Council in brief: Bobby Henon calls out negligent property owners

Councilman Bobby Henon.

Some legislation of note from today’s City Council meeting:

>> Councilwoman Cindy Bass introduced a resolution supporting a
bill from state Sen. Christine Tartaglione that would toughen penalties
for those who assault transit drivers.

>> Councilman Bobby Henon introduced an ordinance that would provide for the creation of a Problem Property Task Force. The group would be chaired by the managing director and consist of representatives from any city department that desires to participate, including the District Attorney’s Office, L&I and the offices of the police, fire and health commissioners.

“We’re reacting to violations and property maintenance concerns before they escalate further,” he said, adding that the legislation is also intended to encourage collaboration between various city departments that oversee nuisances.

The ordinance would give power to the managing director to declare residential buildings “problem properties” once they have two or more Property Maintenance Code, excessive noise or litter violations or if they are host to persistent activities or conditions that pose a significant safety hazard.

Owners would be subject to a $2,000 a day fine for each violation, participation in an educational program designed by the Problem Property Task Force and the cost of a police officer, which would be posted on the premises to prevent harm if the property poses a severe danger.

>> Henon also called out several property owners by name for negligence and said that they would soon be subpoenaed to testify before a Council committee hearing on problem landlords.

>> Councilman Jim Kenney had a somewhat tense exchange with Doug Smith, Verizon’s Vice President of Government Affairs, over Kenney’s resolution to hold hearings reviewing how much progress the company has made in building a citywide cable TV network and whether it is neglecting poorer neighborhoods.

“Let me be clear: A hearing on the FIOS project is not needed and I ask the sponsor to table the resolution,” Smith said. “The sponsor of the bill said we weren’t building in low income neighborhoods. We don’t
do business like that. … Verizon is on schedule and, in many cases, ahead of

“To quote Shakespeare, I think he doth protest too much,” Kenney responded. “The more and more agitation I sense from Verizon, the more and more I feel we should have the hearing.”

The resolution passed Council unanimously


Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.


Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.


OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…


Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.


Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."


'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…


Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.


Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.


Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.


Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.


VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.


#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.


Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.


Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.