Local Democrats Join Unprecedented House Sit-in For Gun Control

In a nod to decades-old, traditional-style protesting, several local Democrats were among more than 200 total to participate in a sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday, demanding tighter gun control in the wake of Orlando’s mass shooting — the worst mass shooting in the country’s history.

Representatives Bob Brady, Mike DoyleBrendan Boyle and Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Donald Norcross of New Jersey joined in to demand a vote on legislation that would bolster background checks and prohibit suspected terrorists from purchasing guns. Democrats called on House Speaker Paul Ryan to debate and vote on gun legislation next week, despite a scheduled recess.

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The No-Bullshit Guide: 2016 Election’s Biggest Winners and Losers

From L to R:

Clockwise: Mayor Jim Kenney, state Rep. Dwight Evans, Councilman Darrell Clarke, U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman and labor leader John Dougherty.

Oftentimes, elections feel like they’ve been decided by the powers that be before they’re even over. The 2016 primary was different: It was full of genuine nail-biters. At 8:30 p.m., I headed to state Rep. Dwight Evans’ Election Night party at Temptations on Chelten Avenue, and everyone around me spent the first hour-and-a-half of the celebration hunched over, obsessively refreshing the Department of State’s website on their phones as votes from different areas were counted. They weren’t just tracking Evans’ bid for the 2nd Congressional District seat — they were also following the Attorney General’s race, which looked like it might be won by Stephen Zappala at the beginning of the evening, as well as several close state legislative races.

By the end of the night, a seemingly unstoppable labor leader had lost, along with an indicted congressman, a bajillion-year incumbent, and a state representative who is part of one of the most powerful political machines in the city. What a wild election.

The Winners

1. The Northwest Coalition

The Northwest Coalition, led by Evans and former Councilwoman Marian Tasco, helped put Jim Kenney in the mayor’s office last year. The alliance was also instrumental in electing Derek Green and Cherelle Parker to Council. Now, one of its own is going to Congress — Evans defeated U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah in the 2nd Congressional District race yesterday. (Yes, Evans will technically face Republican James Jones in the fall. But, with the district being overwhelmingly Democratic, we all know how this movie ends.) Another sign of the organization’s rising power: Relish, the Northwest Coalition’s Election Day lunch spot, drew bigger crowds yesterday than Famous 4th Street Deli.

What does this mean for the future? Good things for Parker, potentially, if she runs for mayor in 2023. It could also mean bad things for District Attorney Seth Williams if the Northwest Coalition decides to support a challenger when he runs for reelection next year. (Tasco isn’t a fan of Williams’.) It’s worth noting, however, that the coalition did suffer one loss yesterday, which proves it isn’t indestructible: state Rep. Tonyelle Cook-Artis, its pick in the 200th House District race, was not reelected. Read more »

Bob Brady: Miscommunication May Be to Blame for Amtrak Crash

brady-fusco-amtrak-hills-940x540

U.S. Rep Bob Brady; photo by Jeff Fusco. Amtrak photo by passenger Glenn R. Hills Jr. | @glennhills

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady spent several hours touring the wreckage of Amtrak Train 89 with officials on Sunday in Chester, Delaware County.

After eyeing the crash site, Brady surmised that human error might have played a role in the horrific accident that claimed the lives of two longtime Amtrak employees and sent more than 30 passengers to local hospitals with minor injuries. Read more »

Johnny Doc: “I’m Getting Out of Politics a Little Bit”

John Dougherty | Photo by Jeff Fusco

John Dougherty, head of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council. | Photo by Jeff Fusco

John Dougherty is such a big deal that he doesn’t need the Democratic City Committee anymore. The electricians union boss tells Citified he has stepped down as leader of the First Ward in South Philadelphia.

“I’m getting out of politics a little bit,” he said. Read more »

Philly’s Political Elders Lament the Lack of Millennials Running for Office

Photo by Bradley Maule

Photo by Bradley Maule

Mayor Michael Nutter is in that glorious final phase of his tenure where he’s calling things exactly as he sees them. With seven weeks left in office and very little to lose, he’s taking on everyone from mega-restaurateur Stephen Starr to elections chief Anthony Clark to the School Reform Commission.

One of his most intriguing targets has been millennials. Over the last few months, he’s been shouting from the rooftops that too few young people are running for elected office in Philadelphia. “Where are younger people?” he asked at Philly Mag’s ThinkFest last week. “Are they even thinking about running for office?”

