Is Our Politicians Learning? Affordable Housing Edition

One of the big problems with Philly's current approach to affordable housing policy is the scale issue. The ways that we're spending public money now don't come anywhere close to helping the number of residents who need housing assistance, and still wouldn't come close even if elected officials dedicated millions more to the existing programs. Continue reading

Redistricting Round-up: Justices Seem Open to Overturning Maps, 'Stack Map' Stack Moment

The PA Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in the League of Women Voters case we wrote about recently, and Liz Navratil reports that things are not looking great for Pennsylvania's current Congressional map, which is generally acknowledged to be one of the most extreme cases of partisan gerrymandering in the country.  Continue reading

Philly Voters Deserve Open and Competitive Elections for Congress and Democratic Party Chair in 2018

(We are all this boy, in Bob Brady's Democratic Party | Image: WHYY) Over the past year, there's been an amazing small-d democratic resurgence building in Philly politics. Our usually sleepy District Attorney and Controller election cycle saw huge voter turnout due to two exciting primaries, and grassroots groups are on the march to revive the local Democratic Party's creaky get-out-the-vote apparatus. But not everybody is getting in the democratic spirit. Continue reading

What Happens If the PA Supreme Court Strikes Down PA's Gerrymandered Maps This Month?

(IMAGE: The Washington Post) Pennsylvania's Congressional maps are arguably the most extreme recent example of partisan gerrymandering in the country, so it's not surprising that there are now three different lawsuits targeting them, one state and two federal. One of the federal lawsuits had a setback in federal court yesterday, but that's not the last word on the issue, as there seem to be decent odds that the state Supreme Court will throw out PA's maps in a few weeks. Continue reading

City Council Can't Be Trusted to Do Land Sales

(Thank Mark Squilla for this glowing used-car vending tower | Image: Carvana) Land deals are constantly getting City Councilmembers into trouble—sometimes of the criminal variety—and two recent news stories help underscore the need to cut Council out of the business of selling city-controlled land.  Continue reading

Court Strikes Down Zoning Board's Political Ruling in Quaker Building Case

This story broke over the holiday week so it didn't get as much play, but the Court of Common Pleas struck down the Zoning Board of Adjustment's highly political ruling against Post Brothers' proposed industrial-to-residential conversion of the Quaker Building in North Philly. Continue reading

A Closer Look at 2014's Competitive Committeeperson Elections

(Philadelphia Wards and Divisions) We know that the 2014 ward elections were really uncompetitive, with only 14% of Philly's 1,600+ divisions seeing of their seats substantially contested. But digging into that slice of competitive races a bit more, we see that things only look worse from a competitiveness perspective. Continue reading

Philly's Too Complacent About Middle-Class Housing Affordability

(Image: Neighbors for More Neighbors) The Wall Street Journal might have chosen a more sympathetic protagonist for their article about rising home prices in Philadelphia, but there's been a surprising reaction to the article by some of the online commentariat that reveals the true roots of the budding middle-class housing affordability issues in greater Center City. Continue reading

PPA Appoints Bucks GOPer Scott Petri as New ED, Who Pushed For More Suburban Residents on the PPA Board

In a Friday afternoon news dump, the Philadelphia Parking Authority announced that their brief experiment with leadership diversity has come to a swift end with the hiring of suburban Republican Rep. Scott Petri as the Authority's new Executive Director. Continue reading

Three Ways to Reform the 10-Year Tax Abatement

(Rare by-right CMX-2 construction spotted in the wild on Frankford Ave | Photo: Jon Geeting) Ryan Briggs reports that the 10-year tax abatement for property improvements may be in the Kenney administration's crosshairs in next year's budget.  Continue reading