September 18: PATCO copper-wire theft | State approves city’s five-year budget | Sandy caused Seaside fire | City Commissioners’ Office shares data | More supervision, concert for Puerto Rican Day Parade | Pa. poverty rate increased slightly

PATCO continues to draw customer complaints this week. First it was broken escalators. Then, Tuesday, riders experienced delays due to copper-wire thefts, which left one train halted on the Ben Franklin Bridge. Some riders said the trains themselves seem less reliable. 

The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, the state board charged with overseeing Philadelphia’s finances, approved the city’s five-year financial plan. The approval comes despite recommendations from city staff and the city controller to reject the financial plan. Two civilian unions haven’t had new contracts or raises since 2009, and there is some fear that when the city settles with those unions, the tab will be more than set aside in the five-year-plan. 

Authorities have linked last week’s devastating Seaside boardwalk fire to faulty electrical wiring and equipment that they say was compromised by Superstorm Sandy. The fire destroyed more than 50 boardwalk businesses in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights. 

The City Commissioners’ Office has launched Philadelphia Votes, a new online headquarters where election data, meeting transcripts and more can be accessed online. Technically Philly reports that the site is a big change from previous City Commissioners’ Offices, which did not publicly post data. 

One-year after the Philadelphia Puerto Rican Day parade gained national attention when a police officer was filmed striking a woman, the city is planning to have more police supervision at this year’s Puerto Rican Day parade. The city is also sponsoring a concert at the Dell East Music Center in Fairmount Park to give people a safe place to continue celebrating. The concert will feature local Latino musical acts and the Grammy-nominated rapper Tego Calderon. 

Pennsylvania’s poverty rate rose slightly last year but remains just below the national average. The Census Bureau released the finding Tuesday. Data shows that almost 1.8 million people living in Pennsylvania, or 13.9 percent, were living below poverty last year. That’s up from 13.8 percent in 2011 and 13.4 percent the year before. Last year’s national average was 15 percent. A family of four with an income of less than $23,492 is considered poor. 

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