Saturday, December 29, 2007

Titusville, PA

Located in Crawford County in the northwestern part of the Commonwealth, Titusville is famous as the birthplace of the oil industry. The first commercial oil well in the world was drilled there by Col. Edwin Drake on August 27, 1859.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Unisys' headquarters are moving to Center City

From the Inquirer last week:

"Unisys Corp. is moving its headquarters and 225 management jobs to Two Liberty Place in Center City from Blue Bell. Stephanie Naidoff, Philadelphia's commerce director, said the city would give Unisys up to $1 million in yearly job-creation tax incentives. "We wanted to change the face of Unisys to our clients and partners, and to people we're recruiting," Unisys chief executive officer Joseph McGrath said. Unisys employs 775 in Blue Bell. The company is considering alternative locations in the Philadelphia suburbs for the more than 500 who will not make the move to Center City. It also employs 650 at its Malvern research-and-development center. About 1,000 others work at Unisys offices or with clients in the Philadelphia area. Worldwide, the company has 29,500 employees."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Mummers on Two Street

The Mummers are wonderful. Check out the parade on New Year's Day or on Two Street in the evening. Here's a video from last year.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Philadelphia Classrooms are Wired

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, "Every classroom in the 170,000-student Philadelphia School District has wireless Internet capabilities under a $40 million project completed last month - one of the world's largest networks of its kind, according to industry and school district officials." A link to the article is here.

It's a shame that good news like this doesn't get as much play as bad news does.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Philadelphia is cool. Northern Liberties is cool. Here is a cool video pod on Northern Liberties.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Agricultural Factoid

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the first recorded Christmas tree in the nation was displayed in Bethlehem, PA, in 1747. Christmas tree harvesting contributes $13.9 million to Commonwealth’s economy, with 1.7 million trees produced on 45,000 acres.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Masterman: One of the Top 100 High Schools in the Nation

US News and World Report has listed - for the first time - the nation's best high schools. Masterman at 17th and Spring Garden Streets is at #53.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

RecycleBank in Cherry Hill

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, Philadelphia's RecycleBank has signed Cherry Hill, N.J. as a client. Cherry Hill is the 27th municipality to sign on.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Michael Nutter in the New York Times

There's an article about our next Mayor in the New York Times; you can find it here. The article says that "he has been called the Seabiscuit of this year’s urban politics, having beaten two congressmen, a veteran state legislator and a billionaire businessman in the Democratic primary in May before taking the general election on Nov. 6 by a four-to-one ratio, the largest the city has seen since 1931."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New Philadelphia Construction: Cira Centre South

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, Brandywine Realty Trust broke ground yesterday on its $800 million "Cira Centre South" project in University City. Brandywine built the original Cira Centre, a 28-story, 728,000-square-foot office building next to 30th Street Station. The new building will be a 2.8 million square foot mixed-use development with offices, a hotel, residential, parking and retail. Cira Centre South is scheduled for completion by the end of 2010.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cash Bonuses for Teachers?

From Harvard's Kennedy School of Government: "New York City has moved forward with a controversial plan to give cash bonuses to underperforming schools where student test scores are rising. Similar plans have alredy been deployed in Denver, Minneapolis, and other cities. With the blessing of New York's local teachers' union, the plan provides awards to entire schools, not just individual teachers, who raise test scores. A school committee then determines how the award will be distributed to the teachers. The plan is voluntary and would require that at least 55 percent of the teachers at a participating school vote to opt in."

Friday, November 16, 2007

"Reading Terminal Market West"

On Monday the 19th of November, the Marketplace at East Falls will open at 8:00 am. It's basically going to be Northwest Philadelphia's version of the Reading Terminal Market, with produce, prepared foods, wines sales, etc.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mayor-Elect Nutter Selects Charles Ramsey as Police Commissioner

Here's an excerpt from his online bio:

Charles H. Ramsey was appointed chief of the Metropolitan Police Department on April 21, 1998. He retired on December 28, 2006, having been the longest-serving chief of the MPDC since DC Home Rule and the second longest-serving in Department history. Under Chief Ramsey's leadership, the Department regained its reputation as a national leader in urban policing. Crime rates declined by approximately 40 percent during Ramsey's tenure, community policing and traffic safety programs were expanded, and MPDC recruiting and hiring standards, training, equipment, facilities and fleet were all dramatic upgraded.

A nationally recognized innovator, educator and practitioner of community policing, Chief Ramsey refocused the MPDC on crime fighting and crime prevention through a more accountable organizational structure, new equipment and technology, an enhanced strategy of community policing and, since September 11, 2001, new approaches to homeland security and counter-terrorism in the Nation's Capital. Chief Ramsey was instrumental in designing and implementing the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy, the city's nationally acclaimed model of community policing. As co-manager of the CAPS project in Chicago, Chief Ramsey was one of the principal authors of the police department's strategic vision. He also designed and implemented the CAPS operational model and helped to develop new training curricula and communications efforts to support implementation.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, a multi-stage, multi-day music festival has been proposed for next summer in Fairmount Park. C3 Presents - based in Austin (TX) - and producers of Austin City Limits and the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago, has been recommended by the Fairmount Park Conservancy to produce the festival, which would take place over three days on Belmont Plateau.

Video of Michael Nutter's Acceptance Speech

Check out Mayor-elect Michael Nutter's acceptance speech here.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Democracy for America Likes Al Gore

DFA has an online poll going until November 5th; Al Gore is winning as a write-in.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Transit Customer Advocate?

