In 2016, Jim Kenney Reminded Us How Effective a Seasoned Politician Can Be

Illustration by Nathan Arizona

Illustration by Nathan Arizona

Jim Kenney doesn’t want to be here. It’s mid-October, and we’re meeting in his sprawling office in City Hall to talk about something that should make him want to regale me like Homer: his first year as mayor.

The year 2016 may have been a disillusioning, disgusting, degrading slog for many Americans, but for Kenney, it was phenomenal. He shoved a soda tax through City Council, making Philadelphia the country’s first big city to pass such a levy and crushing the omnipotent beverage lobby in the process. He convinced lawmakers to spend a boatload of cash on his campaign priorities: expanded pre-K, community schools, and a $500 million overhaul of city parks, libraries and rec centers. He also persuaded 53 percent of Philadelphians that he’s doing a good job.

But Kenney isn’t happy, at least not at the moment. “There are good days, and there are bad days,” he tells me when I greet him. His eyes are bloodshot. His shirt and tie don’t match. Read more »

Here’s How the Jill Stein–Led Recount Effort Is Going in Philly

Jill Stein lawyer in County Board of Elections office

Jill Stein lawyer Ilann Maazel sits in the County Board of Elections office at City Hall. | Photo: Dan McQuade

For Beth Finn, it was about having doubts.

The Washington Square resident, inspired by a well-publicized effort by former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, made her way down to the County Board of Elections at City Hall on Monday to hand in a petition asking for a recount of the election results in her precinct. “I came down because I think it’s important to make sure the election results are accurate and complete,” she said. “And there are just enough questions that have been raised that I think it’s important to audit and look at those questions.” Read more »

Activists to Protest “Racism in the Gayborhood” at City Hall

Photo courtesy of Philly Bricks.

Photo courtesy of Philly Bricks.

The Black and Brown Workers Collective (BBWC), an intersectional LGBTQ/racial justice organization, is planning a direct action at City Hall on Friday, September 23rd, at 3 p.m.

In a formal statement released to G Philly, BBWC organizers Shani Akilah and Abdul-Aliy Muhammad said that “this action is in response to the lack of attention given to addressing anti-blackness in Philadelphia’s ‘Gayborhood’ by the office of LGBT Affairs and the director of that office, Nellie Fitzpatrick.” The organizers further remarked in the statement that the rationale behind the demonstration is “directly responding to the countless anti-black incidents, policies and culture that permeates a supposed safer space for Black LGBTQIA communities” and that the Office of LGBT Affairs “needs to address intersectionality.” Read more »

OPINION: Intersectionality and the Orlando Shootings

Candlelight vigil at City Hall for Orlando Shooting victims. Photo by Ernest Owens.

Candlelight vigil at City Hall for the Orlando shooting victims. Photo by Ernest Owens.

Since the weekend, I have not been able to think much about anything besides but the tragic mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. The club had a reputation of having a huge LGBTQ Latinx crowd that lived in their truth and danced to diverse music. Diverse gay bars are a sacred space in which LGBTQ people of color can be themselves in a world where being a double minority in America carries unfair consequences. Read more »

NASCAR Drivers Are Doing a Lap Around City Hall

NASCAR Philadelphia lap

Drivers from the NASCAR XFINITY Series will promote an upcoming race at Pocono Raceway by doing a lap around Philadelphia City Hall at noon today.

The XFINITY Series is NASCAR’s second-level circuit, though racers from the top level also often compete in it. Pocono Raceway — known as the “Tricky Triangle” due to its design — hosts the Pocono 250 on Saturday, June 6th. The clumsily- named Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400, on the primary NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit, follows the next day. Read more »

Bill Would Create Municipal ID in Philly

quinones city hall

Maria Quiñonez-Sanchez

City Hall may soon issue its own “municipal ID” to Philadelphia residents, a new form of identification modeled on programs in New YorkSan Francisco and other big cities with large populations of undocumented immigrants.

Though immigrants aren’t mentioned in the press release Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez issued in support of the legislation — which she introduced at today’s Council meeting — she pointed to New York’s year-old IDNYC program as a model for the Philly effort. That program has been heavily promoted, and heavily covered, as aiding undocumented immigrants in that city, as well as homeless residents who otherwise find it difficult to obtain state-issued IDs.

Sanchez’s effort has the backing of Mayor Jim Kenney.

“There is no question that something must be done to help bring Philadelphians out of the shadows,” Kenney said in the press release. “Our entire city benefits when all of our residents can legally own an apartment, open a bank account, and otherwise participate in our economy and society fully.” Read more »

City Bill Would Crack Down on Nuisance Businesses

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

City Hall would gain new powers in cracking down on “nuisance” businesses under a new bill proposed by Councilwoman Cindy Bass — and neighborhood groups would be given a formal say in determining the future of businesses that run afoul of the law. Read more »

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