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

Kenney-Chaput

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 »

Did Philly’s Biggest Dark Money Group Break the Law?

1. The dark money outfit Philadelphia 3.0 may have violated city law — and been a flop.

The gist: A new, intriguing organization sprung up this year that was aimed at taking out some City Council incumbents and replacing them with more business-friendly faces. Parking magnate Robert Zuritsky founded Philadelphia 3.0, which includes both a traditional political action committee and a more secretive nonprofit corporation. NewsWorks’ Dave Davies reports that the Philadelphia 3.0 PAC raised 72 percent of its funding in 2015 from its own nonprofit, which is not revealing its donors. Is that legal in Philadelphia? Campaign finance expert John Dunbar said “there’s nothing in federal court rulings that prevent cities from requiring disclosure from nonprofit corporations like Philadelphia 3.0, and the city Ethics Board has said it expects such groups to disclose their donors,” writes Davies.

Read more »

Johnny Doc Won the Mayor’s Race, Says Former Candidate Nelson Diaz

Nelson Diaz. | Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Former Democratic mayoral candidate Nelson Diaz has a fascinating interview with Sabrina Vourvoulias at Al Dia. Read her story here.

The most immediately newsworthy bits are his comments on John Dougherty, who Diaz blames for thwarting his campaign:

“…He got the Supreme Court, with his brother. He got city council. He worked out a deal with the Northwest, for Cherelle Parker and for (Derek) Green. So he’s got two more people he has some control over, and he will have the mayor’s office now.”

“So the question is, who won?” he continues.

“I think the guy who really won is Dougherty, who essentially is the controlling figure. And he’s part of the party, he’s the treasurer of the party, and so that’s the machine.”

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: The Return of Local Gun Control

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Photo: Shutterstock.com

1. Now that the Commonwealth Court has overturned a controversial law making local gun control efforts harder to enact, will cities and towns get back into the gun control game?

The gist: Last week, a Commonwealth Court panel ruled that Act 192 — a state law that made it far easier for the National Rifle Association to challenge local gun control ordinances — is unconstitutional. It was a a rare victory for gun control advocates in Pennsylvania. After Act 192 was adopted by the legislature in 2014, dozens of local municipalities repealed their gun control ordinances, rather than risk getting sued by the NRA, and getting stuck with big legal bills. If the Commonwealth Court’s ruling stands, the old status quo would return. At Newsworks, Bill Hangley explores what the impact of the ruling is likely to be: Read more »

Three Philly Election Officials Face Voter Fraud Charges

(Derek Hatfield/Shutterstock)

(Derek Hatfield/Shutterstock)

Three people have been charged with voter fraud in two separate cases stemming from the 2015 and 2014 Philadelphia primary elections.

Robin Trainor and Laura Murtaugh are both charged in a 2015 incident in which Trainor allegedly guided her husband’s vote, voted in her son’s place, and received Murtaugh’s help doing so. Read more »

Millennials Don’t Vote for the Same Reason Your Generation Didn’t

Election Day in Philadelphia | Photo by AP/Matt Rourke

Election Day in Philadelphia | Photo by AP/Matt Rourke

A lot of people are really, really worried about the fact that millennials don’t vote in mayoral elections.

But maybe they shouldn’t be.

Don’t get me wrong, it sucks. Only 12 percent of registered voters between the ages of 18 and 34 cast a ballot in Philadelphia’s recent mayoral race. That’s the worst turnout of any age group in the city.

As a 29-year-old whose third-favorite holiday is Election Day, I’d love it if that changed. Millennials are actually the largest voting bloc in the city, which means that we could theoretically wield more clout in local elections than Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and our grandparents. Forget pensions, here come more bike lanes! (I kid, I kid.)

But we’re probably not going to pack the polls at the same rate as our parents anytime soon. While that’s not ideal, it’s not the end of the world, either. Because I think our voting habits will get better with time. Read more »

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