There's an article in the Inky today reporting on New Jersey Transit's "customer advocate" Sandra Check was named to the new, $136,000-a-year post of customer advocate in August as to "woo new passengers and mollify old ones".

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Michael Nutter Getting Some National Press

There's an interesting article about the person likely to be our next Mayor in Governing Magazine; a national publication for government management professionals and officials. There are some interesting footnotes in the electronic version of this article, including one by the leader of one of Philadelphia's "watchdog" groups.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Philly Metro Blog

Philly Metro has a new blog.

Pennsylvania State Universities Achieve Record Enrollment

According to the Philadelphia Metro, Pennsylvania's state universities reported record enrollment for a sixth straight year. A total of 110,428 students are attending state universities this fall. One factor driving enrollment growth? Cost. Students at public universities paid an average of $12,796 last year, while students at private schools spent $30,367. The 14 state universities are Kutztown, Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Waiting for Al Gore

Oscar. Emmy. Nobel Prize. Is Al Gore going to get into the race for President? I hope so. So does this blogger.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Agricultural Factoid

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Commonwealth ranks 4th nationally in apple production; about 510 million pounds are produced every year.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Banking Development Districts

In an effort to get banks to increase their presence in underserved urban and rural areas, state Rep. Dwight Evans introduced legislation last week that would establish "banking development districts." In exchange for locating in a designated district, banks would be eligible for public deposits and other incentives like tax exemptions.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Michael Nutter in Pittsburgh

Watch this interview of Michael Nutter during his recent trip to Pittsburgh. It'll give you a sense of why he's going to be a great Philadelphia leader, both internally and externally.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Electric Cars to Park for Free?

City Councilman Jim Kenney is introducing a bill that would allow the Philadelphia Parking Authority to create electric car parking spaces in neighborhoods. Therefore, owners of electric cars would have spaces in front of their homes reserved for parking and charging their vehicles. The owner would be responsible for installing the electrical outlet at the curb. I like it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Opportunity NYC" Expansion

From the Harvard Government Innovators website: "Hoping to contribute to the success of Opportunity NYC, a program by which poor families get financial incentives to act in their and society's long-term interests, the City of New York is collaborating with eight banks and credit unions to offer a special Opportunity NYC savings account. These flexible "starter" accounts do not require a minimum opening balance and do not charge monthly fees. There is a $50 incentive for Opportunity NYC participants to open an account, which provides easy and safe access to the bi-monthly allowances paid to Opportunity NYC families. The goal of the accounts is to encourage savings and budgeting and help beneficiaries establish and maintain good credit."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Plastic Bag Ban for Philadelphia?

According to the Daily News, Councilmen DiCicco and Kenney will introduce a bill to ban "regular" plastic bags at supermarkets and pharmacies in favor of non-plastic, compostable bags. Kenney also plans to introduce a companion bill that would ban Styrofoam.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

"‘Fall For Your Park" Cleanup Day

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is seeking volunteers for the 9th annual Fall for Your Park cleanup event on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cobbs Creek Park and Laura Sims Skatehouse (nearby), as well as the Cobbs Creek Recreation Center in West Philadelphia.

More than 300 volunteers from 80 neighborhood park groups will meet to plant trees, garden, paint, restore woodland and more. Volunteers will receive free T-shirts and lunch, while supplies last. Have a hand in the transformation that will occur as neighborhood residents and park advocates from across the city work to improve the site for all to enjoy. For more information, call (215) 988-1611 or

Registration will begin at 8 a.m. at the Laura Sims Skatehouse, 63rd & Walnut streets. Fall for Your Park is sponsored by Philadelphia Green’s Parks Revitalization Project, the Philadelphia Department of Recreation, Fairmount Park and the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, with support from the William Penn Foundation, Aveeno, the American Parks Network and the Philadelphia Committee of the Garden Club of America.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Agricultural Factoid: A Fungus Among Us

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, our state is the "Mushroom Capital of the World," producing almost 60 percent of the total mushroom sales in America. Chester County is home to 65 of Pennsylvania’s 76 mushroom growers and produces more than 40 percent of America's mushrooms.

Quote of the Day

"Good government is good politics". - J. Allen Friedman (2007)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mike Nutter's Webchat

A recent Michael Nutter webchat can be found here.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Friday Agricultural Factoid

The York Fair is the first and oldest fair in the nation. It was was established in 1765, 11 years before America's formation. The Fair will be held from September 7-16.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Metropolitan Moms Launches in Philadelphia

Metropolitan Moms has launched in Philadelphia. What is it? According to their website:
"Spending quality time with your baby can be fun for baby AND you. Metropolitan Moms will take you and your baby on private museum tours, to the latest gallery exhibitions, on historical neighborhood walks, and on visits to the studios of emerging artists. Metropolitan Moms is your chance to explore the world beyond babies- and here’s the best part- you don’t have to leave your baby at home! All excursions are stroller friendly and limited to small, private groups led by seasoned experts. A Mother’s Helper also attends to ensure moms get the most of each moment of the class and that all needs are quickly attended to."

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Al Gore In?

