Politics, Penn State and Parking.
Philly for Hill-y
By the time you read this, the Democratic National Convention will have wound down in Philadelphia. It’s been a long week of speeches, panels, and appearances by mid-level celebrities. Some out-of-town journalists had an issue with the traffic leaving the Wells Fargo Center after the events ended, something no Sixers fan can relate to. But overall, the DNC has been a nice distraction from the heat wave slowly melting the sidewalks.
All the coverage can be found in one place, WHYY’s Decisions 2016. But if you’re a more selective reader, here are the panels and events that particularly caught our eye this week.
A group of mayors, including Pittsburgh’s Bill Peduto, asked for better urban policies. The gist: if states and the federal government aren’t going to help cities, they should at least have the courtesy to get out of the way. This is an opinion shared by a lot of mayors: the 2016 Menino Survey of Mayors found a majority of mayors want more state and federal help, and less state and federal hindrance.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney joined the mayors of New York City and Phoenix on a panel about how cities engage with immigrant communities. Phoenix is on the verge of pushing Philly out of fifth place, when it comes to population, so hopefully Kenney was taking notes. Know thine enemy.
It also helps to know thyself. Philly leaders joined national anti-poverty experts to discuss the city’s slow climb out of deep poverty. They discussed the controversial beverage tax and other creative attempts to chip away at the city’s poverty burden. First, understand just how Philly went from self-sustenance to struggling inner city.
The other 67 cities for … who knows?
As I’ve reminded a lot of people this week, Philadelphia is just one of Pennsylvania’s many, many cities. And we’re not just exagerating for the sake of Pittsburgh — this state has eight cities over 50,000 residents, and four over 100,000. While the DNC was raging in Philadelphia, what happened in those places?
Maybe, just maybe, a political revolution. (And no, Bernie supporters, not the kind that interests you.) Everyone from Politico to the New York Times has reported on coal-country Democrats, and their sudden interest in the Republican party.
It’s not just the cult of personality, either. Donald Trump appeals with an anti-trade, anti-immgrant message that promises to bring back better jobs. Rust Belt residents, a group Trump calls the “forgotten men and women,” could turn Pennsylvania red for the first time since 1988.
And, remember, Commander in Chief isn’t the only position up for grabs this year. There are a lot of contentious races in Pennsylvania that will impact your day-to-day life in a big way, post-November. Not sure what an Auditor General does? We’ve got a handy animated explainer for you.
With Pennsylvania back in play as a swing state, you should expect a steady drumbeat of candidates and surrogates coming through. To point: Trump was in Scranton Wednesday, Clinton will be in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh this weekend. And, we’re sure, more to come.
Penn State and parking
Besides the first letter of those words, these two have nothing to do with each other. But both are interesting, so bear with me.
A group of Penn State students are spending their summer executing community development programs in distressed cities across the state. They’re learning real world skills and lending an extra set of hands to a community in need.
And some cities are rethinking parking requirements completely. How would you feel if your brand-new, downtown apartment building had fewer parking spaces, but more access to public transit, bike sharing programs and the like? This could be coming soon to a city near you, whether you like it or not.