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WHAT'S NEW IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
CCRA'S THRILLA IN PHILA: 350 HEAR FEIBUSH/JOHNSON
350 neighbors heard real estate developer Ori Feibush and incumbent Kenyatta Johnson, Democrats seeking City Council's seat for the Second District in a candidate's night moderated by Philadelphia Magazine's Holly Otterbein.
Lincoln - Douglas it was not but we learned a few things:
WHO THEY SUPPORT FOR MAYOR: Johnson supports Mayoral Candidate Anthony Williams noting that he had seen Senator Williams advancing Philadelphia's agenda while Johnson served in the state House. Feibush is undecided.
SCHOOL FUNDING: Asked whether they supported the administration's proposed 9% real estate tax increase to close the school funding gap, Johnson responded that any assessment of City funding for school funding needs must await news as to the amount of Harrisburg's support for our schools. Feibush maintained that a tax increase could be avoided if the City addressed an AVI shortcoming identified by the Crosstown Coalition, the under valuation of land.
CAMPAIGN FUNDING: Candor broke out when both candidates acknowledged they would appreciate support from any group acting independently of their respective campaigns utilizing the Citizens United campaign funding strategies. When asked whether his campaign should be "taken seriously" because it is largely self funded, Feibush replied that this approach shows "I am in my pocket and no one else's". In response to a question concerning a contribution made by the developer advancing the proposed Hudson Hotel at 17th and Chancellor, Johnson noted that, despite the contribution, this project, colloquially known as the "Little Pete's" proposal, has not yet been approved and that his campaign records reveal contributions from development groups whose projects had been turned down at Council.
COUNCIL PERSON PEROGATIVE: Moderator Otterbein described Councilperson privilege where, by custom, City Council members defer to District Council representatives on issues within their respective districts, then asked Feibush whether his real estate holdings in the Second District would present a conflict of interest. Feibush replied that he had divested himself of all properties in the District save one and went on to lambast the Councilperson privilege custom, claiming that it discouraged good urban planning by singling out stand alone parcels. There was no follow up question as to whether Feibush would go back into the Second District market if elected.
PGW: Feibush wants the gas works sold observing that the City should not be in the utility business and suggesting that the sale funds would be well used to decrease the City's pension deficit. Johnson joined former Council member and current Mayoral candidate Jim Kenney in disowning the decision not to hold public debates on the PGW sale. Johnson stated that he did not introduce a bill because of strong constituent feedback against the sale. He did not mention that at least one constituent group, CCRA, had requested that Council open the question to public debate.
UED BILL PASSES 13 -3
It was two steps forward, one step backward in CCRA's campaign against the Urban Experiential Display legislation authorizing the installation of UEDs (six story, three dimensional digital ad displays). CCRA's earlier two steps forward efforts led to the elimination of UED's at two sites in our community (19 th and Market and Broad Street south of Walnut on the Sporting Club garage). But it was one step backward on March 26 when Council authorized UED enabling legislation for sites at Reading Terminal and the Convention Center despite testimony from CCRA's President Jeff Braff, Crosstown Coalition Chair Steve Huntington, Scenic Philadelphia Executive Director Mary Tracy, and Design Advocacy Group chair Kiki Bolender. The vote was 13 -3 with nays from Council people Wilson Goode, our own Kenyatta Johnson, and Blondell Reynolds Brown.
Particularly distressing were last minute amendments eliminating a required determination by the Planning Commission that a UED "provides for reasonable, compatible spatial relationships," and elimination of the requirement of an agreement between the "Applicant" for a UED and a governmental entity for a financial contribution "to be used exclusively for public improvements in the immediate vicinity of the UED" (e.g., sidewalk repairs, lighting, transit stations). Instead, Catalyst Outdoor, the UED operator who pushed for this legislation, has entered into "community benefits agreements," not mentioned in the legislation, which call for payments by Catalyst directly to certain non-profits, with no requirements as to the use of such funds.
MONOPOLY TRIVIA CONTEST AT CCRA'S APRIL 13 CELEBRATION OF CENTER CITY PARTY, 6 - 8:30 PM, FREEMAN'S AUCTION HOUSE, 1808 CHESTNUT ST.
How much money does each player start out with and in what denominations? This is just one of the questions that will be posed in the Monopoly Trivia contest. And there will be prizes for the winners. So get out your monocle and top hat and join your friends and neighbors as CCRA salutes Joan and Dane Wells, the 2015 winners of the Lenora Berson Community Service Award. Enjoy Hors d'oeuvres and Desserts compliments of Di Bruno Bros., and Wine Tastings poured by Moore Bros., as well as a Monopoly-inspired cocktail concocted by our own Barbara Halpern, while browsing through Freeman's 20th Century Design Show. Silent and live auction items will be available for every budget. Click here to see current (and growing) list. Tickets start at $50 for those under 35 and $75 for everyone else, and can be purchased on line by clicking here.
