New Public Safety Measures: Mayor Kenney Signs Executive Order, CCD Plans to Add More Security Guards to Center City Streets

Leaders inside and outside of City Hall have been steadfastly searching for solutions to Philadelphia’s recent dramatic uptick in violent crime. On Tuesday, Mayor Jim Kenney signed an executive order banning firearms and other deadly weapons from the city’s recreation centers. The action comes weeks after the fatal shooting of Mill Creek Recreation Center employee Tiffany Fletcher and is intended to address the nearly 300 incidents of gun violence that have occurred at recreation centers across the city since 2019. The order is expected to face legal challenges at the state level.

Also, on Tuesday, Head of Center City District (CCD) Paul Levy announced the organization’s intent to add more unarmed bikers and security guards to combat the “negative halo” around the city that has resulted from rising crime rates and the ongoing socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The hope is that increased security presence will discourage crime, especially as workers continue to come back into the office regularly.

HUD Extends University City Townhomes Contract to Late December

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has granted a subsidy contract extension to the University City Townhomes that will allow current residents more time to find elsewhere to live. Residents will now have until December 27 to move out — an additional six months from the original July 8 contract end date. The current owner’s decision to sell the West Philadelphia property caused protests within the community over the summer over concerns about the accessibility of affordable housing options and gentrification in the neighborhood.

The Race for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate Seat Comes to Philadelphia: Lieutenant Governor Fetterman Hosts Rally, Police Union Endorses Dr. Oz

With the midterm elections weeks away, all eyes are on Philadelphia and its significant number of voters, who are sure to play a large role in the outcome of Pennsylvania’s highly competitive U.S. Senate race. Over the weekend, Democratic candidate John Fetterman held a rally in Northwest Philadelphia — his first public campaign event in the city. Meanwhile, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 has officially endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz for U.S. Senate, as they believe the Republican candidate is better suited to manage the city’s gun violence problem.

Philadelphia Museum of Art Workers Go on Strike

On Monday, roughly 350 unionized workers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art went on strike, citing two years of unsuccessful contract negotiations. This is the largest such walkout in the institution’s history, though the Museum is maintaining its regular 9-to-5 schedule by staffing managers and other nonunion employees.

PPA Begins “Ticketing Blitz” to Clear SEPTA Bus Lanes

The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) is teaming up with SEPTA to take aim at drivers who block the designated bus lanes in Center City. On Monday, the PPA began cracking down on those who illegally double park on sections of JFK Boulevard and Market and Chestnut Streets by doling out tickets between $51 and $101 for the infraction. The goal is to help improve on-time status for SEPTA’s many bus routes that navigate through the area.

Jimmy Harrity Poised to Become At-Large City Councilmember

The Philadelphia Inquirer published a profile of former Sharif Street aide Jimmy Harrity, who was recently nominated for an At-Large City Council seat for the upcoming special election. Harrity recounts some of the career highs and lows that have shaped him into the candidate he is today, as well as his vision for Philadelphia’s future.