January 8: Wilson Goode, Jr. back as senior policy advisor | Making housing vouchers an entitlement | Wheelmen’s bicycle club

Former four-term City Council member Wilson Goode, Jr. was appointed to the new City Council staff position of senior policy advisor, reports Damon WIlliams. One takeaway from Jared Brey’s profile of Goode was that behind the ascerbic style is a serious policy thinker who managed to pass 147 bills during his 16 years on Council. Goode was also co-founder of the national group Local Progress, recently featured on Wonkblog, that acts as a lefty bill factory similar to ALEC, but focused on municipal policy. Newly-inaugurated City Councilwoman Helen Gym recently replaced Goode on that board. 

Daniel Hertz makes the case for turning housing vouchers into an entitlement, available to everyone below a certain income threshold, by curtailing the federal mortgage interest deduction for Americans earning over $100,000. “As of 2012, 77 percent of the money we spent on the mortgage interest deduction went to households making over $100,000 a year…It also happens that 77 percent of $68 billion, the total value of the mortgage interest tax deduction, is about $52 billion: in other words, enough to give a housing voucher to every single household that needed it, with about $10 billion to spare.”

Inga Saffron says the Richards Medical Research Laboratory, Penn’s most important 20th century building, has become the building it always wanted to be” after recent renovations. “The renovation has pared Kahn’s spaces down to their essence, restoring a Zenlike calm, and revealing the muscular concrete structure that made the design such a revelation in the early 1960s, when International Style glass towers were all the rage.”

Holly Otterbein thinks Bobby Henon’s promotion to City Council majority leader is a big deal politically

The first phase of the Rail Park could break ground this spring, Melissa Romero reports, and the Bacon brothers are fundraising for it. 

OCF Realty’s Naked Philly has the detailed on a proposed mixed-use project across the street from the Umbrella Factory in South Kensington. 

GroJLart reports the former North Philly clubhouse of the Quaker City Wheelmen’s bicycle club, which later became a jazz-age hothouse, has been spared from demolition

The King County Right-Size Parking Calculator for the Seattle metro features a heatmap of parking ratios in different areas, to help developers index their parking offerings to nearby buildings, instead of relying on the rules of thumbs and political currents that often influence such decisions. Maybe an idea worth stealing for the DVRPC Smart Growth team?

US DOT head Anthony Foxx says there are no plans for federal regulations of driverless cars. For now, the feds are leaving things up to the states. 

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