvania State Representative
194th District

(List in formation)
(List in formation)
AFSCME District Council 47 ?
AFSCME Local 2187 ? Cindy
Bass ? Kathy Black ? Irene Boyle
? Coalition of Labor Union
Women ? Caryn Hunt ? Anthony
Ingargiola ? Dee Johnson ? State
Rep. Babette Josephs ??Gloria
Gilman ??Michael O’Brien
Doris Pridgen ? Toni Pridgen-
Campbell ? Kay Pridgen-Green ?
Councilwoman Maria Quinones
Sanchez ?Hal & Sue Rosenthal
Doris A. Smith-Ribner ?
Townsend Freimiller Associates
??Deborah Willig ?Judy & Ken
Weinstein ??Julie Welker ?
Women’s Way ?

Philadelphia NOW
1211 Chestnut Street
Suite 700
Philadelphia, PA 19106


$100 Sponsor $75 Patron $50 Friend $25 Guest
Discount tickets also available
Light refreshments served
RSVP ? 215.496.1294

Can Philadelphia learn from Lafayette High?

NEW YORK - History teacher Patrick Compton is leafing through pages of the 1967 yearbook of Lafayette High School, alma mater of baseball great Sandy Koufax and broadcaster Larry King in a working-class enclave of Brooklyn...

The Time to Rethink the BPT is Now!

Thanks to Councilpersons Green and Quinones-Sanchez, we are now able to think about the Business Privilege Tax without climbing up on the table and just screaming at the top of our lungs in terror. We can look at it soberly and critically without "knowing" that the only thing to do about it is to exterminate it, forget about the $350-400 million a year it brings in annually, and wipe from our memories that we ever, ever had the termerity to impose taxes on business in Philadelphia. That's been our attitude toward the tax over the past 15 years, and thankfully, that era seems to be (fingers crossed) over.

As a result of the research done by Green/Quinones-Sanchez, we now know things about the tax that completely undermine the case for abolishing it. I'll disclose one such key fact here: Between 40% and half of the gross receipts portion of the tax -- the part that's most hated by those who would repeal it at any cost -- is paid by businesses that are outside the City. That is it's paid by businesses that cannot be driven from the City due to the burden of this tax since THEY ARE ALREADY NOT HERE! And they're not deterred from moving into the City by that tax, since the amount of it that they would pay would STAY THE SAME!

Here's another not so little factoid. Less than 10% of the Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) is paid by small businesses whose sales in Philadelphia are under $500,000 per year. In toto, those businesses pay around $8 million of GRT annually. The other larger businesses, pay about $83 million. So we could do this: we could exempt all of those small buinesses from the tax, roll the rate back to where it was in 1996 for the larger businesses, and raise about $75 million for the City! No real estate or trash pickup surcharge needed, thank you very much!

Rolling the rate back to 1996 would still leave the GRT rate 8% below where it was when Mayor Rendell began to cut it every year, a series of cuts that continued until last year. And the tax would still be very small, about 3,000 federally deductible dollars on businesses with sales of $1 million into the City. That would represent an increase of less than $1,600 from what a million dollar company would have paid this year.

Enacting this proposal would be a win/win/win for our City: it would raise much of what we need to preserve essential services – approximately $75 million -- it would promote tax fairness, and it would provide a boost to small business, the major generator of employment in Philadelphia. That's why it's been adopted by the Coalition for Essential Services (CES), which on Friday sent letters to every City Council member asking them to support it.

CES is aware that its proposal may differ somewhat from the proposal that Councilmembers Green and Quinones-Sanchez are reported in the press as favoring. That one would raise the GRT to 2 mills, rather than 3, and cut the other part of the BPT, the net income portion an offsetting amount. That proposal would not exempt any small businesses, and raise only $20 million according to the Inky. We think that idea is a step in the right direction. But we also think that at a time when the income needs of the City are much greater than $20 million, something even bolder than a $20 million BPT reform is called for. And we think that the reform can be structured in a way that -- by taking small business out of the GRT altogether -- undermines the key argument that will be made against any reform of this kind, that it harms those vulnerable businesses. So with respect, even homage to the Green/Sanchez proposal, CES is putting its $75 million proposal on the table. We hope everyone reading this who supports essential services along with a fair way to pay for them, will pick up their phone and call their Councilperson, and their at-large Councilpersons, to support the CES proposal.

Awesome: Daily News team wins investigative reporting Pulitzer

The 2010 Pulitzer for investigative journalism goes to the Daily News team of Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman,and what a series it was. Two female journalists tackled corruption and corrupt cops in the Narcotics Unit and did journalism in the best of all ways - long hours on the beat, cultivating great sources, great writing, and a support team from their editors and fellow journalists. Congratulations to the Daily News, to Laker and Ruderman, and to amazing and fearless female journalists everywhere.

Another Wynn bites the dust

And all together now, for Foxwoods and Mr. Las Vegas, Steve Wynn:

Another thought about term limits

I admit I go back and forth on this issue.

I'm back again.

I was talking with a friend who does issue campaigns. She pointed out that sometimes we only have power in the run up to an election. Term limited members of Council can ignore electoral pressure which is usually a bad thing.

Remember when council cast a few neagative votes against casinos? It was only the pressure of the 2007 election that made them do so. If the anti-casino movement had been more willing to use the election as a tool in its campaign, we might have used it to get some real council action.

That fact, plus the real danger of inexperienced council members being overwhelmed by an already too strong Mayor, leads to me think that, on balance, term limits are not so hot an idea.

Germantown Settlement Files for Bankruptcy

Germantown Settlement Files for Bankruptcy

Query: this article mentions nothing about our illustrious City Council Rep Donna Reed Miller. Wasn't she supposed to be involved illegally w/Germantown Settlement in some fashion?

