‘Magic Seat’ Judges and the Broken Chain of Party Accountability

(Senator John Sabatina) Philadelphia Democratic City Committee has voted on the “Magic Seat” nominees who will appear on the November ballot in place of six judges who unaccountably retired at an odd time, and gave party bosses a chance to hand-pick their replacements.  Continue reading

Magic Seats, Ward Leaders, and the 2022 Ward Elections

(Image: Senator John Sabatina) Last week Inquirer reporter Chris Brennan introduced Clout readers to the concept of a “Magic Seat” which—while it sounds kind of fun at first—turns out to be a euphemism for a process where people can get placed into elected positions by political party bosses without having to campaign or win any public support:  Continue reading

With Census Release, the Stage is Set for Philly's City Council Redistricting

(Maps: Gianni Hill on Twitter) With the release of the 2020 Census block group data on Thursday, we’re now starting to get a clearer picture of the changes that could be in store in the upcoming legislative redistricting for Congressional, state legislative, and City Council districts in Pennsylvania. Continue reading

Where’s the Urgency for a Vaccine Mandate from Mayor Kenney?

The COVID-19 vaccines have done an incredible job at slashing the rate of hospitalization and fatalities for those who received them, even as cases have been rising due to new variants of the virus. The cases are rising enough now, mostly among the unvaccinated, but also with smaller numbers of breakthrough cases in vaccinated people, that governments are starting to consider taking some more proactive steps to mitigate it. Continue reading

PA's Transit Funding Cliff is Here, and the Federal Infrastructure Funding Bill Won't Fix It

A very significant milestone for Philadelphia’s transportation future happened last week without much fanfare, when the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission made its final legally-mandated annual payment of $450 million to Pennsylvania’s transit agencies. Continue reading

The Trash Election

(Image: The Philadelphia Citizen) Trash has become a hot-button political issue this year as service disruptions, irregular collections, and out of control litter contributed to a sense of unease about city government’s ability to carry out some of its basic functions.  And while the problem seems intractable at the moment, there are some hopeful signs that the growing salience of this issue could finally stir elected officials to action—if not in this Mayoral term, then the next one. Continue reading

Study: Philly's Basic Systems Repair Program Associated with Noticeable Crime Reduction

(Photo: Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia) An important new JAMA Network paper from Penn researchers Eugenia South, MD; John MacDonald, PhD; and Vincent Reina, PhD. highlights the significant crime reduction benefits of investing city funds in housing repairs in low-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia.  Continue reading

Philly's Transit Ridership is Sagging. Bulk Pass Purchases for City Workers and Students Can Help.

(When large institutions buy in bulk at SEPTA, everybody saves | Image: Jon Geeting) Philadelphia has lost a lot more transit ridership over the last several decades than many of our big city peers, according to some new research from the Urban Institute.  Continue reading

City Council Redistricting Kicks Off This Fall

  With the new Census block group data expected to be released next month, a six-month countdown is about to begin for City Council to draw new maps for the 10 Council districts. Continue reading

Rep. Seth Grove Says Republicans Won't Solve County Election Problems Out of Spite

(Rep. Seth Grove) PA Republicans in the legislature don’t have the votes to override Governor Wolf’s veto of their omnibus election legislation, which contained a number of poison pill measures to restrict voting access.  Continue reading