He’s even gotten mean about it: “I’m increasingly concerned that many young people are just finding other avenues. And, you know, having 9 million followers on Twitter is not your level of political engagement.” Read more »

Stephen Colbert Skewered Bob Brady for Stealing the Pope Glass

bob-brady-pope-glass-stephen-colbert

Ever since we heard that Congressman Bob Brady stole Pope Francis’ water glass in Washington, D.C. last week (in case you missed the only-a-Philadelphia-Congressman-could-do-this story, go here), we thought that this would be the perfect fodder for Stephen Colbert. And on Tuesday night, Colbert proved us correct with a genius skewering of the congressman. Read more »

Dear Bob Brady: Here’s What You Need to Do With the Pope Glass You Took

In this photo taken Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, and provided by U.S. Rep. Bob Brady's office, Brady, D-Pa., holds a glass that Pope Francis used during his speech to Congress, while standing outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington. As Pope Francis left the chamber Thursday, Brady, who is Roman Catholic, headed to the lectern to retrieve the pontiff's drinking glass. (Stan White/U.S. Rep. Bob Brady's office via AP)

In this photo taken Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, and provided by U.S. Rep. Bob Brady’s office, Brady, D-Pa., holds a glass that Pope Francis used during his speech to Congress, while standing outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington. As Pope Francis left the chamber Thursday, Brady, who is Roman Catholic, headed to the lectern to retrieve the pontiff’s drinking glass. (Stan White/U.S. Rep. Bob Brady’s office via AP)

Follow Philadelphia magazine’s live coverage of Pope Francis’s historic visit all weekend long.

Oh, Bob Brady. You are so Philly. Leave it to you to go to Washington, D.C. for Pope Francis’ address to the joint session of Congress — a truly history-making event — and take the man’s water glass. Read more »

If Fattah Goes Down, Who Would Voters Replace Him With?

Clockwise from the top: Mayor Michael Nutter, Council President Darrell Clarke, District Attorney Seth Williams and state Sen. Vincent Hughes.

Clockwise from the top: Mayor Michael Nutter, Council President Darrell Clarke, state Sen. Vincent Hughes and District Attorney Seth Williams.

It finally happened: Philadelphia Democratic U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah was indicted on corruption charges Wednesday.

Already, political insiders are wondering if the congressman will resign in the coming months or simply choose not to run for reelection in 2016. If either scenario unfolds, who would replace him? And how would that work?

The question has been bubbling up ever since two members of Fattah’s inner circle pleaded guilty last year. You can expect more names than ever to be bandied about now.

Some of the bigger ones include Mayor Michael Nutter, City Council President Darrell Clarke, District Attorney Seth Williams, Councilman Curtis Jones, Councilwoman Cindy Bass, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, state Sen. Vincent Hughes, state Sen. Anthony Williams, state Sen. Daylin Leach, state Rep. Brian Sims, School Reform Commission member Bill Green, former mayoral candidate Doug Oliver, ward leader Daniel Muroff and real estate analyst Dan Kessler. That’s not even a full list. Check out some other possibilities here.

Watching some of these candidates confront each other in an open election would be a sight to see, but there’s no guarantee that’s what would happen. Indeed, there are five distinct scenarios that could unfold here. Let’s run them down.
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The Brief: 130-Year-Old Water Main Bursts in West Philly, Eats Cars

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

1. A water main ruptured in West Philly, wrecking homes and swallowing up cars.

The gist: As you can imagine, the water main break on Sunday in West Philadelphia was a huge pain the butt for everyone involved. City officials evacuated 14 residents from the neighborhood, and dozens of cars were damaged. Jason Nark of the Daily News reported:

No one was killed or injured when the massive, 130-year-old water-transmission line burst on 52nd Street near Pennsgrove Street, but 8 to 10 million gallons can ruin a Sunday in a hundred different ways, and the ripples of inconveniences could already be felt after the waters receded, locals said.

“Look at my car, it’s done. I can’t call to set up a ride for work because the power is off, and I can’t charge my phone,” Wyalusing Avenue resident Albery Canty said, motioning to his muddy Cadillac.

[Robert] Johnson, 68, was supposed to be in South Jersey working on a customer’s bathroom and instead was sitting on his front porch complaining about federal infrastructure funding, while a worker readied a water pump and generator beside his basement window. The hoods were propped up on his pickup truck and his minivan, the mud drying to dirt in the heat, and he doesn’t know how long he’ll be out of work.
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The Brief: Attorney Says Black Pols’ Endorsement of Kenney Has Past Black Leaders “Rolling Over in their Graves”

L to R: Anthony Williams and Jim Kenney

L to R: Anthony Williams and Jim Kenney | Photos by Matt Rourke

1. Activists and Former Lawmakers from Northwest Philly Announce Support for Tony Williams After Controversial Jim Kenney Endorsement

The Gist: A group of community activists, former legislators and ministers from Northwest Philly said they are surprised and dismayed by the fact that several black politicians in the area have endorsed former City Councilman Jim Kenney, who is white, for mayor. At an event Thursday, they said they are supporting state Sen. Anthony Williams, the only top-tier black candidate in the race, instead.

NewsWorks reports that attorney and former City Councilman George Burrell, one of the event’s speakers, said past black leaders such as U.S. Rep. Bill Gray and City Councilwoman Augusta Clark “are rolling over in their graves at the notion that respected African-American elected officials who essentially represent an African-American constituency would turn over the mayor’s office voluntarily to a community other than our own.”  Read more »

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