Wasting money in Philadelphia

There were several stories from the City of Brotherly Love yesterday which amounted to nothing more than wastes of money.


Supreme Court refuses to reinstate Abu-Jamal death sentence¹

By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear a petition by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office seeking to reinstate the death penalty against Mumia Abu-Jamal.

The ruling in the case of Abu-Jamal – convicted of murder in the 1981 shooting of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner – was one of more than 250 appeals summarily rejected by the high court without comment. It means that, unless the District Attorney’s Office decides to conduct a new sentencing hearing, Abu-Jamal, 57, will continue serving a life sentence with no chance of parole.

Tasha Jamerson, spokeswoman for District Attorney Seth Williams, said the prosecutor’s office would not comment on the ruling while its appeals unit decides what to do next.

The prosecutor’s unsuccessful appeal to the nation’s highest court followed a decision in April by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.

The Third Circuit reaffirmed its ruling that Abu-Jamal’s sentencing hearing was unfair, giving the District Attorney’s Office the choice of conducting a new death-penalty hearing or letting Abu-Jamal serve life.

More at the link. Wesley Cook, the convicted murderer who likes to go by the ridiculous name of Mumia abu Jamal, was willing to deal out death, but is afraid of death for himself. Given that, even if the capital sentence against him were reinstated, it’s highly unlikely he would actually be executed. In Pennsylvania², there are currently 219 people on death row. Since capital punishment was re-enacted by the state legislature in 1974, there have been three executions in the Commonwealth, and all three were of men who had voluntarily dropped their appeals; they, in effect, volunteered to just get it all over. But no one has been executed against his will in Pennsylvania since the reinstatement of capital punishment.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams knows this, as did Lynne Abraham, his predecessor, yet they have kept pursuing the efforts to have Mr Cook executed. His case has become something of an international cause célèbre, which means that all such continual efforts on the part of the District Attorney do is to keep promoting this thug and murderer to the idiot fringe . . . and, of course, costing the city money it doesn’t need to spend.

But, it isn’t just the stupidity of the District Attorney that’s wasting city funds:


Occupy Philadelphia costs city $400,000 in police surveillance³


By Bob Warner, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer

The city has spent more than $400,000 in police costs to deal with the Occupy Philadelphia protest on the west side of City Hall, Nutter administration officials estimated Tuesday.

The figure includes $164,000 in police overtime through the first five days of the protest — the bulk of the city’s out-of-pocket costs — and an additional $237,000 for the plainclothes and uniformed officers stationed at Dilworth Plaza and other City Hall locations on their regular shifts.

“In one sense the added cost is the overtime number, but there is also a deployment issue — the officers are here instead of other places,” said Mayor Nutter’s spokesman, Mark McDonald.

Now entering its seventh day, the demonstration has drawn several hundred people or more to City Hall during peak periods each day. The number of tents that provide overnight accommodations increased to about 100 from 80 over the weekend.

City budget director Rebecca Rhynhart — now initiating an effort to pare about $47 million from the budget to compensate for three months of weaker-than-expected revenue — said she would ask all city departments to provide reports on what the demonstration is costing them.

The offshoot of the Overly Wet Snuggies protests in Manhattan are complaining that those mean ol’ capitalists and wicked corporations and evil rich people aren’t paying enough in taxes, yet their protest is just costing the city — and all of the cities in which they are protesting — more tax dollars which are collected and which could be spent on other things.

Nor are these costs even complete. The article noted that Philadelphia has a 100-tent area to “house” the overnight protesters, and there will certainly be clean-up costs if they prove to be as big a pigs as the ones in Manhattan . . . which I’d bet a case of Mountain Dew will be the case. I’d be very surprised if the bill for the Occupy Philadelphia protests — which are planning to move to Doylestown, a borough which really can’t afford to pick clean up after their mess — comes in at under a million bucks.

Perhaps if they were cleaner, more responsible people, like the TEA Party protesters of 2010, they wouldn’t be costing the government so much to clean up after them.

