Newsletter for Oct. 7, 2014
INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY
Spike Lee with Mo’Ne Davis on the Art Museum steps; via Spike Lee on Instagram
SRC SHOCKER: TEACHERS CONTRACTS NIXED, HEALTH CARE COSTS SKYROCKET, SOCIAL MEDIA EXPLODES
During a 17-minute meeting that no one saw coming, Philadelphia’s state-run School Reform Commission tore up its contract with the teachers’ union Monday morning. The biggest shock to the public school system: Teachers will now pay for part of their healthcare (up to 13 percent of their premiums starting in December), anywhere from $21-$71 per month. The move, backed by Gov. Tom Corbett, plows $44 million back into public schools. But opponents — many of whom completely freaked on social media — say the decision unfairly places the district’s massive budget shortfall on the shoulders of teachers. After the vote, union reps vowed to sue to stop the move, and at least one lawmaker pushed a bill that’d establish an elected school board in Philadelphia. What’s next? Those unionized teachers COULD strike — but they’d risk losing their licenses.
CHESTER NAMED MOST DANGEROUS CITY IN PA
Philly’s pro soccer team has to be happy about this news: The city of Chester, where the Union play their home games, has been named the most dangerous city in Pennsylvania. With a whopping 21 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, the experts at Home Security Shield have put the Delaware County city atop their list. Philadelphia ranks at no. 8, interestingly.
RIP BILL CAMPBELL, WHO CALLED WILT’S 100 POINT GAME
Bill Campbell, who died yesterday at the age of 91, was a sports broadcaster who called games back in the day for the Eagles, the Phillies and the Warriors (they used to be in Philly), then the 76ers. Merrill Reese, who calls Eagles games these days on the radio, told the Inquirer Campbell was “the greatest in the history of Philadelphia broadcasting.” Campbell is also in the Basketball Hall of Fame for his play-by-play of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game — still an NBA record. You can listen to the last few minutes of that broadcast on YouTube.
PA HOUSE RAMPS UP SENTENCES FOR ILLEGAL GUNS IN PHILLY
The state House wants to crack down on gun violence in Philadelphia via a new mandatory minimum sentence. The measure OKed Monday would let prosecutors seek a two-year minimum sentence for people convicted of carrying a firearm they don’t own, or have a right to hold in the city. The bill’s sponsor, Philly GOP Rep. John Taylor, said of anyone walking the streets with an illegal gun, “to me, that definition says criminal.” Delco Rep. Greg Vitali, a Democrat, thinks the proposal could harshly punish someone “who really does not commit any other crime than wrongly possessing a gun.” Also: There’s no evidence that mandatory minimum sentences work. Either way: The bill now heads to the Senate.
TO DO:#MEETBILLYPENN TONIGHT AT MONK’S
WHAT: We’re getting everyone back together to #meetbillypenn again — this time at night. CEO Jim Brady, editor Chris Krewson, community manager Shannon McDonald, reporter/curators Anna Orso and Mark Dent and intern Hui Wu will be on-hand to answer questions,
WHERE: Monk’s Cafe, 264 S 16th St, Philadelphia, PA
WHEN: 5:30 PM – ?
HOW MUCH: Depends
BILLY PENN LIKES
WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE BLACK IN FISHTOWN
In the days before millennials downed beers (craft preferred!) at Frankford Hall and coffee shops dotted every street corner, Fishtown used to be rough for blacks, gays, Mexicans and, well, pretty much anyone who wasn’t white, straight and Irish. Philly Mag’s Sandy Smith writes of the close-minded past and the people and businesses that helped change its vibe. Of course, Fishtown hasn’t morphed into a utopian melting pot. It’s still heavily white — but while black residents once lived in fear of bricks through their windows, Smith found a block where half the residents are black.
IS PHILLY IN A HOUSING BUBBLE?
Philly’s been building — we’re on track for some 2,600 new residential units in 2014. Most of those fit squarely in the luxury department, featuring above-average rents and purchase prices. Oldsters literally can’t remember the last time so many new housing units went up. But is it, uh, a bubble? And what could make it pop? Next City looks at the reasons behind the boom – and whether Philadelphia’s public school issues could make it go bust.