Explore the city budget, and tell us what you find

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Check out our two-minute video tutorial on a new budget app, developed by candidate for Philadelphia city controller Brett Mandel, that lets you look at each and every check that got cut from the city’s general fund in fiscal 2012. Then use the comments below to tell us what you find – we’ll publish a running tally of the most interesting results!

Read more here about the app:

It’s Our Money: Philly-controller candidate’s site reveals in-depth info on city’s budget

City Paper: Pet therapy, plasma TVs and more finds from new budget database

Technically Philly: Use the coolest, most comprehensive City of Philadelphia budget visualization you’ve ever seen

Council grabs back zoning power, splits over a symbolic schools vote, and more from first day back in session

Between now and June (or July, if they’re late) Philadelphia City Council will hold hearings, introduce legislation — in some cases, at least — vote on a slew of big, complicated, and controversial issues.

AxisPhilly will be following most of these issues closely. And we want to know what you think. Which of these matter most to you, and why? Let us know. Continue reading

Check the record on paid sick leave lobbying

by Casey Thomas

Councilman William Greenlee is planning on reintroducing a paid sick leave bill today in City Council’s first session of the year. A bill passed council in 2011, but was vetoed by Mayor Michael Nutter.

A number of groups have been fighting passage of such legislation. You can find them, and how much they spent to lobby, on Lobbying.ph.

We are currently working to make this tool easier to search by topic. For now, we’ve pulled out a list of groups that reported lobbying on the paid sick leave bill through the first three quarters of 2012:

Comcast – Opposed

Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce – Opposed

Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association – Opposed

PathWays PA – Supported

PECO – Obtaining information

AT&T – No position stated

What would you do to solve poverty in Philadelphia?

What would you do to solve poverty in Philadelphia? Axis Philly wants your ideas, so get ready to send them in.

Before you answer, consider this: With a poverty rate of over 28 percent, Philadelphia has the highest poverty percentage of any large American city. It has 40,000 vacant properties (as of 2010). And 120,000 School District students receive free or reduced price lunch.

The problem is a big one, so send big ideas, and let’s get the discussion started.

Nutter creates new office tasked with fighting poverty

Two men sleep on Ben Franklin Parkway

Two men sleep on Ben Franklin Parkway – Solomon Jones for AxisPhilly

by Solomon Jones

Over 28 percent of Philadelphians live in poverty—the highest poverty rate among
America’s largest cities. Many of the poor are children. In fact, nearly 78 percent of
Philadelphia School District children—120,000 of the district’s 154,000 students—
receive free or reduced lunch.

Continue reading

Crime data a milestone — but big parts are still missing

by Isaiah Thompson

In addition to coordinating OpenDataPhilly.org, an online collaborative project aimed at fostering public access to city data, AxisPhilly will be covering data transparency as news. Check in for updates, and send us your reporting and follow-up suggestions (info below). 

Give a mouse a cookie, as the eponymous children’s book puts it, and he’ll ask for a glass of milk.

And so it stands to reason that if you give a tech-savvy, data-hungry public part of a giant pool of data — the rest of it will soon be in demand. Continue reading

2012: The year of the water main break

Nothing made the city’s aging infrastructure more evident than the dozen major water main breaks that occurred in 2012. The Daily News’ Will Bunch summed it up: “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

Click the play button on the map on this article to see a roundup of the incidents. Below the map we link to other coverage on the issue. Continue reading