Why Voter Turnout Sucked in Philly’s Mayoral Race

APTOPIX America Votes

Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

1. Voter turnout in Philadelphia wasn’t always so pitiful.

The gist: Only 27 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in Philadelphia’s mayoral primary last week. It wasn’t always like this. In 1991, 49 percent of Philly voters came to the polls. In 1987, 67 percent did; in 1971, a stunning 77 percent did. Other big cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago and New York have also seen voter turnout plummet in municipal elections over the past few decades. CityLab’s Daniel Denvir has a theory about why that may be: Read more »

John Street: Re-Elect the “Relentless” Maria Quiñones-Sanchez

Sanchez-Street

(Editor’s note: This is an op-ed from former Mayor John F. Street.)

It has been 35 years since I was sworn in as a member of the City Council of Philadelphia.

The president of the country was Jimmy Carter. The outgoing mayor was Frank Rizzo. The Council president was George X. Schwartz. Some of you just might recognize some of those names. Seems like another life.

I came into office thinking the city’s most pressing problem was blight and deteriorating neighborhoods. Sadly, notwithstanding a major offensive against this problem by successive administrations our city’s most difficult and persistent problem is still with us – BLIGHT.

Fortunately we have Councilwomen Maria Quiñones-Sanchez to continue the fight against this city’s most pervasive problem. Read more »

The Brief: Why the “Philly Is Baltimore” Protest Was Mostly Peaceful

The "Philly Is Baltimore" protest | Photo by Victor Fiorillo

A scene from the “Philly Is Baltimore” protest | Photo by Victor Fiorillo

1. The “Philly Is Baltimore” Protest Was “Tensely Peaceful,” and That’s a Good Thing

The Gist: After riots and looting broke out this week in Baltimore in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, state Sen. Anthony Williams said Philadelphia is “sitting on a powder keg.” District Attorney Seth Williams said “at any given time, anything could happen.” Thankfully, though, Thursday’s “Philly Is Baltimore” protest was, according to news reports, largely peaceful. Philadelphia magazine’s Victor Fiorillo, who was there, called it “tensely peaceful” and said “as of 11 p.m., we’d only heard about a handful of arrests.”

Read more »

The Brief: Dems Ditch Council Candidate with Crazy Facebook Page

Manny Morales Facebook Page

Shutterstock.com

It seems even Philadelphia’s Democratic City Committee has its limits.

Manny Morales, who is challenging 7th district City Council incumbent, Maria Quiñones Sánchez no longer has the blessing of party elders, who withdrew their support two days after Sánchez posted screen captures of some pretty out-there ravings on the Manny Morales Facebook page. Read more »

The Brief: Why Have City Dems Endorsed a Council Candidate Whose Facebook Page Compared Gay Men to Flatworms?

Maria Quinones-Sanchez | Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Maria Quinones-Sanchez. Not the tapeworm candidate. | Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

María Quiñones-Sánchez is one of the more consequential members of Philadelphia’s City Council. She was the driving force behind the new land bank. She’s gotten major small business-friendly tax reform legislation enacted. She just pushed through a charter amendment that, if approved by voters, would require all city departments and agencies to have plans in place to serve city residents who don’t speak English. And that’s to name just a few of her accomplishments. Read more »

Philly, These Three Questions Could Be on Your May Ballot

Philadelphia City Council  | Photo Credit: City Council's Flickr page

Philadelphia City Council | Photo Credit: City Council’s Flickr page

The Philadelphia City Council passed legislation this week that would put three questions on the ballot in the May 19th primary. These are the pesky little queries that you may or may not have heard a damn thing about in past years until the moment you stepped into the voting booth on Election Day.

Here are the questions Council approved this week in separate measures. They all seek to amend the city charter:

Read more »

Council Member Honors, Then Denounces, Palestinian Official

Maria Quinones-Sanchez

Maria Quinones-Sanchez

Council Member Maria Quinones-Sanchez has condemned a Palestinian official who allegedly supports terrorism — but only after honoring that official with a Citation of Honor and a replica of the Liberty Bell during a January ceremony in Philadelphia.

Laila Ghannam, Palestinian District Governor of Ramallah, reportedly “has publicly and repeatedly praised and glorified Palestinian Arab terrorists and murderers specifically for those acts of terrorism and murder, including suicide bombings, stabbing captives to death, building of explosives, and torturing not only Jews and other Israelis – including the Israeli athletes murdered at the Munich Olympics, as well as dozens of children – but Americans, including American diplomats,” The Jewish Press Reports.
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Half of City Council Just Got Cybersquatted

The 5th Square's website.

The 5th Square’s website.

Go to MarkSquilla.com, and you won’t find a word about the South Philadelphia Councilman bearing its name. JannieBlackwell.com, too, has nary a sentence about the longtime Councilwoman representing parts of West Philadelphia.

Instead, both websites redirect visitors to 5thSq.com — the site of a new urbanist PAC known as “The 5th Square.”

Read more »

What Philly Should Have Learned From Baltimore About Land Banks

maria-quinones-sanchez-head-Shot-400x400After two years of crafting a land bank bill that would streamline the messy, maddening process of buying land from the city, Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez’s legislative magnum opus finally passed a first-reading last week, but far less triumphantly than many would have liked. In the 11th hour, Sanchez capitulated to an amendment by Council President Darrell Clarke that would effectively retain the stifling councilmanic control over the sale of land. (The bill  has since been passed.)

Read more »

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