A post on Daily Kos floats a few theories as to why the time might be right for Al Gore to get into the Presidential race. The post also notes that a US Representative from Florida is saying there's a very good chance that the former VP and popular vote winner in the 2000 election may get in the race.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007

Why Mike Nutter Won the Democratic Primary

Conventional wisdom about Philadelphia politics died on May 16th, 2007. It was on this day that myths about Michael Nutter came crashing down along with the canards about whose get-out-the-vote machine was most effective and the importance of union support. The election debunked all of the “Myths about Michael”. Apparently the guy who didn’t have a base and couldn’t raise money, did have a base (Brady, Evans, and Fattah only received a few thousand more votes - combined – than Michael) and could raise money (Michael raised more money from more people than anybody else).

But I think there are two basic reasons why Nutter won (1) He was more committed, focused and disciplined than the other candidates. He quit his job ten months out and focused on nothing else; (2) The second reason has two components: (a) Nutter was simply the most qualified candidate in terms of charisma, character, intelligence, progressivism and vision; and (b) the high visibility of candidates during this election cycle (i.e., myriad public forums, audio and video podcasts, etc.) made Nutter’s superior qualifications self-evident to a broad cross-section of Philadelphians.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Michael Bloomberg: Flexibility is Overrated

From the Inquirer, Michael Nutter met with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who told Michael Nutter that "the key to running a big city is establishing your priorities, sticking to them, and not letting anyone, including the press, force you off them". I know that Mike Nutter will be that kind of leader.

Al Gore & New Orleans

Here’s an interesting post from Dailykos about Al Gore’s actions after the Katrina disaster in New Orleans.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Green Fest Philly

Sunday, Sept. 9, 2007, 11am-6pm
South Street, between 7th & 11th

Philadelphia is going green - come find out which organizations and businesses are improving the environmental quality of life in our City. This street festival will feature music, food, art and more than 100 exhibitors. It's called Greenfest Philly.

Grand Central Station for Al Gore News

Here's the place to go for the latest on erstwhile - and possibly future - presidential candidate.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pennsylvania for Gore

The Pennsylvania for Gore website is here.

Current TV

My new favorite TV channel is Current TV, Current TV is an independent media company led by some guy named Al Gore. Much of the content is "viewer created" and the format is fast-paced and information-rich. It's channel 107 on Comcast, at least in Northwest Philadelphia where I'm watching it.

Al Gore for President?

Al Gore for President. I have been a supporter of Al's since the 1980's. I have a signed copy of Earth in the Balance. When he won the election in 2000, I was excited because this country was going to have the most environmentally conscious leader in our history. Alas, due to Republican chicanery, it was not to be. If you're interested in the "Draft Al Gore" movement, here's one place you can sign an on-line petition.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Friday Agricultural Factoid: Just Peachy

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Commonwealth ranks 5th in the nation for peach production, growing more than 26,000 tons of peaches each year.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Mike Nutter's Visit to Chicago

A clip on Michael Nutter's visit to Chicago can be found here.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Is the Phantatic a Vegan?

Citizens Bank Park - home of the Phillies - was recently voted the "Most Vegetarian-Friendly Ballpark in North America" by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Philadelphia-based ARAMARK provides concessions at the ballpark, including a veggie dog, flame-grilled gardenburger and Philly mock-steak sandwich. The stadium also offers vegetarian subs and wraps, and tomato pie.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Starbucks, meet Saxbys

A Philadelphia-based coffee chain has plans to go national. Its first store will open shortly in Wayne (PA), with 60 Philadelphia-area locations planned for the first part of 2008 and other locations coming online across the country as well. Saxby's Coffee is headquartered at the Curtis Center along Independence Mall in the Old City section of Philadelphia.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Agricultural Factoid

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the average vegetable travels almost 1,500 miles from farm to grocery store. That's nearly 30 times the distance of foods purchased from local farms. Here's a great idea; visit a farmers' market. Fresher food that's easier on the planet.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Pet Adoptions Up in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), set a record in July when 1,017 animals brought to the shelter found good homes. The adoption rate is a 50 percent increase over the previous record. Adoptions were accelerated by PAWS' annual feline-adoption program, in which the fee is lowered from $24 to $1. This reduced adoption fee remains in effect until the end of August.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Friday Agricultural Factoid: A Few Days Late

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, August is Produce Month. Pennsylvania is home to 3,500 farm families who manage more than 48,000 acres of vegetable crops and produce more than 240,000 tons of vegetables.

Friday, August 03, 2007

PhillyCarShare + Bicycles = Velib'

The City of Paris (France, not Texas) has created a "bicycle transit system" called Velib'. Parisians and visitors will be able to pick up and drop off bicycles throughout Paris at 750 locations — offering a total of 10,648 bikes. By the end of 2007, there will be a Velib station approximately every 900 feet for a total of 1,451 locations and 20,600 bikes. I want "BikeFreedom" to come to Philadelphia!

Annapolis Promotes Scooters and Bikes

In an attempt to get citizens into alternative transportation modes, the City of Annapolis will launch a program this fall to increase the use of electric scooters and bikes. As part of the "Annapolis Pass" program - a partnership with local scooter and bicycle retailers - those who buy scooters and bikes will get discounts at local businesses.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Cherry Street is Dead, Long Live Cherry Street (Su Xing House)

While the demise of Cherry Street Vegetarian was difficult for me, I have found a worthy if not better replacement; Su Xing House at 1508 Sansom Street. It's delicious and very affordable. If you're looking for great Chinese vegetarian, this is the place. It's a B.Y.O.B. and yes, they deliver.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Pawnshop Roses

There's a hot Philadelphia band called the Pawnshop Roses; their new album is "Let it Roll"'s available on iTunes...check it out.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Agricultural Factoid: Random Definition Edition

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, "Agritourism” was officially added to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary last year. The Commonwealth is is home to more than 100 agritourism destinations.

