Broad Street Brief: City Hall Prepares for New Mayor, Council Leadership

December 1, 2023

City Hall

City Council Passes Ski Mask Ban

Today, Philadelphia City Council passed a ban on the wearing of ski masks in certain public spaces in an attempt to improve public safety by a 13-2 vote. The Council is also in the midst of mid-year budget transfer negotiations.

How Councilmember Johnson Became Presumptive Council President

District 2 Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson is all but certain to become the next Council President after 11 current and four future City Council members met last week for an unofficial “straw poll.” While the actual election won’t happen until January, Council’s top Democrats began vying for the prestigious position after current Council President Darrell Clarke announced his retirement last spring, and Councilmember Johnson gained momentum in the fall.

What Mayor-Elect Parker’s PPD Commissioner Selection Process Tells Us About Her Leadership Style

Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker announced West Philadelphia native and Chief of School Safety Kevin Bethel as her pick to lead the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) shortly before Thanksgiving. Many believe the months-long vetting process by which she and her team selected the new PPD commissioner may be indicative of how she will lead when inaugurated.

OIT Reveals New, Parker Administration-Aligned Strategic Plan, Priorities

The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT) released its strategic plan for the upcoming year, which intentionally centers five of Mayor-elect Parker’s stated priorities for the office: security and data protection, digital equity and resident services, modernization and efficiency, foundational infrastructure and processes, and technology community partnerships and communication.

Upcoming Committee Hearings

Philadelphia City Council holds several public hearings throughout the legislative calendar. View here.

  • The Committee on Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs will discuss two park-related ordinances on Friday, December 1 at 1 p.m.
  • The Committee on Rules will discuss several zoning and utilities ordinances on Monday, December 4 at 10 a.m.
  • The Committee on Streets & Services will discuss several parking- and City Plan-related ordinances on Tuesday, December 5 at 10 a.m.
  • The Committee on Public Property & Public Works will discuss several proposed ordinances on Tuesday, December 5 at 1 p.m.
  • The Committee on Licenses & Inspections will discuss the single-use plastic bag ban for retailers and proposed amendments to the City’s plumbing code on Wednesday, December 6 at 10 a.m.
  • The Committee on Education will discuss problems and systemic biases in oversight that create inequalities between Black and white led schools on Wednesday, December 6 at 1 p.m.
  • The Committee on Commerce & Economic Development will discuss providing greater protections for displaced contract workers on Wednesday, December 6 at 3 p.m.

Around Town

Temple Admits Most Diverse Incoming Class in its History

Temple University’s incoming undergraduate class is set to be its most diverse ever. In recent years, the institution has made significant efforts to attract and accept more Black students, earning them a top-100 placements on the U.S. News and World Report annual rankings.

Franklin Institute to Permanently Close IMAX Theater

The Franklin Institute announced that its Tuttleman IMAX Theater — which hasn’t reopened since it was shuttered during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic — will be permanently closed and the space repurposed.

Demolition of Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge Begins

Work to demolish the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge over I-95 at Penn’s Landing began Monday as part of the $329 million highway cap project. The site will serve as the new Park at Penn’s Landing and will connect Center City to the Delaware River waterfront.

Philadelphia Area ER Visits Take Longer than Average

According to federal data released earlier this month, emergency room (ER) visits in the Philadelphia region typically take nearly an hour longer than those reported by hospitals nationally, with approximately half lasting nearly 3.5 hours.

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