BP CEO, Tony Hayward To Get The Boot

Like we didn’t see this coming.  For now, the information is unofficial but comes from inside the BP camp.  Expect something official Monday.

Geeze Louise, the idiot has been at a yacht race in England while things in the Gulf are still a mess.  Guess he is all proud of himself for getting the well plugged three months later.

Bye Tony.   Don’t let the door hit your patootie on the way out!

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Reviewing The Consolidation Of District Judge Positions

Cash strapped Pennsylvania is compiling data on consolidation of the District Judge positions in the Commonwealth.  A District Judge makes $80,927 per year.  For example, in Lackawanna County there are 11 District Judges.  Is this too many?

There are vacancies in a number of counties and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has asked every county to review these vacancies to see if any of the positons can be eliminated.

Pennsylvania Infrastructure Funding Shortfall May Force ‘Tough Decisions’

Interesting article from the Centre Daily Times regarding what will happen to our roads with the end of the federal stimulus dollars and the defeat of tolling Interstate 80.  Some tough decisions are ahead on how to fund everything that needs to be done!

via State infrastructure funding shortfall may force ‘tough decisions’ – Local | Centre Daily Times – State College, PA | Penn State, Nittany Lions, weather, news, jobs, homes, apartments, real estate.

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Shoot Their Competition???

This is one for the books!

Two Philadelphia tow truck companies are at war it appears.  A dispute over who would get a tow job resulted in shots being fired in the Fentonville section of Philadelphia on Monday.    The “rival” tow truck company’s employee is in the hospital.

After the initial shooting, more violence ensued when the shooter’s company had 13 cars torched.  Then, the victim’s company had six shots fired at their office.

Yes indeed….when in doubt, whip out a gun and shoot someone or something.   And we wonder what direction our country is headed??

Good grief!

Violence is never the answer people!

The shooter did surrender to police on Thursday.  He is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and any thing else that could be thought of!  GOOD!

Megabus.com – Discount Ground Transportation

Megabus.com is a new low-cost bus service, very much like those no-frills air carriers.

Megabus offers discount seats, starting at $1.00, on a first come, first serve basis.  All reservations are made online.  Megabus uses public pick-up and drop-off sites to avoid the expense of a conventional station.  Routes are non-stop saving on travel time.

If you think seating might be optional, you would be surprised to learn that not only do you get a nice seat but the buses are equipped with WiFi and electrical outlets.  No driving hassles and you can bring along the old laptop and made your trip productive as well.  Onboard restrooms are included and most buses have seatbelts.  You may also use your child safety seat for children under the age of 7.

Now you are probably thinking, yes but how many of those $1.00 seats are there are how high do the prices go!  I think you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that the maximum ticket price between Harrisburg and Philadelphia is only $10.00!  It only costs $1.00 to change your reservation.

Currently, Megabus services Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and State College in Pennsylvania.  If you are looking for a reasonable alternative from driving this could be for you.

The website is very easy to use and has a great FAQ section to answer most questions you could have.  Their website site can be found by clicking the link below:

http://www.megabus.com

Norristown Takes A Giant Step Forward

Norristown Borough Council took a giant step into the light Tuesday evening.  The council unanimously voted to end multi-family apartment conversions for single-family homes!  BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The measure does allow for mixed-use meaning commercial use on the first floor and apartments on the upper floors.

Council has wisely decided to stop the madness.  By curbing the carving up of single-family homes into high density apartments, Norristown is demonstrating their desire to attract homeowners and shore up their tax base.

This is a big step in the right direction.

We applaud Norristown Borough Council for walking the talk!

Philadelphia’s Logan Triangle – 35 Acres Of Blight

Here is a story about a large blighted area, in an urban environment, and the challenges it brings.

Philadelphia’s Logan section had a particular problem back in 1986 which you may remember.  Some of the land was not properly prepared before homes were built and the houses began sinking, making them eventually unsafe for habitation.  This area, called the Logan Triangle, is 35 acres of land that was formerly a creek bed.  The water was diverted but when the land was “filled in” it was not done properly.  The City of Philadelphia relocated 950 homeowners from this tract of land and tore down those homes.  Now a large open and unoccupied area exists that has become a trash dump.  There are rodents, stray cats, animal feces, mountains trash and crime.

What to do?

The Urban Land Institute (many in Pottstown are familiar with this organization) recommended turning the area into a large green project in 2009.  Something like a community garden, urban farm, tree farm or anything green would be the way to go.  This idea has merit and has garnered much support.

Other ideas from developers have been commercial or residential.  However, before any building starts land remediation would need to take place.  Estimates put the cost at $60 million dollars to remediate the entire 35 acre area.  Because of the poor economic conditions, the expensive land remediation project is prohibitive for developers.  One developer wants to build a supermarket, senior housing and a banquet hall and is still interested in doing so.

