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

Mayor Kenney, Come Get your Zoning People

(Stop! | Image: JKRP Architects) The Kenney administration's Department of Planning and Development has found itself in the absurd position of having to appeal a bad decision by the Kenney administration's Zoning Board of Adjustment —a board that nominally lives within that very Department—to allow a large self-storage facility just steps from the subway on Broad and Spring Garden Street, and across the street from where Eric Blumenthal just announced he's now planning a new high-rise. Continue reading

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