State House Votes to Impeach Philadelphia DA Krasner
On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania State House voted 107-85 to impeach Democratic Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner in an ongoing effort to remove him from office, marking the first time the House has impeached an officeholder in nearly 30 years — and perhaps the first time in history the action has been taken against an officeholder whose “misbehavior in office” does not amount to actual criminal activity. The vote comes the day after the House Judiciary Committee’s approval of two articles of impeachment against DA Krasner, which collectively accuse him of directly causing the city’s increase in violent crime by shirking his duties as DA and obstructing the House Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order’s investigation of his Office by defying a subpoena issued by the House in August.
Both votes were spearheaded by Republicans, who are seemingly eager to enact a change that they feel would leave Philadelphia safer. Democrats, on the other hand, feared that the impeachment of a fellow elected official would set a dangerous precedent and that the articles did not rise to the level of impeachment. The Senate — control of which still hangs in the balance — would need to vote by at least a two-thirds majority in order to successfully remove DA Krasner from office.
Allan Domb, Jeff Brown Officially Launch Mayoral Campaigns
Philadelphia’s “Condo King” Allan Domb officially announced his candidacy for mayor Tuesday morning via an online video message months after resigning his at-large position on City Council to consider running. Domb is the fifth candidate — and the most independently wealthy — to enter the race thus far. During his six-year tenure on City Council, Domb was known for targeting wasteful government spending and advocating for city businesses, and his launch video made clear that public safety will be a campaign priority.
Jeff Brown, the owner of 12 Philadelphia ShopRite and Fresh Grocer stores, announced his 2023 mayoral run on Wednesday. He is the sixth candidate overall and the first “outsider” to enter the race. While widely known for improving access to affordable and healthy food options in underserved neighborhoods and hiring formerly incarcerated people to work in his stores, Brown is perhaps best known for his vocal opposition to Mayor Jim Kenney’s soda tax, which he claims forced him to close his West Philadelphia ShopRite location in early 2019.
Mayor Kenney Turns Attention to Gun Violence Epidemic as His Final Term Comes to a Close
In an opinion piece published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Mayor Jim Kenney defended his record while underscoring his continued commitment to finding a “path forward” in addressing Philadelphia’s rampant gun violence problem during his final few months as mayor. Over the course of his two terms in office, the Kenney administration has made historic investments in combating gun violence, including increased efforts to get firearms off the streets, investigating more nonfatal shootings, and working with state and federal law enforcement to improve methods of finding and capturing violent offenders. However, some innovative efforts, such as the city’s Community Crisis Intervention Program, have recently been met with criticism for not being able to institute the long-term changes that the city desperately needs.
Sixers Owners, Developers Meet With Chinatown Community Leaders About Proposed Arena
Over the weekend, Sixers CEO Tad Brown and developer David Adelman met with community leaders and residents of Chinatown to discuss the new Center City arena that was proposed in July — as well as its potential impact on the historic neighborhood. Brown emphasized the importance of receiving the community’s input, calling the meeting an opportunity to “listen and learn” as the Sixers embark on this project. While several community members raised concerns about public safety, traffic, and impact on residents and small businesses, and Sixers leaders are still currently working on a fuller impact analysis, the hope is that both groups will be able to contribute to a Community Benefits Agreement to help alleviate any tension and predict and prevent any negative impacts the project may have on the neighborhood.
Old Philadelphia Buildings Converted to More Than 1,500 Apartments During Pandemic
A new report published by apartment search website RentCafe has ranked Philadelphia as having developed the second most older buildings into apartments from 2020 to 2021 of any city in the country — coming in just slightly behind Washington, D.C., and ahead of Chicago. Converting existing buildings into apartments has proven to be a great way to make the best use of the already limited space in these often crowded cities while simultaneously preserving the city’s history and culture. Philadelphia’s industrial history and age make it a prime candidate for adaptive use projects.
Texas Governor Abbott Confirms Sending Bus of Asylum Seekers to Philadelphia
Last weekend, Mayor Jim Kenney announced that a bus with approximately 50 asylum seekers was expected to arrive in Philadelphia from the border town of Del Rio, Texas, sometime this week, and that no previous notice had been given by Texas officials to Philadelphia officials about the specific details. While much confusion ensued — including when and where, exactly, the bus would be arriving, and whether the bus would be coming at all — Texas Governor Greg Abbott confirmed late Tuesday that the bus would be arriving at 30th Street Station the following morning. When the bus did arrive early Wednesday morning, 31 immigrants, originally from South and Central America, were greeted by City Councilmember Helen Gym and a group of volunteers giving out winter coats, blankets, and hot chocolate.
Last Two Uncalled State House Races Come Down to the Philadelphia Suburbs
While much of the dust has settled and innumerable think pieces have already been written about the results of last week’s midterm elections, two state House races in the Philadelphia suburbs still remain too close to call. The last count in the 151st District in Montgomery County shows a slight lead for Republican Todd Stephens, while the race in the 142nd District in Bucks County is still neck-and-neck. Both seats are currently held by Republicans, but state Democrats are confident in their chances of flipping the House for the first time in more than a decade. The two races speak to the larger national trend of suburbs serving as a microcosm of the urban-rural political divide.