Jim Kenney’s Block Party Inauguration Plans

Morning headline: The mayor-elect decides to skip the usual ball, try something different.

The victorious Jim Kenney on Election Day| Photo by Jeff Fusco

The victorious Jim Kenney on Election Day| Photo by Jeff Fusco

Good morning, Philadelphia: The city’s covered with a dense fog this morning, so be careful out there. Here’s what you need to know today:

Mayor-elect Jim Kenney’s inauguration will feature his “man of the people” roots. But you’ll have to be the right people to get in. 

Instead of an inaugural ball, Kenney will celebrate taking office with a block party, complete with a food truck and live music by students from the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts — a very “Jimmy from the block” thing to do, no? “It really is just Jim’s style,” a spokesman tells Newsworks. “I think he would have been uncomfortable with anything that was big or extravagant or required him to wear a tux — quite literally uncomfortable with that.”

On the ritzier side: The block party will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center — an invite-only affair limited to 1,500 people. And everyone who attends is expected to donate at least $5,000 to the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia. (See below.) The event will be held Jan. 4.

[Update] Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt reaches out by email: “Everyone who attends the block party will not be asked to give $5k. Newsworks is updating their story now to reflect the accurate information. The Fund for the School District is hosting a fundraising reception prior to the block party that Jim will attend – the entry price for that is $5k. The invite to our block party is free and we just ask people to give what they can to the District.”

Speaking of parties: The annual Pennsylvania Society shindig was held in New York this weekend — but with the state budget unfinished, it was slightly more “bashful” than “bash.”

Gov. Tom Wolf skipped the affair, and so did most members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly — apparently aware that it would be unseemly to be seen partying while social service agencies and public schools suffer at the same time the state’s budget impasse continues. The result? “It is more mellow and subdued,” political analyst Terry Madonna told PennLive. Among those who made it: former Govs. Tom Corbett and Tom Ridge.

[Update] A previous version of this story said that John Dougherty was in attendance. Dougherty spokesman Frank Keel says that although Dougherty usually hosts a party, he did not this year and was not in attendance at the Pennsylvania Society.

About that budget: Officials think they might be able finish it this week. No really. Stop laughing. 

Yes, we’ve heard it so many times now that the only way we’ll believe it is when Gov. Wolf actually signs a budget that’s been passed by both chambers. But there’s signs from Harrisburg that everybody’s ready to finish this thing and move on already. “We know we’ve got to get a budget passed,” House Minority Leader Frank Dermody told AP. “And we’re looking forward to getting it done this week.” Of course, there’s a lot of work to be done between then and now. Among the issues that must be resolved: Tax funding, liquor reform, pension reform, and school funding. So, you know: The easy stuff.

District Attorney Seth Williams, under fire for continuing to employ three “Porngate” attorneys, has offered a mea culpa

In an interview with the Inquirer, Williams says he should’ve called on Attorney General Kathleen Kane to release all the emails in the matter, ratter than judging the attorneys based on the hundreds of pages of sexist and racist emails that have already been publicized. “I am personally saying mea culpa,” Williams told the paper. “I needed all the evidence, and I didn’t have it. And we need all of it, to restore the public’s trust across this commonwealth.” Nina Ahmad, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women, still wants the men fired: “What has been released has been enough to incriminate these men, who have clearly shown their deeply rooted biases,” she said.

Philly is home to the best team in Pop Warner football.

The Northwest Raiders beat the Old Town Gators of Maryland, 34-19 — and did so after being down 19-0 early in the game — to win the championship. “I always felt we were going to win the game because we were a better team than them,” running back Ash Wilson told KYW. Coach Duane Watson was careful to stress, though, that Pop Warner has benefits beyond the playing field. “Pop Warner’s about academics. It’s not just go out and play football — you have to maintain grades,” he said. “They have to have study habits. It strengthens the program. It strengthens the community, because now you’ve got kids not just playing a sport. The education part is in there. The mentoring part is in there.” The game took place Saturday in Orlando, Florida.

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