Last Week in Philly: 9/16 – 9/22 Edition
By YIP Advocacy Committee
Welcome to YIP’s Last Week in Philly – a weekly recap of all the vital news stories you might have missed while getting ready to welcome DeSean back to town. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.
City Council approved a referrendum calling for the abolishment of the School Reform Commission (SRC). Mayor Nutter would have to sign it, then Philadelphians would have to vote to approve it, and then the General Assembly and the Governor and the SRC would have to decide to care. Right now, the SRC views the vote as “symbolic.” which, to be fair, is all it is.
11 more School District buildings were sold.
Will PA review and/or revise its Common Core-like standards? Tune in … sometime in the future to find out, as the House has postponed hearings indefinitely.
So long: After just a hot second on the job, the founding principal of the LINC school is abandoning ship. After (checks watch) months of dedicated service, Saliyah Cruz is leaving for an undisclosed job in Baltimore.
The 2015 Mayoral Race has formally begun. Terry Gillen, former Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority Director, threw her hat in first. Now, Ken Trujillo, former City Solicitor, and Lynne Abraham, former Philadelphia DA, have also announced their plans to run in the Democratic primary. Former Common Pleas judge and City Solicitor Nelson Diaz may join the fray as well. And, like, 10 other people, too (We’re not kidding).
The City Ethics board is proposing new rules for the upcoming primary to try to keep things clean and honest.
SEPTA Smart Card Watch: Any updates on SEPTA’s smart card system!?!? … Nope.
Bike share locations were revealed and the Mayor’s office is looking for public input. Meanwhile, the other piece of bicycle infrastructure, bike lanes, specifically the one on 22nd St., is facing political opposition; the Bicycle Coalition is circulating a pro-lane petition.
Two potentially big changes in the way the city governs development: the mayor’s blue ribbon commission suggests spinning off L&I’s building and construction duties into its own department and the default zoning for Center City may soon provide for more density.
The Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk is set to open soon – October 2nd!
Mayor Nutter and Councilman Kenney have reached agreement on a bill to decriminalize marijuana. Public use or possession of less than 30 grams would result in a citation and $25 fine and not a criminal charge or arrest. Nutter says he expects the legislation to go into effect on October 20.
The Philadelphia economy has lagged as the nation rebounds from the recession. The median household income for the metro area is $60,482, down more than $1,500 from 2010, while the poverty rate has increased from 12.7% to 13.5%. One economist suggests that the data demonstrates an increasing divided between low-skilled jobs and higher paying jobs in growing industries such as healthcare.
McDonald’s is conspiring to get you to buy their food by trying to appeal to your love of technology, order customization, and, above all, brunch. The number of 19- to 21-year-olds eating at the fast food chain at least once a month has declined 13% since 2011.
The tech divide between millennials and those 30+ is overblown, based on a new study published by Pew Research. Younger and older survey respondents reported report owning devices at similar levels: cell phones (96% vs. 89%), tablets (38% vs. 34%), and e-readers (24% all). The largest and most significant divergence was in smartphone ownership (77% vs. 49%).
Neighborhood spotlight – Germantown
The Queen Lane Apartments, a Housing Authority exemplar of blight and decay, was finally demolished last week. Single-unit residences will replace the 16-story tower.
Germantown High has finally been sold.
Germantown’s Town Hall (which, ironically, was built just before Germantown stopped being a town and instead got consumed by Philadelphia) remains vacant. It listed for $400k in 2011, so… low-budget mansion, anyone?
Last Week in Philly is brought to you by the YIP Advocacy Committee, generally, and Curtis Blessing, Nathanael Brouhard, Frank Iannuzzi, Jim Saksa and Stephen St. Vincent, specifically. If you want to break up this boys club (please do) or make it that much more dude-tastc, email Ben Stango to join the Advocacy Committee at BenStango at gmail.