Seattle Expands its Recycling Program

By 2009, all Seattle single-family homes will be required to take part in a fee-based recycling program mandating separate food waste disposal. The program will be remain optional for businesses and apartment residents. Public officials are determined to divert 72 percent of the City's garbage from the dump by 2025.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pennsylvania Employment is Strong

Pennsylvania added 900 new jobs last month (net), which pushed the Commonwealth's employment to a record 5,799,400 jobs. The Commonwealth's "seasonally adjusted civilian labor force" - the number of people working or looking for work - also rose last month by 38,000 to 6,296,000. Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell a tenth of a percentage point from May to 4.1 percent last month. According to Governor Rendell, service-producing industries continued to account for all of the job growth, adding a total of 2,500 jobs last month. Professional and business services and government, the only sectors showing significant growth, added 1,500 and 1,600 jobs respectively last month. The total number of jobs in the state have increased in 11 of the past 12 months, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reported. Pennsylvania has added 49,900 jobs since June 2006.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Agricultural Factoid

Sweet corn is a $44.2 million industry in the Commonwealth. We rank 7th nationally in sweet corn production. In 2006, 17,400 acres were planted and harvested in Pennsylvania, totaling 99 million pounds.

The Philadelphia Navy Yard

I took a tour of the Philadelphia Navy Yard this week. It's an amazing part of the City with a fascinating history. Also, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and the City of Philadelphia are doing an incredible job of redeveloping the site. There are currently around 6,500 people working down there, with a vision to cultivate the growth of what will essentially be a whole other neighborhood with upwards of 30,000 jobs. Further, I had one of the best lunches of my life at the Frog at the Yard. I highly recommend going down there to take a tour and to grab some lunch!

Monday, July 16, 2007

PhillyCarShare Announces Transit Reimbursement Policy

PhillyCarShare - Philadelphia's preeminent car sharing organization - today announced a program that will reimburse drivers for the cost of using mass transit. PhillyCarShare members who use SEPTA subway, trolley and regional rail service will be reimbursed as a credit to their PhillyCarShare accounts, up to $7 round-trip for regional rail and $2.60 round-trip on rapid transit and subway-surface. Receipts or tickets are required for all but subway trips. With more than 30 eligible stations in the program representing every rail line in the SEPTA system, notable stations include 69th Street, Frankford, Fern Rock, 30th Street, City Hall, Eighth and Market, and neighborhood stations along the R6, R7, and R8 regional rail lines in Northwest Philadelphia. See PhillyCarShare's website for details.

I Care What Celebrities Think!

Ok, well not really. But I have always been a fan of Democratic Presidential Candidate Bill Richardson. Notwithstanding the current President, I like candidates with experience as chief executives, whether as governor, county executive, or mayor. Anyway, from CNN, here's a list of celebrities that have given to Mr. Richardson:

James L. Brooks, producer/writer: $1000
Michael Douglas, actor: $3100
Val Kilmer, actor: $2300
Paul Newman, actor: $2300
Edward James Olmos, actor: $2300
Wendie Malick, “Just Shoot Me” actress: $500
Steven Spielberg, director: $2300
Kate Capshaw, actress, wife of Steven Spielberg: $2300
Jodie Foster, actress: $1000
Christie Brinkley, self-described as “Model/Mom/Environmental activist”: $500
Bette Midler, actress/singer: $4600
Sherry Lansing, former film executive: $2300
William Friedkin, director: $2300

A Primate City?

Found this definition on Wikipedia: "A primate city is a major city that works as the financial, political, and population center of a country and is not rivaled in any of these aspects by any other city in that country. Normally, a primate city must be at least twice as populous as the second largest city in the country. The presence of a primate city in a country usually indicates an imbalance in development — usually a progressive core, and a lagging periphery, on which the primate city depends for labor and other resources."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Friday Agriculture Factoid: All is Fair in Love and Pennsylvania

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, leads the nation in the number of county and community fairs with 116 across. Check out this pdf link for more information.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Plastics Bags Begone!

A new state law in California requires most grocery stores and other large retailers to provide recycling bins for plastic bags. Some California cities, such as San Francisco, are preparing to ban plastic bags altogether. Cities are also encouraging consumers to use reusable bags or biodegradable bags. According to the Plastic Bag Alliance, 9 percent of waste in landfills is plastic, and half of that is plastic bags and film.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Friday Agricultural Factoid: Many Days Late

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, July is national ice cream month. The Commonwealth ranks 6th in the overall production of regular hard ice cream at nearly 35 million gallons annually.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

What's Your Favorite City?

Vote for your favorite city here.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Why Don’t We Do This In Philadelphia?

