Why We Shouldn't Let Elected Officials be Ward Leaders

(65th Ward leader Bobby Henon could control up to 15% of the vote for his Council successor | Photo: Councilmember Bobby Henon) Philadelphia City Council's two indicted members, Bobby Henon and Kenyatta Johnson, are both ward leaders who could have an official vote on their own replacements under certain circumstances, even if they're convicted and removed from office. In an Inquirer op-ed earlier this week, I described how this could potentially work, along with some things the Philadelphia Democratic Party could do to head off that possibility. Continue reading

Three Priorities for Philly to Watch in Governor Wolf's Budget

Governor Tom Wolf unveiled his budget proposal this week, with a few major priorities that Philadelphians should be paying attention to that will be a big deal for our ability to get the most out of state spending. Continue reading

Planning is the Alternative to Councilmanic Prerogative

After Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson was indicted this week, a lot of the follow-up analysis has rightly focused on the much-criticized practice of Councilmanic Prerogative—an unwritten tradition where members defer to District representatives on local matters.  Continue reading

PA's Next Presidential Primary Will Move Up Under State Bill

(Image: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) Pennsylvania's 2020 primary is pretty late in the game, scheduled for April 28th this year, long after the excitement of the early states and Super Tuesday. But we do have a sizable tranche of delegates to offer and could play a more pivotal role in the nomination process under a new state bill moving our primary up to March 19th in 2024.  Continue reading

Kenyatta Johnson Indicted Over Alleged Abuse of Councilmanic Prerogative

(Photo: Philadelphia Inquirer) Fresh off his third victory in a contested primary, 2nd District Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson was indicted Wednesday morning at a press conference at the U.S Attorney's office, according to reporting by Chris Brennan and Jeremy Roebuck. Continue reading

Philadelphia Has Second-Lowest Rate of Office Construction Among Big U.S. Cities

                                                                                        (Morgan Lewis HQ rendering | Image: Gensler via the Inquirer)Philadelphia will see its first non-Comcast office tower in a generation, Jacob Adelman reports, as Morgan Lewis officially signed the lease for the new headquarters they're building at 2222 Market.  Continue reading

Report: Strong City Tax Collections Continue, with Big Jump in Biz Taxes

City tax collections are up a full 20% year-over-year, according to PICA's latest monthly report, continuing the recent revenue surge that we've written about here previously.  Continue reading

City Council Committee Assignments Are Out. Where Did Everybody Land?

This week is the start of the new City Council term, and on Monday Council President Darrell Clarke's office released the new committee assignments for the new Council. Members will serve on these committees for the whole 4-year term.  Continue reading

New Philadelphia Resident Survey Results Show People Want the Streets Cleaned

(Rare sighting of a city street sweeper truck in the wild | Image: City of Philadelphia) The Kenney administration admirably restarted the Philadelphia Resident Survey during the Mayor's first term as a way of gauging public opinion on quality of life issues and the quality of different city services, and the second edition since 2017 was just released in a report this week.  Continue reading

This One Weird Trick Turns PA's Mail-In Voting into In-Person Early Voting

Last year, the Pennsylvania state legislature passed Act 77, a package of voting reform measures negotiated between Governor Tom Wolf and legislative Republicans that shortened the voter registration blackout period, and created a new mail-in voting system with one of the earliest early-voting windows in the country. Now, a new document released by Governor Tom Wolf's administration providing more guidance on the implementation of Act 77 to county election officials shows that the mail-in voting program has the potential to be even more expansive than initially understood. Continue reading