October 25: Ride-hailing bill awaits Wolf signature | Rittenhouse Square safety | Viva Minerva

A bill legalizing ride-hailing operations in Philadelphia awaits Governor Tom Wolf’s signature. As the Business Journal’s Alison Burdo writes the bill doesn’t grant transportation network companies (TNC) the ability to operate at the airport, and it prohibits 30th Street Station from contracting with TNCs on dedicated facilities. The bill stipulates that transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft will need to pay 1.4 percent of gross receipts on fares that start in the city, with funds split between the school district and the parking authority.

After last week’s shooting in Rittenhouse Square during an attempted robbery the city is talking crackdowns in the name of safety. Julia Terruso reports from a public meeting to discuss park safety, quality of life, and homelessness. Police Commissioner Richard Ross stressed, “This is not about saying, this is Center City and therefore it deserves this over some other place.”

As Big Soda sues Philadelphia over its soda tax, is the contract to defend the city in court political backscratching? Claudia Vargas reports that Kenney administration awarded an $800,000 no-bid contract to Chamberlain Hrdlicka, the firm Ken Trujillo works for. Trujillo is a one-time mayoral candidate and subsequent supporter of Kenney’s campaign. Trujillo defend the city in court along with Mark Aronchick of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin and Schiller. They “were selected because, as former City Solicitors, they are extremely familiar with the relevant state and local law, including Council’s authority to tax, which is the basis of the lawsuit,” Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt told the Inquirer.

It’s Minerva Parker Nichols week on Hidden City! Don’t know Minerva? Molly Lester starts off the celebration with her biography: Nichols was the first woman to practice architecture in America independently and in her time she designed several high-profile women’s clubs and residences for female clients. Among these is Somerton’s Mill-Rae, now Cranaleith Spiritual Retreat Center, built for women’s rights activist Rachel Foster Avery.

Carole Williams-Green, founder of the Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Education Center, is being honored with the 2016 Meigs Award by the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. West Philly Local writes, “Williams-Green has made a substantial contribution to environmental education in the Philadelphia region, reaching communities often excluded from traditional environmental education. She explains that ‘it bothered [her] that children from West Philadelphia had to travel so far to get these kinds of experiences [in nature], ones that really excited children.’” 

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