Monday, December 22, 2003


If case you missed it, the Iggles gave away home field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs, thanks to an anemic 31-28 overtime loss to San Francisco in South Philly yesterday. It certainly didn't help that David Akers missed 2 field goals (blame the wind for the first miss, blame Akers for the second), nor that Freddie Mitchell did a fine impression of a statue in overtime on that interception which all but ended the game, nor that the defense couldn't stop the 49ers running game, nor that Donovan McNabb had a lowsy game (no thanks to the porous blocking by the "offensive" line), nor that ... well you get the picture.

Oh, and in between the mourning period for the Iggles Super Bowl chances, the 76ers blew a 12 point 4th quarter lead in a loss to the hated Boston Celtics.

And the Flyers didn't bother showing up in Atlanta last night, losing to the Thrashers 4-1.

Thank god for St. Joseph's win over Cal-Berkley on Saturday night...

Let's just say that this was not a great day to be a Philadelphia sports fan, and leave it at that. Let's just say that I'm not in a particularly good mood...

And now, in transit related news...


Washington Twp MCI 8000, working an Atlantic City to Philadelphia 551 trip was the subject of an alleged bomb threat last night.

According to the Cherry Hill Courier Post:

Pennsylvania State Police received a call at about 4 p.m. from someone who claimed a man aboard the bus had 60 sticks of dynamite strapped to him. The call came in while the bus was on the Atlantic City Expressway, police said.

I certainly realize that transit agencies are going to take threats of this nature seriously, and that's good. Yet, shouldn't a couple of red flags have gone up when PENNSYLVANIA State Police are notified about a potential incident in New Jersey? Unless there was some misdirection from the cell phone (which is possible, depending on how close the caller was to Pennsylvania - I've called 911 on a cell phone near county boundaries and would occasionally be misdirected), how does a threat in New Jersey end up getting called in to Pennsylvania? Anyway...

The New Jersey State Police, NJ Transit police, Camden police, Camden County Sheriff's officers, and FBI agents escorted the bus to the Campbell's Field ballpark. By 7:00pm, a second bus was dispatched to take the remaining passengers back to Philadelphia. State Police are investigating.

Side-bar: It's a well known fact that the Cherry Hill Courier Post has long been a critic of the proposed River Line, but it appears this reporter didn't even bother to determine that this was a 551 bus. From the article:

It was unclear where the bus originated or where it was headed.

Based on a picture in today's Philadelphia Daily News, and the fact that the bus was on the Atlantic City Expressway, it's would be safe to assume that it was in fact a 551 en route to Philadelphia.


Amid much fanfare, SEPTA announced a plan to renovate the Croydon train station. The Inquirer reported that several big shots, including U.S. Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-Bucks) and U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R in name only-Pa.) were among the dignitaries who presented SEPTA $3.5 million for renovations to the station. Both Fearless Leader and SEPTA Board Chairman "Don Pasquale" were also among the big shots who attended the ceremony, which seemed to be designed as much for the awarding of this funding as it was for Specter's re-election campaign.

Improvements to the station would include rehabbing the station shelters, increasing parking, and add trailblazer signs. The Croydon rehab will most likely be timed in conjunction with the rehab project at Levittown.

Interesting how elected officials are scarce when SEPTA plans projects in certain suburban areas, isn't it? Of course, Bucks County is Don Pasquale's home turf, so it's somewhat understandable that he wants to improve his standing among the hacks at Doylestown Courthouse.

And, yes, Minister of Mis-Information Richard Maloney was quoted in this article (you can tell that I don't trust him, can't you?):

Improvements would also allow buses to enter the station. The improved train-to-bus connection is important, SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney said, because intermodal transportation is a big attraction for riders who depend on buses to take them to trains, trolleys and subways. SEPTA, he said, is the largest intermodal transportation operation in North America, and attempts are being made to provide the complete package in the expanding suburbs - including Bucks County, where 600,000 people live.

The largest intermodal transportation operation in North America? You mean to tell me that SEPTA is even bigger than NJ Transit or the Toronto Transportation Commission? Do you mind if I laugh?

Incidentially, some local pols weren't to thrilled at being left out of the limelight:

Yesterday's event took place without any Bristol Township officials in attendance. Council President Karen Lipsack said she found out about the federal financing after the announcement.

"It's a wonderful project," she said. "But political etiquette requires that you tell someone in the township. I find that in very poor taste."

Hmmm, let's review, shall we? Here are the three big names attending the ceremony that we could confirm from the article.

SEPTA Board Chairman "Don" Pasquale T. Deon, Sr.: Republican
Congressman James Greenwood: Republican
U.S. Senator Arlen Specter: Republican

As best as I can tell, here is a listing of Bristol Township elected officials and their party affiliations:

Mayor Samuel J. Fenton: Democrat
Council President Karen Lipsack: Democrat
Council Vice President: Ken Balcom: Democrat
Councilman Donald Lorady: Democrat
Councilman John Monahan: Democrat
Councilman Ken Worthington: Democrat

Do the math. At the very least, SEPTA owed the township a courtesy phone call to let them know about this event. Bad taste? That's an understatement, but unfortunately, for SEPTA, it's par for the course.


Former SEPTA Board Vice Chairman Richard Voith wrote a very interesting op-ed piece in today's Daily News, taking SEPTA to task for doing a poor job providing schedule information at bus stops. And Voith is in a position to know about the inner workings of SEPTA, having been City Council's appointee to the SEPTA Board before being replaced by Christian (son of Councilman Frank) DiCicco. Voith, by the way, was highly regarded as being responsive to his constituents, and to this day, is still missed on the board. I don't think it's a coincidence that the professionalism of the board has disintigrated since he left and was replaced by "Don" Pasquale.

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