And here’s one in which it could be argued there was no choice but to spend the money:

13 arrested in prostitution raid at Philly Mummers club4

By Allison Steele, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer

One night a month, police say, the inside of the modest Mummers’ Downtowners Fancy Brigade clubhouse in South Philadelphia transformed into a bacchanalian free-for-all where dozens of men ate, drank, and had sex with prostitutes in full view of each other.

For a $30 cover charge, attendees got one free beer from the cash bar, food, and access to the women at the party. The women, police said, walked around scantily clad or naked, charging from $30 to $100 for sex.

On Tuesday night, the festivities came to an abrupt end when police officers swarmed the two-story building near Second Street and Snyder Avenue. About 50 men and 20 women were inside.

Police arrested 13 people in the prostitution sweep, including 10 women and two executives of the Downtowners.

John Murray, 56, of Deptford, the club’s financial secretary, and Alfred Sanborn, 44, of South Philadelphia, its steward, were arrested on liquor violation charges. The two acted as bartenders during the parties, and the clubhouse did not have a liquor license, police said.

Lawrence Crovetti, 65, of Feasterville, was charged with promoting prostitution by arranging for the women to get to the building. Police said he organized the parties and rented the building each month. Authorities on Wednesday were uncertain how long the parties had been held at the clubhouse.

OK, prostitution is illegal, no doubt about that, and perhaps that makes spending the money on this investigation legitimate, but it seems to me to be absolute idiocy that something which is perfectly legal to do if no money changes hands — having sex — can legitimately be a crime if money does change hands. We’ve already established that it’s really none of the government’s business with whom someone has sex — as long as it is consensual — so how it can continue to be illegal to have sex for a specific reason (money) seems silly.

And from a monetary standpoint, wouldn’t it be less expensive for the city and the state to have prostitution legal, and taxable?
________________________
¹ – The Philadelphia Inquirer, Wednesday, 12 October 2011, page B-1
² – Information accessed on Thursday, 13 October 2011; the numbers are subject to change.
³ – The Philadelphia Inquirer, Wednesday, 12 October 2011, page B-1
4The Philadelphia Inquirer, Thursday, 13 October 2011, page A-1

26 Comments

  1. Ahhh, Philadelphia, what can I say Dana? My ole’ hometown, location of my yoot! At least Nutter has the city functioning for a change. He’s a boat load better than the last ten Democrat stooges. Things could be a lot worse…like Harrisburg! Hell, the capitol of the state filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection yesterday. That says volumns about which party ran that city for fifty years. Right into the ground. I’m trying to figure out how a city wherein 95% of the inhabitants work for the state can go bankrupt. Perhaps the other 5% who ran the restaurants, dry cleaners, gas stations and WaWa’s that serviced them couldn’t afford the taxes any more?

    I have a great idea. How about we squeeze the non-union workers and small businessmen with taxes, use the EPA, OSHA and the EEOC to thwart any expansion or new development by big business, then throw away tax money on boondoggels and payoffs to our crony capitalist and union buddies? Wait! It’s already being tried.

  2. “I have a great idea. How about we squeeze the non-union workers and small businessmen with taxes, use the EPA, OSHA and the EEOC to thwart any expansion or new development by big business, then throw away tax money on boondoggels and payoffs to our crony capitalist and union buddies? Wait! It’s already being tried.”

    Looks like in Hoagie’s world it is alright to have polluted air and water, and to have slave labor wages for workers!

    There is a proper balance to be achieved on all these issues, Hoagie, otherwise we have a few government oligarchs and greedy corporate CEO’s calling all the shots. Is this your idea of a republic operating on democratic principles? It appears as though it is!!!

  3. “Looks like in Hoagie’s world it is alright to have polluted air and water, and to have slave labor wages for workers!

    There is a proper balance to be achieved on all these issues,”

    First you state that in my world it’s okay to have polluted air and water and slave wages. Then you state there’s a “proper balance”. What is the proper balance Perry? Is there NEVER an end to how much EPA is too much? Is there ever a time you call for fewer or more practical regulations? Cause I haven’t seen you do it.

