Cozen Cites – October 18, 2023

October 18, 2023

Gig Economy & Technology

BALTIMORE — AI to Help Baltimore Agencies Bridge Language Gaps

By year’s end, the City of Baltimore will be deploying a new AI-backed service to help 911 dispatchers communicate with callers in their native language without waiting for an interpreter.

LOS ANGELES — L.A. Using AI to Predict Patterns in Homelessness, Determine Addition Supports Needed

The program tracks data from seven county agencies, including emergency room visits, crisis care for mental health, substance abuse disorder diagnosis, arrests and sign-ups for public benefits like food aid. Then, using machine learning, it produces a list of people considered most at-risk for losing their homes.

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Has Fewer Airbnb, VRBO Offerings in Wake of New Regulations

Since new short-term rental regulations went into effect earlier this year, customers of apps like Airbnb and VRBO are finding fewer offerings in Philadelphia, according to research by Deckard Technologies.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser Names New Acting CTO

Mayor Muriel Bowser has appointed current acting Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Christopher Rodriguez to the role full time.

Labor & Employment

BOSTON — Annual Workforce Development Report Released for FY22

The Wu administration released its annual report on workforce development, focused on access to education, financial literacy resources, skills and job training programs, and career pipelines.

CHICAGO — Chicago Becomes Largest U.S. City to Independently Abolish Subminimum Wage for Tipped Workers

Chicago became the largest American city to independently require that tipped employees make a full minimum wage on October 6, following a relatively easy City Council vote that delivered one of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s biggest political wins for his progressive agenda.

DETROIT — UAW Says New Strikes at Detroit Three Will Come Without Notice

United Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain said last week that the union will not expand its strike against the Detroit Three automakers at the moment, but its members would now walk out of additional facilities without warning rather than wait until Friday to announce new plans.

Policy & Politics

BALTIMORE — Baltimore City Council to Make Decision on Redistricting Map

After Baltimore residents weighed in over the course of five meetings, city meetings, and two community town halls, City Council is now tasked with making a final decision on Mayor Brandon Scott’s proposed map for new city council districts.

BALTIMORE — Baltimore County Council Tweaks Plastic Bag Ban

Baltimore County Council voted to exempt liquor stores from an impending plastic bag ban to allow thinner bags to count as “reusable” and to clarify the definition of paper bags that can be given for free to customers. Most stores will be required to charge customers 5 cents for a reusable or paper bag at checkout.

CHICAGO — Mayor Johnson Creates City’s First Chief Homelessness Officer

Mayor Brandon Johnson signed an executive order creating Chicago’s first chief homelessness officer position, who will be tasked with providing solutions “for stable, permanent and affordable housing” for the unhoused in the city.

CHICAGO — Mayor Johnson Proposes Chicago Department of Environment

Unlike the former department shuttered by then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2012 to save money, the new Chicago Department of Environment proposed by Mayor Brandon Johnson would be more of a policy-focused body and would later expand to 14 employees from an existing office of 10, including Chief Sustainability Officer Angela Tovar.

NEW YORK — Mayor Adams Submits to Suspend Right to Shelter Law

The Adams administration is seeking to suspend the city’s obligation to provide shelter due to the ongoing asylum seeker crisis. The request includes suspension of these rules when the city or state is in a declared state of emergency.

PHILADELPHIA — Councilmember Johnson Likely to Become Next Council President, Sources Say

Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (District 2) is reportedly well positioned to become the next council president after securing commitments from a majority of members who say they intend to vote for him.

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Democrats Endorse WFP City Council Candidates, Drawing Ire of Democratic City Committee Chair

An increasing number of Philadelphia Democratic officials have endorsed Working Families Party (WFP) City Council candidates despite threats from Democratic City Committee Chair Bob Brady to have the ward leader and committee members replaced ahead of the November 7 general election.

PHILADELPHIA — Building, Construction Trades Council Endorses Four Democrats, One Republican in City Council Race

In addition to endorsing four Democrats for at-large City Council seats, the Philadelphia Building & Construction Trades Council endorsed Republican Jim Hasher due to his support of the proposed 76ers arena in Center City.

RICHMOND — Richmond Voters Still Divided Over Proposed Casino

Virginia could have its fifth casino — a $562 million proposal by Urban One and Churchill Downs — if a local referendum passes in November, though Richmond voters rejected it the first time. The proposal would extend casino gambling into central Virginia.

RICHMOND — Richmond Reverses Decision to Move Polling Locations From Schools Due to Mold

In a reversal of a previous decision to move them because of “unhealthy air quality conditions” due to mold, the Richmond Office of Elections has decided to keep Boushall Middle School and Clark Springs Elementary School as polling locations.

SAN DIEGO — U.S. Border Patrol Has Released Thousands of Migrants on San Diego’s Streets, Taxing Charities

Migrant aid groups blame a mix of circumstances for a recent shelter crunch: reduced government funding, CBP’s practice of sending migrants from Texas and Arizona to be processed in San Diego, and a surge in illegal crossings.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — New Deputy Mayor Has Big Plans for Downtown

Nina Albert will be prioritizing implementation of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s “Downtown Action Plan,” enticing the Washington Commanders back to D.C., and housing in her new role as deputy mayor for planning and economic development.

Public Health & Safety

BALTIMORE — Baltimore City Council Calls on Agencies to Meet, Discuss Youth Violence

Baltimore City Council passed a resolution reintroduced by Councilmember Robert Stokes calling for an informational hearing on the issue of youth violence.

CHICAGO — Cook County Sheriff’s Office Aids Chicago Police in Combating Magnificent Mile Crime

A $276,000 grant from the Illinois Attorney General’s office intended to combat the growing issue of organized retail crime allowed Cook County Sheriff’s deputies to patrol Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, which officials say yielded results.