A big problem is the city only owns 10 percent of the lots on the property.  The city has no extra money at this time to purchase the additional properties which are owned by various government agencies, private owners and the Logan Assistance Corp.  Maintenance of this blighted former neighborhood is daunting and expensive for the city.  Basically the area is not maintained. 

For 25 years this area has been allowed to go downhill due to lack of direction, financial issues, ownership issues etc.  Those who live in this area wish the city would do SOMETHING.  Nobody wants to buy a home here.  As houses bordering this giant swatch of trash become available (owners die) they will remain empty.  The blight will spread because no one wants to live next to a crime ridden trash heap.

This story does not have a happy ending.  Presently nothing is in the works to transform this cancerous blight.  The longer this area continues to fester the further the blight spreads and the more disillusioned surrounding homeowners become.  One resident stated they get so disgusted they don’t feel like doing anything.  That statement says it all!

Massive Brownfield Reclamation Project In York City

The City of York is undertaking the largest economic development project in that city’s history.  The Northwest Triangle project will span 29 acres and cost $50 million dollars.  The project will be paid for by a $7 million dollar state grant, $12 million dollars in public funds and $14 million dollars in private funds.  Enterprise Homes will contribute $18 million dollars.

The project is varied and includes a residential component, commercial space and a charter school.  84,000 square feet of new and rehabilitated space will be available for professional, office, entertainment, restaurants, retail, townhouses and condominiums.  The project will create 300-500 jobs and add 250 new city residents.

The York Academy Regional Charter School is being created and will be part of this massive project.  The building is being renovated and will be completed in July 2011.  Phase one will be kindergarten through second grade.  Within five years the school will be K – 12.  York Academy Charter will be York’s fifth charter school and will feature an International Baccalaureate curriculum.

Enterprise Homes is the residential part of the project.  85 to 125 homes will be built based on a market study to be conducted.

Four existing buildings are part of the redevelopment project which will also include extending the York County Heritage Rail Trail through the city to the Northwest Triangle.  A streetscape project is also expected to be approved and will be paid for by an $890,980.00 federal grant.

To recap, we have a state grant and a federal grant being combined with money from public and private developers to reclaim 29 acres of blight!

What Exactly Is The Mercury’s Agenda These Days??

It is not just me noticing this stuff!  Please check out the latest article from SavePottstown! regarding the Mercury:

http://savepottstown.com/2010/07/the-mercury-promotes-hatred-and-violence/

Please click on these posts of mine regarding the same issue from April:

https://roysrants.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/sound-off-2/

https://roysrants.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/sound-off/

CPR Leader’s Home Vandalized – Our Community Should Be Outraged!

A disgraceful and despicable act of cowardly vandalism took place in our community this weekend.  Community Activist and Citizens For Pottstown’s Revitalization leader Katy Jackson’s home was vandalized as a neighbor allegedly watched and did absolutely nothing.  A giant S was spray-painted on her door for starters but the damage did not stop there.

This type of retaliatory violence cannot be tolerated!  Our police department and borough council should be outraged.  No expense should be spared until those responsible are brought to justice. No citizen in this community should be allowed to be intimidated for speaking up at Borough Council meetings about the serious problems facing Pottstown i.e. slumlords and drug dealers for starters.

If Pottstown is to be revitalized, ALL 22,859 people who call this town home are accountable and responsible to do their part to make this a reality.  Otherwise, we might as well bomb it, plow it under, plant corn and call it a day.  If ALL the citizens of this community can not feel safe or be protected properly then we have a serious problem.  Regardless of what neighborhood someone lives in, they are paying taxes for police protection.  If that means authorizing additional patrols and resources being deployed in certain areas of Pottstown, then so be it.  I am not bashing our police department as I feel they normally do an excellent job but if they need more manpower etc… find a way to get it!

HOW IN THE HELL DO YOU EXPECT TO ATTRACT MIDDLE CLASS TAXPAYERS AND EMPLOYERS TO POTTSTOWN IF THIS CRAP IS ALLOWED TO HAPPEN?????  We already have a bad reputation and this just reinforces all the junk that is floating around out there like this being “little Philadelphia”.

All the forward momentum that is being made is for nothing if people are afraid to live and work here!  It is all about people’s perceptions and do not think for one moment that is not the case.

Ice Cream Festival In Philly July 17th

Do you scream for ice cream?  Have no plans for tomorrow?  Then take a trip to Philly’s Reading Terminal Market for the Annual Ultimate Philadelphia Ice Cream Festival sponsored by Bassetts Ice cream.

The festival runs from 10 am to 4 pm in Center Court and includes the following participants:

Bassetts Ice Cream (of course)

Miller’s Twist

Uncle Dave’s Homemade Ice Cream

Franklin Fountain

Bredenbeck’s Bakery and Ice Cream Parlor

Kreider Dairy Farms

Pure Gourmet (sorbet)

The event also features arts and crafts for the kids, live music, games, and more! WHYY will be on-hand with giveaways and Clifford the Big Red Dog to round out the fun.