    Do you really believe that I and other conservatives want to breathe polluted air and drink polluted water? Do you think we believe in “slave wages”? Because if you do you’re an idiot. We’re looking for that elusive balance you mentioned and when a person such as yourself frames the discussion in an “all or nothing” manner that becomes impossible. And if you actually believe we want polluted air and water and slaves then it’s really impossible.

    Furthermore if you can’t see or understand how the non-union workers and small businessmen are being squeezed, you can’t fix it. If you can’t understand how the regulators are killing industry, you can’t correct the problem. And if you can’t see our tax money being wasted on boondoggels, political pay-offs and crony capitalism you won’t stop it. So at that point you’ve become part of the problem and not the solution so what the phuck good are ya?

  4. Hoagie:
    Things could be a lot worse…like Harrisburg! Hell, the capitol of the state filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection yesterday. That says volumns about which party ran that city for fifty years.

    That’s because of that damn incinerator they built and can’t pay for. Of Course Mayor Reed had outlandish ideas to spend, spend, spend.

  5. Meanwhile, at the Overly Wet Snuggies outdoor convention, NYC said tomorrow they are coming through and cleaning up. The protest leader said if they wanted the place to be cleaner, the city should have provided Spot-a-Pots Like they cared.

  6. Majority of Americans support Occupy Wall Street.

    Q11. IN THE PAST FEW DAYS, A GROUP OF PROTESTORS HAS BEEN GATHERING ON WALL STREET IN NEW YORK CITY AND SOME OTHER CITIES TO PROTEST POLICIES WHICH THEY SAY FAVOR THE RICH, THE GOVERNMENT’S BANK BAILOUT, AND THE INFLUENCE OF MONEY IN OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM. IS YOUR OPINION OF THESE PROTESTS VERY FAVORABLE, SOMEWHAT FAVORABLE, SOMEWHAT UNFAVORABLE, VERY UNFAVORABLE, OR DON’T YOU KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THE PROTESTS TO HAVE AN OPINION?

    VERY FAVORABLE 25%
    SOMEWHAT FAVORABLE 29%
    SOMEWHAT UNFAVORABLE 10%
    VERY UNFAVORABLE 13%
    DON’T KNOW ENOUGH 23%
    NO ANSWER/DON’T KNOW 1%
    [...]
    Q12. DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THAT POSITION?

    B. THE GAP BETWEEN RICH AND POOR IN THE UNITED STATES HAS GROWN TOO LARGE
    BASE: FAMILIAR WITH PROTESTS (787)

    AGREE 79%
    DISAGREE 17%
    NO ANSWER/DON’T KNOW 3%
    [...]
    Q12. DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THAT POSITION?
    D. THE RICH SHOULD PAY MORE TAXES
    BASE: FAMILIAR WITH PROTESTS (787)

    AGREE 68%
    DISAGREE 28%
    NO ANSWER/DON’T KNOW 4%

    OMG! Ther’s no time to waste! Quick, call them dirty hippie commies again! That’s so convincing!

  7. Comment in mod –
    You’ve been freed. But that was a TIME poll and can’t figure out why it went to mod. I read it earlier today. Ys

  8. Philly has its share of problems for sure and I figured Nutter to be just another machine politician when he was elected but he’s proved me wrong. The guy seems to think for himself and even better than that, he takes no crap and yet remains a gentleman. Gotta say I’ve grown to like the guy. Center City has been cleaned up ten fold, and the parks are 100% safer and cleaner. City services have improved under Nutter and the town seems to be fiscaly sound for a change. Hell, he even cleaned up South Street (even during Greek Week).

  9. “Meanwhile, at the Overly Wet Snuggies outdoor convention, NYC said tomorrow they are coming through and cleaning up. The protest leader said if they wanted the place to be cleaner, the city should have provided Spot-a-Pots Like they cared.”

    Like you know, Yorkshire? You don’t! Neither does Rush!!

