How Do We Know Whether a Primary Will Be Competitive?

(3rd Council District primary results in the 188th House District | Image: Sixty-Six Wards) Political scientists use Partisan Voting Index scores to estimate how competitive different districts will be in races between Democrats and Republicans, but how do you judge competitiveness in a primary, when everybody has the same party label? A new tool from the Sixty-Six Wards blog lets users visualize election data in new ways that can provide some interesting insights about primary dynamics in different Philadelphia districts. Continue reading

Governor Wolf's Redistricting Commission Releases Recommendations for Redrawing PA's Electoral Maps

Governor Tom Wolf's Redistricting Commission has released their recommendations for reforming how political districts are drawn in Pennsylvania, and they've come up with a process that would go a long way toward removing incumbent lawmakers' ability to choose their own voters.  Continue reading

Positive Steps from PA Lawmakers on Liquor Licensing Reform, But We Still Need More Licenses

(Beer and wine at Acme, a local "restaurant" in Northern Liberties | Image: Jon Geeting) PA lawmakers are working on a new package of reforms to the Commonwealth's archaic Prohibition-era liquor licensing system, many of which sound at first pass like common-sense ways of encoding in the law the changes to the retail landscape that have taken hold since the PA Supreme Court ushered in a wave of pro-consumer changes almost a decade ago. Continue reading

Jewell Williams is Right? It's Time to Move More Sheriff Powers to the Mayor's Office

(Image: Jewell Williams) Outgoing Sheriff Jewell Williams has been caught before spending what's left of his term plotting to punish the enemies he believes contributed to his loss in the May primary, and Chris Brennan reports on a new Williams plan to undercut incoming Sheriff Rochelle Bilal by moving certain contracts and responsibilities from the Sheriff's office over to the Kenney administration.  Continue reading

Map: Rebuild Projects Now In-Progress by Council District

(Hancock Rec Center | Photo: Jon Geeting) Laura McCrystal is out with an update on where things stand with soda tax collections, and what's been spent on Mayor Kenney's signature Pre-K, and Rebuild initiatives. We've been following the issue of how the Rebuild spending would be divided up across the city, and how City Council politics would impact the project selections, so we were interested to see this reference in the article to the number of projects currently underway.  Continue reading

Jeff Kneuppel Out, Leslie Richards Likely In as Next SEPTA General Manager

(PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards | Image: SEPTA) SEPTA's General Manager Jeff Kneuppel is leaving his post next year, Ryan Briggs reports, and the most likely successor for the transit authority's top job is current PennDOT Secretary, and former Montgomery County Commissioner, Leslie Richards.  Continue reading

Seattle Democracy Vouchers are Democratizing Campaign Finance

It's been over a year since City Council last had a hearing on Council member Derek Green's campaign finance reform package, which would have established a new public financing option for local elections, and moved from annual contribution limits to cycle limits—two changes that would be expected to make our elections more competitive. Some good news out of Seattle about the success of their democracy vouchers program in the recent municipal elections could help renew interest in this idea in the next Council session. Continue reading

Visualizing Past Election Results and More with the Sixty-Six Wards 'Ward Portal'

(Preview of the Ward Portal | Image: Sixty-Six Wards) Election data fans rejoice! There's a really useful new Ward Portal tool from Sixty-Six Wards blogger Jonathan Tannen that now makes it much easier to analyze past election results or plan a campaign.  Continue reading

Why Some Housing Authorities are Buying Existing Buildings for Affordable Housing

(The Austin housing authority purchased this 452-unit apartment complex to operate as non-profit housing | Image: Community Development Trust) Everyone would like to see a lot more affordable housing created in Philadelphia, but the most common ways that capital-A Affordable Housing is created today makes this unaffordable to scale.  Continue reading

Seven Independents Filed for this Fall's City Council At-Large Election

Municipal-year general elections are usually pretty sleepy in Philadelphia, with most of the action happening during the primary, but this year we're in for a little more lively of a fall campaign season because there's a boomlet of independent candidates running for City Council At-Large.  Continue reading