Jim Kenney Was Once a Client of Missing Political Consultant

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

A political consultant with close ties to Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is apparently missing after the FBI searched Allentown’s City Hall earlier this month. Michael Fleck was the campaign manager for Pawlowski, who suspended his bid for the U.S. Senate after federal investigators began questioning city officials.

What does that have to do with Philadelphia? Well, it turns out that Jim Kenney, Philadelphia’s Democratic mayoral nominee, has a connection to Fleck, too, though it looks like a tenuous one. Read more »

Job-Seekers Already Hounding Kenney


They say that to the victor goes the spoils. Jim Kenney hasn’t technically won anything yet, but the Democratic nominee for mayor is already hearing from lot of folks spoilin’ to get a government job.

For now, he’s still ostensibly preoccupied with winning the November general election against Republican opponent Melissa Murray Bailey.

“I’m not obviously not elected yet, that’s really presumptuous to be talking about positions, but you’re almost forced to because the press asks you questions,” Kenney told NewsWorks. “But I’m not prepared to announce anything at this point.” Read more »

Jim Kenney Would Hire a New Boss for L&I

Clockwise: Jim Kenney, Carlton Williams and Melissa Murray Bailey.

Clockwise from the top: Jim Kenney, Carlton Williams and Melissa Murray Bailey.

No matter what the outcome of the mayoral race this fall, it looks like Philadelphia will be getting a new Licenses & Inspections chief in 2016.

At about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, GOP mayoral nominee Melissa Murray Bailey called on L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams to resign in a press release. Hours later, Democrat Jim Kenney’s campaign told Citified that Williams would not be commissioner if he is elected this November. Read more »

The Jim Kenney Forecast: Cloudy, With a Chance of Greatness

Kenney and supporters on election night. Photograph by Matt Slocum, Associated Press

Kenney and supporters on election night. Photograph by Matt Slocum, Associated Press

When Jim Kenney took the stage to accept the Democratic nomination for mayor about two hours after polls closed on May 19th, he was cheered by just about every bloc in contemporary Philadelphia politics. Labor was there, of course. So were veteran African-American politicians Dwight Evans and Marian Tasco, who helped the white guy from South Philly defy racial history and win big in black neighborhoods like Strawberry Mansion and West Oak Lane. In the crowd, lifelong white rowhome voters mingled a little awkwardly with young-ish progressives and transplants. There weren’t a lot of big-business interests in the room, but Kenney had a quick private word with George Norcross, the insurance executive and South Jersey political boss who has turned his hungry eyes toward Philadelphia. Read more »

Kenney’s Big Plan to Slash Philly’s Bloated Prison Population

Jim Kenney | Photo by Jeff Fusco

Jim Kenney | Photo by Jeff Fusco

A month ago, 22-year-old Kalief Browder committed suicide at his parent’s house in New York City. When Browder was 16 years old, he was charged with stealing a man’s backpack. A judge set his bail at $3,000, but his family didn’t have the money, and he spent the next three years in jail. He languished in solitary confinement for two of them. The charges were eventually dropped.

Activists have seized on Browder’s story as proof that the criminal justice system is fundamentally broken and bail should be overhauled. On Wednesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced a plan aimed at ending cash bail for some defendants.

Jim Kenney, Philadelphia’s presumptive next mayor, is thinking about proposing a similar overhaul here. Read more »

Jim Kenney’s Long War with the Archdiocese


Charles Chaput and Jim Kenney. | Photos by Jeff Fusco.

Democratic mayoral nominee Jim Kenney is a proud graduate of St. Joe’s Prep and La Salle. He was born and raised in a Irish Catholic family. He is the single most devoted fan of the Neuman-Goretti women’s basketball team in the world.

And yet, Kenney’s relationship with the Catholic Church is fraught. Actually, the more accurate adjective is probably just “hostile.” Kenney showed vividly just how little regard he has for local church leaders on Thursday, when he waded into the debate over the abrupt firing of a beloved, gay faculty member at Waldron Mercy Academy in Merion. In an Inquirer story, Kenney accused “cowardly men” in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia of orchestrating the firing. “If you’re a church official and you feel that strongly that this woman and her partner are such a threat to society, stand up and say so,” Kenney told the paper.

That might seem like extraordinarily blunt language coming from the likely next mayor of the city and aimed not-so-subtly at Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. But it’s actually not all that different from Kenney’s past public statements about the archdiocese. Like the time he urged Pope Francis to “kick some ass” in the archdiocese.

Kenney began feuding with the archdioceses as far back as 1998, when Catholic leaders mobilized to block a City Council bill granting benefits to partners of gay city employees that Kenney co-sponsored. More recently, he’s sparred with archdiocesan leadership over the closing of parochial schools, publicly criticized their decision to ban an 11-year-old girl from playing CYO football and wished out-loud that Pope Francis will straighten out Chaput and company when he comes to town in September.

Read more »

How Jim Kenney Plans to Run City Hall

Jim Kenney | Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Jim Kenney | Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Mayors need to know politics and policy. They need to be an ambassador for Philadelphia outside city lines, and a leader who can rally public opinion within.

But they also need to manage the enormous enterprise that is municipal government, an operation that spends $6.9 billion a year and employs nearly 28,000 people. And yet, somehow, management is often overlooked as a must-have mayoral skill.

In truth, we don’t know all that much about the management chops of Democratic mayoral nominee Jim Kenney, who is a slam-dunk election away from being the city’s next mayor. His primary campaign is the largest enterprise Kenney has ever run. For the 23 years before that, he was in City Council, where he managed a Council office comprised of just a few employees.

That’s not a lot to go on.

But after Kenney sat down for an interview with Citified, we now know a bit more about the type of manager he intends to be. And there actually are some worthwhile lessons to take from the way he ran both his campaign and his council office. Read more »

The Brief: These Are the Most Ticketed Blocks in All of Philadelphia


1. Never hope for a parking grace period on the 500 block of S. 2nd Street.

The gist: Inquirer/Daily News data analysts Dylan Purcell and Michelle Tranquilli have taken a swing at the massive release of parking ticket data released by the city last month. Their analysis found that the single most ticketed block in the whole of Philadelphia is 500 S. 2nd Street, where drivers found a staggering 24,695 violations waiting on their windshields between January 2012 and March 2015. That’s the block featuring angle parking in the middle of the street, just south of Headhouse Square. A close runner up was the 100 block of Chestnut Street, where 24,516 tickets were issue. South Street from 2nd to 6th Streets is one big danger zone, as are the big shopping blocks west of Broad on Walnut. Read more »

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