Sponsored by William Penn House, AQ Rittenhouse, AT&T, and Firstrust Bank. All proceeds will support CCRA activities devoted to making Center City a better place to live, work, and play through the preservation, enhancement, and celebration of urban living. CCRA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Ticket price, less $35/ticket, is tax deductible. Official registration and financial statements can be obtained from the PA Dept. of State by calling, toll free, 800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.
Neil Oxman ON The Mayor's race, Thurs, 4/2 6:30-8:30 PM, Acad. of vocal arts, 1920 spruce st.
Come hear Neil Oxman, co-founder of The Campaign Group, a manager of political ad campaigns for more than 700 races across the US, and lecturer on media and political strategy, share his insider's view of the Philly mayoral race. Light refreshments will be served. The event is free, but preregistration is requested. For more information, click here.To RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-925-7333.
CCRA MERCHANT MEMBERS DISCOUNT PROGRAM
Support our local merchants and save money too. These local merchants will provide a discount (described here) to any member who shows a current CCRA membership card (Di Bruno Bros. has its own CCRA card) and personal identification.
Uber - Limo service Uber provides $20 off a first ride, Good for new users only. Members use code CCRA14.
Philly Foodworks - Use the code "CCRA" when signing up for home delivery and receive a $20 discount on delivery charges.
NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS AND EVENTS
ART BY JEAN PLOUGH, THRU SAT, 4/4, TWENTY-TWO GALLERY, 236 S. 22ND ST.
"Untitled;" acrylic on canvas; 47 x 72 in.; by Jean Plough
Recent oil paintings by Philadelphia area abstract Impressionist artist Jean Plough at Twenty-Two Gallery.
PHILLY WINE WEEK THRU - 3/29
The eight days total of Philadelphia Wine Week will see exciting wine events hosted by many of Philly's most acclaimed and beloved spots. Click here to check out your favorite.
ALBERT M. GREENFIELD SCHOOL REGISTRATION AND TOUR INFORMATION FOR 2015
Greenfield School, located at 22nd and Chestnut, serving grades K-8, is now accepting registration for children living within the school's catchment area: the south side of the Ben Franklin Parkway to the north side of Bainbridge St., and from the west side of Broad St. to the Schuylkill River. Only children living within the catchment will be admitted. When registering at Greenfield School, you must bring your child's original birth certificate or passport, his/her vaccination records, your own government issued photo ID, and your original gas and electric bill from the past month as proof of residence. Water or cell phone bills are not accepted as proof of residence.
Tours: Greenfield offers school tours on the 2nd Thursday of each month. All tours begin at 9:00 am. No need to pre-register. The next Tours will be: April 9, and May 14. Contact Amy Arcaro if you have any questions at email@example.com or visit the Greenfield website at www.greenfieldhsa.org.
BOOK SALE BY FRIENDS OF PCI LIBRARY, SAT 4/18, 11AM - 4PM, 1905 LOCUST ST.
The Friends of the Philadelphia City Institute Library will be holding a used book, CD, and DVD sale and are seeking relatively recent used books in excellent condition, CDs and DVDs. Donations can be dropped when the library is open. The event will also feature the sale of homemade baked goods. Proceeds for programs, materials, and equipment at the PCI branch.
RSFMCC GARDEN PARTY ON SUN., 4/19, 2-5 PM, AT CHIMA (20TH AND JFK) AND FLOWER MARKET ON MAY 6-7
Rittenhouse Square Flower Market for Children's Charities invites all to its Garden Party honoring Center City resident, CHOP top doc, John J. "Jack" Downes. For more information, go to www.rittenhousesquareflowermarket.org. RSFMCC also is now accepting tax deductible donations for its collectibles table at the Flower Market May 6 and 7. Costume jewelry, bric-a-brac, artwork, housewares/glassware, and re-gifted items, all in good-excellent condition. To donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org call 215-668-2941 by April 20. And don't forget to visit the Flower Market May 6 and 7, from 9-6 (rain or shine) for plants (including CCRA's herb booth), crafts, collectibles, last minute Mother's Day gifts, and activities for young and old alike.
Funds raised will be used for: free group sessions for children who have lost a close family member (THE CENTER FOR GRIEVING CHILDREN); electronic devices for children with neurological disorders (for HMS SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN WITH CEREBRAL PALSY); fulfilling requests and special treats for critically ill children and those in shelters (for LITTLE SMILES PA, INC.); and dental support for North Phila. children with no other dental care (for ST. CHRISTOPHER'S FOUNDATION FOR CHILDREN).