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Preview: Inquirer Columnist - Tom Ferrick

Inquirer Columnist - Tom Ferrick

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Published: Tue, 21 Apr 2015 17:47:43 GMT


Tom Ferrick Jr. | A real city, and loved because of that
It has come as a revelation to me how much Philadelphians love Philadelphia. I know that is a startling assertion, given our reputation for relentless negativity, so I want to parse this carefully.

Tom Ferrick Jr. | Nutter: A time for hope
Now comes Michael Nutter's moment. The charade of a fall campaign will end this week. Election Day will come and go. On Wednesday, he will be mayor-elect of Philadelphia.

Tom Ferrick Jr. | Making city better with less
Let's begin with some good news for a change: Philadelphia government is reasonably well run and generally efficient. Trash is picked up on time almost all the time. The city has some acclaimed programs that are imitated in other cities: Its aid to the homeless effort is one example. It has tried innovations in governance that others have emulated, such as the five-year budget plan begun in the Rendell era. Its Web site wins awards.

Tom Ferrick Jr. | Schools' new math: Digging out of deficit
The study Michael Masch did on the Philadelphia School District's finances is grim reading, but then most autopsy reports are. Masch, Gov. Rendell's budget secretary and a former member of the School Reform Commission, was brought in to examine the books this year after the district suddenly and unexpectedly developed a large deficit.

Tom Ferrick Jr. | Give Vallas credit, and the lion's share of blame
When a government is spending more than it is taking in, there are only four ways that I know of to remedy the situation.

Tom Ferrick Jr. | Nutter should spend next six months working for a mandate
Now comes the hard part for Michael Nutter, Philadelphia's next mayor. You can call his victory Tuesday convincing, but it's hardly a mandate.

Tom Ferrick Jr. | A mayoral election rich with hope for change
Philadelphia is a city that celebrated the centennial of its founding seven years before George Washington took up residence on Sixth Street as first president of the United States.

Tom Ferrick Jr. | Keep an eye on your second choice
So many questions, so little time. With the Democratic primary in Philadelphia a mere nine days away, the Ferrick Commission meets for its final plenary session to ponder the imponderables in the race for mayor.

Tom Ferrick Jr. | When wishes are nickels
I call them magic-wand moments. They often came during interviews with the five Democratic candidates for mayor this spring. Presented with a vexing, hellacious problem the solution of which has eluded the last five mayors, some of the candidates some of the time couldn't resist the impulse: