Monday, May 29, 2006
Friday, May 26, 2006
"When anti-Frank DiCicco posters sprouted on utility poles last week, the city councilman quickly blamed Eddie Kirlin, whom he called "director of arts and crafts" for Local 98 of the Electricians Union.
Union leader John Dougherty told us last week that Kirlin hadn't worked for 98 in two years. But National Labor Relations Board documents show Kirlin was a consultant for the local, making $36,000 last year.
"He does information technology for us," Dougherty said. "He helps on our Web site and with marketing."
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Other candidates are uniquely PA with messages like, “Don’t follow me. Pick your own road.” and “Proud parent of a PA roadtrip.” Aspiring bumper sticker authors can also submit their own slogan and artwork for consideration.
Voting ends at midnight on July 1 and the winning bumper sticker will be announced on visitPA.com on July 4. Voters will be invited to visit a PennDOT Welcome Center this summer to pick up a free Pennsylvania bumper sticker.
To weigh in on the debate or for help in planning a roadtrip across the State of Independence, go to visitPA.com. And before hitting the road, check out the Roadtrip Etiquette section for “rules of the road” for responsible and thrifty roadtrippers.
Additionally, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office recently launched the “Where You Want To Go” trip generator on visitPA.com, an online tool that not only provides directions but also allows visitors to pre-select from 10 travel activities, the results of which are plotted on interactive maps. Users can also pick lodging and dining options, along with attractions, shopping, nightlife, theatre and more, which are added to the map for a completely customized itinerary.
Travelers who might become lost along the way can also get directions – anytime – at any one of Pennsylvania’s Welcome Centers.
Posted by JAF at 5/25/2006
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Posted by JAF at 5/24/2006
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Posted by JAF at 5/23/2006
Monday, May 22, 2006
Posted by JAF at 5/22/2006
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Posted by JAF at 5/20/2006
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Posted by JAF at 5/16/2006
Monday, May 15, 2006
Why do we need a new ethics board?
Posted by JAF at 5/15/2006
Saturday, May 13, 2006
The poll also shows that rising gas prices are one factor behind Pennsylvanians’ growing dissatisfaction. Mentions of high gas/fuel prices as the most important problem facing the state have doubled in the past month (13 percent now versus six percent in March).
Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) conducted the poll for IssuesPA, the non-partisan statewide awareness project focused on raising the issues most critical to Pennsylvania’s economic future. Funding for the survey was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The margin of error is plus/minus three percentage points.
Views of the Legislature
When asked for a one-word description that best describes the legislature, the largest number of Pennsylvanians (69 respondents) said, “greedy.” Though the top ten list of responses includes some positive or neutral words like “good,” “okay,” and “fair,” most have a negative connotation such as “crook,” “poor,” and “corrupt.”
Only a quarter (26 percent) of Pennsylvania residents feel they can trust the legislature to do what is right just about always or most of the time. Nearly seven in ten (67 percent) feel they can be trusted only some of the time or never.
Pennsylvanians’ negative perception of the legislature might carry over into this year’s elections, as two-thirds (66 percent) of voters say that an incumbent state legislator’s vote on the pay raise should be a very important issue in this year’s legislative elections
“The well-reported furor over the Legislative pay raise appears to be having a lasting effect,” said Larry Hugick of PSRAI. “Pennsylvanians express low confidence in the state legislature as whole but have more positive opinions of their own state representatives.
Education has emerged as a key issue in the 2006 elections. Most voters (85 percent) say that making sure high school graduates have the skills they need for college or a career will be very important in determining their vote in the gubernatorial and legislative races this year. Eighty-one percent say that making sure children have a similar opportunity for a quality education regardless of where they live will be very important. Voters were asked to rate the importance of 30 different issues this spring. Only one other issue – providing health care for uninsured children – was rated “very important” by 80 percent or more of the respondents.
Across Pennsylvania, most residents (56 percent) agree that financing education should be the responsibility of the state government. However, a similar majority (53 percent) want local school officials to be in charge of ensuring that public schools provide a quality education.
Gubernatorial Race Still Wide Open
The poll asked Pennsylvania voters about their chances of voting for Ed Rendell and Lynn Swann in the November gubernatorial election. Based on their responses to two questions, three in 10 (30%) voters are likely to support Rendell, another three in 10 (29%) are likely support Swann, and four in 10 (40%) are classified as swing voters, not strongly committed to either candidate. The new poll shows more voters on the fence than the March 2006 poll; the number of swing voters has increased by six percentage points.
The IssuesPA/Pew poll also generated these findings:
* Three in four (75 percent) voters statewide say the candidates’ positions on how to best control state spending will be very important to their vote.
* More than two-thirds (71 percent) of voters say the candidates’ positions on how to best provide a tax system that is fair, adequate and pro-growth will be very important to their voting decision.
* About half (52 percent) think the issue of helping cities and towns solve their financial problems should be very important.
* Most Pennsylvanians (63 percent) do not think local communities without their own police department should be charged a service fee for state police protection.
* Residents have many reasons for disliking local property taxes. Even numbers of Pennsylvanians (21 percent) say their main complaint about property taxes is that they make home ownership unaffordable and don’t specifically take household income into account.
* In terms of reducing the property tax rates, the two least acceptable alternatives are expanding the state sales tax base (27 percent) and increasing the local wage tax (25 percent).
* More than a third of Pennsylvanians (38 percent) think that conditions affecting their region’s economic performance have gotten worse in the past four years.
“There are a number of issues that matter to Pennsylvanians, and many of them may be important factors in the 2006 elections,” said Steven Wray, Project Director of IssuesPA and Deputy Director of the Pennsylvania Economy League’s office in Philadelphia. “The candidates’ positions on taxes, jobs and education may be key in deciding what could be a very close race.”
About the Poll
The April 2006 IssuesPA/Pew Poll, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Economy League and The Pew Charitable Trusts, was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Telephone interviews were conducted from April 17 – 26, 2006 with 1,503 Pennsylvania adults, age 18 and over, of which 1,191 identified themselves as registered voters. The results have been statistically weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The overall margin of sampling error for results is plus or minus three percentage points.
Posted by JAF at 5/13/2006
Friday, May 12, 2006
According to the Department of Agriculture, there are 4,000 alpaca farms in the U.S. and the Commonwealth is home to 188 farms with 3,396 registered alpacas.
Also, Pennsylvania is home to 24 sod farms, totaling more than 2,100 acres grown.
"The number one reason leaders in the Pennsylvania legislature leave office is retirement. This fact is unremarkable enough, but becomes more interesting if one looks at the number two, three and four reasons: number two is death; number three is resignation after legal problems; and number four -- and last -- is defeat at the polls."
Thursday, May 11, 2006
The results of the surveys showed that community support and opposition to be consistent surrounding the Budd Plant site and along the Delaware River, as less than half of the residents surrounding the former Budd Co. plant are opposed to the TrumpStreet Casino and Entertainment Complex (“TrumpStreet”) proposal. Additionally, the research found that a majority of residents who live in proximity to the Delaware River sites stand opposed to having two venues built in their area.
The research was conducted following the request of the Multi-Community Alliance, who asked representatives of TrumpStreet to conduct a poll to accurately gauge community sentiment towards the casino. The poll determined that 43% of those surveyed opposed building a casino, 44% favored and 13% were neutral or had no opinion. The Delaware River sites had approximately the same levels of opposition and support: 42% opposed, 45% favored and 13% were neutral or had no opinion.
Jefrey Pollock, President of Global Strategy Group, LLC said, "The data is very clear that support and opposition for the TrumpStreet Casino is virtually evenly split. There is no empirical evidence supporting the claims of the individuals opposing TrumpStreet that residents are overwhelmingly opposed."
Data from the TrumpStreet poll also revealed that African-Americans support the Trump casino application: 47% support, 40% oppose, with 13% having no opinion.
