The Need for Speed

(Image: Cohen Medical Associates) One big risk to watch for in the political fallout from the ‘Philly Fighting COVID’ debacle is that we might see an overcorrection from elected officials where, in trying to show that future city contracts with vaccine providers are all on the up-and-up, they could create an unnecessary bottleneck that slows down the pace of vaccination. Continue reading

Councilmember Sanchez’s Permit Parking Blacklist is a Tool Whose Time Has Come

(The no-parking Fergie Tower is ripe for the Permit Parking Blacklist) At the end of last year, Councilmember Maria Quinones-Sanchez recently introduced a bill that would bring to life a version of an idea that has been kicking around in local urbanist advocacy circles for a few years now: the Permit Parking Blacklist. Continue reading

How Mayor Kenney’s Slippage on Quality-of-Life Issues is Fomenting Anti-Housing Politics

(He used to get it | Photo: Inquirer) Ryan Briggs writes this week about a troubling trend that’s played out over the years since Philly passed its landmark Zoning Code Commission legislative package back in 2012, but which seems to be picking up steam as of late: the practice of creating random new zoning overlays with no relationship to the City’s comprehensive plan. Continue reading

Early Biden Moves Could Finally Solve the Income Side of Philly’s Affordability Challenges

(Joe Biden in Philadelphia | Photo: Matt Rourke, Associated Press) Over the years, we’ve played a part in popularizing the political idea that Philadelphia has an income problem more than we have a housing affordability problem. This isn’t an argument for complacency about rising housing costs—a topic we write about often—but rather is an argument for greater awareness from our local political class about the important ways that Philly’s housing challenges differ from those in the big cost-crisis regions, and the different strategies that need more emphasis here. Continue reading

Al Schmidt Won't Run Again. That Raises the Stakes for Abolishing Commissioners' Office

(Photo: Philadelphia Inquirer) Philadelphia’s Republican City Commissioner Al Schmidt, whose matter-of-fact demeanor and competence under pressure provided reassurance throughout 2020, has announced he won’t seek another term as Commissioner in 2023. Continue reading

PA Judicial Gerrymandering Bill Advances, Could Be on the Ballot This Spring

Fresh off the recent campaign to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 election last week, Pennsylvania Republicans passed over a moment for introspection and instead pivoted straight to a naked power play to rig future statewide appellate court elections in their favor. Continue reading

Senator Brewster is Seated, Leaving PA Senate Balance of Power the Same

(Jim Brewster and Nicole Ziccarrelli) Democratic Senator Jim Brewster of Allegheny County had a very close reelection fight against challenger Nicole Ziccarrelli, ultimately prevailing over her by 69 votes after a court fight over whether to count certain mail-in ballots which was decided in Brewster’s favor. Continue reading

Will Trumpism Still Be Ascendant in PA's 2022 Elections?

As America grapples with the frightening attempted insurrection in Washington this week which left 5 people dead, there are grave concerns about the dynamics that brought us to this point, and the extent to which Republican politics will continue on this same trajectory after Donald Trump exits the Oval Office. Continue reading

Pennsylvania: Don’t Be the Last-Mover on Legal Marijuana

(Just a couple of guys who hate exporting tax revenue to New Jersey) New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure this November creating a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana sales in the state, jumping ahead of several other nearby states in the densely-packed tri-state area to create a legal marijuana industry. Continue reading

Bi-partisan Group of Lawmakers Eyes 2021 Push for PA Open Primaries

(Source: Business Insider) Unaffiliated voters who aren’t registered with any political party surpassed registered Republicans in number about 4 years ago in Philadelphia, but this group is really limited in its ability to impact electoral politics in the city because in Pennsylvania, unaffiliated voters can’t vote in Democratic (or Republican) primaries—basically the only contests that really matter for most of the elected offices in the city. Continue reading