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Fair housing board changes; Ala Stanford in federal office; Desperately seeking lifeguards | Morning roundup

Why Philly pretzels are the best ūü•®

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

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Should the board that enforces fair housing be permanent?

The Fair Housing Commission, a mayor-appointed board that’s existed for decades, is on the verge of cementing its place in city government.

  • The FHC was formed in 1962, and its five unpaid members are tasked with enforcing the housing regulations¬†with a focus on deferred maintenance and retaliatory eviction.

But the board could theoretically be dissolved at any time, Jordan Levy explains — which is why¬†there’s a May primary ballot question to make it permanent.

Ala Stanford appointed to U.S. Health and Human Services

Black Doctors Consortium founder Ala Stanford, known for her work to increase testing and vaccination equity, has been appointed to federal office.

Stanford was considered a potential city health commissioner after Tom Farley resigned in disgrace, but she later withdrew her name from contention.

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled 

  • What are your rights as a voter in Pa.?¬†Here’s a guide that explains¬†who can¬†vote, when you need ID¬†(or don’t), what help you can ask for, and what counts as intimidation. [WHYY/Billy Penn]
  • The Inquirer takes a deep dive into the¬†redlining that was pervasive on the Main Line¬†in the early 20th century, following one Black family through five generations. [Inquirer$]
  • Philly spends about $415k annually to maintain surveillance cameras, plus another $215k on equipment, but¬†they’re plagued with connectivity problems¬†and other issues. [WHYY]
  • Where the lifeguards at? The city needs to hire¬†about 200 more people¬†so public pools can open this summer.¬†The job starts at $16/hr. Councilmember Johnson and Parks & Rec officials are going door-to-door in Southwest Philly today to recruit applicants.
  • The Wissahickon Inn, which now houses the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, was opened in 1884 and¬†changed the course¬†of Chestnut Hill’s history. [Hidden City]
  • The unique, oblong shape of Philly soft pretzels is thought to have¬†originated¬†in the 1920s, as a side effect of automation. [Billy Penn]

Weekly brief on gun violence prevention (with PCGVR)

We publish this report each week in partnership with the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting at the Community College of Philadelphia. 

By the numbers in Philadelphia

  • 30:¬†Shooting¬†victims¬†recorded¬†last week, vs.¬†64 the week prior [@pcgvr/PPD Google Drive]
  • 662:¬†Shooting victims¬†this year, up 2% from last year¬†[PCGVR]
  • 152:¬†Year-to-date¬†homicides, down 6% from last year¬†[Philly Police]


Mayor Kenney joins the biweekly briefing on the city’s gun violence response (1 p.m.), which will have a focus on mental health resources. You can¬†listen live on WURD Radio 900 AM / 96.1 FM or¬†watch on Facebook.



ūü漬†Billy Penn Philly Quizzo with Newbold Exchange:¬†Our monthly trivia night heads to South Philadelphia this month — and there’s free beer for¬†everyone who registers!¬†Test your local knowledge and win prizes while hanging out at a¬†new coworking space¬†in a former silent motion picture house.¬†Free with RSVP. (6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28)

ūü¶Č Temple hosts its first¬†“Owned by Owls” street festival, an outdoor market next to Love City Brewing where all¬†vendors are alumni of the school. (12 to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 30)

ūüćĶ Spill or sip? Do both at the first “Drag Tea” at Assembly, the rooftop lounge overlooking the Ben Franklin Parkway.¬†It’s not cheap at $75, but that does include the show, bottomless snacks, tea, desserts, and a glass of prosecco. (11 am. to 1 p.m. Sunday, May 1).

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