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

Is the State House in Play for PA Dems? This Model Says It Could Be

(PA House Forecast | Image: Sixty Six Wards) Jonathan Tannen at the Sixty Six Wards blog unveiled new prediction models for the PA state House and Senate races, and the House model is interesting for its bullishness on Democrats' chances of flipping the lower chamber. It gives them a little better than even odds. Continue reading

The Competitive Southeast PA State Legislative Races Just a Short SEPTA Ride Away

(Photo credit: Jennifer O'Mara on Twitter) Philadelphia doesn't have very many competitive general election races on the ballot this November 6th, other than at the very top of the ticket, so many local activists have been interested in going to canvass in the southeast PA suburbs instead on these final weekends before Election Day, where some extra voter turnout could help swing competitive races in Congress and the state legislature.  Continue reading