Land Bank of Broken Dreams

The bureaucrat exists chiefly in service of the illusion that government is improving at all times. The illusion’s maintenance becomes critical when the absence of such makes money. Consider Philly’s Land Bank. Land banks take vacant real estate from absentees, cadavers and speculators. They sell it to people with more purportedly civic ideas about what Read More …

26 year death row inmate sues Tom Corbett for Civil Rights violations

Graterford Prison inmate Robert L. Cook Jr. this month sued Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett and two other state officials, alleging Civil Rights violations. Cook has served nine years on death row unsentenced and 26 in solitary confinement. The claim construes this treatment as an attempt to force the plaintiff to abandon an appeal, plead guilty to first-degree murder and accept a sentence of life in prison without parole. Read More …

Corbettist education policy vs. PA cities

Current Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett’s ads say his administration has increased education support by $1.5 billion. Challenging gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf accuses Corbett of cutting education support by $1 billion during his first term. Both claims define “education support” selectively. How do these selections work? What do they mean?

Reporting nonprofit fraud: an explainer

Some corporations are exempt from taxes because they do good: true. Employees at tax-exempt corporations always do good: false. Employees of Philadelphia area nonprofits embezzled and/or stole at least $8 million between 2008 and 2012 alone, according to a database of tax filings compiled by The Washington Post. And that figure accounts only for what those organizations voluntarily Read More …

Are you there Philly? It’s me, Jack. Get rid of the VPRC.

The Land Bank has promised to simplify, publicize and expedite the process by which the City of Philadelphia acquires vacant property from speculators, cadavers and slumlords. As originally proposed, the Bank enjoyed a good deal of autonomy. But last minute changes to its legislation instead subordinate it to the Vacant Property Review Committee (VPRC) and Read More …