Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

More on the Philadelphia soda tax

When I wrote about the Philadelphia soda tax last week I didn’t expect it to stimulate much in the way of systematic lawbreaking, as distinct from lawful evasion by consumers’ heading out to buy in the suburbs. But Bob McManus, writing at City Journal, has probably seen farther than I:

…for retailers who deal in, say, 100-case lots ($720), or major-market wholesalers handling 10,000-case shipments ($72,000), the temptation to integrate untaxed product into their inventories and pocket the difference is obvious.

In other words, the primary mechanism of unlawful evasion will probably not be speakeasy-like underground depots, but rather ordinary merchants’ temptation to falsify their volume of soda business for tax purposes. And some branch of city law enforcement will then have the responsibility of policing all these corner store operations without succumbing to either corruption or oppression. Isn’t it great that the Philadelphia police department has such great relations with corner bodega owners?

P.S. Presumably unrelated touch of Philly roughness: Jillian Kay Melchior/Heat Street on the role in getting the bill passed of much-feared construction unionist John Dougherty, seen earlier in this space.

“Why police were called to a South Jersey third-grade class party”

“A third grader had made a comment about the brownies being served to the class. After another student exclaimed that the remark was ‘racist,’ the school called the Collingswood Police Department, according to the mother of the boy who made the comment.” Police calls seem to be a frequent occurrence in the local schools: “Superintendent Scott Oswald estimated that on some occasions over the last month, officers may have been called to as many as five incidents per day in the district of 1,875 students.” [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Politics roundup

  • Disparage at thy peril: three Democratic lawmakers demand FTC investigation of private group that purchased $58,000 in ads disparaging CFPB, a government agency [ABC News] So many politicos targeting their opponents’ speech these days [Barton Hinkle]
  • A pattern we’ve seen over the years: promoting himself as outspoken social conservative, trial lawyer running for chairman of Republican Party of Texas [Mark Pulliam, SE Texas Record]
  • Some of which goes to union political work: “Philly Pays $1.5 Million to ‘Ghost Teachers'” [Evan Grossman, Pennsylvania Watchdog via Jason Bedrick]
  • “However objectionable one might find Trump’s rhetoric, the [event-disrupting] protesters are in the wrong.” [Bill Wyman/Columbia Journalism Review, earlier]
  • Hillary Clinton’s connections to Wal-Mart go way back, and hooray for that [Ira Stoll and column]
  • I went out canvassing GOP voters in Maryland before the primary. Here’s what they told me. [Ricochet]

Labor roundup

  • Feared Philadelphia union boss launches program to use drones to surveill non-union worksites [William Bender, Philly.com (“got into a fistfight with a nonunion electrical contractor – and broke his nose – at a construction site at Third and Reed.”)]
  • “We know where you live” continued: U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez’s “persuader rule” exposes lawyers and other professionals to intimidation, creates legal minefield for employers expressing opinion [The Hill, Jon Hyman, earlier]
  • Richard Epstein on labor unions [Libertarianism.org podcast discussion with Aaron Ross Powell and Trevor Burrus]
  • Actions protected as “concerted” by labor law include some taken by individual employee entirely alone, according to National Labor Relations Board, as it declares unlawful company policy against secretly taping conversations at the workplace [Jon Hyman, Whole Foods case]
  • “Brace for more litigation based on feds’ new joint employment guidance, labor lawyers tell companies” [ABA Journal; Insurance Journal on Browning-Ferris; Daniel Schwartz; earlier] Applying NLRB joint employer notion to company like McDonald’s could blow up franchise business model, which some union advocates might not mind [Diana Furchtgott-Roth]
  • Judge Merrick Garland shows great deference to NLRB, except in cases where it has ruled for an employer [Bill McMorris, Free Beacon]

Upcoming speeches

I’ll be speaking over the next two weeks in Philadelphia, St. Louis, D.C., and Maryland’s Eastern Shore:

Tues. March 8, Washington, D.C., Common Cause “Blueprint for a Great Democracy” conference, panel on Article V constitutional convention proposals.

Mon., March 14, Philadelphia, Temple Law School Federalist Society, on the life and work of Justice Scalia.

Tues., March 15, Centreville, Md., Queen Anne’s County Republican Club, on redistricting.

Tues., March 22, St. Louis, Mo., Intercollegiate Studies Institute debating Michael Farris on Article V constitutional convention proposals.

For details on any of these events, or to invite me to address your group, inquire at editor -at – overlawyered – dot – com.

