DHS case management gradually shifting to regional agencies
Mayor Michael Nutter and DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose announced on Wednesday that the agency would be starting the implementation of a major shift in how its cases are handled — a change designed to streamline case management and provide more oversight in situations when children are at risk.
Over the next four years, the Department of Human Services will transition into what is called the Improving Outcomes for Children model. All case management would be handled by ten service provider agencies called Community Umbrella Agencies or CUAs. DHS personnel would take over oversight, monitoring of cases and training. The CUAs will be chosen and contracted by DHS, and each will manage cases within a specific geographic region.
“DHS has seen some tremendous improvements under the leadership of Commissioner Ambrose,” said Mayor Nutter. “But no matter how much we have done, there is still more work to do. ‘Improving Outcomes for Children’ is another opportunity for our administration and DHS to put first the welfare, safety and best interest of Philadelphia’s children.”
The contracting of the Community Umbrella Agencies will take place over a period of four years, at the end of which, all direct case management will be handled by them. Under the old system, DHS-involved children had two case workers, one from DHS and one from a provider agency. Under IOC, DHS will streamline case management into a single-case management system. This allows for children in the DHS system to have a consistent case manager from the provider agency with the experience and knowledge of DHS staff to account for the care and services given to DHS children and families by the provider agencies. The first two CUAs are Northeast Treatment Centers (NET) and Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM).
“APM has a long record of serving eastern North Philadelphia, building affordable housing, helping reunify hundreds of families and providing behavioral health and foster care services,” said Ambrose. “It is an agency truly, as its name says, on the march. NET has also performed very well with its school-based programs, parenting classes, and adult drug and alcohol treatment program. Both APM and NET have a documented record of more than 40 years of commitment and involvement in the communities they serve.”
DHS spokesperson Alicia Taylor said the shift to the IOC model clarifies responsibilities.
“There would be several people overseeing a case. DHS would provide direct oversight, support and monitoring. There would be a much clearer clarification of responsibilities,” said Taylor.
“NET is known to many people as a national leader in the field of recovery. But we started as a youth services organization more than 40 years ago,” said Regan Kelly, vice president of Northeast Treatment Centers. “We’ve always maintained a strong connection to supporting youth and families in their own communities. We’ve developed very successful home- and community-based programs for youth and families and support more than 400 families every year. We look forward to partnering with the local community and DHS to make this a nationally recognized child welfare system.”
APM and NET will begin training with former DHS case management workers as early as next week. DHS will still be responsible for the children within its care and will still operate the DHS Hotline, continue to perform intake and will still conduct investigations.
One of the problems the change to IOC is meant to address is that during the Danieal Kelly case, the social workers from the provider agencies and DHS each shifted the blame back and forth. Kelly, a 14-year-old who suffered from cerebral palsy, died in August 2006 from starvation. Her parents, her DHS and service provider caseworkers and others directly connected with her death were arrested and prosecuted.
Last year Kelly’s father, Daniel Kelly Sr., 40, was found guilty of endangering the welfare of a child. Dana Poindexter, the DHS caseworker, was found guilty of child endangerment, recklessly endangering another person and perjury. Her mother, Andrea Kelly, 42, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in 2009 and is serving a 20-to-40-year prison sentence. Mickal Kamuvaka, head of the service provider agency was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment, reckless endangerment, perjury and criminal conspiracy.
Gearing up for what is expected to be an ugly battle for the White House, the Obama campaign this week rolled out a Philadelphia “Truth Team” to counter “scurrilous Republican attacks.”
“This is a team of people from across the nation to make sure that people know the truth about what the president has done while in office, and also to respond to anticipated and expected scurrilous Republican attacks,” said Mayor Michael Nutter, one of six local elected officials who announced the launch of the local “Truth Team” Thursday at city hall. “We remain committed to insuring that our constituents know the truth. That would be t-r-u-t-h, clearly a word that the Republican Party and Republican candidates have difficulty spelling and saying on their own.”
Similar teams were put in place across Pennsylvania and the nation.
Members of the Philadelphia team were: Nutter, State Rep. Babette Josephs, District Attorney Seth Williams, state Sen. Anthony Williams, city Controller Alan Butkovitz and city Councilwoman Cindy Bass.
While there is a great deal of uncertainty as to who the Republican nominee will be heading into November, the campaign is likely to get rougher as the GOP fumbles to rally behind one candidate and the focus shifts to that nominee and President Barack Obama.