I imagine that one of the U-As has the best insight into this.


Tom Corbett, American Dumbass

Debilitating gastrointestinal disorder and Republican gubernatorial hopeful (and, oh yeah, PA Attorney General) Tom Corbett usually grabs headlines by bringing charges against fellow politicians, which he does right before press conferences; both of which happen right before his elections...which would be okay, if the charges and the elections weren't so obviously related.

(Government reform, PA needs. More cynicism, not so much.)

Corbett's latest grandstand, however, may prove his Waterloo.

For no good reason at all, Corbett joined twelve other Republican attorneys general in vowing to block national health care reform because he believes it's "unconstitutional."

Apparently, he also thinks better health care will be really unpopular in November, when he'll face either Joe Hoeffel or some other Democrat in the governor's race.

Anyone think he's wrong?

U.S. History does.

The sagas of both Social Security and Medicare show that large-scale social improvements, such as these, have only become more popular as they've gotten older, not less. Why should President Obama's health care reform prove any different?

Corbett's grandstanding against health care reform is just the kind of gaffe that could lose a governor's election in which he's been the presumed favorite for several years.

Corbett's clueless positioning becomes clear in the quote that follows the baseless "unconstitutionality" claim:

Later, Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley could not say what part of the legislation violates the Constitution

Clearly, this dumbass could lose the big one in November.

Elizabeth Warren, American Badass

Dang gummit, somebody has got to stand up on behalf of middle-class families!

America needs heroes.

Villains abound, particularly in the financial services industry.

In a perfectly swell profile piece that graces the front page of today's New York Times print edition (remember those?), Jody Kantor finds a hero for our time and financial crisis in the janitor's-daughter-turned-scourge-of-Wall-Street Elizabeth Warren, the genius behind those brilliant words that ought to become flesh, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

It may not seem local, but ask anybody named Ackelsberg whether fighting predatory lending is a Philadelphia story.

If you're near a news stand, the Warren hero story alone is worth picking up a copy (Mary F. Calvert's two great photos look better there than online). And yes, it's next to an un-insightful Philly flash mob front pager.

Don't forget to recycle.

Careers for an Age-friendly Philadelphia - Generation Appreciation Philadelphia

Careers for an Age-friendly Philadelphia:
Examples, Networking and Tools

Thursday, April 8, 5.30-7.30pm
United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 17th & the Parkway

Key Note Speaker
Holly Lange, Senior Vice President, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging

Lightning Talks (5 min each) by GenPhilly Steering Committee Members:

Please RSVP by Tuesday, April 6 to Kate Clark,, 215-765-9000×5072

View/Download: Poster

Generation Appreciation Philadelphia (GenPhilly) is committed to promoting an age-friendly city by inspiring emerging leaders to make connections with older adults in their professional and personal lives. We aim to bring a new perspective to Philadelphians in a variety of disciplines through creative programming and networking opportunities.

Wrong, wrong and wrong

Teen mobs suck. Mob behavior sucks. So why does one example of stupid behavior get treated with another example of stupid behavior - but this time from a judge who can ruin a young man's life?

In one exchange with a 15-year-old Simon Gratz High School student, Dougherty told the boy he would get a year in the juvenile system for every lie. By the time the boy was taken away in handcuffs, he had received three years.

In the end, several said they learned that students were going to gather that afternoon at the Gallery at Market East - and that some groups were going to fight - through the social media sites My Space and Facebook.

Despite getting the information he wanted, Dougherty seemed determined to send a message about the flash mobs, which first sprang up in May.

The most recent incident happened on Saturday night, when hundreds of teens stormed down South Street, forcing businesses to close. A huge police contingent had to disperse the crowd.

"The lesson these kids are going to learn today is . . . the days of being slapped on the wrist are over," Dougherty said.

Thanks Judge, but since you may not have punished the minors who actually assaulted people and since you appeared to have randomly interpreted the law based on your personal sense of outrage, maybe the lesson they really learned is that justice is arbitrary.

Only one Gubernatorial Candidate is Talking About Regressive Taxes --- Hoeffel

This situation is beyond scandalous, although it's so familiar to most of us that we may get resigned to it. But we have to get over not paying attention to it. It's leaving poor children without roofs over their heads. Only Hoeffel is talking about it. Unless he's elected governor, nothing will be done. Not that it will be easy in any case, but Governor Hoeffel will at least put it on the agenda.

YPP Technical Difficulties

If you checked in on YPP in the last little while, you were inadvertently directed to another page. Wires on the internets apparently got tangled. Our mistake and apologies.


When I'm Emperor of Philadelphia - Latest Column

Jail times for "bad" parents?

I'm really unable to get my head around this article.

From Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and District Attorney Seth Williams to children's advocate Shelly Yanoff, speakers told a state Senate committee Monday that getting parents involved is crucial to reducing youth violence.

They praised Sen. Anthony H. Williams' proposed parent-accountability bill that would provide legal leverage to educate parents about their responsibilities and help stem juvenile crime. But some criticized the draft language and raised questions about sections calling for fines or jail time for some parents if their children commit crimes.

I've been reading a little bit lately about the Harlem Children's Zone, and other similar initiatives that incorporate parenting workshops into comprehensive educational programs. I definitely believe that it should be a huge priority to focus on creating links between schools, families, and communities in order to improve Philly's schools and to attack systemic poverty. And so I am sympathetic to some of the ideas that are discussed in this article.

But I have some serious questions about the punitive approach described in this article, and I'd be curious to see a YPP debate on the topic.