Philadelphia didn’t need Bicycling magazine to confirm that it is one of America’s best biking cities (No. 17 on its 2012 list). You can see it every day on the streets:
Near northeast corner, May 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The steady stream of commuters sluicing down Center City‘s bike lanes. The tangle of bikes hitched to U-shaped racks and bike corrals. (More, please.) The proliferation of neighborhood bike shops.
Philadelphia probably could have ranked higher in the magazine’s esteem if it had a bike-sharing program, like most of the list’s top 20 cities. You can now find cheap, on-street bike rentals in more than 135 places around the world, many of them with worse weather and hillier streets than Philadelphia. Yet the city has remained strangely ambivalent toward the concept, even as private bikes have become a popular transit option within the city.
But the sight of Mayor Nutter tooling around Rittenhouse Square last week on a canary-yellow cruiser suggests Philadelphia is finally ready to commit. To show the city’s seriousness, his Transportation Department organized a daylong bike-sharing demonstration with three top vendors, supplying a docking-station’s worth of bikes in paint-box colors.
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If the “catastrophic” budget picture Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. laid out Thursday comes to pass, Philadelphia schools would be virtually unrecognizable come September.
There could be no money for counselors or librarians. There might be no sports or extracurricular activities. No dedicated funds for secretaries, aides, or summer school would be provided. And that would follow the steep cuts made over the last two years.
There also could be 3,000 layoffs, including some teachers.
This doomsday scenario comes as a result of a deficit of more than $300 million in the district’s $2.7 billion 2013-14 budget. Officials have asked for $120 million in additional funding from the state and $60 million from the city, as well as $133 million in concessions from labor unions.
“Philly is a city of neighborhoods. What does that really mean?” GPTMC president and chief executive Meryl Levitz said of the impetus behind the campaign. “We want people to go one block farther. People haven’t felt this good about Philly as they do now.”
After D.G. Yuengling and Son became the biggest American-owned brewery, the Pottsville company celebrated last year with a “Here’s to you, Philly,” promotion during which it offered a free serving of its signature lager to bar patrons around Philadelphia.
The company said beer drinkers in the City of Brotherly Love helped revive the popularity of its historic brand, which has become one of the fastest-growing brews in the country.
So it seems fitting that the company’s fifth-generation owner, Dick Yuengling, said he was “the happiest guy in the beer business” until he found out the city he chose to celebrate his company’s success with has slapped the brewery with a lawsuit seeking more than $6 million.
The lawsuit stems from a disagreement between the city and Yuengling about whether the company has to pay Philadelphia’s business income and receipts tax, which is assessed on companies doing business in the city.
English: Finished bottles of Traditional Lager being placed into cases at Yuengling Brewery, Pottsville, PA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
WHEN Dick Yuengling bought a round of beers for more than 10,000 Philadelphians on National Drink Beer Day last year, he said “the city has truly shown our family business brotherly love, and we’d like to raise a glass to that.”
Now, Dick Yuengling may be throwing back a few of his own brews after receiving a civil lawsuit from the city that claims his brewery, D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc., has failed to pay more than $6.6 million in city taxes, interest and penalty fees.
How does a Pottsville-based beer company that doesn’t have a brewery or a plant in Philadelphia come to owe millions in business-income and receipts taxes to the city?