We Want Answers: Maiken Scott

Photograph by Claudia Gavin

Photograph by Claudia Gavin

You were born in Germany. How did you end up in Philly? I made a mistake that ended up in my favor. When I was very young, I got married to my American boyfriend. We moved to the Arizona desert together. It was totally crazy; I’d always lived in the city, and I had never been to America before. I remember landing at night and thinking, “I don’t see a lot of lights.” Then I decided I was going to Temple, and we broke up. I did not truly feel at home in this country until I moved to Philly. Read more »

Can Kevin and Brendan Boyle Save the Democratic Party?

Kevin, left, and Brendan Boyle. Photo by Chris Loupos

State Rep. Kevin, left, and U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle. Photo by Chris Loupos

Brendan Boyle had only been on the campaign trail for a couple of months when his high-priced D.C. consultant told him he should quit.

It was the summer of 2013, and the baby-faced state representative from Northeast Philadelphia had decided to run for Congress. His reason, he says, was simple: The American dream was slipping away, and he wanted to help wrestle it back. So he hired a “fancy” adviser from the Beltway, as he now sneeringly describes him, and paid for a poll. “He told me there was good news and bad news.” Read more »

Philly’s Public Defender: George Soros’s Associates Wanted Me to Run for D.A.

L: Keir Bradford-Grey R: George Soros (Courtesy of

L: Keir Bradford-Grey (Courtesy of the Defender Association) R: George Soros (Courtesy of GeorgeSoros.com)

Why would an up-and-coming progressive turn down billionaire George Soros?

That’s the question some Philadelphia Democrats are now asking, after chief public defender Keir Bradford-Grey told her employees last week that she would not run for district attorney in the upcoming Democratic primary. “This is the biggest D.A.’s race in the country,” said one incredulous political insider following the announcement. “Once you have [Soros’s backing], you can go on to be the U.S. attorney, to be the president!”  Read more »

Trump: The View From York County

Pennsylvania's countryside | drnadig/iStock.com

Pennsylvania’s countryside | drnadig/iStock.com

Joe Sacco, a 74-year-old retired police officer, always knew Donald Trump would take Pennsylvania: “Talking to people, you could just feel that everybody was for him.” During the campaign, even churchgoers in Sacco’s hometown in rural southern York County got behind Trump. “That shocked me in the beginning,” he admits. “They told me, ‘We have a preacher. We need a president.’” Union guys in town — another group that was supposed to be anti-Trump — liked him, too: “They were all wearing Trump hats.”  Read more »

Johnny Doc Forgets He’s a Democratic Elite, Says Democratic Elites Need to “Wake Up”

John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty is leader of Philadelphia's building trades. | Photo by Jeff Fusco

John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty is leader of Philadelphia’s building trades. | Photo by Jeff Fusco

It’s hard to overstate how profoundly the Democratic Party screwed up in the 2016 election. Republicans will soon control the White House and both branches of Congress. Things are just as bleak when you look at state legislatures and governorships: Across the country, Democrats hold fewer elected offices today than at any other point since the 1920s—a jaw-dropping 100-year low.

If an average American performed this badly at their job, they’d probably be fired on the spot. If they were very, very lucky, they’d be given the opportunity to make a heartfelt apology and work on probation until they improved. But Democratic elites aren’t like you and me. They can apparently lose an election to a reality TV star, fail to take responsibility for the fact that their party may be in its death throes, and then continue to rule the party with an iron fist. Look at Nancy Pelosi—who recently said, “We cannot be taking the full responsibility for what happened in the election”—and then got reelected as House Minority Leader. Or consider the fact that Clinton loyalists are being put in charge of the DNC’s “Trump war room.”

The latest example of Democratic leaders acting with impunity takes place in our own backyard. As talk show host Dom Giordano first reported, Philly electricians union boss John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty wrote a letter to his local’s members about the election of soon-to-be President Donald Trump. IBEW Local 98 endorsed Hillary Clinton in the general election.

Doc was apparently so proud of the letter that his spokesman, Frank Keel, told Giordano he “had” to read it. He was right, but probably not for the reasons he thinks.  Read more »

Philly’s Biggest Winners of 2016

Clockwise: Outgoing U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger, Villanova Wildcats coach Jay Wright, Mayor Jim Kenney, state Rep. Martina White and actor Sylvester Stallone.

Clockwise: Mayor Jim Kenney, Villanova Wildcats coach Jay Wright, Olympian Nia Ali, actor Sylvester Stallone and outgoing U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger.

Believe it or not, a few people actually succeeded in the otherwise godforsaken 2016. Here’s to all the do-gooders, overachievers, strivers, thrivers, and folks who won so much they got tired of the winning. Read more »

Making Philadelphia Better: How to Get Involved in the Age of Trump

American democracy is on life support. Half the country didn’t show up to vote in 2016. Around 30 percent of millennials say it’s “essential” to live in a democracy. Our Republican president-elect praises Vladimir Putin, and our Democratic leaders praise Fidel Castro. It’s mad. But here’s the good news: You — yes, you — can make a difference. And Philadelphia, the birthplace of the great American experiment, is the perfect place to do it. Read more »

What the Incredible Rise of the Independent Voter Means for Philly

Philadelphia Independent Voter

Voting booth photo: William Thomas Cain/iStock.

For more than half of the 20th century, the number of registered independents and third-party voters in Philadelphia didn’t change much. From the 1940s to the early 1990s, there were never fewer than about 20,000 or more than 50,000. (Stick with me through some math here — it’s important.) Things began to take a turn in 1997, though, when the amount of indies and third-partiers in the city rose to 52,600; five years later, it climbed to 70,400; five years after that, it soared to 92,600. Today, there are nearly 124,000 in Philly — that’s an eye-popping increase of more than 154 percent over the past 20 years.

During the same time period, the number of local Democrats has grown by 24 percent, and Republican registrations have shrunk by 37 percent. In fact, for the first time in modern history, independents and third-party voters are now only 1,600 people away from outnumbering Republicans in the city. That’s stunning.

The boom in independents in Philadelphia could have an impact on local, state, and even federal elections. It could threaten the few GOP-held seats in city government. It could also chip away at the power of Philly Democrats to swing statewide and presidential races. And maybe, just maybe, it could make room for Socialists, Libertarians or Working Families Party members in local elected office. Read more »

Exit Interview: Pit Bull U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Attorney's Office

U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. | Photo courtesy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office

In Philadelphia, Zane David Memeger is a feared man. During his six-year tenure as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, he helped end the decades-long political career of Congressman Chaka Fattah, put Ironworkers Union boss Joseph Dougherty behind bars for extortion, and cleaned house at the city’s ticket-fixing Traffic Court. He’s also successfully prosecuted terrorists, human traffickers, pill mill operators and international arms smugglers.

This month, Memeger will step down. We talked to him Friday about the incoming Trump administration, how to clean up the city’s political system, and whether there is truly justice for cops who commit crimes. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Read more »

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