Archive: December, 2009
Thursday: Start your day off early with some bubbly in honor of General Meade's Birthday. When you're finished boozing it up in the cemetery, Amorosi breaks down New Years' Eve events for those who do or don't got the cash: Burger'n'Booze or Penthouse Party? Pacifiers and Glowsticks? Get the full scoop in this week's Agenda.
Friday: GET FED! If you're already out in the streets drunk, watching Mummers strut, fill your belly with some brunch at Silk City. They will be offering their weekend brunch menu, featuring the infamous foie gras scrapple. Or head over to White Dog Cafe for the Pajama Party Brunch. More fine drunken New Years' eats in this week's What's Cooking.
Saturday: If you're done being a drunkard for the weekend and want to spend time with your family, head over to Walking Fish Theatre in Fishtown for some Family-oriented theatre. But for the rest of you who will continue to drink but wish to retain [some of] your dignity, consider joining the lesbian community at the Stilettos and Champagne event at the Marathon Grill. Those pearls won't clutch themselves, ladies! A prize is awarded to the sexiest woman in pumps. Later, Hit up Medusa Loungefor HURRAH at night with Lady Prowl and Shawn Ryan.
Sunday: Calm things down and head over to Fishtown for Proximity Gallery's second annual Neighborhood Group Show. There's also more arts events to put on your to-do list featured in this weeks' First Friday Focus. Happy Hangovers!
|Good luck, Dave!
I'll leave it to others to make big pronouncements about what, if anything, this says about the state of things at Philly's daily newspapers, but there's no question it's a big loss for the Daily News: Dave Davies is leaving the paper, after twenty years, to expand WHYY's multimedia and web operations and to serve as interim news director.
I've lived in Philly for less than two years â but it took less time than that to see that Davies was one of the best, most valuable journalists in town. And I've only met him a few times in person â but those few times were enough to see how intelligent, full of integrity, and downright friendly Davies is.
I don't see how the Daily News will replace him; WHYY, on the other hand, can only benefit from having Davies on board.
So a big congratulations, good luck, and thanks for all the good reporting goes out from the Clog to Davies, a true Philebrity.
City Paper Editor in Chief Brian Howard asks:
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It's that time again... what are your new years resolutions. The award goes to the most unique (but not insane) resolution.
Hence the question.
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Remember that new slogo Philadelphia: Life, Liberty, and You that everyone was wretching about a few weeks ago for being dull, uninspired, cliched, Web-fonty, group-thinky and essentially relegating the pursuit of happiness to also-ran status among our country's founding principles?
In the spirit of the new year and because we know you donât want to do any real work this week, we put an open call out to the designers and developers and tinkerers and artists in our community. Make a designerâs design for the City of Philadelphia.
Submit your ideas for a logo that would better suit the City of Philadelphia yes, it can be sarcastic or heartfelt. It can even include the Liberty Bell or a cheesesteak if you think they sum Philly up well â¦ and you can endure the taunts of your peers. Weâre thinking standard display images, but we wonât begin to limit you, the audience. If it fits in an e-mail or can be linked to, we want to see them.
How do you enter, you're wondering?
All submissions need to be sent to info [at] technicallyphilly.com [files or links] by the final whistle of this Sundayâs 4:15 p.m. Eagles last regular season game, against those bastard Cowboys.
Granted, the prize isn't exactly jawdropping bragging rights and maybe a button on the site, a promise to try to put the winning design in front of the city peeps responsible for these things, and a beer at TP's next group meetup but we'll point out that that beer officially makes the reward bigger than what the city gave the Star Group for its trouble.
So get on it, PhotoShop monkeys, Quark jockeys and InDesign lackeys and whip up a slogo to be proud of.
