Monday, October 31, 2005

Climate Mash

This is fun and timely...check out the "Climate Mash" website, watch the funny video, then send a message to President Bush.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Greening of Philadelphia

PennFuture is embarking on a project that Philadelphia desperately needs. The working title is “Building Philadelphia’s Future” and the concept is to formulate an action plan that focuses on quality of life issues that intersect with environmental/sustainability concepts. Philadelphia is unique among large American cities in that it doesn’t provide structured local government support for the advancement of environmental/sustainability issues. No pedestrian coordinator, no bicycle coordinator, no office of environmental sustainability (or similar function), no City-sanctioned environmental commission. Heck, currently we don’t even have a recycling coordinator. The action plan will promote changes to Philadelphia governmental structures, ordinances, and policies that will result in a cleaner, healthier City. For more information and to be involved in the development of the action plan, contact Christine Knapp at PennFuture at

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Our Leaves are Better & Bigger than Your Leaves

The Commonwealth's tourism promotions have become more professional since Governor Rendell took office...check out this link to the fall foliage tourism campaign.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Stop Pay-to-Play: Vote "Yes" on Charter Change Nov. 8th

On November 8, 2005, Philadelphia voters will be presented with a ballot question about whether to change the City Charter - essentially the City's constitution – and significantly curtail the City's costly "pay-to-play" system.

Here's what the question is going to say: "Shall the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to require Council approval of certain City leases, contracts and concessions, to empower Council to address public confidence in the integrity of the City's contracting process by requiring certain disclosures and by providing whether persons who have made certain campaign contributions are ineligible for such contracts and for City financial assistance, and to empower Council to regulate the process by which non-competitively bid (no-bid) contracts are awarded?" Wow, that's a mouthful.

What does it mean? If a majority of Philadelphia voters vote yes on this question, information regarding City professional services contracts would be made available to the public, providing for a more transparent process whereby pay-to-play and other related corrupt practices would be less likely to occur and/or more easily detected. Individuals/businesses seeking no-bid contracts would not only be required to disclose political contributions, but there would be limits as to how much individuals/businesses could give to a candidate, incumbent and/or Political Action Committee (“PAC”).
The only reason to vote no on this charter change question is if you have personally benefited from the City's pay-to-play culture (like maybe somebody put a deck on your house or slipped you an envelope full of money); because most of us have not (and would never), please make sure that you vote yes on this question. For more information, check out the Committee of 70's website.

Monday, October 24, 2005

South Jersey Ad Agency Leaving Suburbia for Center City

One of the Philadelphia region's largest advertising agencies will relocate its headquarters from Cherry Hill to Center City, bringing with it up to 100 jobs (see story). The Star Group intends to spend $5 million to purchase and refurbish a five-story building at 1635-37 Locust Street. The Star Group also has offices in Las Vegas (NV) and Kansas City (MO), both of which service casino clients.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Minimal Disclosure Standards for Political Polling

Standards for Minimal Disclosure

Good professional practice imposes the obligation upon all public opinion researchers to include, in any report of research results, or to make available when that report is released, certain essential information about how the research was conducted. At a minimum, the following items should be disclosed:

1. Who sponsored the survey, and who conducted it.

2. The exact wording of questions asked, including the text of any preceding instruction or explanation to the interviewer or respondents that might reasonably be expected to affect the response.

3. A definition of the population under study, and a description of the sampling frame used to identify this population.

4. A description of the sample selection procedure, giving a clear indication of the method by which the respondents were selected by the researcher, or whether the respondents were entirely self-selected.

5. Size of samples and, if applicable, completion rates and information on eligibility criteria and screening procedures.

6. A discussion of the precision of the findings, including, if appropriate, estimates of sampling error, and a description of any weighting or estimating procedures used. Which results are based on parts of the sample, rather than on the total sample.

7. Method, location, and dates of data collection.

The next time you see a survey that doesn’t include most of these supporting elements, you might want to view it with some suspicion. Like maybe, that mayoral poll that came out last week.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Condomania Comes to East Falls

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority ("RDA") has preliminarily selected Global City to construct the "Terrace at Falls Bridge". This proposed $85 million development would consist of 172 condo units in four modern buildings ranging from four to twelve stories. A key feature in the design is a forty-foot wide public terrace that will run between Ridge Avenue and Kelly Drive. The public terrace will be flanked by 17,000 sq. ft. of retail space, likely to include a food store. The selection of the developer by the RDA Board is considered preliminary. Global City will need to negotiate a developer's agreement with the RDA and then secure necessary approvals for their project, including zoning.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I thought it was a typo at first; Mayor Street's travel schedule for today included a trip to the 4th annual conference on "Glocalization" at the World Bank. Glocalization is "[t]he creation of products or services intended for the global market, but customized to suit the local culture", according to Wikipedia.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Random Environmental Factoid: The Marines and Soy Beans

According to PennFuture, the United States Marine Corps is the largest consumer of biodiesel fuel in the nation and the US military is expected to use more than six million gallons this year. Military fleet managers find that using biodiesel means cleaner engines that produce less pollution, without any loss of power and performance. Also, the Department of the Navy has ordered all domestic Navy/Marine facilities to use biodiesel when possible.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Are More Alternative Fuel Vehicles in Philadelphia’s Future?

A resolution – sponsored by Councilman Kenney - was unanimously adopted by Philadelphia City Council and referred to the Committee on Legislative Oversight authorizing the Committee to hold public hearings on whether the Office of Fleet Management’s vehicle purchasing policies should require a preference for the purchase of alternative fuel or hybrid-electric vehicles, which will facilitate savings, reduce fuel consumption, and promote a positive image of Philadelphia as an environmentally-conscious City. Hearings are likely to be held towards the end of the month.

The City of Philadelphia’s fleet consists of approximately 6,200 vehicles, including ambulances, fire apparatus, police cars, passenger and cargo vans, jeeps, buses and sedans that use approximately 4.6 million gallons of fuel (gasoline and diesel) each year. Given the rapidly rising cost of gasoline, many cities across the country have moved to replace conventional vehicles with hybrid-electric or alternative fuel vehicles. In particular, hybrid-electric vehicles have excellent warranties, lower projected maintenance costs (because the combustion engine receives less wear) and as much as 50 percent lower fuel costs than conventional vehicles. By way of example and inspiration, New York City has been purchasing hybrid-electric vehicles since 2001 and have amassed a hybrid-electric fleet of over 800 vehicles by requiring 80 percent of their light-duty vehicles purchases per fiscal year to be hybrid-electric.

Council Action on Proposed PGW Rate Hike

The Committee on Transportation and Public Utilities – Chaired by Councilman Michael Nutter - will meet to consider Resolution #050845 on Tuesday, October 11 at 2:00pm in room 400 of City Hall. This resolution would authorize City Council's Transportation and Public Utilities Committee to hold public hearings to discuss the impact of the proposed PGW 19.4% rate hike on the Philadelphia's citizens and explore methods of providing resources and relief to those most severely affected by such a dramatic increase.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Philadelphia Lawyers

A new survey of lawyers who practice in Philadelphia reveals that almost half - 45 percent - live within city limits and 30.3 percent are women (see story). The Philadelphia Bar Association survey of 340 attorneys - released last week - also found that lawyers eat out five times a week and 60 percent regularly do pro bono work. The survey establishes empirically what’s generally known about the legal profession in Philadelphia; law firms and their lawyers and support staff are a vital and productive component of the local economy and they also contribute significantly to civic life.

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