The Biggest 2019 Wildcard: Federal Investigations

(John Dougherty in the Public Record) This week's news that South Jersey power broker George Norcross had his phone tapped by the feds as part of the investigation into IBEW Local 98 is a timely reminder that this investigation may have gone quiet, but it hasn't gone away, and at any point could spring back into the news to shake up next year's local elections. Continue reading

Map: Which City Council Districts Have the Most Land Eligible for Council's New Affordable Housing Package

Following up on our last post about how the new affordable housing package should change the politics of zoning remapping, here's a helpful map from Aaron Bauman showing which City Council Districts are pulling their weight when it comes to Inclusionary Zoning-eligible neighborhoods, and which are not.  Continue reading

How the New Housing Bonus Bill Changes the Politics of Zoning Remapping

(Most of Fishtown's Frankford Ave will be eligible for inclusionary zoning, but not the interior neighborhood | Photo: Jon Geeting) The year-long affordable housing funding debate in City Council finally wrapped yesterday, at least for the time being, with Council passing a package of bills that together would fund the Housing Trust Fund to the tune of $71-100 million a year, depending on who you ask.  Continue reading

Victory! Kenney Adminstration Reverses Block Party Policy Change

In a major victory for advocates, the Kenney administration just announced in an email this morning that they're reversing the misguided recent changes to the block party permit application process. Continue reading

Philly is Last Among Ten Biggest Metros in Apartment Construction

(Missing Middle Housing | Image: Opticos Design) A new research snapshot from JLL puts Philadelphia's recent run of apartment construction in a helpful national context, showing that the rental housing "boom" here has really been awfully tiny compared to the last decade in the other nine largest U.S. metros. Continue reading

Let's Make the Affordable Housing Bonuses Extremely Popular

(Awesometown, an affordable housing project by Post Green Homes and NKCDC) The Kenney administration and City Council have been working toward finalizing details of a compromise plan to fund affordable housing, as an alternative to the 1% construction tax that passed Council back in June, which the administration opposed. The compromise plan has two main parts—about $50 million from expiring tax abatements, and about $20 million from the newly-revamped zoning bonuses that allow greater density in housing projects that either include some below-market-rate units or make an in-lieu payment into the Housing Trust Fund.  Continue reading

Cindy Bass Defends, Pulls Back Daycare Ban Bill

(8th District Councilmember Cindy Bass | Photo: Jared Piper, PHL Council) Councilmember Cindy Bass has penned a response to my op-ed in the The Philadelphia Citizen taking issue with the idea that her daycare ban bill 1. is a ban, and 2. is an unusual or misguided response to complaints about daycares. In it, she makes several misleading or incorrect points to bolster what is a very weak case for a District-wide ban. Continue reading

Water Is Wet. Street Trash Cans Reduce Litter, City Behavioral Study Finds

(No shit: Park staff spend more time cleaning up litter when we take trash cans away | Image: CleanPHL) A new behavioral research study undertaken by the City of Philadelphia and three prestigious university research partners has confirmed something so painfully obvious it's actually insane we're wasting time arguing about it: that putting out more public trash cans reduces litter on the streets.  Continue reading

Which Wards Received the Most Money from 2017 District Attorney Candidates?

(Image: Gabrielle Beaudry) Azavea 'Summer of Maps' fellow Gabrielle Beaudry has a new blog post up about a fascinating data project she worked on with Committee of 70 analyzing the flow of money from the 2017 District Attorney campaigns through Democratic ward organizations. The results help shed light on some of the less-understood low-level political machinations in our elections, and Beaudry offers helpful advice on improving campaign finance record-keeping to allow for easier citizen analysis. Continue reading

Philly Politicians' Love for Unfunded Civic Engagement Mandates

(Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting | Photo credit: Maria Pouchnikova) Philadelphia city government wants people to be very engaged.  Continue reading