Says GPCA chief operating officer Tom Kaiden in a press release, "Peggyâs energy, connection, and courage inspired everyone she touched. I am at a loss for words to describe our sorrow at her passing. She was a great leader, and we will humbly carry on her mission of ensuring that arts and culture remain at the core of what defines Greater Philadelphia as a region and what binds us together as a community.â
A powerful advocate for the arts, Amsterdam successfully fought against a 2009 proposal to tax Philly residents on theater, dance and other cultural events, and has been a driving force in our city's burgeoning arts scene for the past decade. According to an obituary in today's Inquirer, Amsterdam "doubled the [Cultural Alliance's] membership to 385 arts and cultural nonprofits and greatly expanded its reach to the broader community" since she came to the organization in 2000.
Amsterdam's legacy in Philadelphia is far-reaching, according to a GPCA press release: Not only did she help re-establish the city's Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy in 2008, but also "prevented the elimination of Philadelphia's cultural funding in 2004," and launched marketing initiative Engage 2020, which we wrote about here.
In 2007, Amsterdam wrote an op-ed column in the City Paper, asking voters to consider the arts when they vote for a new mayor. She said:
The value of the arts and culture sector goes far beyond its economic impact, of course. At their best, the arts are shared experiences that bind our community every bit as much as a sports championship. As a city, we are stronger because of the cultural organizations in our neighborhoods. They are neighbors in every sense of the word building housing, offering safe haven and celebrating community.
For all these reasons, the Cultural Alliance believes that if the region is to continue its upward trajectory, city and civic leaders must be convinced to actively embrace the cultural sector as they address the critical issues facing Greater Philadelphia.
If Philly's thriving arts community is any indication, Amsterdam's legacy is as long-lasting as our debt to her.
For information on memorial services, visit philaculture.org.
This is the first installment in a series.
The City Paper has found that a clause in some versions of SB711 - the bill that would legalize table games in Pennsylvania casinos â would give a competitive advantage to one particular applicant â Wyo Gaming, L.C. â for the only un-awarded casino license in Pa.
That competitor, moreover, is represented by Stephen Wojdak, a major Harrisburg lobbyist, who represents several casinos, and whose political action committees have bundled hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Harrisburg politicians.
Finally, the fact that this language â giving Wyo Gaming, L.C. an advantage â was stripped from the bill by the state Senate appears to be a significant reason that table games legislation has been held up by House Democrats.
That's the executive summary. Now let's get down to it:
|Big shot: Wojdak talking to former Senator Fumo. The lobbyist represents several casinos and has poured money into Harrisburg. The tiny clause in SB711 would favor his client, Wyo Gaming, L.C.|
The table games bill, as you may have read, is currently stalled in Harrisburg.
House Democrats â the same who stuffed the bill with earmarks and concessions to the casinos (like letting them extend credit to slots players), rammed it through the House and voted to cut off debate â those same Democrats are suddenly refusing to approve seemingly small changes made by the Senate.
A pretty good question to ask is: why? What are those changes, whom do they affect, and who cares about them so much that Democrats now won't approve the bill?
Some of those answers are being reported: Philadelphia delegates are upset over language that would channel Philly's local share of dollars from the city fund to a state agency that would award the money to local entities, for example.
But here's one you haven't heard about.
The bill that passed the House a week and a half ago contained, buried deep within, this clause
(ii) No Category 3 license which was authorized by this part after November 30, 2009, shall be located by the board within 30 linear miles of another licensed facility.
Pretty obscure stuff, right? Yet one of the few changes made after the House passed the bill was that the Senate removed this little phrase. And, according to sources, doing so caused the Democratic caucus to erupt.
Because, according to multiple sources and my own research, that tiny little phrase would have a big impact on a lot of money â albeit for just a few people.
Only one casino license, a so-called "Class 3" resort license, remains un-awarded. The application period is over, and there are only two bidders: Bushkill Group, Inc., associated with the Fernwood Hotel and Resort in East Stroudsburg in the Poconos; and Wyo Gaming, L.P., associated with the Crown Plaza Reading Hotel in Wyomissing, Pa.
