Thursday, May 08, 2003

  • CITY COUNCIL ON WARPATH Several members of the Philadelphia City Council have raised the possibility of the city withholding their subsidy to SEPTA as a result of the massive inconveniences along Market St in West Philadelphia, and also as a response to SEPTA's proposed budget and service cuts. The Daily News reports that Councilman Wilson Goode, Jr. (D-At Large) introduced a measure that would place disbursement of the city's appropriation to SEPTA under the jurisdiction of City Council for release at its own discretion. Making matters worse for SEPTA is that Fearless Leader didn't bother to show up for the hearings, but instead sent two AGMs to argue SEPTA's case. That did not sit too well with Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell (D-3):

    "We take it as an insult to the efforts to try and help businesses on the Market Street corridor, as well as residents," Blackwell said. "If you have a serious agenda and nothing to hide, then you can certainly come and face questions."

    Amen! Considering that Fearless Leader makes fewer public appearances than Saddam Hussein (though he appears to have a legitimate reason for not showing up in public), this really isn't surprising. However, this isn't DVARP that she's blowing off; it's the Philadelphia City Council. Considering how much clout Council has over how the city is run (Emperor Street notwithstanding), for Fearless Leader to send to cronies in front of City Council instead of facing the music herself is a very dangerous political move. But wait, there's more...

    During the hearing, Councilman Michael Nutter (D-4) took exception to SEPTA's response when inquiring about a broken escalator at the 60 St El Station.

    [SEPTA's AGM for Business Services Cecil] Bond said the parts to fix the escalator are no longer available. A replacement is out because SEPTA plans to build a new station with new escalators and elevators in two years, he added.

    Nutter: "Do you think I'm going to sit here and accept that ... What about the people, the elderly and handicapped, who use that station?" (Daily News)

    And Nutter was just getting warmed up...

    "Where there are things that can be done, they should be done. And all we get (from SEPTA) is: 'No. Can't. Forget about it.' That's not helpful. And people aren't going to stand for it. I'm certainly not going to stand for it because I'm not going to listen to this noise for the next 5 or 6 years about things that don't make any sense." (KYW NewsRadio 1060)

    I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, Councilman, but that's how SEPTA works these days. On a side note, Bond isn't exactly one to be talking about escalators, as he was AGM for Safety and Risk Management when the escalator tragedy occured at Cecil B Moore Station a few years ago. (Then again, I'm surprised that he wasn't fired long ago. But, SEPTA being SEPTA, this is probably a promotion for him...) If only Nutter was running for mayor this year instead of Emperor Street...

    Also commenting on the El controversy was Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky, who had some not so nice things to say about SEPTA's management (or lack thereof).

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