Cozen Cities – August 23, 2023

August 24, 2023

Gig Economy & Technology

CHICAGO — Chicago City Council to Consider Regulating Rideshares

Members of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration have been involved in the discussions, but Alderman Mike Rodriguez is taking the lead on the effort to regulate rideshares. The measure adds to the growing list of legislation being considered heading into fall that affect relatively lower-wage workers.

LOS ANGELES — LAPD Could Add New High-Tech Bolawrap to Metro Officers’ Arsenal

The chief marketing officer of Wrap, the company that produces the gadget, says it would provide officers with an alternative to their guns or tasers. The BolaWrap is a handheld device that fires out an eight-foot Kevlar rope with hooks on the end which restricts a suspect’s movement.

PHILADELPHIA — City’s Investment in Cell, Gene Therapy Workforce Development Paying Off

Local employers have benefited from Philadelphia’s investment in cell and gene therapy workforce development, including a unique certificate program offered by the Community College of Philadelphia to train aseptic technicians and manufacturing associates.

Labor & Employment

BALTIMORE — Tesla Facility in Baltimore County to Lay Off 55 Workers

According to a Work Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice filed last week, Tesla will lay off 55 workers at a Baltimore-area facility that appears to be part of its clean energy division in October.

DETROIT — UAW Presses for Strike Vote at Detroit Three Automakers

United Auto Workers (UAW) members have until August 24 to vote to authorize strikes at the Detroit Three automakers if they don’t have a new contract deal in hand by the time the current agreement expires in about 30 days.

LOS ANGELES — Thousands of L.A. City Workers Walk Off Job for 24 Hours Alleging Unfair Labor Practices

Thousands of Los Angeles city employees including sanitation workers, lifeguards and traffic officers walked off the job on August 8 for a 24-hour strike demanding higher wages and alleging unfair labor practices.

Policy & Politics

BALTIMORE — Baltimore Mayor Scott, City Leaders Announce Legislation Focused on Re-Entry After Incarceration

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and city leaders announced legislation that would establish a new Office of Returning Citizens within the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (MONSE). If passed, the office will coordinate services, develop support networks, and advocate for Baltimoreans re-entering society.

BALTIMORE — City Council Introduces Bill Requiring Property Owners’ Permission to Install Outdoor Gas Regulators

The Baltimore City Council is considering legislation that would require public service agencies to obtain permission before installing gas meters and regulators on private property.

BOSTON — Mayor Wu Endorses Enrique Pepén, Rejects Incumbent

Mayor Michelle Wu endorsed her former employee Enrique Pepén for District 5, rejecting incumbent Ricardo Arroyo, who she has supported in previous elections. Sexual misconduct allegations came to light regarding Arroyo during the Suffolk County district attorney election.

CHICAGO — Mayor Johnson on His First 100 Days: It’ll Take Time “to Right This Ship in Its Entirety”

In a wide-ranging interview, Mayor Brandon Johnson reveals he’s more concerned about building consensus than about checking boxes on his list of campaign promises.

PHILADELPHIA — WFP City Commissioner Candidate Removed From Ballot, City Council Candidates Survive Challenge

A Working Families Party (WFP) candidate for Philadelphia City Commissioner was removed from the ballot following a legal challenge regarding the filing of his financial disclosure paperwork. WFP candidates for City Council survived legal challenges to their own candidacies, though local Republicans are appealing the decision.

RICHMOND — RRHA is Working to Make Public Housing Residents Homeowners

The Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority (RRHA) is launching a new, first-of-its-kind nationwide program designed to cycle more people through public housing and into homeownership by reconfiguring mortgage loan requirements, providing down payment assistance grants, and educating current public housing residents about homeownership.

SEATTLE — Primary Election Results Finalized

Seattle’s August 1 primary election has now concluded, with analysis available here.

Public Health & Safety

CHICAGO — Chicago’s Top Doctor Allison Arwady Fired by Mayor Johnson

Dr. Allison Arwady, the Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner who spearheaded the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, was fired on August 11 by Mayor Brandon Johnson.

CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Johnson Chooses Snelling as Next Police Superintendent

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson announced August 13 that Larry Snelling, the former chief of the bureau of counterterrorism, will be the city’s new police superintendent. Three finalists were suggested by the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability after a months-long search.

DETROIT — Detroit Adds Mental Health Responders, Neighborhood Police With State Funding

Detroit will add 14 neighborhood police officer positions and 11 mental health police responders, thanks to an infusion of $3.1 million in funding from the 2023-2024 state budget.

