How the Democratic City Committee's Moves Against 'Outsiders' Weaken the Party Ahead of Critical 2022 Midterms

In a very unfavorable midterm year for Democrats, with historically low approval numbers for President Biden, you might think Democratic Party organizations in Pennsylvania would be welcoming new energy from politically-engaged newcomers, but at the lowest levels the opposite is unfortunately more typically the case.  Continue reading

The High Cost of a Disengaged Mayor

(Book cover of Mayor: The Best Job in Politics, by Michael Nutter) Former Mayor Michael Nutter is out with a new op-ed his week making a plea to 2023 voters to consider the leadership qualities of the individuals who may be seeking the office next year, with suggestions for ten traits voters should be looking for. Continue reading

PA State Legislators Made Some Big Moves on Housing - Let’s Keep It Going!

(Northern Liberties, under construction | Photo: Jon Geeting) America is in the grips of a nationwide housing shortage that totals about 3.8 million housing units and the New York Times published an informative analysis last week showing how this problem has moved beyond just the big cost-crisis metros on the coasts, and now impacts virtually every metropolitan area in the country. Continue reading

Philly’s City Planning Nullification Crisis Continues

(A former Land Bank lot approved for community garden use grows weeds near the Berks El station | Photo: Jon Geeting)  We’ve been spending some time documenting the nullification crisis that’s confronting city planning politics in Philadelphia, where in a pathbreaking change to the political norms of recent history, District City Councilmembers are increasingly using special zoning overlays to nullify city-wide land use and housing laws within their own districts. Continue reading

The Kenney Administration's Street Sweeping Pilot is Going Awry

(Photo: Philadelphia Inquirer)  It brings us no pleasure to report that the Kenney Streets Department is at it again, messing up the roll-out of the hard-won street sweeping program that we and others have been agitating for for many years. Continue reading

Highlights from the 2022 Philly Ward Elections

Philadelphia’s political parties held ward reorganization meetings a couple of Mondays ago, choosing new ward leaders and other officers for the next 4-year term.  These contests are always worth watching because they offer a glimpse into the parties’ mood and direction in different parts of the city, the relative power of different factions of party activists, and the potential consequences for next year’s municipal elections.  Continue reading

What You Need to Know About the Ward Reorganization Meetings

Primary Election Day may be over, but the fun continues for people who won their elections for party committee person seats on Tuesday as the focus turns to the all-important ward reorganization meetings. Continue reading

How Can Philly Cushion the Blow from New Property Assessments?

(Image:Jon Geeting New city real estate assessments will be released on Monday after a 3-year pause on reassessing property, with the Kenney administration reporting a 31% increase in the average property’s assessment.  That’s going to turn up the political heat on a major pocketbook issue for many residents, and it’s important that decision-makers resolve to address that with some thoughtful policy remedies rather than knee-jerk opposition. Continue reading

City Council’s New “1,000 Affordable Homes” Announcement and the “Where?” Question

Council President Darrell Clarke announced last week that as part of the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative (NPI), City Council would pursue a plan to build 1,000 affordable homes on city-owned land.  Continue reading

Map: Open Seats and Competitive Seats in the 2022 Philly Ward Elections

With over 3,000 tiny precinct-level seats in play in this year’s party committee elections on May 17th, it can be hard to wrap your head around what is happening all across the city.  In the interest of helping journalists, activists, and local politics watchers better understand what’s going on, and where there could be opportunities to act in the final few weeks before Election Day, we’ve published a new interactive map for visualizing some of the dynamics more clearly. Continue reading