The City of Bellevue, Washington’s water provider will offer free water-saving showerheads to thousands of customers as part of a new regional energy and water efficiency campaign. Efficient showerheads help customers save money on water, gas, electric and sewer utility bills.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Philly is on the Verge

According to the blog Phillyinc, the Philadelphia region did well in the "Cities on the Verge" section of a report put out by FastCompany Magazine under the category of "Urban Innovator." FastCompany said the Philadelphia region won for its high share of folks working "knowledge-based jobs" in industry and academia. The magazine compared 300 cities using data compiled by economist Richard Florida and others; Philadelphia ended up No. 4 on the list.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Friday Agricultural Factoid: Pennsylvania is Amusing

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA), our state has more amusement rides than any other. Over 7,000 rides are checked by nearly 1,400 certified PDA inspectors.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia

Philadelphia has a number of environmental and sustainability organizations that are sure to achieve new levels of engagement with City Government in partnership with Mayor Nutter, destined to be the greenest Philadelphia Mayor in history. The Bicycle Coalition's mission is "[p]romoting the bicycle as an environmentally friendly, healthy, and economical form of transportation and recreation through advocacy and education."

The Philadelphia Runner Track Club

Some of the best times of my life have involved competitive long-distance running and as I deal with middle-age, I frequently think about how I can make a comeback and restore athletic glory to the House of Friedman. I am thinking about joining up with a running club, and have found at least one. According to their website, "the Philadelphia Runner Track Club began in the fall of 2000 as an athlete-organized and operated competitive running team. Initially known as SureKill Track Club, namesake of the most challenging hill on Philadelphia’s once venerable Belmont Plateau cross-country course, the club was founded by LaSalle University graduates Brian Gallagher, Pete Dougherty, and Tom Sabol. Their goal was to establish a club to promote and foster the development of post collegiate runners in their pursuit of ever-faster times, national championships and Olympic dreams – and they have done just that."

Sunday, June 24, 2007

San Fran Watter Bottle Ban

According to the Associated Press, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order banning City departments from buying bottled water, even for water coolers. The bottle ban goes into effect July 1 and will extend to water coolers by December 1. The move is intended to staunch global warming and save taxpayers' money. In a press release announcing the move, the Mayor expressed concern over the environmental impact of making, transporting and disposing of the bottles. Over a billion of the plastic vessels end up in California's landfills every year. When the ban goes into effect, City and County (San Francisco is both a City and County, just like Philadelphia) offices will dispense municipal tap water.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I Saw a Fox Last Night

At about 11:00 PM last night, the motion-activated light in my back yard went on. I looked out the window and saw a little red fox. Right here in East Falls. Very cool.

Friday Agricultural Factoid

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside. Further, the Commonwealth ranks sixth nationally in strawberry production at $12.8 million.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Energy Independence for Pennsylvania

Governor Edward G. Rendell tonight praised the House of Representatives for overwhelmingly approving two major components of his Energy Independence Strategy. The chamber voted to approve two measures tonight. House Bill 1202, which provides for cleaner fuels and makes Pennsylvania less reliant on foreign oil, passed on a vote of 138-60, while House Bill 1200 was approved by a margin of 129-69. HB 1200 paves the way new economic development opportunities in the rapidly growing clean and renewable energy technology development industry. House Bill 1200 expands the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority to encourage new investments in the state’s growing renewable energy development and deployment fields. The authority will target grants, loans and tax credits to alternative energy manufacturers and energy-efficient companies to promote research in the field and attract new jobs to the state. PEDA is an independent financing authority established to help finance clean energy projects in Pennsylvania. Governor Rendell brought the board back to life in March 2005 after years of inactivity to help create new economic opportunities for Pennsylvania. Since that time, PEDA has awarded $21 million in grants and loans for 57 clean energy projects that are leveraging another $240 million in private investment. The projects will create 975 permanent and construction jobs. House Bill 1202 mandates new standards for clean burning fuels like ethanol and biodiesel, and by increasing demand for these products, will help create new opportunities for the state’s farmers. The bill requires that gasoline be blended with 10 percent ethanol and that diesel fuel eventually include 20 percent biodiesel once in-state production reaches certain levels. The Governor’s Energy Independence Strategy is designed to save consumers $10 billion in energy costs over the next decade, increase Pennsylvania’s alternative and renewable energy production capacity, reduce the state’s dependence on foreign fuels, and create more jobs. For more information on the Energy Independence Strategy, visit

Friday, June 08, 2007

Wall Street West

According to an article in the New York Times, Pennsylvania is looking to offer itself as an alternative to NYC as a backup facility site for New York City’s financial industry. Pennsylvania officials are promoting a nine-county region 100 miles west of Manhattan as the place to put backup facilities for Wall Street. Governor Rendell announced plans to build a $24 million fiber-optic network to carry data from Manhattan to Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA).

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Better City Services: More Thoughts

Rationalization of City Department/Agency Service Districts
There is little to no coterminity between the service districts of various departments/agencies in the City. This means that there is little opportunity for inter-departmental cooperation and the efficiency and effectiveness it promotes. Presently, you cannot call a meeting of all “District One” departmental representatives to a meeting to focus on a particular problem in a specific area of the City. The system isn’t set up that way. However, imagine if the City were separated into 10 or so fairly large agglomerations of similarly situated and/or proximate neighborhoods with coterminous departmental service districts and a deputy managing director overseeing operations. It would produce an accountability system and focus currently lacking with respect to service delivery to neighborhoods.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Friday Agricultural Factoid: One Day Late

According to the Commonwealth's Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania has over 700 golf courses, generating $1.1 billion in economic benefit. The industry supports local agriculture businesses like greenhouses, nurseries and sod farms.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Creating an Office of Neighborhoods for Philadelphia

While everybody says that Philadelphia is a “City of Neighborhoods”, it is surprising how little attention and support they are given from the Mayor’s office and the City of Philadelphia’s government generally. Philadelphia neighborhoods aren’t quaint abstractions, but real places that have “organic jurisdictional form”; that is, they don’t have the legal standing of a separate municipality, but they have issues and concerns that distinguish them from other neighborhoods. Despite the reality of neighborhood differentiation, the structure of City government does very little to recognize this form or to support neighborhood-based and focused community organizations.

