Clinton Campaign Announces “Pa. African Americans for Hillary”

Hillary Clinton - West Philadelphia High School rally

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign rally at West Philadelphia High School on Tuesday | Photo: Dan McQuade

After a voter registration drive and policy speech in Philadelphia Tuesday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign launched “Pennsylvania African Americans for Hillary” on Wednesday. Included in the announcement was a list of the leadership council for the initiative, made up of people from across the state.

The group includes a number of Philly-area politicians and activists, including City Council President Darrell Clarke, Council members Cindy Bass, Jannie Blackwell, Derek Green, Kenyatta Johnson, Curtis Jones, Jr., and Blondell Reynolds-Brown; State Reps Jordan Harris and Dwight Evans; Former Mayors John Street and Michael Nutter; and activist/political consultant Malcolm Kenyatta.

The full list can be seen here. Read more »

Nutter Appointed to Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Advisory Council

Michael Nutter on CNN.

Michael Nutter on CNN.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia announced Monday that former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has been appointed to the Economic and Community Advisory Council (ECAC). The council is comprised of 15 leaders tasked with advising “the Bank’s senior leadership about emerging trends, issues, and market conditions in the Third Federal Reserve District and nationwide,” according to the statement.

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City Controller: Nutter Aide Used Nonprofit Like a “Slush Fund”

Michael Nutter Alan Butkovitz

L: Michael Nutter (Photo by Matt Rourke/AP) R: Alan Butkovitz (Photo via Curtis Blessing)

City Controller Alan Butkovitz alleged during a press conference Tuesday that a top aide to former Mayor Michael Nutter used a nonprofit “as if it were a special slush fund.”

Butkovitz called the news conference to discuss the findings of his office’s audit of the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia. He said the review revealed several questionable expenditures allegedly made by the fund’s former chairperson and Nutter’s onetime city representative, Desiree Peterkin-BellRead more »

Philly’s Deviant Political Culture, Explained

Illustration by gluekit; dougherty and boxes: Charles Fox | The Philadelphia Inquirer | Associated Press; City Hall: C. Smyth for VISIT PHILADELPHIA

Illustration by gluekit; Dougherty, Charles Fox | The Philadelphia Inquirer | Associated Press; City Hall: C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia

Because this is 2016 and I’m a journalist, I was on Twitter when I first saw the news that FBI agents were raiding Johnny Doc’s home. This was around 8:30 a.m., so I’d already had several cups of coffee, but even so, this obviously momentous development barely registered. “Huh,” I thought, and kept right on scrolling to the next hot Trump take, the next wry 140-character blast about SEPTA or improvised dumpster pools, which apparently are now a thing.

I felt a little guilty about that later. This is John Dougherty we’re talking about. Kingmaker, yes, but also judge-maker, Council-maker, deal-maker. The longtime union honcho is probably the most powerful political figure in Philadelphia, and the feds had just packed an iMac and a couple of metric tons of files from his Local 98 electricians union into a moving truck. True, he hasn’t been charged with anything, and he may never be — the feds have investigated Doc before without finding anything that would stick. But this was big news, nonetheless. And I yawned.  Read more »

Michael Nutter’s New Website URL Is

Front page of

The front page of Michael Nutter’s new website,

Man utter.

That’s how I first read the URL of Michael Nutter’s new website,, which launched today in advance of his speech at the Democratic National Convention.

The site touts his accomplishments, his major issues and, amazingly, his ability to do “Rapper’s Delight”:

“Michael Nutter is also a frequent and enthusiastic performer of The Sugar Hill Gang’s 1980 classic, Rapper’s Delight.”

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The Soda Tax Battle’s Biggest Winners and Losers

Clockwise: Union leader John Dougherty, Mayor Jim Kenney, Council President Darrell Clarke and soda mogul Harold Honickman. | Photos by Jeff Fusco, and HughE Dillon

Clockwise: Union leader John Dougherty, Mayor Jim Kenney, Council President Darrell Clarke and soda mogul Harold Honickman. | Photos by Jeff Fusco, and HughE Dillon

One of the longest and most expensive political wars in recent Philadelphia history has come to an end. On Thursday, City Council voted 13-4 to enact a tax on sugary drinks and diet sodas. The American Beverage Association has spent nearly $5 million since March to flood the airwaves with anti-soda tax ads. But even that doesn’t capture the full scope of the soda industry group’s spending: It worked diligently to fight off a soda tax since 2010 — when former Mayor Michael Nutter first floated the idea — by lobbying Council members and donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to political campaigns.

This year, though, the soda lobby’s deep pockets weren’t enough to kill Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed tax. In the end, only Democrat Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and Republicans David Oh, Brian O’Neill and Al Taubenberger voted against the 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax on Thursday.

Philadelphia is the biggest city in the United States to approve a soda tax. The only other city in the country with a sugary drinks tax is Berkeley, California. Here, the levy will fund expanded pre-K, community schools, and an overhaul of the parks system, among other things. These are the biggest winners and losers in the city’s years-long battle over the soda tax:

The Winners

1. Jim Kenney

This is a career-defining victory for Kenney. The mayor took on one of the most powerful lobbies in the United States and won, which has boosted his national profile and proven that he has a critical number of allies on City Council. The fact that the soda tax will help pay for the renovation of the city’s parks, libraries and recreation centers — and that the administration will determine how to divvy up that spending with district Council members — means that Kenney could potentially have favors to give out for years to come. But how much political capital has the mayor spent in the fight over the soda tax? We may soon find out: District Council 33’s labor contract expires on June 30th. The city’s blue-collar union was one of the many groups that supported the mayor’s soda tax, which could make it more difficult for him to negotiate with it.
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The City Has Sunk $40 Million Into a New Police Headquarters It Might Not Use

A rendering of the proposed Public Safety Services Campus at 46th and Market streets. | Illustration via

A rendering of the proposed Public Safety Services Campus at 46th and Market. | Illustration via

OK, so a lot of people are intrigued by the idea of the Philadelphia Police Department possibly moving its headquarters to 400 N. Broad Street, the former home of the Inquirer and Daily News, as Philadelphia magazine reported this morning.

At this point, it’s still just a hypothetical scenario — although Mayor Jim Kenney didn’t hesitate to list a number of advantages to the site when he was questioned by reporters earlier today. (We’ll get to his comments in a minute.) In the meantime, we couldn’t help but wonder how much money the city has already shelled out as part of former Mayor Michael Nutter‘s previous plan to have the Police Department, the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Department of Public Health all housed in the Provident Mutual Insurance Building at 46th and Market streets in West Philly.

City Council approved borrowing up to $250 million to transform the 13-acre site into the Public Safety Services Campus. According to Kenney’s spokesman, Mike Dunn, the city has already borrowed $64.9 million, and spent $39.7 million on “acquisition costs, design plans, environmental remediation, selective interior demolition [and] exterior renovation, including windows and roof.” Read more »

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