Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Is Vince Fumo Going To Pull A Clay Davis??

A little light being shed on the Fumo defense strategy…
After years of near silence, State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo finally laid out his defense last week to the federal government's sprawling corruption indictment.

In the most striking defense argument, Fumo acknowledged that he had received freebies - power tools, consumer goods and much more - from a South Philadelphia neighborhood-improvement charity.

But the defense said Fumo had deserved the gifts from Citizens' Alliance for Better Neighborhoods as thanks for having raised millions for the organization.

We can't give him a gold Rolex watch for $25,000 because he has a watch," said lawyer Edwin J. Jacobs Jr., who represents former Citizens' Alliance head Ruth Arnao, a Fumo codefendant, at the start of the trial Wednesday.
Right, because that logic makes perfect sense. If you're playing by Clay Davis standards…

Arguments on both sides of Fumo trial [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Took - Episode 7, Season 5 of The Wire [ Wikipedia ]

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Valet Bike Parking Comes To Philadelphia

There's a shortage of places to park your bike in Philadelphia. With more people than ever biking around the city, those precious few places at which to lock up your one speed have become even more scarce.

Obviously, the city will need a lot more bike racks, not to mention indoor bike parking in office buildings.

But that’s going to take some time.

In the meantime, how about valet bike parking?
Bike valet parking has been around in [New York City] for at least a decade, but mostly as an occasional volunteer service provided at public events like film screenings, “Summers Streets” events and the recent Lower East Side pickle festival by Transportation Alternatives, the pro-bike lobby.

But it’s gone upscale. Even a recent Fashion Week event at Bergdorf Goodman offered bike valet parking. It’s something that is also offered across the country, in cities like San Francisco and Chicago.

“People worry about locking up the bike,” said Hillary Nanney, 24, who was one of dozens of bikers who used the free bike valet service at International Pickle Day. “This is a great service.”

Yes, the city is already making efforts to ease bike parking: increasing bike facilities for city employees, building bike shelters, encouraging buildings to incorporate indoor bike parking and installing nifty bike racks, some of which are spectacularly designed.

But it’s not going to be nearly enough. For one thing, the proposed Bicycle Parking Text Amendment would require buildings to offer bike parking — but only new ones.
A valet service would give people piece of mind. It could make economic sense too. Right now, most bike valet parking is free. But many people would be willing to pay at the least the equivalent of a roundtrip subway fare or thereabouts — $3-4 a day or $80 a month. So with just 25-30 bikes in a day, someone could earn around $100 to cover wages and overhead, which isn’t much (which would be minimal).

You can pack in bicycles a lot more densely when you valet park (it works that way for cars, too). A parking space for a car can fit 20 bikes.

It’s also quite labor efficient. Instead of one valet driver per car at any instance, a bike valet could ostensibly move two bikes at a time — one for each arm.

And what’s great about bike valet parking (as opposed to car valets) is that it’s friendly to our labor market. First, you deal with sticky issue of driver’s licenses. Second, you don’t need to speak great English to park and unpark bike. As with a coat check, you only have to match numbers. So this could help with the city’s unemployment rate, which seems to be inching upward.
The city (or perhaps a third party like Transportation Alternatives) should license the valets so people would be be confident that their valet isn’t a fly-by-night bike thief. The city has already used its licensing power to increase the availability of fruit and vegetable vendors in poorer neighborhoods, why not use it to increase parking valets?
Sounds like a terrific idea to us.

Nieghborhood Bike Works provided valet bike parking at last week's opening night of A Clean Break on Broad and at Sunday's Biketoberfest at Dock Street Brewery in the UC as well.

Very cool to see.

It be even cooler if it was standard procedure.

How Much Do You Tip The Bike Valet [ City Room – New York Times ]
The city needs to get creative on bike parking [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
A Clean Break [ Official Site ]
12 Reasons to Get To Biketoberfest on Sunday [ Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia ]
Neighborhood Bike Works [ Official Site ]

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Westin Center City Hotel Reportedly Playing Host To The Dodgers, Just As It Did For The Mets And The Brewers Before Them

According to our sources, the Los Angeles Dodgers are staying at the Westin Hotel in Center City. *

We find this to be newsworthy because a) the Milwaukee Brewers stayed at the Westin last week and then proceeded to lose both games to the Phillies in quick succession. And b), prior to that, the Mets stayed at the Westin all season when they were in town, and look what happened to them.

So, as far as we’re concerned, good choice by the Dodgers. The Phillies own teams that stay at the Westin.

And that’s not to knock the Westin — it’s a fine place to stay. In fact, teams' struggles may have something to do with their Heavenly beds being just a little too heavenly.

Regardless, feel free to swing by, have a drink in the lobby bar (or at City Grange), and see if you spot Manny being Manny.

Or stop by just to egg their bus.

To each their own.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

With All Due Respect To Breast Cancer Awareness, Shouldn’t These Buildings Be Lit Bright Phillies’ Red Right Now?

philadelphia skyline pink for breast cancer awareness
After all, it’s been 15 frickin’ years since the Phillies have been playing for the NL pennant… They deserve it. [ Photo via PhillySkyline ]

In what can be viewed as unfortunate timing for the Phillies, their march through the playoffs has run into Breast Cancer Awareness Month, during which the Susan G. Komen Foundation organized some 40+ buildings in Center City to light their buildings pink at night.