While economies of scale are important to achieve, the ineffectiveness of service agglomeration for a city government trying to serve a socio-economically diverse constituency City presents its own set of problems; one size does not fit all.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Mike Nutter's Acceptance Speech

It was a great night and a great speech; watch it here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Nutter Wins!

Photo of the Philadelphia flag is from Phillyskyline; Mike Nutter has won the Democratic Primary and will likely be the next Mayor of Philadelphia.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Nutter Endorsements

They're not just coming from the major dailys anymore, many local blogs have endorsed Nutter. Here are just a few:

Booman Tribune (a nationally known blog that is Philly-based)
Truth, Justice, and Peace

And of course, even before America's Hometown was a blog, we've been endorsing Michael Nutter for Mayor since 2003.

Chris Bowers on the Mayor's Race and Politics in Philadelphia

Commentary from Philadelphia's own Chris Bowers on the Mayor's race over at MyDD can be found here.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Union Endorsement for Nutter

From the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Nutter also received the endorsement of Local 835 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, which represents 1,975 skilled tradesmen at area universities and cultural institutions."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Michael Nutter' Latest Television Ad

Michael Nutter's latest ad is here. It presents the deluge of endorsements he's recently received.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Fallser Endorses Mike Nutter for Mayor

The Fallser - East Falls' community newspaper - has endorsed Michael Nutter for Mayor. Said the Fallser:

More than any other candidate, Mr. Nutter’s plans have both depth and substance. He is the brightest, most knowledgeable about Philadelphia and adjacent suburbs, and best able to articulate his plans for the city.

Mr. Nutter pledges to use the City’s economic development resources to create opportunities for all Philadelphians, including small business owners and middle class residents, now being squeezed out by Philadelphia’s shrinking job base. “I understand how to create neighborhood jobs,” he says, “I’ve been doing it as a District Council member for 15 years.”

P.S. East Falls is a fairly large neighborhood with more than 10,000 people.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Hot Places, Cool Spaces

Check out this link for some very neat, environmentally conscious developments in the Fishtown/Northern Liberties sections of town.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Michael Nutter's Latest Ad

Michael Nutter's latest television ad is here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

When Republicans Attack

Has anybody heard about the Republican review of Governor Rendell's appointments to the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Kathleen McGinty and Mike DiBerardinis? If not, there's a post over at Young Philadelphia Politics that does a great job of explaining what's going on and why we need to speak up. The post on YPP is here; I'd also urge you to send an email to State lawmakers here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Michael Nutter Continues to Surge

News from the Nutter Campaign:

He's raised $3.4 million so far, likely more than any of the non-self funded candidates. He's raised $325,000 in the last four days!!

Also, the latest NBC10 Survey USA poll confirms Nutter's position as "co-frontrunner" with Tom Knox. The SurveyUSA poll has Knox with 29 percent and Nutter surging into second with 27 percent, 13 points better than the last poll for NBC10. Fattah stays at 18, Brady falls to 11 and Evans to 9.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Matt McClure (Candidate for 4th Councilmanic District) Releases Fairmount Park Plan

On the 135th Anniversary of Arbor Day, Matt McClure, candidate for the Fourth Council District, released his plan for making immediate improvements to Fairmount Park by providing secure and adequate financial resources and clearly accountable leadership to make system-wide improvements.

Once elected, McClure has committed to immediately fighting for complete implementation of the Fairmount Park Commission’s Five Year Funding Plan. The majority of Fairmount Park’s 9,200 acres lies within the Fourth Councilmanic District.

“Its time to end the secretive backroom deals that select our Park Commissioners and City Councilmembers,” stated McClure. “Instead, I want to work hand-in-hand with an independent commission and parks advocates to keep our parks well-maintained, safe, and attractive. Fairmount Park is one of our region’s strongest assets, and with some innovative approaches to income retention and entrepreneurial opportunities, I believe that not only will we have the largest urban park system in the world, I believe we can also have the best.”

Matt's full plan for Fairmount Park can be found here.

Michael Nutter's Fundraising Surges

From the Nutter Campaign:

Over 313 Donors Give Average Contribution of $191 in last three days
Philadelphia, April 30, 2007

Michael Nutter, Democratic candidate for Mayor, today announced that his campaign raised more than $60,000 from more than 313 online donors in the last three days - Friday, April 27 through Sunday, April 29. Nutter said that he believed that this level of online support was unprecedented in the Philadelphia mayoral race and had likely far exceeded online donations made to any of his opponents over a comparable period of time. "These donations show that grassroots support for my candidacy continues to build, and we hope to ride this momentum straight through to May 15,"said Nutter. "Every time someone makes a donation, it shows a level of solid support - and from the start of this campaign the support that we have received has been phenomenal." Nutter said that more than 4,050 people have made a donation to his campaign for Mayor since he began his campaign last year. Nutter said that the online donations came after his campaign sent an email to his supporters reporting on a poll by Pennsylvanians for Effective Government (PEG) that showed Nutter in a virtual dead heat with the previous front runner, Tom Knox. Both the PEG poll and the Philadelphia Inquirer's endorsement of Nutter on Sunday, April 29, boosted donations to Nutter's campaign over the weekend. In 2006, Nutter raised more money and had more donors than any of the other four Mayoral candidates.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Saturday, April 28, 2007

27th Ward Endorses Michael Nutter

Over in the 27th Ward - mostly University City - the Ward Committee overwhelmingly endorsed Michael Nutter for Mayor. The story - by Philadelphia's own Chris Bowers - can be found here.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Inquirer Endorses Nutter

In Sunday's edition, the Philadelphia Inquirer will endorse Michael Nutter for the May 15 Democratic primary election.

