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

City Hall

City Council Members Back $72 Million Budget Amendment to Address Quality-of-Life Issues; $40 Million in Anti-Violence Programs Also on the Table

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 Environment, Transportation & Public Utilities Investigate City’s Emergency Preparedness

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.

Upcoming Committee Hearings

Philadelphia city council holds several public hearings throughout the legislative calendar. You can watch the hearings here.

  • The Committee on Law & Government will be holding a public hearing today at 1 p.m. to discuss ordinances and a resolution to make various elements of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter more inclusive of LGBTQ+ individuals, people with disabilities, women, and minorities.
  • The Committee on Public Property & Public Works will be holding a public hearing on Monday, June 12, at 10 a.m. to discuss several ordinances that would allow the city to enter lease agreements with various partners, among other land use-related ordinances.
  • The Committee on Transportation & Public Utilities will be holding another public hearing on Monday, June 12, at 1 p.m. to discuss a use and lease agreement between the City and the Philadelphia International Airport.
  • The Committee on Public Safety will be holding a public hearing on Monday, June 12, at 5:30 p.m. at Russell Conwell Middle School to examine the open-air drug market and other barriers to clean, safe, crime-free streets in Kensington.
  • The Committee on Streets & Services will be holding a public hearing on Tuesday, June 13, at 10 a.m. to discuss ordinances concerning parking restrictions, sidewalk cafes, and right-of-way management.
  • The Committee on Finance will be holding a public hearing on Tuesday, June 13, at 1 p.m. to discuss ordinances concerning real estate taxes, federal grant applications, and more.
  • The Committee on Rules will be holding a public hearing on Wednesday, June 14, at 10 a.m. to discuss ordinances for various proposed zoning changes, including proposed overlay districts for Councilmanic Districts 1, 2, 6, 7, and 10 to prohibit supervised injection sites.

Election Update

Candidate Parker Holds Belated Primary Win Party at Pennsylvania Convention Center

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.

Why Democratic City Council Candidate Ahmad Is Running for Office

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.

The Philadelphia Inquirer Dives into Primary Election Spending-Per-Voter Numbers

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.

Around Town

What Are the Implications of Philadelphia’s Waning Voter Engagement at a National Level?

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.”

Vice President Harris Calls for Increase to Care Worker Wages During Union-Focused Visit

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.

Philadelphia’s Own Kristen Welker to Become Next “Meet the Press” Moderator

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.

The Enterprise Center Introduces $500,000 Loan Pool to Help Small Business Owners Buy Property

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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