Philly’s Public Defender: George Soros’s Associates Wanted Me to Run for D.A.

L: Keir Bradford-Grey R: George Soros (Courtesy of

L: Keir Bradford-Grey (Courtesy of the Defender Association) R: George Soros (Courtesy of GeorgeSoros.com)

Why would an up-and-coming progressive turn down billionaire George Soros?

That’s the question some Philadelphia Democrats are now asking, after chief public defender Keir Bradford-Grey told her employees last week that she would not run for district attorney in the upcoming Democratic primary. “This is the biggest D.A.’s race in the country,” said one incredulous political insider following the announcement. “Once you have [Soros’s backing], you can go on to be the U.S. attorney, to be the president!”  Read more »

Mayor Kenney, Don’t Shut Out the Press

Jim Kenney. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Jim Kenney. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Last week, Mayor Jim Kenney put up a blockade between his office and the press regarding what has turned out to be one of his most controversial appointments. Nellie Fitzpatrick, the director of the Office of LGBT Affairs, has been called upon to step down by various social justice organizations within Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community and communities of color for what they contend is Fitzpatrick’s “failure to adequately address the blatant anti-blackness, racism, and classism that exists in the Gayborhood.” Read more »

Enough With the Free Turkeys, Politicians — Get Serious About Reducing Poverty

Whole Homemade Thanksgiving Turkey

The older I get, the more I realize that for all of the progress Philadelphia prides itself on, there is still so much that needs to be done.

As I look around my West Philly neighborhood, not enough has changed in recent years to end the harsh realities facing inner-city Philadelphians each day. Every morning when I catch the Market-Frankford SEPTA line down 52nd Street, I pass by the same guys on the corner who are selling drugs as a way to survive. They’re young, black and unemployed — they’re partaking in a hustle that I’ve learned to not judge given that they’re not afforded many other alternatives. When entering the station, I also encounter similar traumatic images of homeless individuals sleeping near the stairwell.

And yet, each year our local elected officials give out turkeys instead of legislation to address the poverty that’s been plaguing our city for decades now. There’s something symbolic about this well-meaning tradition: It’s a Band-Aid on an epidemic, an action meant to look good (and make elected officials feel good), but that actually does very little. We’re still the poorest major city in the nation, and almost nothing has changed since officials announced an anti-poverty plan in 2013.  Read more »

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.

Read more »

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 »

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