Untangle Local Politics and Elections at Code for Philly's Civic Engagement Launchpad

  (Registered Community Organization map | Philadelphia City Planning Commission) With so many hundreds of minor seats in play, Philly's off-year local elections can be hard to follow from a citywide viewpoint. In fact, it's fairly cumbersome even to figure out which seats might be open in your neighborhood.  Continue reading

To Support Independent Retail Business, Fix Neighborhood Commercial Zoning

(Darrell Clarke proposes down-zoning a big section of Sharswood right next to Ridge Ave. Image: Philadelphia City Planning Commission) Diana Lind had a thoughtful piece in The Philadelphia Citizen this week about the need to proactively support and preserve independent business on Philly's commercial corridors before a tidal wave of national chain retail makes everything really boring. Continue reading

Retire the Coffee Can of Justice! Randomize Ballot Position

  (Photo: Philadelphia Inquirer) The 2017 candidates for District Attorney, Controller, and various judicial seats have been traveling across the city doing their level best to persuade voters that they are the best people for the job, but sadly, the qualification many voters seem to find most persuasive is largely out of the candidates' control--their position on the ballot. Continue reading

Council Report Card: Week of March 13th

In which David Oh and Council Republicans introduce a resolution honoring Patrick Blessington--one of the attorneys on those Porngate email chains--to seething opprobrium; Allan Domb and others resolve to hold a hearing on why reassessments are still all messed up even after the Actual Value Initiative; Domb and crew also back a resolution promoting Earned Income Tax Credit participation for eligible residents; and Curtis Jones, Jr., Kenyatta Johnson, and Brian O'Neill get serious about hazardous intersections. Continue reading

Welcome to Budget Season

It’s everyone’s favorite season- budget season! Over the next three months we're going to provide different kinds of analysis of the City's budget process. We'll talk about budget documents, what passes for negotiation, and the administration's priorities. But first, the basics.   Continue reading

Council Report Card: Week of March 6

In which Bobby Henon (via Darrell Clarke) proposes to lay the foundation for putting digital ads on every municipally-owned surface; Kenyatta Johnson proposes an update to the Ethnic Intimidation and Institutional Vandalism to include cemetery vandalism like Mount Carmel; and Cindy Bass (via Darrell Clarke) introduces a framework for sub-contracting Rebuild work to non-profits via the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PAID). Continue reading

Philly Dems F!cked Up HD-197, But Don't Forget to Blame the State Party Too

  (Fired up, ready to blow a really easy race. PA Democratic Party chairman Marcel Groen | Photo credit: Jewish Exponent) Philly Democrats recently blew an opportunity for an easy special election win in the super-safe 197th District House seat in North Philly, by nominating a guy who didn't live in the district. Continue reading

Darrell Clarke Wants to Make Car-Free Temple Students Pay for Other People's Parking

  Council President Darrell Clarke once remarked, "This is Philadelphia. People drive to the corner store. This is what we do.” This attitude is common in his Council office, and it leads them to seriously misunderstand--and misrepresent--the interests of 5th District residents. Continue reading

Is There Going to Be a 'Trump Bump' In Philly's Off-Year Primaries?

  (Button wall at the Board of Elections | Photo: Jon Geeting) Ever since Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States last November, those of us in the business of engaging our fellow citizens in the glamorous work of municipal politics have been living in the best of times (at least in one sense.) Continue reading

Five Big Questions We Still Have About Rebuild PHL

(Towey Rec Center | Photo: Jon Geeting) The Kenney administration's Rebuild initiative--a $500 million public works program that will reinvest in the city's beleaguered parks, rec centers, and libraries--was in the news this week due to some new political developments in Kenney's ongoing negotiations with City Council. Continue reading