Broad Street Brief: City Council Kensington Caucus Made Official
February 8, 2024
February 8, 2024
This week, Governor Josh Shapiro proposed a $48.34 billion state budget, which Mayor Parker has endorsed for its potential to address Philadelphia’s priorities. If approved, the plan would significantly boost K-12 education funding, a potential boon to Philadelphia schools, and allocate additional funding to SEPTA.
In the last week, Mayor Cherelle Parker announced several new additions to her cabinet, as well as the separation of the Streets and Sanitation Departments in order to tackle the city’s cleanliness in a more efficient and functions-based manner. View the full list of cabinet appointees to date here. Mayor Parker also announced an independent investigation into the Office of Homeless Services (OHS), which overspent its budget by $15 million over four years. The action is consistent with recent attempts to implement oversight measures by City Council.
A resolution establishing a new Kensington Caucus, which will work to implement Councilmember Quetcy Lozada’s (District 7) Kensington Marshall Plan, was unanimously approved by City Council to cheers from supporters. Councilmember Jim Harrity (At Large) also reintroduced legislation that would implement new protections for “displaced” subcontracted building services workers (the original bill was pocket vetoed by outgoing Mayor Jim Kenney in December), while Councilmember Mike Driscoll (District 6) introduced legislation that would ban “tag flippers,” which can hide a car’s license plate and thwart police investigations and toll booths.
Members of City Council’s new Kensington Caucus clarified that the recent increase in law enforcement presence in the neighborhood over the weekend was a special operation by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement to serve warrants, not the National Guard, an idea that had previously been floated by the Parker Administration as a potential strategy.
Philadelphia’s Democratic Party followed through on promises to remove committee members who supported non-Democrats during last year’s City Council races. Some committee members’ support of Working Families Party candidates constituted a violation of party bylaws.
Philadelphia will host five group stage and one round 16 games at Lincoln Financial Field during the 2026 FIFA World Cup, including one on the nation’s 250th Independence Day. The final game will be played at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium.
Independence Blue Cross (IBX) is transitioning from a “hybrid of choice” work model to mandating its approximately 3,000 hybrid employees to work in the office three days per week starting in March and April, aiming to enhance collaboration and innovation after years of remote work prompted by the pandemic.
Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole announced that she will be resigning, with Deputy Health Commissioner Frank Franklin to serve as interim commissioner while the City conducts a nationwide search for a permanent replacement.
Philadelphia’s Streets Department is making it easier for residents to request traffic calming measures through Philly311, allowing requests to be submitted online, via the app, or by phone, with expanded eligibility criteria and a new priority scoring system.
Vanity Fair published a detailed look into the Democratic takeover of the Pennridge School Board in Bucks County. The shift unfolded amidst Republican-driven resistance to diversity initiatives, positioning Pennridge as a test case to measure conservative influence on the political alignment of public schools.
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February 22, 2024
February 22, 2024