To Fix Philly's Business Climate, Start With Mysterious Business Process

You can't go a day on social media in 2017 without seeing a story or listicle about how Philadelphia is on the upswing. And compared to our own recent history, this is true. There's a lot of good stuff happening, and some amount of self-back patting is appropriate. But as a corrective, everyone should also read Christy Speer Lejune's piece at Philly Mag pouring a big glass of ice water on all the happy talk about Philly's economy.  Continue reading

Lame Excuses from Council Supporters of Wolf's 'Tech Tax'

(Councilman Bill Greenlee | Photo credit: Emma Lee / WHYY) Last Thursday, Council barely passed a resolution calling on Gov. Wolf to drop plans to reinstate the “tech tax” as part of the state’s upcoming budget process. Typically, resolutions are passed without any push-back. But this only slid through at 9-7, despite testimony from local tech leaders describing how the tax would harm Philly's technology economy. Continue reading

Allan Domb: Upzone City-Owned Properties Before, Not After, Sales

(Councilmember Allan Domb) Councilman Allan Domb is a real estate pro, but ever since he was elected to City Council in 2015, he's tended to avoid playing to type and really owning the real estate and zoning issue set.  Continue reading

Luxury Housing and Jobs: Can the Tail Wag the Dog?

(500 Walnut under construction | Photo: Jon Geeting) My friend Jake Blumgart is a guy with a pretty unimpeachable set of lefty credentials, so it was a lot of fun to read his unlikely apologia for ultra-luxury housing in PlanPhilly this week.  Continue reading

Younger Voters Stepped Up in the 2017 Primary, and Outsider Candidates Won

Back in March, we wondered whether there was going to be a 'Trump Bump' in the 2017 municipal primaries. There had been a ton of buzz around local political engagement brought on by the 2016 Presidential election outcome, but it wasn't yet clear if that was just going to translate into a lot of rallies, or if people were going to be more motivated to vote.  Continue reading

City Commissioners lost a bunch of voter registrations in 2017

So it turns out the City Commissioners processed a ton of voter registrations really late and lost a bunch more. This is not good or surprising news.  Continue reading

To Meet Paris Climate Goals, Kenney and Council Should Embrace Density and Transit

(Multifamily and single-family housing living in harmony in Seattle | Photo: Jon Geeting) Yesterday, President Donald Trump announced he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement--the most significant international action taken so far to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.  Continue reading

"Liberal Wards" Keep Growing Their Influence in City Elections

The big question coming out of the 2017 municipal primaries is whether the results, which were a total black eye for the traditional Democratic Party machine, should be seen as a one-time fluke, or whether they're part of an ongoing trend that spells trouble for other incumbents in the 2018 and 2019 election cycles. Continue reading

Philly Should Worry About a Housing Shortage, Not a Bubble

Philadelphia has been experiencing a spate of sustained growth in home prices in the post-recession period, leaving some observers to wonder where the ceiling is. The latest entry in this genre is a blog post from Jonathan Tannen at Econsult, which poses the question of whether our recent housing market trends are sustainable, or whether we're watching a bubble developing.  Continue reading

Bob Brady Says "Traditional Wards" Got Out-Hustled By Liberal Wards. Which Wards Are Those?

(DCC Chairman Bob Brady is a very traditional guy. Photo: Rep. Bob Brady) In the course explaining away the Democratic City Committee's ultra-weak performance in the municipal primaries this Tuesday, chairman Bob Brady told Dave Davies of WHYY that the "traditional wards" were simply out-hustled by "liberal wards." Continue reading