Mayor Kenney's Police HQ2 Deal is Even Worse Than You Think

The Provident Mutual Building saga continues with Jacob Adelman reporting that the Kenney administration is moving forward with a plan to sell the noted white elephant and surrounding 13-acre property near 46th and Market for just $10 million, after taxpayers recently invested about $50 million into renovating the building for a new police headquarters. They're going to lose $42 million, which sounds bad, until you realize it's even worse than that. Continue reading

GOP Lawmakers May Try to Block Wolf's Push For New Voting Machines by 2020

(New voting machines | Image: WHYY) Governor Tom Wolf has been mounting a push to get counties to buy new voting machines before the 2020 elections that will have an auditable paper trail—something the voting machines in a majority of Pennsylvania counties don't have. For a variety of reasons this has led to consternation from county election officials, including our City Commissioners, and now the Senate Republican Majority Whip says he's drafting legislation to take away Wolf's power to force counties to buy the machines. Continue reading

Councilman Johnson's Defense of His Land Scandal Doesn't Make Sense

After getting caught twice steering city-owned land to the same friend and campaign contributor, and taking serious fire from the media—and possibly the FBI—Councilman Kenyatta Johnson's office finally issued a statement making the case for blaming everybody but himself. Continue reading

Mayor Kenney's "Possible Pilot Program" for Street Sweeping Would Be Too Little, Too Late

(Photo: Bella Vista Neighbors Association) This morning on Radio Times, Mayor Kenney's Litter Czar Nic Esposito announced that the administration is looking at a "possible pilot program" for street sweeping, to potentially, maybe, be rolled out sometime this spring right before the primary.  Continue reading

Kenney Still Determined to Break His Street Sweeping Campaign Promise

(Image: Phila. Dept of Public Records, via Billy Penn) Many people find it perplexing why Philadelphia is still the only large U.S. city without a municipal street sweeping program, but in an interview with WHYY this week, Mayor Jim Kenney spelled it out more clearly than he ever has: he's terrified of confronting the city's parking entitlement crisis and won't spend any political capital pressing the issue. Continue reading

What Happens if the PA Supreme Court Allows Fusion Voting?

(How fusion voting could lead more energetic municipal elections | Image: Duke Energy) The PA Supreme Court could be on the verge of expanding fusion voting in Pennsylvania, where candidates can run on more than one party's ballot line, with some potentially fascinating consequences for municipal elections in Philadelphia.  Continue reading

To Prevent Council Land Shenanigans, We Need to Change the City Charter

(How to fix land disposition | Image: Jon Geeting) The recent revelations that 2nd District Councilman Kenyatta Johnson has now been caught twice steering city-owned land to a campaign contributor—both times to the same. exact. guy.—has led to calls from some observers to end the informal legislative tradition known as Councilmanic Prerogative, which allows District Councilmembers to unilaterally control land use matters in their Districts. Continue reading

Four Predictions for the 2018 Midterms

(Election buttons at Committee of Seventy | Photo: Jon Geeting) With the 2018 midterms coming up next Tuesday, November 6th, the time is ripe for serving up some piping hot election predictions. Here are four wild guesses about what's going to happen.  Continue reading

Which Wards Saw the Biggest Voter Registration Gains Since Last November?

Now that we're past the voter registration deadline and the numbers are all recorded with the Department of State, we now have some fresh data on what the electorate could potentially look like in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia for the 2018 midterms.  Continue reading

Seizing the Opportunity from New Opportunity Zones

A little-noticed provision in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created what could potentially be a powerful new financing stream for investment in real estate, business formation, and other commercial development in selected lower-income areas called Opportunity Zones, and a new policy brief from the Lindy Institute's Metro Finance Initiative is the first paper to develop some principles for what a local policy response should look like if we're expecting a much larger stream of investment capital into certain neighborhoods. Continue reading