Broad Street Brief: City Council Hears Testimony on Affordable Housing Legislation; Mayor’s Race Picks Up Momentum in Final Weeks
April 28, 2023
April 28, 2023
On Monday, City Council’s Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development & The Homeless held a public hearing about two components of District 3 Councilmember Jamie Gauthier’s signature “People’s Preservation Package.” The proposed legislation would implement restrictions on the sale of properties whose owners contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide low-income renters with affordable housing, including mandating a right of first refusal for potential buyers who would continue to provide affordable housing, extending the time frame for the mandatory advance notice of intent to sell, and expanding the list of parties that would need to be notified. The legislation would also require the City to maintain a current list of affordable housing providers and resources.
The full schedule of FY24 budget hearings and a link to watch them can be found here.
This week, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia hosted the final live televised mayoral primary debate, co-sponsored by Cozen O’Connor, which featured sparring over campaign finance ethics and union endorsements, among discussion of other pertinent issues such as poverty and public safety.
In addition to this week’s mayoral debate, candidates have continued to discuss their proposed strategies to address a myriad of challenges, including how to stem Kensington’s open-air drug market, curb abuse of Pennsylvania’s Heart and Lung benefits by police officers, and bring transparency to the City’s Land Bank.
With mere weeks left until the May 16 primary, there are few potential mayoral endorsements still up for grabs. On Tuesday, former City Councilmember At-Large Derek Green announced his endorsement of former colleague and political competitor Cherelle Parker for mayor. Both Green and Parker have roots in the Northwest and were political protégées of former District 9 City Councilmember Marian Tasco. Green is the first former mayoral candidate from this cycle to make an official endorsement.
The following day, former Governor of Pennsylvania and Mayor of Philadelphia Ed Rendell endorsed former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, making him the third ex-mayor to do so — and her the only candidate in recent memory to secure the endorsement of as many former mayors. This also marks the first competitive mayoral election during which Governor Rendell has made an official endorsement since 2000.
The results of the first independent opinion poll of this mayoral campaign cycle will be released by this Friday by good-government group Committee of Seventy. While said results will by no means be a perfect estimation of the actual outcome of the upcoming primary, they are expected to demonstrate to voters tiers of candidate viability. In addition to the official poll, Committee of Seventy is also conducting an “unscientific” online poll intended to help voters explore the concept of ranked-choice voting, which has become increasingly popular given the crowdedness of this year’s race. The polls are just one of several tools designed to help voters make their decision, which include numerous voter guides and a “political matchmaking quiz” recently released by Billy Penn.
Philadelphia’s business taxes are among the highest in the nation, and while mayoral candidates have fielded numerous questions on the topic, the next City Council also has the potential to make significant changes to the City’s tax structure. While many candidates are in favor of cutting Philadelphia’s Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT), others believe there may be better alternatives to making Philadelphia more business-friendly.
The Temple Association of University Professionals announced on Monday that its members had voted “no confidence” in Board of Trustees Chair Mitchell Morgan and Provost Gregory Mandel. The vote comes weeks after the resignation of former President Jason Wingard, who also would have been subject to the no-confidence vote.
Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, an affiliate of the international law firm Cozen O’Connor, is a bipartisan government relations practice representing clients before the federal government and in cities and states throughout the country. With offices in Washington D.C., Richmond, Albany, New York City, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Chicago, and Santa Monica, the firm’s public strategies professionals offer a full complement of government affairs services, including legislative and executive branch advocacy, policy analysis, assistance with government procurement and funding programs, and crisis management. Its client base spans multiple industries, including healthcare, transportation, hospitality, education, construction, energy, real estate, entertainment, financial services, and insurance.
Established in 1970, Cozen O’Connor has over 775 attorneys who help clients manage risk and make better business decisions. The firm counsels clients on their most sophisticated legal matters in all areas of the law, including litigation, corporate, and regulatory law. Representing a broad array of leading global corporations and middle-market companies, Cozen O’Connor serves its clients’ needs through 31 offices across two continents.
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