For directions and more information:

http://www.readingterminalmarket.org/about/directions

Minor Earthquake Shakes DC

An earthquake, centered in Rockville, MD, shook the Washington DC Metro Area this morning around 5:00 am.  The quake measured 3.6 on the Richter scale and was the strongest to ever hit the area since record keeping began in 1974.

While the quake didn’t cause any major damage, local police and the US Geological Survey’s website we swamped with inquiries.  Many residents were startled by the seismic activity which is very rare in this area.

2010 Hottest Year On Record?

Each of the 10 warmest average global temperatures recorded since 1880 have occurred in the last fifteen years. The warmest year-to-date on record, through June, was 1998, and 2010 is warmer so far (note: although 1998 was the warmest year through June, a late-year warm surge in 2005 made that year the warmest total year). Analysis by the National Climatic Data Center reveals that June of 2010 was the warmest global average for that month on record, and is also the warmest year-to-date from January to June…..read the entire article at:

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100715_globalstats_sup.html

Interesting Website For Those Concerned About Revitalization

The website link below is a wealth of information and resources about urban renewal, smart growth, urban planning, sustainable communities, economic development etc… that can be applied right here in Pottstown.  Some Code Blue peeps are attending the Building One Pennsylvania event in Lancaster today.  This would be a great group to network with!  Good things are happening north of Pottstown that are worth emulating IMHO.

http://www.renewlv.org/

BP Finally Caps Well!

It only took 85 days but the oil flow into the Gulf of Mexico has finally stopped!

Now comes the really hard part.  Trying to fix the ecological nightmare that has been created!  

Read all the deets here:

http://www.polijam.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14168:bp-gulf-oil-spill-halted-by-cap-in-test&catid=53:us&Itemid=29

FCC Indecency Policy Overturned

A panel of three judges on the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York overturned the FCC’s indecency policy calling it “unconstitutionally vague” and stating the policy has “chilled protected speech.”  Alrighty then.

So now if Joan Rivers, Bono, Mel Gibson, Alec Baldwin, Colin Farrell, Paris Hilton, the kids from South Park or any other foul-mouthed celebutard drop the F-bomb or their pants on live television that’s just honkey dorey.  It appears this would cover “wardrobe malfunctions” ala the infamous Janet Jackson nip-slip as well.

Pandora’s Box is now open!  God help us!

Harrisburg City Controller Reveals Incinerator Debt Recovery Plan

Harrisburg Controller, Dan Miller revealed his plan this morning (as promised) for Harrisburg to avoid bankruptcy from the incinerator debacle.

The major points are:

  1. Turn over control of the incinerator to Dauphin County thereby giving Dauphin County the $5.5 million dollars needed to apply toward the incinerator debt from the operating profits.
  2. The City of Harrisburg would apply its annual profits from city parking garages and surface lots, approximately $4.5 million dollars, to the incinerator debt.
  3. Negotiate lower interest rates from bond holders with the promise that the principal will be paid.
  4. Dauphin County Commissioners would raise the tipping fees for non-city residents who pay LESS than city residents (what’s wrong with this picture?).
  5. Future revenue could also be gained from increased incinerator use and higher parking rates.
  6. The painful part will be the city would have to make up the $4.5 million dollars they are no longer getting from the parking authority (can anyone say spending cuts?).

Sounds like this plan has a chance of working and if it can avoid Harrisburg’s bankruptcy, I say full speed ahead.  Hopefully all interested parties will do what is right and put politics aside at this time!

New Blight Legislation In Pennsylvania! A Tool For Communities Like Pottstown

This news is too awesome for words.  If you read my blog, you know that blight is something I post about along with brownfield reclamation.  These issues are pivotal to places like Pottstown and their redevelopment.  We need to attract middle class taxpaying homeowners and business/industry to reestablish the tax base.  Getting rid of run-down properties is certainly one way to do that!  Nobody wants to live in or locate a business in a blighted neighborhood.

The Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act, Senate Bill 900, unanimously passed in the PA Senate and is under review by the House Urban Affairs Committee.

This bill is aimed at slumlords and their neglected properties.  If passed, the bill gives municipalities the ability to place liens against the property owners TOTAL ASSETS, not just the property in question.  It also gives municipalities the power of extradition against out-of-state slumlords to face charges here in PA!  Property owners can be denied permit applications if they are behind on taxes, municipal charges (i.e. sewer/water) or have code violations.  County Commissioners would be given the power to establish a “housing court” that would only deal with housing related offenses!

WOW!

Of course, there are those opposed because of the total asset seizure provision.  IMHO good landlords do not have anything to worry about.  They take care of their properties, pay their bills and are an asset to the community.  For those who do not play by the rules it is about time there are some real consequences!

If you feel passionate about this bill becoming law, contact your Pennsylvania State Representative and urge him or her to vote yes on this important bill when it comes before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.