    These demonizations remind me of the rally by Colbert and Stewart, where the Righties took a photo of some mess that was left and put it up next to the Beck rally where they chose a photo of a pristine place afterwards, as if these anecdotes constitute a significant difference. They don’t. It’s wingnut propaganda! And by the way, DC puts up port-a-potties whenever there is a rally there. NYC should have done the same. It is the cost of doing business! :)

  10. Perry says:
    13 October 2011 at 18:58 (Edit)

    “Meanwhile, at the Overly Wet Snuggies outdoor convention, NYC said tomorrow they are coming through and cleaning up. The protest leader said if they wanted the place to be cleaner, the city should have provided Spot-a-Pots Like they cared.”

    Like you know, Yorkshire? You don’t! Neither does Rush!!

    So now radio news is wrong. Do you need a bigger shovel, or should we rent you a CAT325LR Back Hoe.

  11. “NYC should have done the same. It is the cost of doing business! ”

    Perry, NYC wasn’t “doing business” the protesters are. It’s their responsibility to provide for themselves, but then again that’s what they’re protesting about isn’t it? They don’t know how to provide for themselves and thing other people should. Entitlement mentality, anyone?

  12. BTW, are you two peas hijacking another thread? This is supposed to be about Philly, not polls or protesters. Anything to add about Philly?

  13. It’s wingnut propaganda!

    Well, if so we learned from your moronic moonbat self when the Tea Party was holding its rallies.

    Turnabout really sucks, doesn’t it Fossil?

  14. Phoenician in a time of Romans says:
    13 October 2011 at 17:58 (Edit)

    Excessive capitals?

    It’s a mysterious world in the moderation-ville. But you just did a cut and paste from the poll background info which didn’t have any trigger words as far as I could tell. I Dunno. DANA?????

  15. Well, if so we learned from your moronic moonbat self when the Tea Party was holding its rallies.

    That reminder again – the majority of Americans support OWS, whereas more disapprove of the teabaggers than approve (39% can’t make head or tail of their ranting)

  16. Meanwhile – the vote suppression campaign is steaming ahead all engines full.

    After a test run in Madison of the new state voter ID law led to lines so long some voters abandoned the effort, the city’s clerk is encouraging other municipalities to do tests of their own.

    Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl told The Post-Crescent the same issues that arose during their mock election Tuesday would come up across the state during the spring primaries on Feb. 21. The primaries will be the first time Wisconsin voters are required to show photo identification and sign a poll book before casting their ballot
    [...]
    With passage of the law, Wisconsin joined Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas and South Carolina as states with voter ID requirements. Four other states request photo IDs but allow voters to cast regular ballots without one.

    The Wisconsin measure, which could cost the state as much as $7.5 million, has long divided Republicans and Democrats.

  17. Jeff asked:

    Re: prostitution – couldn’t we make the same argument about the “War on Drugs”?

    The argument I made was that it is wholly illogical to criminalize doing something for money that is perfectly legal to do for free; when it comes to drugs, it’s a crime whether you buy, sell or give them away.

    If there were no child victims of drug users, I’d be the first to say, go right ahead, burn up your brain, do any stupid thing you want, but if you get addicted or can’t hold a job and wind up living in a cardboard box, that’s your problem, not ours. But every time I start veering in that direction, Mrs Pico brings home another horror story from the hospital, one in which an innocent child was hurt because some stupid adult decided to mess with his mind.

  18. That reminder again – the majority of Americans support OWS, whereas more disapprove of the teabaggers than approve (39% can’t make head or tail of their ranting)

    Uh huh. Perhaps it’s due to stuff like this:

    Read the question about the Tea Party:

    Q8. ON ANOTHER ISSUE, IS YOUR OPINION OF THE TEA PARTY MOVEMENT VERY FAVORABLE, SOMEWHAT FAVORABLE, SOMEWHAT UNFAVORABLE, VERY UNFAVORABLE, OR DON’T YOU KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THE TEA PARTY TO HAVE AN OPINION?