There are two bidders â but only one is situated "within 30 linear miles of another licensed facility" â which, if the little clause above had passed would have disqualified it from getting a table games license.
The Poconos location is well within 30 linear miles of the Mt. Airy Casino. (see map below).
The Wyomissing, location, however, happens to be just over 30 linear miles from the three nearest casinos.
That's right: The obscure bit of legalese above would prevent the Poconos location from getting a license to host table games â giving the Wyomissing location an obvious advantage in securing the casino license from the Gaming Board.
Who actually put that little clause into the bill? We don't know â yet â but we do know a few things:
Wyomissing Gaming, L.C. is represented by one Stephen Wojdak, of S.R. Wojdak & Associates, one of the most powerful lobbyists in Pennsylvania.
Don't take my word for it: Just enter 'Wojdak' into the state campaign contributor database, and you'll soon be swimming in contributions made by Wojdak himself, his firm, and - more importantly - the several Political Action Committees he controls, which have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into politicians' campaign coffers.
Wojdak's involvement with any and all casino legislation is well-known: Besides Wyo Gaming, L.C., he represents The Rivers Casino, Sugarhouse, and Mount Airy.
(Oh, and he once took a little heat when it was discovered that his two young children were listed as principals in a casino-supply company. At the time, it was illegal for anyone with an interest in such a company to make political donations).
Sources in Harrisburg confirm that Wojdak was a frequent presence during discussions over the table games legislation.
They do not say how or by whose hand the clause that would favor Wojdak's client got into the bill - but one points out that the casino is located in Berks county, just across the river from Reading â an area represented by Rep. Dante Santoni, the same Santoni who masterminded the bill and led it through the House.
None of this is to say that Wojdak, or anyone else for that matter, has done anything wrong or broken any laws. Indeed, Wojdak is a registered lobbyist and we can expect him to lobby.
But if someone rigged the law to favor a particular casino venture we think it's worth pointing out.And it raises serious questions about the intent of this law, and who really wrote it.
Below are some crude google maps of the locations. A linear mileage distance calculator confirmed source reports that the 30-mile law would affect one, and not the other, of the competitors for the last casino license.
Map 1: Bushkill's intended casino is within 30 miles of the Mt. Airy Casino.
View Fernwood Hotel and Resort in a larger map
Map 2: Wyo Gaming, L.C.'s intended casino is just over thirty miles from the three nearest casinos.
View casinos in a larger map
In the name of good holiday cheer, we'll give you a little peek into the old editorial e-mail box.
Name: Shawn Curtis
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Neighborhood: Fox Chase
I would just like to say how disgusted I am at your newspaper. I thought it was going to be a regular newspaper with some cool facts about Philly and stuff. Then I start flipping the pages and I see titles of articles with curse words, and then I go to the last pages of the newspaper where the ads are basically pornographic.
What goes on in your mind when you allow trash like this into the hands of people? Your newspaper was free at the library, any kid could pick them up at anytime, and you have this trash, or should I say sinful content in it.
God has no pleasure it such things. Your creator must be very upset with you and the people who send you the ads.
(Revelation 21:8) "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
All this drunkness, immorality and sin will be judged one day. Trust me, there is a hell. And you must be converted to Christ or face condemnation for all eternity. You'd do better if you would give your heart to God, stop serving Satan and make your newspaper a Christian newspaper. I shall pray for the salvation of your soul and the rest of Philadelphia as well.
A few points: Yes, Shawn, there is a hell. Some people say it's in or around Fox Chase. And I just checked with our creator, Bruce Schimmel, and he just gave us a big thumbs-up, so don't sweat it out for us, Shawn-o.
My friends and I are looking to out to dinner over the holidays. We want to go somewhere we haven't been before and would like to bring our own bottles of wine. Where's a good place to dine at?
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The Bearded One walking down Chestnut.
Who knew Santa shopped at Five Below?
Aw hell, and because you haven't heard it enough on B101:
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