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Vol. II No. 92 (252)

Keeping You Posted With The Politics Of Philadelphia

June 29, 2011

Philadelphia Daily Record


OFFICER LEELONI VAZQUEZ, left, holds shotgun turned in during a gun-buyback program sponsored by office of State Sen. Anthony H. Williams, Youth Action and Peace Not Guns. She is joined by, from left, Donald Cave, community-relations director for Williams; 17th Dist. Police Capt. Anthony Washington; and Lt. Tom Vales. Participants received $100 gift certificates for turning in guns, no questions asked. Twenty-five guns were turned in during two-hour program at Donald Finnegan Rec Ctr. in S. Phila. Program is part of Summer of Peace initiative coordinated by Senator.

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The Philadelphia Public Record Calendar Jun. 29Montgomery, McCracken et al. invite all to portrait presentation of Hon. Judge Gene D. Cohen at City Hall Rm. 653, 4 p.m. Reception follows in Conversation Ha., 2nd fl. RSVP Stephanie Redding (215) 772-7260. Jun. 29PRO-ACT 2-hr. workshop on “How to Talk to Your Legislators & Get Them to Hear You, ” at PRO-ACT Recovery Training Ctr., 444 N. 3rd St., Suite 307, 6 p.m. Again on Sat., Aug. 13 at 10 a.m. at the same location. Free. Call William Webb (215) 923-1661. Jul. 10Benefit for Women Veterans hosted by Cathy Santos at Mom’s Kitchen Table Garden Courtyard, 2317 Ridge Ave., 4-9 p. m. For

info Cathy Santos (215) 834-4228. Jul. 19Fundraiser for Council candidate David Oh at McGillin’s Ale House, 1310 Drury St., 6-8. Free buffet, open bar. Contribution $50. Cash or money order. No Corporate checks. Jul. 23Brady Bunch get-together at Keenan’s at 113 Old New Jersey Av., North Wildwood, N.J., 4-8 p.m. Tickets $35. For info Tommy (215) 423-9027 or Charlie (215) 241-7804. Aug. 18Stu Bykofsky’s 21st Candidates Comedy Night at Finnigan’s Wake, 3rd & Spring Garden Sts., 7:30 p.m. Tickets $75. Order by calling Variety (215) 735-0803.


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Region’s Shore Vacationers Hit With Higher Costs With 35 million people within a tank of gas from New Jersey’s southern shore region, fuel costs, dining-out expenses and even charter fishing rates have increased by more than the 8.45% inflation rate change from the 2007 summer, just before the recession.

Those dining out in Atlantic City, Cape May or Wildwood could see a 13% increase in their overall restaurant bill. Also, the total average increase at selected charter-fishing trips along the southern shore increased by almost 16%.

This is the word from Controller Alan Butkovitz’s lat- While fuel, dining, and attraction costs have increased est economic survey, which was released Monday. by double digits, the overall average room rate increased by only 7% at selected hotels in Cape May, Philadelphians filling up their tanks before leaving the Ocean City and Wildwood. For those looking to buy, city are realizing a 25% increase in fuel costs. The curthe beach towns that have realized the most significant rent average roundtrip fuel cost for driving to Cape decreases in median house prices include: Wildwood, May in a compact car which earns 32 miles per gallon -45%; Ventnor, -32%; and Somers Point, -24%. is $21.68, compared to $17.36 four years ago.

Fattah Calls City Roadwork A ‘Win-Win’ Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Phila.), a senior appropriator on the House Appropriations Committee, said, on hearing of planned improvements to the Walnut Lane Bridge in Northwest Philadelphia:

Bridge safe and attractive. Federal funds channeled through SEPTA paid for the new Cheltenham-Ogontz bus terminal and I joined the groundbreaking on a similar project off Parkside Avenue. I was pleased to help launch long-overdue improvements on SEPTA regional “Philadelphians continue to benefit every day from the rail lines at Wayne Junction in North Philadelphia and flow of federal dollars to improve our infrastructure Allens Lane in Mount Airy. and create jobs. The latest example is $6.3 million in federal highway funds to renovate the historic Walnut “Approval last week by the Delaware Valley Regional Lane Bridge, which earns its keep but shows its age Planning Commission moves PennDOT’s $7.1 million every day as a vital link between Roxborough and Walnut Lane Bridge renovation, about 90% federally Mount Airy-Germantown. funded, to the front burner. We can look forward to creation of jobs followed by daily benefits to 17,000 mo“In recent months, the win-win impact of the Obama torists on the roadway and recreation users beneath the Administration’s economic recovery policies that I arches. There’s plenty of history in this bridge and have supported has been evident across the City of throughout our city, but smart federal spending to modPhiladelphia and the Second Congressional District. ernize our infrastructure is a story that never gets old.” An 80% federal match has made the South Street

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How Sweet It Is

“GROUNDBREAKING” for Mariposa Food Coop’s new grocery store on Baltimore Avenue in W. Phila., a $2.3 million venture, took place indoors Monday – with a cake shaped like a pile of dirt, surrounded by construction toys. Wielding trowels instead of shovels, Mayor Michael Nutter and Commerce Dept. COO Kevin Dow licked their fingers afterwards – a move seldom seen at an outdoor groundbreaking.

