Broad Street Brief: Tuesday Budget Hearings Feature Discussion of Teen Programs, Police Recruitment to Prepare for Summer
April 13, 2023
April 13, 2023
In light of Philadelphia’s ongoing gun violence crisis and the recent high-profile disorderly gathering of hundreds of local teenagers in Center City during their spring break, much of City Council’s Tuesday budget hearing with the Managing Director’s Office and Philadelphia Police Department focused on the city’s extracurricular offerings to teenagers, as well as how the police can best prepare for the upcoming summer season, which typically results in higher rates of crime and disorderly conduct. The police department has requested an additional $55.7 million over last year’s budget in order to address ongoing staffing issues.
Philadelphia City Council holds several public hearings throughout the legislative calendar. You can watch the hearings here.
The full schedule of FY24 budget hearings and a link to watch them can be found here.
While mayoral candidates have participated in countless forums in recent weeks, Tuesday evening’s televised debate — the first of the campaign cycle — was a change of pace, with candidates sparring with each other about the Sixers arena plan, education reform, public safety, and the efficiency and equitability of the dispatch of city services, among other topics. The debate was also one of the first high-profile campaign events that did not feature former District 7 City Councilmember Maria Quiñones Sánchez, who suspended her mayoral campaign over the weekend due to the “obnoxious” amount of money being spent in the race.
The Philadelphia Inquirer has published the fourth and fifth installments in its ongoing series of candidate profiles leading up to the May primary. The most recent installments focus on former Councilmember At-Large Derek Green and how his unique combination of personal and professional experiences has informed his campaign platform and former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart and her pragmatic approach to the office.
With 28 candidates on the ballot vying for just five at-large seats on City Council, it can be difficult for any one campaign to distinguish itself from its competitors. In fact, several of these candidates can be sorted into factions that, while not necessarily indicative of actual political alliances, can be helpful in terms of describing their similar characteristics. These include the progressive, primarily grassroots-funded candidates; the pro-development, business community-backed candidates; and the incumbents who generally garner support from both bases.
A recent study published by the Brookings Institution finds that Center City is “remarkably safe,” and that incidents of crime have actually been on the decline in recent years. The trend is consistent with those in other major cities as well.
Last month, SEPTA announced that it was canceling the planned extension of the Norristown High Speed Line to King of Prussia. Given that the transit authority planned to spend approximately $340 million of its budget on the project, it has since needed to allocate these funds toward other priorities, such as modernizing its existing trolley system and continuing its “bus revolution” project.
Last week, the Philadelphia School District shut down Frankford High and Mitchell Elementary Schools due to the discovery of damaged asbestos. While the former is scheduled to reopen for in-person instruction today, the latter will be closed for the remainder of the academic year.
Earlier this week, Temple University announced that JoAnne A. Epps, a former Temple law school dean and provost and longtime faculty member, will serve as interim president of the university in the wake of Jason Wingard’s recent resignation.
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