Four Takeaways from the 2019 Municipal Elections

The 2019 Municipal Elections finally came to a close with a big surprise on Tuesday with the election of Kendra Brooks, one of two Working Families Party candidates, over Republican Al Taubenberger for one of the two At-Large Council seats that have historically been held by Republicans. This culminates an election season that ushered in lots of other big political changes too, in both Philadelphia and the broader region. Here are a few of our big takeaways from a momentous year in local politics. Continue reading

Announcing the Winner of the 2019 Municipal Elections Pool

Last week, Philadelphia 3.0 announced our 2019 Municipal Elections Pool, inviting Philly political junkies to test their prediction skills and guess the outcome of the general election for City Council At-Large and other local races.  Continue reading

The Good Parts of SB421 Are Really Good

(Tom Wolf didn't give away the store—SB421 is mostly good) SB421, the compromise election reform package supported by Governor Tom Wolf and legislative Republicans, is now law, and was signed by Governor Wolf Thursday afternoon. It's a genuinely historic moment for Pennsylvania, long a backwater when it comes to voting access, but bill supporters have had to do a bit of an awkward celebration dance, given how most media coverage of the bill was focused on House Democrats' opposition to the removal of the straight-ticket voting option. Given those dynamics, and some Democratic elected officials' determination to cast it as a big loss for their party even in the aftermath, it may not yet have dawned on generalist supporters of expanded voting access just how much they won in this bill, which was a lot. Continue reading

Cram Session: What to Read About the 2019 General Election

Philadelphia has an atypically interesting general election in 2019, with a third party making a serious bid for the two non-majority party At-Large Council seats, Judy Moore challenging 10-term incumbent Brian O'Neill in the 10th District, and a court fight over the Marsy's Law ballot question. This year, the media really delivered on the general election coverage and explainers, so instead of adding yet another election explainer to the mix, here are some of the best articles and blog posts we've been reading about the election next Tuesday. Continue reading

Commissioner Lisa Deeley Doesn't Want the State to Give Voters a Longer Voter Registration Window

(PA voters could be deprived of a big voting access win because the City Commissioners are too bad at their jobs | Image: WHYY) The big list of voting reforms under discussion in Harrisburg has solidified into a shorter list of changes, and has been packaged into an omnibus bill that could get a full vote in the state legislature as soon as next week. Jonathan Lai reports that Governor Tom Wolf hammered out the deal with Republican legislative leaders, and if enacted this fall, the changes would go into effect for the 2020 election. But Wolf's approach to the negotiations upset legislative Democrats, who were angry about being left out of the discussion, and the bill contains a few provisions that have made some Democrats determined to sink the whole package. That would be a mistake.   Continue reading

Darrell Clarke Teams Up with Bart Blatstein to Stick it to Spring Garden Mobile Food Vendors

City Council members love to signal that they care about small businesses and improving the business climate for new businesses in the city, but there are few better indicators of what their true priorities are than how they vote on mobile vending issues.  Continue reading

Jannie Blackwell Goes Off-Message, Tells Dem Committee People to Vote for Republican David Oh

(In the Know with David Oh episode featuring Jannie Blackwell | Image: David Oh) Speaking at a ward dinner at the Enterprise Center on Wednesday night, out-going 3rd District Councilmember and 46th Ward Leader Jannie Blackwell told a roomful of Democratic committee people from about a half-dozen West Philadelphia Democratic ward committees to vote for Republican Councilmember David Oh in the November 5th election, according to sources who attended the meeting. Continue reading

That Time Jim Kenney Appointed Johnny Doc's Chiropractor to Run the Zoning Board

(Jim Moylan | Image: 6ABC) With the news that former Zoning Board of Adjustment chair Jim Moylan has plead guilty to federal fraud and tax evasion charges related to his theft from Local 98's charitable non-profit, it's time once again to remember that back in 2016, Mayor Jim Kenney really did appoint Johnny Doc's chiropractor to lead the agency that approves about a quarter of the development projects that happen in Philadelphia. Incredibly, that is a thing that happened not too long ago. Continue reading

How Philly Stacks Up on New "Ease of Doing Business" Rankings

A new study from Arizona State University attempts to compare the ease of doing business in large North American cities across six different metrics, and they find that in the U.S., Philadelphia is the 12th most difficult place to start a business, coming in 59th out of 66 U.S. cities. Compared to all big cities in North America, we were closer to the middle of the pack. And while you have to take these kinds of rankings with a grain of salt, since they couldn't possibly have captured the full context for all of these cities, they're still useful for highlighting some areas where we're further out of step nationally. Continue reading

City Council's Long and Mistaken Quest to Raise Parking Minimums Comes to an End

(Unused parking in Northern Liberties | Image: Bright MLS) One of the long-running sagas we've been following here since 2016 is the push from Council President Darrell Clarke and 3rd District Councilmember Jannie Blackwell to increase minimum parking requirements in the zoning code—an idea so bad there's a whole 800-page book devoted to how terrible it is. Continue reading