‘Joint-And-Several’ Lawsuit Reform Speeds To Guv’s Desk Leading the charge, for the third time, to curb lawsuit exposure on behalf of the Commonwealth’s residents, health-care providers and job creators, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) said legislation reenacting a landmark lawsuit-abuse reform measure, the Fair Share Act, is heading to the Governor to be signed into law. SB 1131, “The Fair Share Act”, passed by a vote of 116-83. “The Fair Share Act is commonsense legislation aimed at saving jobs,” Turzai said. “Our intent was and is to 4|

protect every citizen’s access to the legal system and his or her right to sue, while preserving the concept of ‘responsibility matches fault.’ Pennsylvania’s courts must protect the rights of those who can be dragged into court by lawyers searching for ‘deep pockets’ and bring lawsuits against those minimally responsible, or not responsible at all. These lawsuits cost jobs by making employers afraid to expand or introduce new products for fear of being sued.” The Fair Share Act eliminates joint liability for defendants in civil cases found to be less than 60% liable and implements a system of comparative responsibility in which a defendant is responsible for paying only his or her fair share of the damages. That means if a party is


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responsible for 10% of the fault, that party would be accountable for paying only 10% of the total award. Under current law, the doctrine of joint and several liability establishes that a defendant in a multi-defendant civil case may be required to pay damages associated with the actions of their co-defendants. Each year, according to the Acting Attorney General, the Commonwealth is sued several hundred times; currently, more than 1,300 tort cases are pending against the State. The majority of these cases involve the Pennsylvania Dep. Of Transportation, where an uninsured, or under-insured, driver caused death or bodily injury. The plaintiffs are just looking for someone to pay, regardless of fault. The current system of joint and several liability has a direct impact on Pennsylvania taxpayers who are left paying the share of others who are at fault. The Fair Share Act, uses the same compromise language as Act 57 of 2002, which passed and was signed into law by Gov. Mark Schweiker. It was challenged in court by House Democrat leaders on procedural, not substantive, grounds. They wanted to stop the reform, and succeeded. Subsequently the Fair Share Act was again passed in 2006, but it was vetoed by Gov. Ed Rendell, who had actually promised support.

Farnese Amendment To Restore Arts Funding Is Shot Down State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-S. Phila.) offered an amendment in committee Monday that would have restored $20 million dollars in funding to the arts. The amendment was offered in the Appropriations Committee and was defeated along party lines by a vote of 16 to 10. “Arts and culture is a job creator and an economic engine for the state and the region,” said the Senator. “Our State spends relatively little on arts and culture, and in

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return the sector provides 62,000 jobs and generates almost $300 million dollars in State and local tax revenues.” Farnese’s amendment restored funding to the level that was originally proposed by the Governor in his March budget address but was stripped by Republicans in the House. Despite huge budget surplus projections of at least $500 million and the Governor’s refusal to reasonably tax Marcellus Shale, the Republicans voted to reduce or eliminate funding to major cultural institutions, arts and music education programs, community development projects and to arts and cultural programs across the state. The bill would cut the Commonwealth’s investment in those programs from $8.5 million to $2.5 million and would drop Pennsylvania’s rank from 28th to 46th in the nation in per-capita funding of the arts. “The arts provide nuts-and-bolts improvement in math scores and other skills,” said Robert Welsh, executive director of the nonprofit Jump Street, based in Harrisburg. The cuts amount to a 70% reduction to the granting budget of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. “Today’s vote is wrong for Pennsylvania, said Farnese. “Now is not the time to walk away from our commitments to arts and culture.” Farnese also introduced in the Appropriations Committee three amendments in committee on behalf of State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Northeast). These amendments would have used the substantial surplus to restore AdultBasic Insurance to 41,000 Pennsylvanians who are otherwise without health insurance. The amendments were also defeated along party lines.




PHA Hosts Annual Senior Health Summit

SENIORS CAROL WHITE and Lavern Willey Lewis were glad to receive health tips at PHA’s Health Summit.

P.H.A. CHIEF M I C H A E L KELLY greets an attendee at Wilson Park’s Senior Health Summit.



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Hundreds of PHA senior residents from around the city converged at the Wilson Park development in South Philadelphia for the agency’s annual Senior Health Summit. The summit recognized the special needs of seniors and provided information on how to manage their health and address issues as they age. Seniors in attendance met with vendors and took advantage of information on nutrition, prescription drugs, health care insurance, mammograms, blood pressure, diabetes, hearing loss and more. “The objective of the Senior Health Summit is to give seniors a better understanding of health issues,” said PHA Administrative Receiver Michael P. Kelly. “We work hard to provide material and resources so our seniors can acquire the quality health care they deserve.” Carol White, a PHA resident, wanted to learn new ways of staying healthy while meeting other seniors with

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similar interests. “I think it is beautiful meeting folks,” she said. “And receiving a bag full of information on high blood pressure and other health issues shows how much PHA is dedicated to its residents.” Her fiancé Lavern Willey Lewis attended the summit to learn what services were available to address a health issue that has been affecting him. “My future wife and I both have hearing problems. They told us about a company that gives hearing tests. The service picks you up or will give you the test in your home for free,” said Lewis. “God willing, we all become seniors and it is great to have an event like this that provides a world of information about health.” PHA has more than 7,500 residents over the age of 50. The agency provides health and fitness programs for older residents and works with other government agencies to deliver quality service and support for seniors.




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