Philadelphia Forward executive director Brett Mandel - probably the highest-profile and certainly the most vocal tax-cutting advocate in the city - says his small organization is in danger of folding without significantly stepped-up funding from supporters.
Foundation support for Philadelphia Forward is drying up as the economy tanks, Mandel said. In a fund-raising appeal to supporters last week, Mandel wrote: "Put simply, without your support, Philadelphia Forward will no longer be able to continue our push for change."
Asked over the phone if Philadelphia Forward might close up shop, Mandel replied: "That's one of a million possibilities."
"We could decide we've pushed forward with Philadelphia Forward as far as we can," Mandel said, although he also said it was possible he could lead the organization on a part-time basis or that it could go dormant for a while and return when events warrant.
Philadelphia Forward has a board of directors, but Mandel is its only full-time employee.
- Patrick Kerkstra
Former City Solicitor Ken Trujillo was a candidate for U.S. trade representative but lost out to Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, who was named Thursday to the cabinet-level post.
Trujillo is part of President-elect Barack Obama's five-member agency review team for the Securities and Exchange Commission, and sources say he was in the running for the powerful job that carries the title of ambassador and that oversees all international trade agreements.
Trujillo has led numerous trade missions, including one to Mexico as city solicitor under former Mayor John F. Street and a trip to Argentina, Chile and Peru within the last month. Trujillo represented the Mexican national railroad in trade disputes in the United States for 10 years in the 1980s and 1990s.
Reached last week, Trujillo would not comment, citing the Obama transition team's policy.
- Jeff Shields
Mayor Nutter has not been shy of late in stating that the city's five-year budget deficit will surely cross the $1 billion line that he estimated it to be at a month or so ago. He's yet to say precisely how much larger it will grow, but Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey gave an exact number last week.
In the course of a radio interview on WHYY, Ramsey off-handedly referred to the five-year deficit as a $1.4 billion gap.
Was Ramsey in error? Or did he let slip a figure that Nutter's team is using internally?
City Finance Director Rob Dubow responded that the city does not yet have a new figure for the budget deficit, and that Ramsey probably just got the number wrong.