For a Full COVID Recovery, Anti-Growth Politics is a Luxury Philly Can't Afford

(Image: Philadelphia City Council) One of the big-picture trends of housing politics over Mayor Kenney’s two terms so far has been a significant transfer of power over land use and planning from the institution of the Mayor, to the institution of City Council. Continue reading

Who Used Ranked Choice Voting in New York’s Primary?

(Map: Politico) Prior to New York City’s most recent primary election, which was the first to deploy the ranked-choice voting system approved by voters, there had been a lot of arguments between the different candidates and party interests about how voters and candidates would fare under the new system. Continue reading

Growth Politics and the 2023 Mayoral Race

  Dan Pearson at the Inquirer editorial board makes some important points about the Census results and the politics of growth that are under-appreciated among some of our local decision-makers, and deserve a full airing in the upcoming 2023 elections for Mayor and City Council.  Continue reading

‘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