“We’ve seen these attacks already and know they will be coming soon to Pennsylvania,” Nutter said.
The Republican contest has narrowed, it seems, to three potential nominees: former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney; former speaker of the U.S. House, Newt Gingrich and former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum.
Nutter took a jab at two out of three.
“Mitt Romney will literally say anything to win, distort the president’s record and his own at the same time,” said the mayor. “[Santorum] remains clearly out of step with the needs of most Americans. Pennsylvania voters clearly rejected him, soundly, when his name was last on the ballot.”
In addition to the team, the campaign unveiled three websites designed to respond to Republican attacks: KeepingHisWord.com, AttackWatch.com and KeepingGOPHosnest.com. All three are intended to serve as quick, comprehensive resources to help set the record straight. The websites contain videos and information on the president’s record, and fact checks on Republican claims about the president and themselves.
The sites also contain tools for sharing materials via Facebook, Twitter and email. The goal, said a campaign release, is to ensure that “grassroots supporters can take ownership of the campaign and share the facts with the undecided voters in their lives.”
More than a million people took action as part in similar effort called “Fight the Smears” during the 2008 campaign. The goal of the Truth Team is to double that number, reaching two million grassroots supporters.
The Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild, also known as POWER, drew hundreds from Northwest Philadelphia to the standing room only crowd of 2,000 recently for its inaugural founding convention recently.
Congregations came from Mount Airy, West Oak Lane and Germantown to the Tindley Temple United Methodist Church in South Philadelphia. The event, which had the high energy of a political rally, was held on Sunday.
The showing from Northwest Philadelphia was evident. Some 80 parishioners from the St. Raymond of Penafort Church filled the front right section of the sanctuary. Another busload came from the St. Therese of the Child Jesus Church on the other side of Stenton Avenue in Mount Airy. Dozens were seated front and center from St. Benedict’s Church in West Oak Lane as well as from the St. Vincent de Paul Church in Germantown.
Additionally, representatives came from the Congregation Rodeph Shalom in Roxborough, another busload from the Woodcrest United Church of Christ, a group from the St. Martin-in-the-Field Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill, the Second Baptist Church of Germantown, Masjidullah, Inc. located on upper Ogontz Avenue, and others from the newer Chestnut Hill United Church.
“I think this is great,” said James Collins of Mount Airy, a member of St. Raymond’s Church. “I think that if we can all work together we can get some things done.”
“I am very excited about the future of our city with POWER,” said Binta Diallo of Mount Airy, a registered nurse and another St. Raymond’s parishioner. “I think that if that they can demand jobs for all who want to work. I’m just enthused that this is a group in a position to take action. I hope that they will have a positive impact on the city.”
Many declarations were made at the POWER convention. Councilman Bill Green said that now that City Council “has banned the box” to assist ex-offenders secure employment he is up for the challenge of eliminating credit checks as part of the pre-employment process. This received thunderous applause and scattered standing ovations.
Mayor Michael Nutter when answering a question about job creation in Philadelphia opted to quote directly from the Biblical passage of Ephesians 6:10–12 where he said that the struggle “is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness with the evil spirits.” He, too, received a rousing standing ovation.
“It’s time for the people to stand up and demand our fair share because some who are blocking it are evil,” said Bianca Warren of Germantown. “I agree with Mayor Nutter that this is a high energy crowd because we are fired up. We are going to hold him accountable and all the others.”
POWER is funded by the Philadelphia foundation, the William Penn Foundation, the Samuel S. Fels Fund, the Bread and Roses Community Funds, the Allen Hilles Fund, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the Presbyterian USA Community Organizing Fund and its 44 charter member churches. It is an affiliate of the PICO National Network. The group will hold its Northwest Cluster meeting at the Woodcrest Church, 8105 Thouron Ave. on Thursday, Oct. 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Hours at five local PennDOT licensing centers have been extended to give Philadelphia voters greater opportunity to get a photo ID for voting.
“Extending our hours in the state’s largest county demonstrates PennDOT’s continuing willingness to help customers comply with the Voter ID law,” said Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch, a statement released late Monday.
New hours — on Thursdays only — start Sept. 27 and run through Nov. 8.
Licensing centers at 801 Arch St., 1530 South Columbus Blvd., 2320 Island Ave., 919-B Levick St., 7121 Ogontz Ave. will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Though Schoch gave no reason for the decision, Mayor Michael Nutter recently made a personal appeal to Gov. Tom Corbett, asking him to extend hours for licensing centers in the city.
Nutter asked that hours be set from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“The citizens most in need of new identification are very likely those who have the least amount of daytime availability and physical mobility, namely workers who do not have flexibility to take time off during the middle of the work day or seniors who are unable to travel far distances or who rely on public transportation,” the mayor wrote in the letter dated Aug. 28.
He also asked Corbett to consider a list of other items, including providing a dedicated counter devoted exclusively to handling voter ID applications.
Since March, when Corbett signed the voter ID law, PennDOT has issued about 7,000 voter IDs at licensing centers across the state. About 2,600 have been issued in Philadelphia.
On Thursday, the state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a suit seeking to overturn the law, but voter advocates continue to urge voters to prepare for the worst and get the state required ID.
“We’re urging people, no matter what the court decides, to continue to get ID,” said J. Whyatt Mondesire, president of the state and local chapters of the NAACP, one of the parties seeking to overturn the law.
Critics of the law argue that it will disenfranchise voters – many of them Black.
Estimates vary widely but some suggest as many as 280,000 voters in Philadelphia alone lack proper ID. That number was compiled by a local voter advocacy group. The state’s official estimates suggested that about 187,000 voters lack ID.
The Tribune, in culling through voter data, has estimated that 39 percent of active African-American voters in Philadelphia — more than 152,000 people — lack state-required photo identification needed to cast their ballot on Nov. 6.
Acting supt. Leroy Nunery describes 'Godfather' tactics
The long-awaited fact-finding report to Mayor Michael Nutter regarding Martin Luther King High School’s failed conversion to a charter school describes strong-arm tactics by former School Reform Commission Chairman Robert Archie Jr., and state Rep. Dwight Evans that were compared to something out of the “The Godfather,” according to acting Superintendent Leroy Nunery.
According to the report from Chief Integrity Officer Joan Markman, Mosaica was correctly chosen by the school’s advisory committee to take over and operate MLK as a charter. But Evans, who has a long relationship with Foundations, interceded and, according to the report, “working outside the School District of Philadelphia’s public process for matching MLK with an outside operator, mounted an intense lobbying effort to change the outcome of the match process to secure Foundations for the School District of Philadelphia’s contract to manage MLK.”
The report also says that Archie, who resigned from his post as chairman of the SRC on Monday, publicly recused himself from the process — specifically, the SRC vote to confirm the awarding of the five-year, $12 million contract to Mosaica — but worked feverishly behind the scenes to support Evans’ ongoing attempt to take away the contract.
Mosaica was awarded the contract on March 16, 2001 in a vote by the SRC. Mosaica had already received the support of former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and the School Advisory Committee prior to the vote.
In perhaps the most damning bit of information in the 26-page report, Markman writes that Mosaica withdrew from the operation of MLK out of concern that the politically-connected Evans and Archie would frustrate the company’s ability to successfully operate MLK and jeopardize the company’s broader interests.
Reached by phone yesterday, Ackerman, who accepted a $905,000 buyout in August just months after receiving a vote of confidence from the SRC, said she had not read the report but after talking with Markman for hours “knew that the truth would be reported.”
“I lived what is in the report,” Ackerman said. “From what I have seen [the report] does exonerate my role in all of this. They tried to do everything to make me look like I didn’t have any integrity and that I had done something wrong.
“When she and I talked,” Ackerman, speaking of Markman, continued, “she told me that she was going to write the truth. I told her if she did that then it would be fine and that we could let the chips fall where they may, so I trust what is in that report.”
More than anything else, Ackerman feels the MLK fiasco doomed her tenure as schools chief.
“I think it is tragic, but I realized that it was the beginning of the end for me,” she said.
Ackerman did not want to disclose her present location, but she added that in her last few months as superintendent she was accompanied by an armed police officer.
“The last few months have been hell,” she said. “It is time for me to move past all of this. I hope now people will ask the right questions. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are lots of questions that should be asked. There should be some kind of deeper inquiry into all of this.”
Archie disagrees with Ackerman’s recollections, and doesn’t feel the report is worth the paper it was written on.
“I am shocked and angered by the conclusions in the Markman report released today by Mayor Nutter’s office,” Archie said in a statement. “I emphatically reject the findings. They are not supported by facts, and are a reach to say the least. In some cases, they are pure fiction.”
Evans was equally angered over the report.
“I am stunned the city’s chief integrity officer would craft a document that characterizes me as a puppet master who has the ability to pull strings and make people dance,” Evans said. “That is simply not true. The report issued today, while written to suggest nefarious maneuvers, simply supports activities that have been well documented for months.”
Archie met personally with Markman. However, Evans, his aide Kim Turner, and Urban Affairs Coalition president and CEO Sharmain Matlock-Turner, all named in the report, refused to meet with Markman, who interviewed more than 30 people.
In a phone call from Washington, D.C., John Porter, president of Mosaica’s Turnaround Partners, expressed relief that “the truth had finally been told,” but expressed remorse that Mosaica would not have the chance to operate MLK, which is now a Promise Academy.
“I would say my reaction is that I’m glad it’s completed and the facts were stated and made public,” said Porter, who represented Mosaica during the entire process. “I am saddened that we were unable to work with Martin Luther King High. We felt we had built a great relationship with the parents and the children.
Mosaica, located in Atlanta, operates the Birney Preparatory School here. Asked if he felt the fallout from the MLK situation might dissuade Mosaica from pursuing other schools in the city, he said no.
“What I will say is that I am very, very disappointed,” Porter said. “Having said that, no, this will not deter us from continuing to try to establish a relationship with the school district. They are fine people. That’s all I’m willing to say about that matter.”
Foundations, with Evans’ help, has secured contracts with the West Oak Lane Charter School, MLK and the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Technology.
John Henderson, executive director of communications with the New Jersey-based company, said the entire process had been flawed from the beginning. He said that many events were not reported in the Markman report by the media, and he indicated that he saw inaccuracies in the report.
“Everything we have done at King for the last seven years was designed to improve the quality of education for the children. That has been our commitment during this entire ordeal. Overall, the most disturbing aspect of this entire situation is that it has taken the focus off of the students and their families.”
Henderson said Foundations will continue to maintain its relationship with Evans. However, he was not very familiar with Archie’s relationship to the company.
“It’s no secret that we have had a long relationship with Dwight in that neighborhood,” Henderson said. “In terms of Mr. Archie being an advocate for us, I would say that the relationship has been much more casual.”
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —In a Democratic National Convention that featured memorable speeches by first lady Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton, the nation’s first African-American president, Barack Obama, spoke to the American people Thursday night about his first-term accomplishments, and urged voters to elect him to a second term on November 6.
The threat of rain, thunder and lightning during an outdoor speech was the reason the Democratic National Committee and the Obama for America campaign decided to move the speech from the 73,000-seat Bank of America stadium into the smaller 20,000-seat Time Warner Cable Arena, where the first two days of events were held.
Obama for America campaign spokesman Tom Reynolds told the Tribune an estimated 65,000 people from all around the nation were expected to see Obama speak at Bank of America stadium, and another 19,000 people had standby tickets.
In an effort to please the thousands of potential voters who were disappointed they could not see Obama speak in person in Charlotte, the president participated in a conference call Thursday before his speech to thank supporters. Obama supporters around the nation, including thousands in Charlotte who had tickets, saw the speech at watch parties or in their hotel rooms.
Pennsylvania Democratic Chairman Jim Burn said Pennsylvania’s electoral votes are key to Obama’s chances of winning the election. He said in order to win, the state party must continue to stress the president’s record over the past three and a half years of job creation (including 29 straight months of national job growth) and saving the country from the possible worst fiscal collapse since the Great Depression.
“African-American voters are as important to Pennsylvania turnout and the success of President Obama as any of our bases,” Burn said. “Sure he (Obama) has a lot of work to do. Every campaign is like a snowflake — there are no two identical campaigns. Most Pennsylvanians, and most Americans, have already made up their minds about who they’re voting for. It’s all about the ground game now, and all about voter turnout. There is nothing in this Republican ticket that is conducive to African-American voters voting for it.”
The delegates to the convention from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware are leaving Charlotte fired up about the final weeks of this year’s campaign and ready to go do everything possible to re-elect President Obama and homegrown Vice President Joe Biden, a Delaware senator and Pennsylvania native. Biden also gave a speech accepting his vice-presidential nomination right before the president’s speech.
Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, the wife of Philadelphia State Sen. Vincent Hughes, attended the convention with her husband. She says she cannot fathom that any African-American would vote for Romney over Obama.
“Don’t look at me with your Black self and ask, ‘Why should I support the brother?,’” Ralph said. “Stop that foolishness about sitting this thing out. If you’re confused about who to vote for, vote for Barack Obama. What are you going to do? Give your vote to Mitt Romney by voting for nobody? That is madness.”
“Brothers and sisters in the beauty shops and the barber shops know when the okie doke is being played on them,” Sen. Hughes added. “ They know what’s up. We just have to act now like we got some sense and send the message out. When the president says ‘Do you have my back?, we need to stand up and say “yea brother, we’ve got you back and we’re going to stand with you and we’re not going to stand for this foolishness.’”
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who delivered a speech yesterday, said a Romney administration would be a disaster for the nation.
“To Mitt Romney, education is a luxury,” Nutter said in prepared remarks. “ As governor of Massachusetts, he vetoed universal pre-K. In his first year, K-12 schools saw drastic cuts that lead to teacher layoffs. He failed his students. Whose values do you want in the Oval Office? I know who Philly wants, who Pennsylvania wants, and who you want — President Barack Obama.”
Philadelphia City Councilwoman Marian Tasco, a delegate to this year’s convention, said now that the Democratic and Republican conventions are over, it is a two-month sprint to Election Day to convince Pennsylvanians and Philadelphians to vote for Obama and Biden.
“I think the public will understand that he (Obama) needs the next four years to complete his agenda,” Tasco said. “From day one, the Republicans made up their minds they weren’t going to do anything to help the president succeed. They don’t want him, and it is personal. I just have to say it — I just think it is outright racism.”
The proposed $6.4 billion Philadelphia International Airport expansion project has its share of detractors, including residents from Tinicum Township, Pennsylvania — who recently filed a lawsuit to halt the project — and the Environmental Protection Agency.
POWER — Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild can be added to the list of entities seeking clarity — and equal job opportunities for the city’s skilled minority workforce.
POWER plans to meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5, at Grace Christian Fellowship Church, 6206 Grays Ferry Avenue, to discuss the finer, financial nuances of the plan. Reverend Cean James will head this meeting, the first such one to take place at the church.
The church also held an informal meeting earlier this year in regard to the project, but Tuesday’s meeting represents the first of four city-wide meetings, which POWER sees as a “campaign to address economic injustice in the city.”
“There are young people sitting in Philadelphia classrooms, and adults sitting in GED programs, whose future will be determined by our ability to establish this kind of agreement,” James said in a prepared statement. “The expansion of PHL provides a unique opportunity for city government to provide leadership to ensure that struggling people from all over the city are able to take advantage of this once in a life time economic development project.”
POWER also held a prayer rally earlier this year at the site of the proposed expansion, and organizational leaders remain committed to the cause.
“POWER congregations serve thousands of Philadelphians who are either unemployed or underemployed,” said Executive Director Bishop Dwayne Royster, who also serves as pastor of Living Water United Church of Christ in Kensington. “In addition to easing airport delays for people traveling through Philadelphia, this economic development project should be used to address long-standing poverty and joblessness in our hardest hit neighborhoods.”
The expansion project — which includes additional international runways and terminals that the Federal Aviation Association says will decrease air congestion — is said to create more than 100,000 temporary, long-term and permanent positions over the next several decades. To make sure that the city and PHL guarantee equality in filling out those positions, POWER crafted a five-step process to ensure minorities are at the table — and at the pay window.
At a ratification meeting last month, POWER called on Mayor Michael Nutter and PHL officials to create training programs to ensure that people have the skills required to do the permanent jobs that will become available; create a first source hiring program that gives “first crack” at the permanent jobs to people who have struggled recently with unemployment, or who live in disadvantaged areas; promote a living wage, health and retirement benefits, and the right to organize, where applicable, for the permanent jobs and create a fully-funded compliance and monitoring system.
Unrelated to POWER, the airport project has seen its share of naysayers and lawsuits — some of which had the potential to derail the project entirely.
Tinicum residents in April held a hearing with a panel of three federal judges who heard their complaints — chief among them that the project would eliminate more than 70 residential dwellings. Media reports suggested the EPA is backing the Tinicum residents in the matter. And US Airways — one of the airport’s biggest customers — is said to be against the project from the start, claiming it will cost too much money and will not alleviate air congestion in the manner the FAA believes it will.
This proposed project comes on the heels of a $117 million expansion currently underway. That expansion includes a new central hub, reconfigured security checkpoints, new baggage claim areas and a new connector for Terminals E and F. This expansion should be completed by fall 2015.
