Year begins for City Council - Philadelphia News

September 18, 2008 4:57:02 PM PDT
It's the start of the year for Philadelphia City Council, which typically means the lawmakers have a very full plate.Back from summer break for their first weekly session, Mayor Nutter met City Council with bad economic news. City Hall has a $450-million gap in its five-year financial plan; even his beloved business tax cuts may have to be shelved.

"We have some very tough decisions to make and we have to do them in a collegial fashion. We may not agree on each and every item, but at least members will have the information they need," Mayor Nutter said.

"It really was sort of shocking to know that we were that much in that hole," Councilwoman Marian Tasco (D) said.

"Everything's on the table. I don't want to go first to get rid of the tax cuts, but if it's necessary and that's the only alternative, maybe'll consider slowing them," James Kennedy (D) said.

Drivers who talk on cell phones are in the council's headlights for safety reasons. There's a plan afoot to outlaw the practice in moving cars, on rollerblades, bicycles, skateboards, and scooters, as well.

"I recently saw someone on their bicycle talking on their cell phone run right in the back of a car. Fortunately, they weren't rolling through an intersection, but it said to me the distraction there could maybe be more powerful than when you're in a vehicle," Bill Green (D) said.

Where the Foxwood Casino winds up is another roll of the dice. Tossed out of South Philadelphia, the target is now the Gallery in Center City; look for Chinatown to start protesting that proposal right here in City Council.

"Any place in the city of Philadelphia that a casino is proposed to be located within, there will be opposition," Frank DiCicco (D) said.

Most of the main issues are pretty much the same, but City Council's relationship with Mayor Nutter continues to be far better than with those of his immediate predecessor.

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