June 13: Kenney’s nine friends | New digital billboard regs proposed | City Hall’s newest statue

Labor powerhouse John Dougherty of IBEW Local 98 tells Ryan Briggs that Council President Darrell Clarke was lobbying against passing any type of soda tax until the very end, and Jim Kenney’s ability to wrangle nine votes to override Clarke will have reverberations. “This mayor is going to be a little different than most,” Dougherty said, “He’s consistently going to have nine friends on city council…and I don’t think Darrell is comfortable with that.”

A new bill in Harrisburg would slow down the approval process for digital billboards, writes Michaelle Bond. “Applicants would have to meet with representatives from PennDot and the proposed site’s town, and approval would be subject to hearings under the bill, sponsored by Sen. Andy Dinniman (D., Chester).”

The Inquirer editorial board is against all the alternative options PMC Property Group might use instead of providing reduced-rate units at One Water Street, including a $5 million payment to the Housing Trust Fund. “That sounds too much like New Jersey’s despicable practice of allowing suburban towns to pay off neighboring municipalities to accept their affordable-housing obligations.”

Nina Hoe of Temple’s Institute for Survey Research talks to FiveThirtyEight about their innovative new opinion research initiative called BeHeardPhilly, which combines traditional phone polls with community outreach, and online and text message surveys to communicate with Philly’s hardest-to-reach populations on civic issues.

The preservation battle over the city’s first black Catholic church, St. Peter Claver at 12th and Lombard, is heating up, writes Alfred Lubrano.

City officials announced last week that City Hall will get its first new statue since 1923, of nineteenth century African-American civic leader Octavius V. Catto, reports Stephan Salisbury.

Historian and author Elizabeth Milroy recounts Fairmount Park’s origins as a solution to Philadelphia’s clean water needs in an Inquirer op-ed. Learn more at her Historical Society of Pennsylvania talk this week.


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