LOS ANGELES — Zero-Bail Policy Goes Into Effect in L.A. County

Los Angeles County officially moved to a zero-bail system, ending the years-long standard of setting cash bail amounts for defendants commensurate with the severity of the crime they are accused of committing.

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Bass Celebrates New Significant Funding to Build a Greener L.A.

Mayor Karen Bass convened local leaders to announce a significant investment in building a greener Los Angeles by helping the Port of Los Angeles transition more hydrogen trucks and cargo handling equipment to zero-emissions and assist the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power as they convert one of their natural gas plants to a hydrogen plant.

NEW YORK — Residential Buildings to Containerize Waste

New York launched a plan to containerize waste in buildings with nine or fewer residential units, beginning in fall 2024. The proposed rules are like the ones currently in place for businesses.

PHILADELPHIA — Overdose Deaths Rose 11% Overall, Nearly 20% Among Black Philadelphians in 2022

According to data released by the city’s Department of Public Health, Black Philadelphians are increasingly being impacted by the opioid epidemic. In 2022, the city saw a 20% increase in unintentional deaths among Black residents, breaking the 2021 record of an 11% increase.

RICHMOND — Car Break-Ins, Thefts Rising in Richmond

According to city-wide data recently released by the Richmond Police Department, incidents of car break-ins and thefts have been on the rise this year, with 17 violent car-jackings, nearly 1,200 cars stolen, more than 2,000 car break-ins with stolen belongings, and about 350 reports of stolen car parts or accessories having taken place as of October 9.

RICHMOND — Richmond Finalizing Plans to Expand City Shelter Space During Inclement Weather

Richmond is finalizing a plan to have shelters in place by the end of the year. City Council has been working to expand and improve homeless services offered in the city, and Mayor Levar Stoney recently stated that he is “absolutely proud” of how his administration has addressed the city’s homelessness crisis.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — D.C. Seats Opioid Commission as Overdose Deaths Rise

A new Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission will advise Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. City Council on how to spend $80 million in opioid settlement money at a time when overdose deaths in the city are on pace to exceed last year’s historic peak.

Real Estate Development

CHICAGO — Loop Office Woes Could Soon Hit Chicago Homeowners’ Pocketbooks

According to a new analysis, the property tax bill paid by the average Chicago homeowner could rise hundreds of dollars a year as office tower owners pay less because of the depressed value of their property. Homeowners would effectively pick up a larger share of the tax load.

LOS ANGELES — L.A. City Council Says No Fast-Tracked Approval for Affordable Housing Project

The Los Angeles City Council has denied a developer’s request to allow a 360-unit, seven-story affordable housing project in a Winnetka neighborhood to continue on a fast track to approval.

SAN DIEGO — Higher Interest Rates Squeezing San Diego Housing Market

Like most metropolitan areas across the United States, San Diego is vulnerable to the impact of higher interest rates. According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 7.49%, as of October 5, up from the 2.8% average on October 8, 2020.

SEATTLE — New Site for Vietnamese Cultural Center, Affordable Housing

Friends of Little Saigon is developing a property for the Vietnamese Culture and Economic Center, to include affordable housing, commercial spaces, history and art exhibitions, and cultural programs.

Taxes & Spending

CHICAGO — Mayor Johnson Proposes $16.6 Billion Spending Plan to Close Budget Gap, Expand Mental Health Services

Mayor Brandon Johnson’s first spending plan does not include a property tax hike to keep up with the rising rate of inflation, or new taxes or fee hikes to cover the city’s budget deficit, which has been swollen by the arrival cost of caring for migrants sent to Chicago from the southern border and soaring pension payments.

CHICAGO — City Council Committee Advances Proposed Sales Tax on Properties Over $1 Million

Chicago City Council has begun to discuss Mayor Brandon Johnson’s “Bring Chicago Home” tax that, if approved by voters, would require those in Chicago who own a home or corporate building valued at or above $1 million to pay extra transfer taxes.

Transportation & Mobility

CHICAGO — CTA President to Be Required to Meet With City Council Quarterly As Train, Bus Service Woes Continue

Alderpeople approved an ordinance Wednesday that will require Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) President Dorval Carter and other top transit officials to attend quarterly City Council hearings about service levels, operations, security, and planning.

LOS ANGELES — Ports of L.A., Long Beach Expected to Reap Millions as Hydrogen Hub Test Sites

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach stand to reap millions of dollars from a federal clean energy grant announced last week by President Joe Biden which will bring $1.2 billion to California.

NEW YORK — Traffic Mobility Review Board Holds Third Review Meeting

The Traffic Mobility Review Board held its third meeting to discuss the fees for congestion pricing, with the guiding priorities of keeping a low toll, minimizing traffic diversions, prioritizing equity, and setting a “simple” toll.

PHILADELPHIA — City Council Holds Roosevelt Boulevard Subway Hearings

Last week, the City Council Committee on Transportation & Public Utilities held its first hearing on a proposed Roosevelt Boulevard Subway, which garnered community support.

PHILADELPHIA — Lincoln Drive Latest City Roadway to Receive Traffic Calming Measures

A dangerous stretch of Lincoln Drive in West Mount Airy is getting a safety overhaul to include rumble strips and speed tables to slow down drivers, as well as traffic lane separators along 1.5 miles of highway.

PHILADELPHIA — SEPTA Expands Zero Fare Pilot Program

SEPTA expanded its Zero Fare program following the success of its pilot, which will continue to run throughout the next two years. The program is designed to offer transportation relief for those who couldn’t previously afford to ride mass transit.


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