    VERY FAVORABLE 8%

    SOMEWHAT FAVORABLE 19%

    SOMEWHAT UNFAVORABLE 9%

    VERY UNFAVORABLE 24%

    DON’T KNOW ENOUGH 39%

    NO ANSWER/DON’T KNOW 1%

    Now read the question about Occupy Wall Street:

    Q11. IN THE PAST FEW DAYS, A GROUP OF PROTESTORS HAS BEEN GATHERING ON WALL STREET IN NEW YORK CITY AND SOME OTHER CITIES TO PROTEST POLICIES WHICH THEY SAY FAVOR THE RICH, THE GOVERNMENT’S BANK BAILOUT, AND THE INFLUENCE OF MONEY IN OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM. IS YOUR OPINION OF THESE PROTESTS VERY FAVORABLE, SOMEWHAT FAVORABLE, SOMEWHAT UNFAVORABLE, VERY UNFAVORABLE, OR DON’T YOU KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THE PROTESTS TO HAVE AN OPINION?

    VERY FAVORABLE 25%

    SOMEWHAT FAVORABLE 29%

    SOMEWHAT UNFAVORABLE 10%

    VERY UNFAVORABLE 13%

    DON’T KNOW ENOUGH 23%

    NO ANSWER/DON’T KNOW 1%

    That’s from Time magazine. Gee, ya think if they led the participant on the Tea Party question as they did with the OWS question, the results might be a bit different?

  19. Maybe if Time asked the question like this you’d get different results: “When you see what the OWS protesters are doing — like this, for example — is your opinion favorable or unfavorable?”

  20. Or, maybe if Time asked the question like this you’d get different results: “When you see what the OWS protesters are doing — like this, for example — is your opinion favorable or unfavorable?”

  21. That’s from Time magazine. Gee, ya think if they led the participant on the Tea Party question as they did with the OWS question, the results might be a bit different?

    Gee, do you think the difference might be that the teabaggers have been on the national scene for years, whereas the OWS protesters are new, and have to be described to ensure the questionee knows who they’re talking about?!??

    That reminder again: the majority of Americans support OWS, whereas more disapprove of the teabaggers than approve (39% can’t make head or tail of their ranting)

    Or, maybe if Time asked the question like this you’d get different results: “When you see what the OWS protesters are doing — like this, for example — is your opinion favorable or unfavorable?

    Curbstomped any other unarmed women recently, teabagger?

  22. The Phoenician wrote:

    Meanwhile – the vote suppression campaign is steaming ahead all engines full.

    As it happens, I had to get a new driver’s license on Saturday, a thoroughly annoying process in Pennsylvania. (Mrs Pico and I debated whether it was Virginia or Delaware which was worse; she hated the DMV in New Castle County, while I have long held that the DMV in Hampton, Virginia, is affirmative action for special education students.)

    Anyway, before I could get my picture taken, I had to answer a question: was I registered to vote? If I had not been registered, or wanted/needed to change my address or party affiliation, they could have registered me to vote, on the spot, right at the place which was making the photo ID cards.

  23. The Phoenician wrote:

    Gee, do you think the difference might be that the teabaggers have been on the national scene for years, whereas the OWS protesters are new, and have to be described to ensure the questionee knows who they’re talking about?!??

    The TEA Party hasn’t been around for that long, since 2009, and hasn’t been in the news nearly as much since the spring, though I daresay that they’ll be in the news more frequently again as the election draws nearer.

    Of course, the TEA Party was able to translate its protests of the summer of 2010 into votes in the fall; will the Overly Wet Snuggies crowd be able to do that in November of 2012? Given that many of them are among the groups least likely to vote, it would seem that they have more of an uphill battle to do that.

  24. Gee, do you think the difference might be that the teabaggers have been on the national scene for years, whereas the OWS protesters are new, and have to be described to ensure the questionee knows who they’re talking about?!??

    The TEA Party hasn’t been around for that long, since 2009,

    Let’s see – 2009, 2010, and 2011 are what sort of time period?

    and hasn’t been in the news nearly as much since the spring

    yes – their corporate sponsors turned off the spigots once the teabaggers ceased to be useful.

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