White voters, however, oppose the casino with 51% opposition, 38% support and 10% having no opinion. When asked what should be done at the Budd Company site, 21% of respondents stated a casino and entertainment complex, 13% wanted a shopping center and 12% preferred a park and recreation area.
When the 600 voters surveyed on the Delaware River areas were asked "Would you prefer that one casino be built along the Delaware River and one somewhere else in the City, or should both be built along the Delaware River, or should both be built somewhere else in the City?" Only 36% of those residents wanted to see both on the Delaware River. The remaining respondents wanted to see both casinos located elsewhere or preferred only one be built along the river.
Donald Trump, Chairman of Trump Entertainment Resorts, met with elected officials and neighborhood leaders to discuss the findings of the poll last week.
Mr. Trump said, "We are gaining momentum in educating the residents of the neighborhoods surrounding TrumpStreet as to the real story behind our application. We understand the challenges that will face our neighbors should we be successful and it is important that they know how hard we are working to address their concerns. This poll is proof our message is beginning to resonate and that residents are now beginning to separate myth from fact. ”
The Global Strategy Group poll was conducted between March 29 and April 5, 2006. The Trump Site survey was taken from a one and one-half mile radius of the location of the casino. The Delaware Avenue survey was taken in the First Councilmanic District
The overall margin of error is +/- 4% at the 95% confidence level for each survey.
Posted by JAF at 5/11/2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
Posted by JAF at 5/05/2006
Posted by JAF at 5/05/2006
Thursday, May 04, 2006
PhillyCarShare’s project is among “the best and brightest, and represents government’s great capacity for creating positive change and achieving results,” says Gowher Rizvi, Director of Harvard’s Ash Institute. The project “takes a creative approach to a significant problem and demonstrates that [the] solution works.”
PhillyCarShare and the City of Philadelphia teamed in 2004 to create the first system worldwide in which government employees and local residents would share vehicles by the hour in a major car-reduction effort. Advanced technology facilitates easy independent access to vehicles 24/7, automated cost allocation, and unprecedented superb accountability.
The pioneering project has leveraged the City’s elimination of 330 vehicles, saving taxpayers nearly $2 million annually. Philadelphia residents have sold or avoided purchasing another 1,500 vehicles through the program. They drive 9.9 million fewer miles per year; walk, bike, and take transit 37% more; and save about $6 million annually versus owning cars, according to detailed participant surveys. All participants pollute 90% less while driving PhillyCarShare’s hybrid gas-electric vehicles.
The prize money is awarded specifically to support winning programs in the teaching of their model to other jurisdictions. “By celebrating and disseminating this kind of creative thinking at all levels of government, the awards program helps turn innovative ideas into commonly accepted practices,” said Patricia McGinnis, President of the Council for Excellence in Government.
Stephen Goldsmith, Director of the Innovations in American Government Awards at the Ash Institute says, “When you learn about the variety of programs, the range of problems they tackle, and the creative ways they do it, it gives you a renewed confidence in the quality and commitment of our public servants. By shining a bright light on these innovators, we hope to encourage others in government to follow their amazing lead.”
Winners will be selected later this month following presentations they will make to the National Selection Committee at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government on May 25, 2006. The seven final winners will be announced on July 10 at a dinner ceremony in Washington, D.C., during the 2006 Excellence in Government Conference.
PhillyCarShare is a non-profit organization founded in 2002 by five local Philadelphians, operates a rapidly growing fleet of hybrids, wagons, and fun vehicle models from 40+ locations in central Philadelphia and Mt. Airy. Each member receives a personal key and 24-hour access to the entire fleet. Then driving is easy: reserve online, hop in, and go! Affordable hourly and mileage rates cover gas, premium insurance, and reserved parking. Members enjoy the convenience of driving, without the hassles of ownership.
The Innovations in American Government Awards, founded in 1986, is a program of the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The award is administered in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government in Washington.
Posted by JAF at 5/04/2006
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
For more info, check out their website. The Autobiography Project is being presented by 2 non-profit groups - the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary and One Book, One Philadelphia.
Posted by JAF at 5/03/2006
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Posted by JAF at 5/02/2006
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