NEW YORK — Judge to Consider Rikers Island Receivership

Though a decision is months away, a judge is considering the possibility of an outside entity temporarily managing Rikers Island.

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Area Experiencing Uptick in COVID-19 Cases

Philadelphia is currently seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases consistent with a national uptick in hospitalizations, deaths, and positive tests.

RICHMOND — Richmond is Planning Major Upgrades to Its Surveillance Network

Richmond city officials are planning upgrades to its surveillance network — including security cameras and license plate scanners —  that could allow the Richmond Police Department to centralize its police technology into a real-time crime center.

SAN DIEGO — In Push for Camping Ban, San Diego Leaders Used Misleading Data to Link Unhoused People to Fire Risk

For weeks, top San Diego officials harped on unhoused people who set fires in canyons, parks and riverbeds as a strategy to drum up support for a controversial camping ban. But fire officials don’t really know how many fires are started by encampments.

SEATTLE — City Council Delays Vote On Public Drug Use

City Council will not vote until October on a bill codifying state law that would make both public use and possession of drugs gross misdemeanors.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Homicides on the Rise in D.C.

Despite a recent national pattern of declining homicide rates in major cities, killings in D.C. are surging toward historic highs.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — D.C. Region Experiencing Uptick in COVID-19 Cases

The D.C. region is experiencing the first substantial uptick in COVID-19 cases and transmission in several months, resulting in a slight bump in area hospitalizations.

Real Estate Development

LOS ANGELES — L.A. Has Earned $275 Million in Taxes From Airbnb Rentals Since 2016

The city of Los Angeles collected more than $275 million in lodging taxes between August 2016 and June 2023 after entering a voluntary tax collection agreement with Airbnb, officials announced August 9.

NEW YORK — Outdoor Dining Made Permanent

Mayor Eric Adams signed legislation making outdoor dining permanent in New York City. Sidewalk dining will be available year-round, and roadway dining will be from April to November.

PHILADELPHIA — Latest 76 Place Renderings Include Plans for Residential Tower, Affordable Housing

The latest conceptual renderings of the proposed Center City arena for the Philadelphia 76ers include a 20-floor residential tower — 79 units of which will be reserved for affordable housing.

SEATTLE — Tacoma Housing Authority Increases Minimum Wage to $32 an Hour

The Tacoma Housing Authority has increased its minimum wage to $32 an hour to match the rent of a two-bedroom apartment with less than 30% of income.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Veteran D.C. Real Estate Experts Say Local Housing Market is Due for a Pause

D.C. real estate veterans are predicting a further slow-down in the local housing market due to high mortgage rates and extremely tight inventory.

Taxes & Spending

CHICAGO — Mayoral Allies Nearing Compromise on Plan to Raise Tax on Higher-End Home Sales, But Office Building Owners Still Not Buying In

In March, Chicago voters will be asked whether to raise taxes for higher-end home sales in a binding referendum. The changes are expected to reduce the annual revenue by $20 million — from $160 million to $140 million.

LOS ANGELES — Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour Brings $320 Million to L.A.

Taylor Swift’s six nights at SoFi Stadium have had substantial impacts on the economy in Los Angeles County, according to a new report released by the California Center for Jobs and the Economy.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County Begins Sending Default Notices for $170 Million in Back Taxes

The county on August 9 announced that officials have begun mailing default notices to more than 28,000 property owners who have failed to pay property taxes in the past year.

Transportation & Mobility

CHICAGO — Recommended Changes to Public Transit Including Fare Hikes, Consolidation of Agencies Could Be on the Table

A group tasked with making recommendations about the future of public transit is weighing changes to fares, sales taxes and the very concept of maintaining the CTA, Metra, and Pace as separate agencies.

NEW YORK — Traffic Mobility Review Board Holds Second Meeting

The Traffic Mobility Review Board, tasked with setting the tolling structure for the Congestion Pricing program, held their second meeting and discussed exemptions for taxis, low-income drivers, and drivers who paid bridge and tunnel tolls.

PHILADELPHIA — SEPTA Pilots Contactless Payments Program

The Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) launched a contactless payment pilot program for fare payment on buses, trolleys, and subways.

SAN DIEGO — North County Transit District’s Executive Director to Retire

North County Transit District Executive Director Matthew O. Tucker announced that he will retire September 1 after nearly 15 years with the agency and 30 years in public transit.


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