Do Philadelphia cops run warrant checks on hospital visitors?

In a previous round, Steve Lubet challenged Alice Goffman’s much-praised book on urban criminal justice, On the Run, on many grounds. Among them was Goffman’s portrayal of Philadelphia police as routinely arresting men with outstanding warrants who showed up at city hospitals to seek ordinary medical care or visit expectant mothers or other family members. Now, in the wake of coverage in the New York Times Magazine, Lubet is back with two more posts (so far) explaining why he sees no good evidence for the claim. Paul Campos contributes a pair of new posts skeptical toward other aspects of the book. Earlier here and, on the book more generally, here.

Law enforcement for profit roundup

  • One Oklahoma official used asset forfeiture to pay back his student loans, another lived rent-free in a confiscated house [Robby Soave, Reason]
  • Per ACLU, Arizona has a one-way legal fee rule in forfeiture cases, with prevailing police allowed to collect from property owner but not vice versa [Jacob Sullum]
  • From Michael Greve, some thoughts on prosecution for profit and where money from public fines should go [Liberty and Law]
  • About the Benjamins: Philadelphia mayor-to-be cites revenue as reason to let parking officers ticket sidewalk users [Ed Krayewski, Reason]
  • Captive market: with wardens’ and sheriffs’ connivance, prison phone companies squeeze hapless families [Eric Markowitz, IB Times]
  • Former red light camera CEO pleads guilty to bribery, fraud in Ohio [Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica]
  • Taxpayers lose as Maine counties jail indigents over unpaid fines [Portland Press-Herald]
  • “St. Louis County towns continue to treat residents like ATMs” [Radley Balko]

Environmental roundup

  • “Environmental review makes it hard to do anything — even make a new bike lane” [Matthew Yglesias, Vox]
  • Outdoors education: don’t just treat nature as a museum for kids, let them play in it [Lenore Skenazy]
  • Not more outcry? “Philadelphia To Seize 1,330 Properties For Public Redevelopment” [Scott Beyer, more]
  • Influencing proceedings against Chevron: “Documents Reveal Ecuadorian Government Organized Protests on U.S. Soil” [Lachlan Markay, Free Beacon]
  • Inholders can be caught in maze of jurisdictional obstacles when attempting to challenge federal land takings, Nevada church deprived of former water use deserves a remedy [Ilya Shapiro, Cato on cert petition in Ministerio Roca Solida v. United States]
  • Touchy legacy for HUD today: New Deal housing programs advanced segregation, sometimes on purpose [Coyote]
  • Payouts in BP Gulf spill headed for $68 billion, much going to uninjured parties, sending message to overseas investors not to invest in US [Collin Eaton, San Antonio Express-News] Bad results in BP episode will help teach Takata and other mass tort defendants not to try the “right thing” again [Joseph Nocera, N.Y. Times]

Forfeiture roundup

  • How does your state rank on asset forfeiture laws? [Michael Greibok, FreedomWorks via Scott Shackford] Maryland delegate alleges that vetoed bill “would have made it easier for criminals to get their forfeited property back,” seemingly unaware that it focused on rights of owners *not* found guilty of anything [Haven Shoemaker, Carroll County Times] Arizona counties said to have nearly free rein in spending money [Arizona Republic via Coyote]
  • I took part last week in a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. on civil asset forfeiture, sponsored by Right on Crime, and it went very well I thought [Sarah Gompper, FreedomWorks]
  • “Nail Salon Owner Sues For Return Of Life Savings Seized By DEA Agents At Airport” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt] And: “A federal judge has just ordered the government to return $167,000 it took from a man passing through Nevada on his way to visit his girlfriend in California.” [Cushing]
  • “How Philadelphia seizes millions in ‘pocket change’ from some of the city’s poorest residents” [Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post “Wonkblog”]
  • IRS drops structuring forfeiture case against N.C. convenience store owner Lyndon McLellan, will return more than $107,000 it seized [Institute for Justice]
  • Canada, too, has civil forfeiture when there has been no criminal conviction [British Columbia Civil Liberties Association]
  • Michigan testimony: “After they breached the door at gunpoint with masks, they proceeded to take every belonging in my house” [Jacob Sullum]
  • Town of Richland, Mississippi, population 7,000, builds $4.1 million police headquarters with forfeiture money. Thanks, passing motorists! [Steve Wilson, Mississippi Watchdog via Radley Balko]