Which would normally be great, except the timing is unfortunate for the Phillies because if these buildings hadn’t already agreed to go pink for breast cancer awareness, they would undoubtedly be going red for the Phillies. (As is customary with these things, a la Eagles playoff games, Pat Burrell going for the all star game, even Eagles on Monday Night Football…)

After all, it’s like Cole Hamels said of his team’s playoff success. “Hopefully it will turn the city red a little bit more than it is green.”

Indeed. And it should start with the skyline.

Now don’t get us wrong. Breast Cancer Awareness is awesome and we’re all for supporting it, and all for lighting the skyline pink as a way of doing so. We just wish it wouldn’t take precedent over the opportunity to dramatically throw the city’s support behind the Phillies, who are in a playoff series for the National League pennant for the first time in 15 years.

That’s it, really. The elusiveness and rareness of the feat, alone, should justify making the switch.

The Philadelphia skyline can go pink for the cure in November. And December. Hell, throw in January and February if you want.

But, honestly, right now it would be really, really great if the city we’re able to both literally and figuratively show its support for the Fightin’ Phils. And there's really no better way to do that than by lighting the skyline in their team color. The Phillies deserve it. And getting this town a little fired up with some good ol' Phillies team spirit would be a very positive thing.

So we say go pink next month. In our minds, this month the skyline should be lit a brilliant Phillies' red. GO PHILS!

(We’d be willing to accept a compromise — nights with Phillies games, skyline in red; nights without Phillies games; skyline in pink.)

CBS 3, Susan G. Komen Light Up The Tri-State - More than 100 buildings and landmarks go pink [ CBS3 via PhillySkyline ]
Philadelphia turns from football town to baseball town [ Philadelphia Daily News ]

Apparently, the skyline can go Eagles' green pretty much whenever…

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Tiger Woods' Tourney Could (And Should) Be Headed To Philadelphia

Tiger Wood’s own PGA tournament, the AT&T National Tournament, wants to come to Philadelphia for two years, 2010 and 2011, to play at the Donald Ross designed Aronimink Golf Club, if the club will be so kind as to have him.
Woods's Event Set to Shift to Suburban Philadelphia for '10-11

Aronimink Golf Club in the Philadelphia suburbs will be the temporary home for the AT&T National golf tournament in 2010 and 2011 if a majority of the club's membership approves a proposal to host Tiger Woods's signature event on the PGA Tour.
Aronimink, in Newtown Square, Pa., was the site for the 1962 PGA Championship won by Gary Player and the 2003 Senior PGA Championship won by John Jacobs. The course was designed by renowned architect Donald Ross and opened for play in 1928. It is annually listed among the top 100 golf courses in the United States, playing at 7,206 yards to a par of 70.

"We have made a proposal to Aronimink to host our event in 2010 and 2011," said Greg McLaughlin, the tournament chairman and executive director of the Tiger Woods Foundation, which runs the event and is the main charitable beneficiary. "The members still have to approve it, but we're excited about the possibility of going there. We felt it was the best place to take the championship. It's a historic course, Philadelphia is a wonderful market and they haven't had PGA Tour golf there in quite a while."
We agree. This is a win-win for Philadelphia. Even if it’s only for two years — we’ll take it. A PGA tournament is good for the local economy. A prestigious tournament hosted by Tiger Woods… that’s great for Philadelphia. And one more way to get Philadelphia some very positive national visibility on July 4th weekend.

We can only hope the Aronimink members don’t blow it, via a small-minded, self-interested vote. Aronimink — please throw Philadelphia a frickin’ bone.
McLaughlin had scouted a number of courses in the Washington area as well as venues in other markets, including Baltimore and St. Louis, before settling on Aronimink for 2010 and 2011. He said he wanted to keep the tournament at the same site for two years because "if you look at doing an event on a one-year basis, it's just very difficult from an operational standpoint. Aronimink offered us the best alternative for 2010 and 2011."
Dick Naumann, Aronimink's general manager, said last night that his club has a long history of hosting important tournaments, including the 1977 U.S. Amateur, and that most of the members he has spoken with "have been very positive about the idea of having the event at our club.

The member vote is supposed to be held later this month with the outcome to be announced in early November.

Aronimink: please make us proud.

AT&T National Tournament Finds a Temporary Home in Philadelphia
[ Washington Post ]
Aronimink Golf Club [ Wikipedia ]
The AT&T National Tournament [ Official Site ]

Monday, October 06, 2008

Breaking: Mayor Nutter Saves Christmas, Finally Hires City's First Pedestrian And Bicycle Coordinator

Popped collar and scooter notwithstanding, the new bike and pedestrian enhancements in Manhattan have been tremendous successes

Praise Jesus.
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is proud to announce that Mayor Nutter’s Office of Transportation and Utilities hired Charles Carmalt for the position of Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator. Thank you Mayor Nutter for fulfilling this campaign promise and filling this position.

Carmalt joined the Office with 35 years of transportation planning experience. His career included both private and public sector work. For the last nine years, he ran his own consulting firm where his projects placed special emphasis on the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists.

His role at the City will be to coordinate all activities that impact the quality of the urban environment for pedestrians and bicyclists. His responsibilities will range from assisting on the Planning Commission’s forthcoming Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan to helping build relationships with outside agencies like the Philadelphia Parking Authority in order to expand and improve our bicycle parking options.
July 1, huh? Almost made it.

We hope that in addition to “coordinating,” Carmalt will also be doing plenty of advising and implementing. We also look forward to Philadelphia’s streets quickly becoming significantly more livable and complete, with the accommodation and safety of pedestrians and bicycles becoming a much bigger priority for the Streets Department and the city overall.

Philadelphia Hires Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator
[ Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia ]