Why I Support the Philadelphia Soda Tax

June 12, 2016

Lately there’s been a lot of discussion about the Philadelphia Soda Tax. Basically, the City of Philadelphia has decided to tax all beverages that contain sugar (high fructose corn syrup). This affects a whole lot of beverages.

According to Philadelphians Against the Grocery Tax, it will mostly impact small businesses and people who are economically disadvantaged:

This regressive tax stands to hurt Philadelphia’s lower-income families and small businesses the most, burdening them with higher costs even though they are still struggling to emerge from the recession. It could also hurt retailers and restaurants, which are likely to lose sales and customers. It’s a slippery slope – this discriminatory tax is singling out beverages. Which grocery items are next?

So why would I support this, especially as a conservative? Shouldn’t I be supporting everyone’s right to do what they want, and oppose any taxation to regulate one’s freedom of choice?

It’s more complicated than you think, and the problem in the first place was actually created by the federal government…

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Developers and RCOs Take Heed: the Zoning Code Changes on March 25, 2013 — Bill No. 120889

February 6, 2013
"New" is all relative anyway.

“New” is all relative anyway.

Get ready for some changes in the New Zoning Code.

On January 24, 2013, Philadelphia City Council overrided Mayor Nutter’s veto and voted Bill No. 120889 into place. The Bill goes into effect on March 25, 2013. And just last night, we received a fact sheet from the Philadelphia City Planning Commission that displays the major changes, which mainly affect developers and Registered Community Organizations.

What does this mean for you? Well, if you’re a developer or on the board of a RCO, you have some new rules to follow, and probably some more work to do. Here’s a quick greatest hits.

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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The City of Philadelphia threatens to sue local business owner for cleaning up a vacant lot

September 15, 2012

In South Philadelphia, there is a vacant lot owned by the city through the Redevelopment Authority (RDA). Until recently, the lot didn’t exactly look “redeveloped”:

This is how the Redevelopment Authority thinks this lot should look

Local lawyer and developer Ori Feibush owns a coffee shop adjacent to the lot. Given that the RDA apparently had no interest in maintaining the lot, Ori decided to take matters in his own hands.

Check it out:

This is not how the Redevelopment Authority thinks this lot should look

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Occupy Philly Wells Fargo 14 – Guilty of Defiant Trespass & Conspiracy

June 14, 2012

I am beyond disappointed with the verdict in Commonwealth v. Wells Fargo 14, where the defendants were found guilty of Defiant Trespass and Conspiracy to Commit Defiant Trespass.

For those of you who were lucky enough to sit on and see the trial, you understand when I say that the testimony in the case was some of the most moving words I’ve heard in a long time. These guys have passion, fire, and a resolve to fight injustice that I see rarely these days. I am honored to have helped represent them alongside some of the finest civil rights and defense attorneys in the city.

I’m glad that this case was so integral and important to protect the safety of the citizens of Philadelphia that the DA took the time to get the charges right in their press release.

In case it gets corrected in the meantime, here’s the full text below:

Guilty Verdicts for “Occupy Wells Fargo” defendants

By 

June 13, 2012,  Commonwealth v. “Occupy Wells Fargo” defendants: Gina Apuzzo, Michael Blas, Anthony Abata, Larry Swetman, Alan Sable, Keil Troisi, Aaron Troisi, Dustin Slaughter, Willard Johnson, Justin Audia, Justin Murphy and Adam Hill were all found guilty of Disorderly Conduct and Conspiracy charges today. On November 18, 2011, a large group of protesters gathered at the 17th and Market Street branch of Wells Fargo Bank. These 12 protesters entered the bank lobby, sat down, linked arms, chanted and kept customers from accessing the bank. Despite being allowed to protest for over an hour, these individuals refused to leave, requiring multiple police officers to separate and detain them, all as the crowd chanted “shame” at the officers. The Honorable Marsha Niefield fined all twelve defendants each $500. This case was successfully prosecuted by Stacy Hughes of the Central Division Bureau.

I understand the appeal was filed this morning. I can’t wait.


Philadelphia’s News Outlets are Hearing Us!

April 11, 2012

Leo Mulvihill, a lawyer who lives in the area, said that neighbors saw vagrants breaking in, and that the building was being used as a drug den and an illegal chop shop …

‘We are a system of laws. . . . Each time you have a violation, you have to be given an opportunity to respond,’ Gillison said. ‘That’s just the way it is here in America. The bottom line is that it’s incumbent on the owner to respond.’

The city can seal properties without an owner’s permission, but the city places a premium on working with owners and trying to get them to take responsibility.

‘I understand that L&I has policies. I understand that there is due process afforded to the owner,’ Mulvihill said. ‘The important point is it shouldn’t have deteriorated to the point it did before the city did anything about it.’

After deadly fire, debate over who was responsible for building’s condition (Philadelphia Inquirer).

I wasn’t kidding when I said that yesterday’s post wouldn’t be our first. Check back as we figure out what else we can do to fight slumlords and get the city to act so this doesn’t happen again.


Our First Post About the Buck Hosiery Fire at York & Jasper – We’re Angry.

April 10, 2012
Buck Hosiery Fire at York & Jasper

This is what we were trying to prevent.

By now, I am sure you’ve heard of the terrible fire at the old Buck Hosiery plant in which two firefighters lost their lives.

l’ve walked past this building countless times on my way to and from the York Dauphin El station and marveled at its unrealized potential. Now, instead of realizing that potential, it’s the scene of a horrific fire that’s made national news for killing two firefighters.  Read the rest of this entry »


Brian Sims: Bringing Courage, Conviction, and Inspiration to the 182nd District

April 7, 2012

Brian Sims is running for State Representative in the 182nd District

Brian Sims is running for State Representative in the 182nd District against Babette Josephs. Babette has been entrenched in the 182nd District, pretty much forever. As my friend Chris Sawyer aptly put it, “Babette is where good legislation goes to die.”

But I’m not really interested in writing about Babette, at least right now. Authors far better than myself have already done that.

Let’s talk about Brian Sims, a former classmate of mine and a guy who will be getting my support this year.

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