How Trump’s Election May Have Changed the Future of Philly Politics

Illustration by Gluekit (protesters: iStock; City Hall: C. Smyth/Visit Philadlephia)

Illustration by Gluekit (protesters: iStock; City Hall: C. Smyth/Visit Philadlephia)

Something is happening in this city.

For years, many Philadelphians took democracy for granted. A pathetic 27 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the 2015 primary race. Only 89,000 people — out of the city’s roughly 1.2 million voting-age citizens — picked our current district attorney. The fact that voters don’t even have a choice in many City Council and state legislative races, thanks to one-party rule, has long been met with a shrug. Then came November 8th. Now, protests spontaneously break out in the streets and at the airport. Every Tuesday, a group founded by seven local women airs grievances outside Senator Pat Toomey’s Center City office. If that doesn’t convince you the wind may be blowing in a different direction, consider the fact that 800 people packed a downtown church in January to talk about gerrymandering. Gerrymandering! Read more »

How Matt Klentak Plans to Rebuild the Phillies

Klentak in the team’s under-construction analytics department. Photograph by Chris Crisman

Klentak in the team’s under-construction analytics department. Photograph by Chris Crisman

Matt Klentak agrees to meet me at Citizens Bank Park at two o’clock on a bitterly cold January afternoon. I show up early and kill some time in the lobby. A receptionist cheerily informs me that Klentak’s secretary will come to get me in eight minutes. Not “right away” or “soon” — in eight minutes.

It’s quirkily precise, and I can’t help but ask Klentak about this when I reach his second-floor corner office overlooking the charcoal runway that’s Pattison Avenue. The Phillies’ 36-year-old general manager breaks into a small smile. We’d said we’d sit down at two o’clock, he explains, so it made sense to stick to that plan. And Klentak is all about sticking to plans, particularly the one he and other members of the team’s evolving brain trust have developed to right a ship that lost its way in the wake of the most successful era in franchise history. Read more »

The Best Thing This Week: Marriage Equality Helps Lower the Teen Suicide Rate

Photo by nito100/iStock

Photo by nito100/iStock

Nothing is as heartbreaking as a young person’s suicide, which has become the second-leading cause of death for teens in the United States (after accidents). And yet a new study published this week in JAMA Pediatrics offers hope. It traces recent downturns in teen suicide attempts in states that passed laws allowing gays to marry. In the 32 states that passed such legislation, teen suicide attempts overall fell by 7 percent — and by twice that rate, 14 percent, among gay kids. Rates were unchanged in states in which no such legislation was passed. Read more »

The Sixers’ Ben Simmons Won’t Play This Season

Ben Simmons

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Another big man will miss the entire season for the Sixers.

Ben Simmons, the overall number-one pick last summer who broke his foot in the preseason, will not play this season. Sixers president Bryan Colangelo announced the news at a press conference this morning. Read more »

Sorry, Philly: Toomey Would Rather Meet Protesters in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg

AP-PAT-TOOMEY-940X540

Yeah, you might be among the protesters who clear their schedule once a week to make their voices heard outside U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s Philadelphia office, and you might call him incessantly or even send him faxes (he gets a lot, by the way) – but if you’re from Philly, chances are you won’t get through to Toomey anytime soon.

Maybe if you lived in Pittsburgh or Harrisburg, you’d have more luck.  Read more »

This Ex-Republican Running for D.A. Wants Cash Bail to Be Abolished

Michael Untermeyer | Photo courtesy of Untermeyer's campaign

Michael Untermeyer | Photo courtesy of Untermeyer’s campaign.

Michael Untermeyer is complicated.

Back in 2009 and 2011, he ran for local office as a Republican. Today, he’s campaigning for district attorney as a Democrat. “The difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party is the Democratic Party really wants government to serve people, which is why I am a Democrat,” he says. “The Republican Party doesn’t want to have government, period.”

Untermeyer’s platform includes a lot of things liberals like: The former prosecutor opposes the death penalty in most cases, vows to keep almost all drug users out of the criminal justice system, and wants cash bail to be abolished. But in this hyper-partisan era, the fact that Untermeyer once flew the GOP’s flag — and told Philly.com that “only a Democrat can win this office” — could turn off some Democratic voters. His past experience working in the civil asset forfeiture unit of the attorney general’s office may also prove a challenge in his quest to become district attorney. Read more »

Philly Courts to Start Having Visitors Lock Cell Phones in Bags

Philadelphia's Criminal Justice Center. Photo | Dan McQuade

Photo | Dan McQuade

Visitors to the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice will soon have to do more than just go through a metal detector — they’ll have to lock up their cell phones, too.

But it won’t be similar to the old system at the CJC, where you’d have to “check in” your cell phone with an employee. Instead, you’ll have to put your phone in a small pouch that will render it essentially inoperable. No texts. No internet. No phone calls.

The CJC is partnering with Yondr, a company that makes the pouches to create what it calls “phone-free events and spaces.” The devices have been used by people like Dave Chappelle, Guns n’ Roses, and Childish Gambino to prevent recording at their shows.

Hannibal Buress has also partnered with Yondr to prevent people from recording his shows, but we can’t understand why. (Sorry.) Read more »

Can Baseball Be Saved?

Philadelphia Phillies catcher Wil Nieves calls for an intentional walk at Citi Field on Jul 30, 2014. Photo by Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports

Philadelphia Phillies catcher Wil Nieves calls for an intentional walk at Citi Field on Jul 30, 2014. Photo by Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports

Just as the Phils kick off spring training comes the earth-shattering news that Major League Baseball is tinkering with the very foundations of America’s Pastime. That’s right: They’re killing the spectacle of the intentional walk. Read more »

You Could Now Get a $500 Fine for Releasing a Balloon in Atlantic City

Atlantic City doesn’t mess around.

You might already know not to feed seagulls in the Jersey Shore town – unless you want to end up in jail. As of last summer, beachgoers who feed seagulls in Atlantic City could face a $500 fine and up to 90 days in prison.

This week, the city passed a law that cracks down on people who release balloons into the sky, according to the Press of Atlantic CityRead more »

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