Last Week in Philly: 8/31 – 9/6 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 finalizing your fantasy football lineups and getting weird at the Philly Fringe. Check back every Monday for our recap of last week’s most important stories.
Good News! All PSD students are eligible for free meals.
Bad News! Early morning school is bad for students’ health.
Sorta Good News! No Philly Schools are on “persistently dangerous” list. This is due to a drop in total violent incidents; however, the rate of violence per student population has remained constant since the district has lost population.
Really Bad News! Philly Schools open on time, but under the threat of looming layoffs and massive budget cuts.
Mayor’s Race 2015: What’s it mean to be a candidate for Mayor in Philly? The Committee of Seventy translates local election law legalese into clear English.
Congressman Chaka Fattah, who represents PA’s2nd Congressional district (about half of Philly) has seen better weeks. His former chief of staff confessed in federal court to assisting “Elected Official A” in concealing illegal campaign loans and misappropriating federal grants and private donation to pay campaign expenses and college debts incurred by the unnamed official’s son.
The Daily News lays out the case that this pseudonymous official can only be Fattah. Fattah has denied involvement in any illegal activity, musing that federal investigators may have gone too far during their years of digging for evidence to support the allegations. Speculation on possible replacements – if Fattah resigns or gets forced out of office – has already begun.
Voting in Philly: Committee of 70 announced the launch of new voter hotline – Call 1-855-Seventy for answers to all your Southeast PA voting questions.
City Hall’s west portal is no longer closed by construction, now that the nearly-complete Dilworth Park has officially opened. Next City provides a recap of the public-private partnership that brought the $55 million project to fruition. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s architecture critic, Inga Saffron, panned the design, which just goes to show you: no one, not even Inga Saffron, can be right ALL the time.
Planning policy pertinent in PA: Off-year municipal elections matter for planning issues and other locally controlled policy matters, as PlanPhilly explains.
Take cover! Philadelphia County is apparently the fourth riskiest for natural disasters based on its proximity to the Atlantic, relatively high likelihood of hurricanes, and moderate risk of earthquakes.
Market East is now Jefferson Station, thanks to a $4 million cash infusion from Thomas Jefferson Hospital to SEPTA. That large sum secures naming rights for the next five years and will be used for general operating expenses.
Despite valiant efforts to entice the DNC’s host selection committee with cheesesteaks and crab fries, former Gov. Ed Rendell reports that Brooklyn is the favorite to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Philadelphia officials contend that hosting would bring up to $200 million to the local economy and thrust the city into the national spotlight.
While union tensions are a concern, the deciding factor would seem to be the concentration of wealth in NYC compared to Philly. The DNC had to cover $25 million in expenses following the 2012 convention in Charlotte, NC after fundraising fell short of expectations.
Fear not, the Spruce Street Harbor Park (that hammock-laden pop-up beer garden on the Delaware) will return next year, even if PA legislators close the loophole used by other beer gardens (like the PHS Pop Up and the pop-up “beach” at Fergie’s Pub) to change vacant lots and landscapes into urban oases – SSHP doesn’t rely on the loophole.
Millennials read the News, if not the Paper: Those born between the Phillies’ first World Series victory in ‘80 and the Phillies’ drafting of Chase Utley in 2000, better known as Millennials, apparently read the news. Buzzfeed and Complex are among the top preferred sources. At 4th, the New York Times outranks Vice and the WSJ (7th) beats out Cosmopolitan (8th) – time for a “8 positions to read Cosmo if you’re a millennial” article, perhaps?
Homeownership: Less than 36% of people under the age of 35 are homeowners, according to new Census data, the lowest percentage in the 32 years that this data has been tracked. Lingering effects of the 2008 housing crisis and shifting attitudes towards home ownership both likely play a role in this demographic shift.
If you’re interested in boosting those millennial-homeownership numbers, though, you could do worse than Philly: Philadelphia is the 5th most affordable housing market for millennials.
If you’re among the homeowning few or looking to join their ranks, you may be eligible for the homestead exemption which ignores $30,000 of your home’s assessed value, effectively lowering your property tax. The Daily News provides a helpful FAQ.
We’ll believe it when we see it. Soon-to-be-published research suggests that millennials are “less trusting” than the previous generation.
Neighborhood spotlight – Chinatown
Food trucks and beer! The Food Trust’s Night Market returns to Chinatown on October 2nd.
It’s no Summer Palace, but it’s nice. Check out the new Eastern Tower Community Center that’s being built in the heart of Chinatown.
Planning in Chinatown: Learn about the City’s plans for re-zoning and re-invigorating Chinatown in the Central District Plan.
The answer is 是的, obviously. Is Philly’s Chinatown one of the best in the US? Was Xiaozong the 11th Emperor of the Song Dynasty?!
Last Week in Philly is brought to you by the YIP Advocacy Committee, generally, and Curtis Blessing, Nathanael Brouhard, Frank Iannuzzi, Joe Driscoll, 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.