The Inquirer calls Nutter "the most promising package of achievement, persistence, smarts and vision." Further, the paper believes that it "is easy to imagine on the national stage as the fresh voice of a resurgent Philadelphia, changing the narrative from one about bloodshed, corruption and dysfunction to one about new ideas, new energy, new partnerships."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

We're Number Five!!

The 25th anniversary edition of "Places Rated Almanac" is putting out its latest ranking of America's most livable cities, and Philadelphia ended up #5. Our sister City in the west of the state - Pittsburgh - was #1.

The ranking of 379 metropolitan areas across the nation is based on nine categories: housing (cost of living); transportation; jobs; education; climate; crime; health care; recreation; and ambience (museums, arts, restaurants and historical districts).

The rest of the top 10 are San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Rochester, N.Y., Washington, D.C., San Jose-Sunnyvale, Calif., Boston and Madison, Wis.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bill would create regional authority for PHL

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

"A state representative from Delaware County, joined by other lawmakers, introduced a bill in Harrisburg today to create a regional authority to operate Philadelphia International, Lehigh Valley and other airports in the area."

"Rep. Bryan Lentz said in a news release that establishing a Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Airport Authority could help reduce congestion at Philadelphia, one of the nation's most delay-prone airports, by coordinating planning and operations at all the region's air fields. The authority would be required to have cooperative agreements with state authorities in Delaware and New Jersey, and to coordinate planning and investment with SEPTA and Amtrak, he said."

Another Media Endorsement for Mike Nutter

The University of Pennsylvania's student newspaper - with a daily circulation of 14,000 - has endorsed Mike Nutter for Mayor of Philadelphia.

"The [Daily Pennsylvanian] Opinion Board strongly endorses Michael Nutter for the next mayor of Philadelphia. While all five Democratic candidates have their advantages and disadvantages, Nutter has the vision, know-how and experience to take the city in the right direction."

"Philadelphia needs real, practical solutions from someone who knows how to get things done. Michael Nutter is that man."

Read the full endorsement here.

Vote for Philly

CNN and Travel and Leisure are rating the nation's top cities in a variety of categories. Last time (2004), Philadelphia didn't fare well. While it is one of the top places for sightseeing, we also were ranked to have the least "good-looking" residents and second to last quality of life. You can see the results here.

The survey is coming out again soon so if you want to vote, click this link and improve our standing!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The First Major Media Endorsement Goes to Michael Nutter

Nutter will be endorsed by Philly Mag in the May issue - hitting newsstands Thursday.

Said Philadelphia Magazine:

"We interviewed all five Democratic candidates, and the nearly unanimous view of the staff was that only Michael Nutter has the vision and sense of urgency to tackle the city’s problems, from ethics to tax cuts to taking on the murder epidemic. In the end, we felt that Nutter has the best potential to be an inspiring leader and to speak to all Philadelphians.”
"Well, there is one candidate in this race who has, over the years, shown a willingness to take on the entrenched interests and do the people’s business. His name is Michael Nutter, and he’s been on the right side of virtually every public issue the city has faced over the past decade and a half. The Police Advisory Commission, domestic partner benefits legislation, ethics in government, wage tax reduction, the smoking ban — none of it would have happened without former councilman Nutter’s Job-like persistence."

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mid-Atlantic Highlands Action Program

The Mid-Atlantic Highlands Action Program is a multi-state partnership run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It is the first-ever attempt to coordinate environmental conservation and economic revival in the mid-Appalachian range. The governors of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia recently announced they had signed the charter establishing the partnership, which is mandated by an 2001 act of Congress.

Governor Ed Rendell said the program - similar to the state's Pennsylvania Wilds eco-tourism project in northern-tier counties - will seek to balance the region's portfolio of recreational amenities with various economic interests. "Our challenge," said Rendell, "is to seek common ground and develop policies that will manage the many demands on this land, while preserving the natural beauty and heritage of the Appalachian Mountains."

The states, under EPA's aegis and funded by an initial $2.5 million federal grant, will survey the region's ecologically significant highlands areas and identify pilot projects to facilitate ongoing community conservation efforts and local economic development.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Agricultural Factoid

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Commonwealth has preserved over 350,000 acres of farmland. That's a lot of land. It's equal to 70 million parked cars, more than 233,000 football fields and is four times the size of Philadelphia.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Philadelphia International Airport is the largest purchaser of wind power among all airports in the U.S. They've committed to purchase 7% of their annual electricity use - about 13,000 megawatt hours - from wind power each year.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Agricultural Factoid

I know, it's been a while. I've been on a hiatus.

Anyway, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, more than 2 million acres of crops will be planted this spring in the Commonwealth. Farmers will plant wheat, corn, oats, barley, sorghum and soybeans across our state’s 7.7 million acres of farmland.