Right before she crossed the street at the corner of 12th and Walnut streets, President Judge Thomasine Tynes of the Philadelphia Traffic Court made sure she looked both ways on the one-way street and began to walk.
And that’s when the trouble started.
A bicyclist riding the wrong way on one of the one-way streets plowed into the judge, knocking her to the ground a little over five years ago. She didn’t see him coming, but she felt the bruises from the encounter for days to come.
“The force threw me into the street,” said Tynes, shaking her head at the memory. “If a car was coming I would have gotten killed. Meanwhile, he didn’t stop to see if I was OK or anything. In fact, he looked at me like I was at fault. He got up and just rode away.”
Had there been a rule requiring the registration of bicycles — of which the judge is an advocate — Tynes could have taken the rider’s information and reported him for his violation. As it was, she was just left to nurse her wounds and be grateful that there was no Mack truck bearing down on her that day.
These days the head of the traffic court hopes to change things in the city. She is not opposed to people riding bikes and getting in their exercise, but she does believe that city riders should be forced to register their bicycles and be more accountable for the way they ride, for their safety and the safety of others.
“Suppose you hurt somebody on a bike?” Tynes asks. “What do they do? Do you just ride away? Right now that’s the case. Or what if you knock off someone’s side-view mirror and keep going? Who pays for that? There just aren’t enough penalties.”
In Pennsylvania, bikes are considered vehicles and as a result are governed by the same rules as automobiles. They are not allowed to run red lights. If they are in the street and stopped at a red light, they are not allowed to make a right turn if a sign forbids it.
Chestnut Hill cyclist Howard Hochheiser rides four times a week and logs between 100 and 200 miles on his bike. He thinks that registering riders is a waste of time — something that will be very hard to enforce. But he sees riders violating rules all the time.
“I am in favor of more enforcement,” Hochheiser says. “We as cyclists often get on drivers who don’t follow the law, but we don’t reciprocate. If you have four riders riding abreast on the West River Drive and the bike lane is designed to have riders in single file, then yes, that is a problem. It is a two-way street and we have to abide by the rules.”
Registration hasn’t had much success across the country. Detroit once charged riders $55 to register bikes, but that was repealed in 2008. Houston also went the registration route. However, only about 10 bikes per month registered and it was more of a hassle than anything else. Both Washington and Los Angles have also successfully repealed bike registration laws.
In Los Angles it cost just $3 to register a bike. However, riders said they were being unjustly harassed and complained that nothing was done when bikes were stolen before the requirement was repealed.
Tynes knows full well the dangers associated with bike riders. She tells a story of one lawyer in her courtroom whose client had been injured on a bike. He had no identification on him, and as a result, he was in a hospital room for two days and no one knew who he was. Eventually his family filed a missing person’s report and they identified him that way.
Tynes has written letters to Mayor Michael Nutter about the issue. She says it is just as much about enforcement as it is about safety and being able to identify the riders. She suggested that the registration be no more than a one-time fee of about $20.
“I don’t want riders to think that I’m against you guys; I’m not,” Tynes says. “I am saying that [riders] need to be responsible like everyone else on the road. It is better for everyone involved.”
The third time was a charm for attorney David Oh, who appears to be the winner in a tight race against former candidate for mayor, Al Taubenberger for a City Council-at-large seat.
He will be the first Asian-American member of Council in the city’s history.
“I think it’s a point of pride for Asian Americans in Philadelphia,” Oh told the Inquirer on Tuesday. “At the end of the day, we’re all Philadelphians, and it’s important that we all come together to improve our city.”
He did not respond to repeated attempts by the Tribune to reach him.
For a while, it appeared that Oh, who seemed to be jinxed in his attempts to win a council seat, could lose yet again.
Votes tallied on Nov. 8 gave him a razor thin lead of 140 votes. Counting of provisional and absentee ballots — about 2,800 ballots — wrapped up Tuesday giving Oh a lead of 171 votes.
That lead remains unofficial until election results are certified.
But, Taubenberger conceded Tuesday evening telling reporters: “It’s back to my day job at the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.”
Taubenberger is the president of the chamber. Like Oh, he has tried for years to capture a public seat. He challenged Mayor Michael Nutter in his first race for mayor.
Oh’s win makes him the second of two Republicans who will take at-large seats in January. The other is state Rep. Dennis O’Brien.
It was Oh’s third run for a council seat. He also ran in 2007 and 2003.
Four years ago he lost in an extremely tight race to Jack Kelly and vote-counting dragged on for two weeks.
This time around he collected some big name endorsements, but the campaign got dirty in August when several stories appeared in the press that questioned Oh’s military record and publicized his arrest in the mid-1990s on gun charges.
The stories gave union boss John Dougherty the material needed to attack Oh with fliers raising questions about Oh’s suitability for office. Dougherty was apparently trying to weaken Oh, because he would not commit to support Councilman Darrell Clarke for Council president.
Oh, who grew up and lives in Cobbs Creek, served on former Mayor Ed Rendell’s transition team and was Gov. Tom Ridge’s point man on a trade mission to South Korea. He worked as a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office and served on a variety of civic boards.
He is just one of six new members to take their seats in January in a sweeping restructuring of City Council made possible by a series of retirements.
The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator (PFI) at Macy’s Center City, a new fashion design initiative devoted to supporting and promoting emerging fashion designers and encouraging local designers to keep their businesses in Philadelphia, was announced by city officials this week.
A collaboration between The City of Philadelphia, Center City District, Macy’s Center City, and several educational institutions devoted to fashion design in Philadelphia, PFI will provide four aspiring designers the workspace and essential business resources needed to run successful and sustainable fashion companies. This initiative comes on the heels of the second successful “Philadelphia Collection 2011,” an umbrella event that showcased the city’s fall fashion happenings. The PFI is the first of its kind in Philadelphia, the home to nationally recognized fashion design schools, including Moore College of Art, Drexel University and Philadelphia University. The purpose of PFI is to support and promote emerging fashion designers from these design schools and the fashion community of Philadelphia.
“We’re not just a city between New York and Washington — we have a lot to offer, and that’s what we’re doing here,” said city representative Melanie Johnson. “The Philadelphia fashion retail profile is certainly on the rise, and with exciting new programs like the PFI, our stake in the future of Philadelphia’s fashion and design community becomes even more important in branding the city as a innovative fashion destination and a location for smart business investment.”
Modeled after a similar and successful program in Chicago between Macy’s State Street and The City of Chicago, the year-long residency program, which launches in Philadelphia in March 2012, will provide the selected Designer-In-Residence (DIR) with office space, a production room and shared showroom space/conference room. The DIR will receive mentoring from industry and business professionals along with a significant schedule of monthly workshops focused on the business of fashion. Workshops will include topics on creating a business plan, marketing strategy, and identifying legal needs and funding. The tailored curriculum will be offered by community leaders, industry experts and fashion insiders.
“Philly is fashion in the United States of America,” declared Mayor Nutter. “Philadelphia is a fertile breeding ground for the creative class. We are fortunate to have some of the best educational institutions in the country, and the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator will cultivate and nurture these talented fashion designers that have emerged from these institutions,” said Mayor Nutter. “The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator is the first of its kind in Philadelphia, and the initiative represents the City’s commitment to a thriving, innovative, creative economy.”
The 600+-square foot “Project Runway”-inspired production room, showroom and office space will be located at Macy’s Center City in the historic Wanamaker Building. The space will allow DIRs to produce samples, gain valuable retail insight and showcase their collections to merchants from local and national retailers. In addition to workspace and monthly business workshops, DIRs will also participate in various fashion events throughout the year, including pop-up shops, trunk shows and a fashion show during The Philadelphia Collection.
“Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City is going to go a long way in finding the next generation of local fashion design talent” says Martine Reardon, executive vice president of Marketing & Advertising of Macy’s. “The fashion and retail industries thrive when new creative talent emerges and energizes the marketplace. By introducing aspiring designers to the inner workings of the fashion and retail business, and providing them a workshop filled with the resources that will get their businesses off the ground, Philadelphia will become a key city in the American fashion industry.”
DIR will be selected by PFI’s Selection Committee which consists of six professionals from Philadelphia’s fashion and business sectors. “We are extremely excited to launch this initiative in Philadelphia,” said Michelle Shannon, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Center City District. “To have the ability to support local fashion design talent and nurture new wholesale and retail business in our city sends a strong message that Philadelphia is indeed an emerging fashion design center.”
Each of the three design schools will have one alumnus participate as a designer-in-residence. The fourth designer-in-residence spot is an open call to any apparel designer living in the Philadelphia region. If you are interested in becoming one of the designers chosen to be part of the 2012 Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, apply at philadelphiafashionincubator.com. Applications are due by January 20, 2012.