PlanPhilly

City & State PA: City Hall is sitting on nearly $30 million of dollars in deferred soda tax dollars. Why?

City Hall is using the pending lawsuit over the city’s soda tax “as an excuse to sock money away for a future budget shortfall,” argues the American Beverage Association. In response to the latest accusations from the vocal beverage tax opponent, “the Mayor’s Office claims it’s just being fiscally responsible by setting aside the money,” writes City & State PA’s Ryan Briggs. The Mayor’s Office of Education’s communications director Sarah Peterson explains that the city is holding on to the funds—nearly $30 million—that could expand the city’s pre-K program “as a hedge against a pending lawsuit over the city’s soda tax.” Peterson says unspent PBT funds collected over the last year, is being “reserved” for future seats. However, Briggs does point out that “nearly a third of that take is earmarked for other programs, such as Rebuild.”

Governor Tom Wolf has rejected the proposed GOP-drawn congressional map designed to replace one the state Supreme Court declared unconstitutionally gerrymandered, Keystone Crossroads reports. Tufts professor Moon Duchin, who Wolf hired to analyze the map, said that the proposed boundaries exhibit a decidedly partisan skew that cannot be explained by Pennsylvania’s political geography or the application of traditional districting principles.” Meyers writes that Republicans “largely scoffed” at Wolf’s concerns; Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman argues that the skew is simply “a side effect of Democrats largely being confined to cities.” GOP leaders threaten to take things to federal court if the local justices end up drawing their own map.

Developer Shift Capital has unveiled the renderings of Beury Building Phase II, Curbed Philly reports. in addition to 20,000 SF of ground floor retail and 90 rental units, Shift Capital shares that Phase II will also include a public space aimed to “augment and strengthen Triangle Park directly across Broad Street.” The actual Beury Building is next door; construction is set to begin this year.

Hey, this is interesting: A judge in Brooklyn ruled Monday that a real estate developer who whitewashed dozens of graffiti murals overnight at the world-renowned 5Pointz complex in Queens violated the federal Visual Artists Rights Act, NPR reports. A lawyer for 20 of the artists argued that “had the appropriate notice been provided, [the artists] could have taken steps to remove the art from the building, they could have taken steps to have better photographed and videotaped the art, they could have preserved the art." U.S. District Court Judge Frederic Block upheld a November 2017 civil jury decision that found that the developer violated the Visual Artists Rights Act in 45 cases, awarding the artists $6.7 million—the maximum damages possible, according to the New York Times.

Job alert! The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation is hiring a Cherry Street Pier Manager. The position would manage the pier’s artistic and community operations for the highly anticipated $4 million project, which transforms the long-abandoned Pier 9 into a multi-use entertainment venue and studio space for artists.

About the author

Diana Lu, Community Engagement Editor

Diana runs PlanPhilly’s community outreach and engagement online and in real life. She has spent more than ten years in the non-profit and public sectors working on urban development issues including environmental justice, design-based manufacturing, and community and economic development.  Prior to joining PlanPhilly, Diana worked as the Director of Partnerships and Outreach for 10,000 Small Businesses, a public-private initiative focused strengthening local businesses through revenue generation and local job creation.  Follow Diana on instagram @dianaluwho and email her at dlu@whyy.org.



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