The Brief: Can Jim Kenney Unite Old & New Philadelphia?

Photo Credit | Matt Rourke, APOne of the many intriguing questions raised by Liz Spikol’s terrific new profile of mayoral candidate Jim Kenney is this: Can Philadelphia’s labor movement and Center City progressives unite?

Let’s start by discussing what we mean, exactly, by the term “Center City progressives.” This cohort—which actually includes significant populations in West and Northwest Philly as well—isn’t entirely synonymous old school liberals. Yes, they’re reliably Democratic. They voted, enthusiastically, for Barack Obama (twice), and few among them would ever consider voting for a Republican presidential or gubernatorial candidate. But many in this cohort are also, at the local level, a little uncomfortable with unions and the political power they wield in Philadelphia [particularly a) the public employee unions, because of questions about pensions and compensation and taxes, and b) the building trades unions, because of their overt political maneuvering and outsized influence]. Read more »

Judge Rules Milton Street Can Run for Mayor as a Democrat

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The Inquirer’s Chris Brennan reports that a Common Pleas Court Judge has determined that, despite being officially registered as an independent, Milton Street is eligible to run as a Democrat in the mayoral primary.

Judge Chris Wogan said that Street was “beyond negligent,” but still concluded the law allows Street to run as a Democrat. Writes Brennan: Read more »

The Brief: Dems Ditch Council Candidate with Crazy Facebook Page

Manny Morales Facebook Page

It seems even Philadelphia’s Democratic City Committee has its limits.

Manny Morales, who is challenging 7th district City Council incumbent, Maria Quiñones Sánchez no longer has the blessing of party elders, who withdrew their support two days after Sánchez posted screen captures of some pretty out-there ravings on the Manny Morales Facebook page. Read more »

The Bicycle (Riding) Lobby Has Won, and Philly Will Never Be the Same Again

How many there rode bikes? A LOT. | Photo credit: Jim Kenney Twitter feed.

How many in the audience at the 2015 mayoral mobility forum rode bikes to get there? A LOT. | Photo credit: Jim Kenney Twitter feed.

For years now, a lot of the shorthand, sarcastic, political insider criticism of Mayor Michael Nutter has referenced his affinity for bike lanes. As in: “Yeah the poverty rate sucks, but hey, how about those bike lanes!”

Part of that has been driven by a deep-seated conviction (I’d argue it’s a mistaken one) among many elected officials that Nutter cares way more about Center City interests than “neighborhood” ones. But dislike of Nutter doesn’t explain everything. Bike lanes, and really the entire “mobility” agenda—which includes everything from cycling infrastructure, to road paving, to pedestrian accommodations, to traffic enforcement and much more—has long provoked epic eye-rolls whenever raised with the city’s political class. In other words, these concerns have been dismissed by a lot of powerful people as little more than the obsession of entitled Center City millennials, and thus unworthy of City Hall’s attention.

But if Thursday night’s Better Mobility 2015 Mayoral Forum was any indication—and it was—then the political calculus has changed, and City Hall will likely be forced to reckon more seriously with questions of pedestrian and cyclist safety in the future. Read more »

Tonight! The Mayoral Candidates Talk Mobility

Tonight at 6 p.m., the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is hosting the Better Mobility Mayoral Forum. I’ll be moderating, and I’ll be asking the candidates about their plans to make the city a safer, better place for cyclists and pedestrians. We’ll be talking bike share, road maintenance and improvements, vision zero, Council-Mayor relations and much more.

Please join us. The details are below:

  • Time: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Location: Friends Center, 1501 Cherry Street
  • RSVP: Here

The Coffee Can of Destiny Has Spoken, and Wilson Goode Jr. Has Been Damned

The Coffee Can of Destiny.

The Coffee Can of Destiny.

And lo, the Coffee Can of Destiny was raised high, a ball was plucked from its depths, and the petitioner’s fate was determined.

Or something like that.

In a sixth-floor courtroom in City Hall this morning, dozens of politicos and wannabe politicos gathered for what amounts to an ultra-high stakes bingo game: ballot positioning in the May primary election. For a lot of elected offices, particularly those that get little public exposure or that feature a large number of candidates, ballot position is huge. Voters who don’t recognize the names of candidates often pull the lever for whoever appears first or second in a list of names. Conversely, candidates who draw a lousy ballot position can get lost in a sea of names, making it harder for supporters to find them on a ballot. Read more »

Ballot Position Selection Day With the Coffee Can of Destiny

Tim Dowling with the Horn & Hardart can | Photo Credit: Holly Otterbein

Tim Dowling with the Horn & Hardart can | Photo Credit: Holly Otterbein

As we told you this morning, today is Coffee Can Day in Philly politics: the day when candidates’ primary ballot positions are determined by the luck of the draw, specifically, the luck of bingo balls drawn from a Horn & Hardart coffee can

Citified’s Patrick Kerkstra was on the scene, live-tweeting the whims of the most powerful coffee can in Philadelphia. Read more »

Who’s Afraid of Darrell Clarke?

Darrell Clarke

Darrell Clarke

City Council President Darrell Clarke—and by extension City Council as a whole—is showing in both words and deeds that Council intends to play a huge, perhaps dominant, role in city government now and in the future, no matter who is elected mayor. Read more »

The Brief: Why Have City Dems Endorsed a Council Candidate Whose Facebook Page Compared Gay Men to Flatworms?

Maria Quinones-Sanchez | Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Maria Quinones-Sanchez. Not the tapeworm candidate. | Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

María Quiñones-Sánchez is one of the more consequential members of Philadelphia’s City Council. She was the driving force behind the new land bank. She’s gotten major small business-friendly tax reform legislation enacted. She just pushed through a charter amendment that, if approved by voters, would require all city departments and agencies to have plans in place to serve city residents who don’t speak English. And that’s to name just a few of her accomplishments. Read more »

The Brief: At Last, Real Substance in the Philadelphia Mayor’s Race

Mayoral Candidates Six Grid

We’ve been thumping the mayoral candidates pretty hard over the lack of substance—and by that we mean fresh new ideas, policy proposals, general command of the complex problems Philly faces—in the race so far.

But there are some signs of late the race won’t be entirely devoid of meaningful debate. Sam Katz, who is looking more and more like an Independent mayoral candidate, released a provocative and massively ambitious school funding plan yesterday. Placing aside the merits and shortcomings of the plan—and there are plenty of both—Katz’s proposal sets a new bar for both policy scope and detail. Read more »

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