Broad Street Brief: City Council in Final Stretch of FY24 Budget Negotiations; What Philadelphia’s Waning Voter Participation Means for Democrats on a National Level
June 8, 2023
June 8, 2023
Last week, the majority of City Council members backed a budget amendment authored by District 3 Councilmember Jamie Gauthier that would allocate $72 million toward various quality-of-life issues across Philadelphia, including $37 million for traffic safety. Councilmember Gauthier described these as “core, basic services” that it is incumbent on the city to provide to its residents. At least 12 council members have reportedly expressed interest in another proposal by District 2 Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson to add $40 million in city spending on anti-violence measures.
City Council Committees on the Environment and Transportation & Public Utilities held a public hearing last Thursday to discuss the city’s capacity to handle emergency situations in the wake of the chemical spill that threatened Philadelphia’s drinking water last month. The city’s communications were a sticking point for many city council members, who felt that they contributed to a citywide panic that could have been avoided.
Philadelphia city council holds several public hearings throughout the legislative calendar. You can watch the hearings here.
Two weeks after her historic primary win, Democratic nominee for mayor Cherelle Parker finally celebrated the victory with a thousand of her supporters at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, highlighting the importance of her “village” to both her upbringing and her campaign. She had missed her election night party due to a dental emergency. Meanwhile, her Republican opponent David Oh has begun an attempt to tie former Councilmember Parker to the “defund the police” movement in Philadelphia, claims that stand in stark contrast to her public safety-focused, tough-on-crime campaign promises.
If elected in November, city council candidate Nina Ahmad will make history as the legislative body’s first South Asian member. The Bangladesh-born scientist and proponent of “evidence-based” legislation is running to say “thank you” to a city that she has called home since the 1980s.
It’s no secret that this year’s highly competitive Democratic primary for mayor was the most expensive in Philadelphia history — with even more of the race left to run before November. A recent analysis by reporters at The Philadelphia Inquirer explores the cost-per-vote ratio for each of the mayoral candidates, which exceeded even the high-profile 2022 U.S. Senate race. Winner Cherelle Parker spent the least amount of money at approximately $26 per voter, compared to self-funders Allan Domb and Jeff Brown, who spent $459 and $309 per voter, respectively.
Democrats at the national level have cause for concern with the recent decline in voter engagement in Philadelphia, as reflected in the most recent primary election and 2022 midterms. Historically, Philadelphia has played an outsize role in both state and national elections as Pennsylvania’s most populous city. Senior Principal Joe Hill spoke recently with The Washington Post about this phenomenon, as well as its implications for “how we communicate, engage and mobilize.”
During a moderated conversation with SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and Secretary-Treasurer April Verrett in Center City on Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris called for an increase in worker wages, touting a recent White House proposal that would require 80% of Medicaid payments for home health care to go toward wages for personal care workers and home health aides. Vice President Harris also took the time to decry what she and President Joe Biden consider Republicans’ interference with Americans’ rights and freedoms, including culture war touchpoints like attacks on reproductive rights and book bans.
Over the weekend, longtime “Meet the Press” Moderator Chuck Todd announced his impending departure from the show, as well as his successor, Kristen Welker. Welker, a former NBC10 news anchor from Fairmount, became something of a household name after hosting a 2020 presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. She will be the first Black and second female moderator of the roundtable show.
Last week, the Enterprise Center, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization that helps promote small business development, introduced a new $500,000 revolving loan pool to help minority-owned companies buy property. The loan program is intended to not only increase ownership along commercial corridors but also help small businesses build equity as opposed to renting space indefinitely. The short-term loans will cover up to 75% of business expenses related to due diligence, including attorney fees, closing costs, building appraisals, and more.
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September 21, 2023
September 19, 2023