Monday, February 19, 2007

PennDems Endorse Michael Nutter for Mayor

PennDems Endorse Michael Nutter for Mayor
Phone: 816.686.0729
UNIVERSITY CITY, PHILADELPHIA – February 13, 2007 – The University of Pennsylvania Democrats are proud to announce their endorsement of Michael A. Nutter for Philadelphia Mayor. Nutter -- a lifetime Philadelphia resident and Penn graduate with an accomplished career of public service, business, and financial administration -- impressed the student organization's members with his reform agenda.
Councilman Nutter supports the gradual elimination of the Business Privilege Tax and adding more uniformed officers to the Philadelphia Police Department. Moreover, his Neighborhood Benefits Strategy would require housing and community development projects financed with federal funds to employ low-income neighborhood residents.
Furthermore, Nutter has long been a voice for reforming Philadelphia politics. He is one of the only candidates for mayor who has pledged to adhere to campaign finance limits enacted three years ago.
Nutter served as a City Councilman for nearly 15 years before resigning to run for Mayor. His tenure was marked by several leadership triumphs, including steering the effort to pass a citywide smoking ban and spearheading the creation of an Ethics Reform Board and Ethics Code to provide routine training for City Officers and officials.
The Penn Democrats -- one of the largest student organizations at the University of Pennsylvania and the 2006 Pennsylvania College Democrats Chapter of the Year -- look forward to assisting Michael Nutter as he seeks to become Mayor of Philadelphia.
Members of the Penn Democrats will knock on doors, write letters, and call voters on Nutter's behalf. These efforts will mirror those taken by the Penn Democrats in 2006, when members knocked on over 15,000 doors for Iraq War Veteran and Congressional Candidate Patrick Murphy in an election he won by fewer than 2,000 votes.
The University of Pennsylvanian Democrats are an organization of progressive college students dedicated to registering voters, educating fellow students, and electing Democrats. For information, please visit

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Friday Agricultural Factoid - Two Days Late

According to the Department of Agriculture, there are more than 50 confectionaries in the Commonwealth, including Hershey's, the world's largest chocolate company.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

High Tech Crime Fighting Technique for Philadelphia

From the Harvard Government Innovators Network, "Philadelphia will take advantage of new statistics software to predict which recent probationers are most likely to reoffend. Developed using research about thousands of previous crimes, the city's new Strategic Anti-Violence Unit (SAV-U) uses computer models to forecast which individuals may commit crimes again. Armed with this information, SAV-U can target resources, such as drug treatment, education, and counseling, more efficiently."

Friday, January 05, 2007

Nutter on Ethics (from the campaign)

I strongly support the proposals of the Committee of Seventy’s ETHICS AGENDA. I am proud to be the only candidate running for Mayor who has achieved any concrete ethics reform in Philadelphia. My public policy record on ethics reform is unmatched by any other candidate or potential candidate for Mayor. Every Mayoral candidate should post on this site their track record on ethics reform based on their experience in the public and/or private sectors. I plan to release additional proposals for continued ethics reform later this month. In the meantime, please read my track record on ethics reform as a policy and legislative issue in Philadelphia.

Independent Ethics Board
In September 2004, I introduced legislation providing for the first time in City history a Charter created Ethics Board. To insure the integrity of this Board, I pushed for a strong, independent entity with adjudicatory and enforcement powers, and guaranteed funding and staff to carry out its mission. The Ethics Board was overwhelmingly approved by the voters in May 2006. Five members were sworn in as the City’s first independent Board of Ethics on November 27, 2006.

Revised City Ethics Code
I made changes to the City's Ethics Code which now mandates regular ethics training and education for all City officers and employees, the issuance of advisory opinions, the adjudication of ethics violations, and the imposition of civil fines. These measures were adopted by City Council in December 2005.

No-Bid (Professional Services) Contract Reform and Contribution Limits
I wrote legislation, approved in June 2005, which provides for an open and transparent process for no-bid contracts, limits campaign contributions to $5000 for individuals and $20,000 for businesses, and requires mandatory disclosure of campaign contributions before the award of a no-bid contract and during the contract period. These reforms were Charter amendments and required voter approval before taking effect. In November 2005, 87% of the voters said “yes” to the ballot question calling for these reforms. This was the largest winning margin ever recorded for a ballot question in Philadelphia. The new no-bid contract procedures took effect on February 1, 2006.

Limits on Political Contributions by Contractors
Another important reform I proposed, approved in December 2005, prohibits persons and businesses from receiving City financial assistance if they have made campaign contributions in excess of the prescribed limits − $5000 for individuals and $20,000 for businesses. In addition, individuals or businesses awarded City financial assistance must agree not to make any campaign contributions which exceed the local limits for five years after receipt of the financial assistance. This ordinance took effect on July 1, 2006.

Campaign Finance Reports on City's Website
This new measure, approved December 2005, requires candidates for City offices to file their campaign reports with the City's Records Department. In addition to a hard copy, the reports are to be electronically filed, and the Records Department, working with the Ethics Board, is directed to post the campaign reports on the City's website no later than five business days after receipt of the information. The Records Department has implemented this new law and campaign reports are now available on-line.

There is much common ground between these achievements and the Committee of Seventy’s Ethics Agenda. I look forward to working with Seventy and to continuing the hard but important work of achieving real change in government ethics in the City of Philadelphia.

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