The Biggest Winners and Losers in Philadelphia’s 2017 Primary Election

Clockwise: Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif, Democratic district attorney nominee Larry Krasner, Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police chief John McNesby, labor leader John Dougherty, City Controller Alan Butkovitz, ward leader Marian Tasco, and protesters at Philadelphia’s Women March.

Philadelphia’s election on Tuesday was a game-changer. The winner of the Democratic primary for district attorney is a criminal defense lawyer who has never prosecuted a case in his life and made a name for himself by suing law enforcement over alleged abuses and representing progressive activists like Black Lives Matter. A young ex-budget director crushed incumbent City Controller Alan Butkovitz, the ultimate political insider, in an upset victory.

Those two Democratic nominees, Larry Krasner and Rebecca Rhynhart, are the race’s biggest winners. But who are the other winners and losers — the issues, interest groups, and kingmakers — in the election? Here’s our list: Read more »

Rebecca Rhynhart Unseats Incumbent City Controller Alan Butkovitz

Left: Alan Butkovitz (photo courtesy of Curtis Blessing). Right: Rebecca Rhynhart (photo courtesy of Rhynhart’s campaign).

Democrat Rebecca Rhynhart defeated incumbent city controller Alan Butkovitz in an upset victory on Tuesday, earning 58 percent of the vote with 90 percent of precincts reporting.

Rhynhart’s success in the primary election is yet another sign that the power of the city’s Democratic machine is waning. Butkovitz, a ward leader and decades-long politician, was endorsed by the local Democratic Party. Read more »

The No-Bullshit Guide to the 2017 Philadelphia Primary

Clockwise: District attorney candidates Larry Krasner, Joe Khan, Rich Negrin, Teresa Carr Deni, Jack O’Neill, Tariq El-Shabazz, Beth Grossman and Michael Untermeyer. | Photos courtesy of the campaigns

Do you loathe that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is doubling down on the War on Drugs? Are you glad he’s finally restoring law and order to the country? Do you think the city spends too much money locking people up? Just enough? Too little? If you answered affirmatively to any of these questions, then you should vote in this year’s district attorney race. The DA prosecutes crimes in Philadelphia, helping to determine whether justice is delivered to victims and how many people end up in prison every year. The choice in front of voters is as important as ever: Current District Attorney Seth Williams has been accused by the feds of seeking thousands of dollars’ worth of bribes and stealing from his own mom.

Voters will also choose Philadelphia’s next city controller, judges, and election board workers on Tuesday, as well as vote on two ballot questions.

Don’t worry if you haven’t paid close attention to these races — it’s why we created this election guide and an accompanying list of endorsements for each candidate in the district attorney race. It’s a ruthlessly honest, easy-to-understand explanation of the candidates’ pros and cons. Here are your choices. Read more »

Rendell Endorses Rebecca Rhynhart for City Controller

Courtesy of Rebecca Rhynhart's campaign

Courtesy of Rebecca Rhynhart’s campaign

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has endorsed Rebecca Rhynhart in the race for Philadelphia City Controller.

Rhynhart, 42, stepped down from her role as Mayor Jim Kenney’s chief administrative officer shortly before she announced her run against third-term incumbent Alan Butkovitz last December.  Read more »

City Controller: Staffing Shortage Could Cause Schools to Lose Funding

teacher vacancies

Photo | It’s Our City via Flickr / Creative Commons

Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz issued a warning on Wednesday that some Philly schools could lose funding because of staffing shortages.

First, some background: many schools in the Philadelphia School District receive funding through the state’s Title I grant, which goes toward institutions with high populations of students belonging to low-income families.  Read more »

Morning Headlines: Underground Transformer Fire Knocked Out Power in Center City

underground-transformer-fire-940x540

Photo | Philly 311

Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know:

An underground transformer fire plunged parts of Rittenhouse into darkness. What city officials called an underground transformer explosion caused a fire at the evening rush hour in the 2100 block of Walnut Street. According to a story on Philly.com, the fire knocked out power to about 400 customers in the 2000 and 2100 blocks of Walnut Street; 6ABC reports that the outage even affected last night’s performance of Rain at the Merriam Theater. Several buildings surrounding the site of the fire were evacuated for about two hours. As of this morning, PECO’s outage map reports the probable cause as an “underground cable problem”; 91 customers remain without power, which the utility expects to restore by noon. Read more »

Audit: Philly’s Brownout Policy Didn’t Save Money — It Cost the City Millions

FaceMePLS | Wikimedia Commons

FaceMePLS | Wikimedia Commons

The Philadelphia Fire Department’s now-defunct “brownout” policy failed to deliver on one big promise: that it would save the city money on overtime costs.

That’s one of the conclusions of a new audit by City Controller Alan Butkovitz, which was released the same day that Mayor Jim Kenney ended the policy instituted in 2010 by his predecessor, Michael Nutter, during the dire budget years of the Great Recession.

“Despite the PFD’s assertions that the brownout policy would lead to reduced overtime costs of $3.8 million, overtime for firefighters actually climbed from $15.7 million in fiscal year 2010 to $34.2 million in fiscal year 2014,” the audit reports.

Read more »

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