Brady: Shut Down the Norristown High Speed Line

Norristown High Speed Line train

Photo by Peetlesnumber1 via Wikimedia Commons; used under a Creative Commons License

Pa. Congressman Bob Brady wants SEPTA to shut down the Norristown High Speed Line while a federal investigation unfolds into the cause of a crash that injured more than 40 people this week.

The National Transportation Safety Board is probing the collision, which occurred early Tuesday morning when a train carrying 41 passengers and an operator struck an unoccupied parked train at the 69th Street Transportation Center.  Read more »

LISTEN: Did Philly Democrats Commit Voter Fraud in the 197th District?

Cheri Honkala at a press conference in 2016. Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

The latest episode of Pushback, the podcast co-produced by Philly Mag and WURD, is now available. Listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or check it out below.

U.S. Representative Bob Brady, who has been the head of Philadelphia’s Democratic Party for three decades, has been besieged this summer with allegations that he bribed a political opponent in 2012 to drop a would-be primary challenge against him.

But a swirl of corruption accusations around Brady is nothing new. In fact, an ongoing federal lawsuit pits Brady’s party apparatus against plaintiffs asserting that there was election fraud in a special election to fill a seat in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives. Read more »

Millennial Nonprofit Exec Omar Woodard Might Primary Party Boss Bob Brady

brady, omar woodard

L: Bob Brady (via Jeff Fusco) | R: Omar Woodard (via Jean Ziales)

Omar Woodard, a millennial nonprofit director who has called for changes to Philadelphia’s Democratic machine, is considering a primary run against Congressman and longtime party leader Bob Brady.

Woodard, 32, worked as a campaign staffer for former President Barack Obama and state Sen. Tony Williams (during the 2015 mayoral race). He heads the Philly division of the GreenLight Fund, a venture capital firm that invests in nonprofits and other organizations working to combat poverty. Last year, he decided against running for the state Senate in order to take over the nonprofit.  Read more »

Prosecutors: Brady Campaign Paid 2012 Primary Opponent to Quit

Photo | Jeff Fusco

A former political aide to Rep. Bob Brady’s 2012 primary opponent has testified that Brady’s campaign paid the competitor $90,000 to drop out of the race.

In a federal court hearing last Friday, Carolyn Cavaness, a campaign staffer for Municipal Court Judge Jimmie Moore, then Brady’s opponent, admitted having a role in the alleged scheme. Her guilty plea was disclosed in court filings made public Tuesday.  Read more »

Will USA250 Be Philly’s Biggest Party Yet?

Illustration by Gluekit (images: iStockphoto; logo: USA250)

Salty air. Nature’s euphonious soundtrack. Spotty cell reception. One has to wonder how many great ideas start on a boat. In 2008, Andrew Hohns, a Philadelphia lifer who always has the city top of mind, was sailing — or, rather, attempting to — in Penobscot Bay in Maine with his buddy, Chris Chimicles. From their rambling discourse, a realization: America’s 250th anniversary was approaching — and Philly should play host. The other big birthdays — 100, 150, 200 — all were here. “The discussion,” recalls Hohns, “was one great outcome of an otherwise windless afternoon.” Read more »

Why Is Bob Brady Still in Charge?

Photo | Colin Lenton

Photo | Colin Lenton

Bob Brady, the U.S. Congressman and boss of Philadelphia’s Democratic Party, is six-foot-one and has a massive barrel chest. His head and neck are also strikingly thick; his voice is almost as gravelly as Tom Waits’s. In another life, he would have been a bodyguard. So when his black SUV whizzes past a couple police officers in Washington, D.C., they spot him easily. “Good morning, Congressman!” they shout, looking sincerely pleased to see him.

Brady grins. “The cops work for me,” he says. “The cops, the zoo, the garden, Smithsonian Institution, every employee, sergeant-at-arms, the courts, every one of them.” He is the ranking Democrat on the Committee on House Administration, which funds every office and panel in the chamber, manages many Capitol employees, and, apparently, oversees the National Zoo. The officers are smiling on this sunny morning in March, he says, because he got them a raise. “They’d all vote for me for Speaker!” Brady boasts. He’s used his committee to make many friends. In 2010, he says, back when the Democrats controlled Congress, a Republican named Kevin McCarthy asked Brady to pass legislation out of his committee. “I gave him a bill. I gave him two bills. I gave him three bills. And he never forgot that.” Today, McCarthy is the House Majority Leader. Read more »

Here’s What Philly’s Congress Members Think About Trump’s Airstrikes on Syria

trump, syria

President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A number of local Congress members have weighed in on President Donald Trump’s decision to order a missile attack on Syria.

In a speech last night, Trump said the airstrike was issued – without Congressional approval – in response to a chemical weapons attack earlier this week that is widely believed to have been carried out by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. That attack reportedly resulted in the death of at least 80 Syrian civilians.  Read more »

There Won’t Be a Manayunk Bike Race This Year

Philly Bike Race 2013

AP Photo | Joseph Kaczmarek

The Manayunk bike race, most recently known as the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, will not be run in 2017. The race posted the news on its website on Friday morning.

The race sponsors passed along a statement from the City of Philadelphia: “Regrettably, even after extensive fundraising efforts, we were not able to find enough sponsors interested in covering the $1 million cost of the bike race to host it this year. While we are disappointed, we remain committed to working with Councilman Jones as well as the East Falls, Roxborough and Manayunk commercial corridors on other events, including a Free Streets event in that area.” 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 »

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