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RECAP: Looking back on the week that was
• New carjacking enforcement unit
With carjackings continuing to spike — over 1,300 were reported in 2022, after an already-high 750 in 2021 — DA Krasner announced a new Carjacking Enforcement Unit, created thanks to a mid-year $1.5 million budget increase. Nearly half of the 305 people arrested this year for carjacking in Philly have been teens, which follows a national trend. [Inquirer$/Axios/Phila DA/NYT$]
• Pa. lags in nursing home vax rate
Only 25% of extended care facilities in Philadelphia and 35% across Pa. say at least three-quarters of residents are fully up to date on COVID vaccines. That puts the commonwealth behind 25 other states on nursing home bivalent booster vax rates, worrying experts — though there hasn’t yet been a spike in related deaths or hospitalizations. [DOH/Inquirer$/CMS Gov/BP 2021]
• Mayoral candidates talk gentrification
In the first of what will be a repeating series, we asked candidates for Philly mayor what they think of gentrification — and four of them gave us answers. What issue that you haven’t heard about yet would you like us to ask next? Reply or just email email@example.com with your ideas. [Billy Penn]
• Philly’s esports team decamping for Korea
After its plans to build a dedicated esports arena next to Xfinity Live fell apart, Comcast Spectator is moving its Overwatch League team to Korea. Once called the Philadelphia Fusion — though few players had even visited the city — the pro gamers will now be known as the Seoul Infernal, where operations had been centered since the beginning of the pandemic. [Technically/BP 2018/Comcast Spectator]
VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead
• Pa. House power struggle kicks off
The Pa. Legislature’s new session begins Tuesday, with nearly 50 new state representatives and six new state senators getting sworn in. Several House seats are vacant, which means the chamber’s starting balance will be 101-99 in favor of Republicans, despite the Democrats winning 103-102 in November. Will Philly state Rep. Joanna McClinton be elected speaker? It’s still up in the air. [Spotlight PA/City & State]
• Philly Ethics Board will be watching
Philadelphia law caps campaign contributions at $12,600, but there are no limits on how much a super PAC can spend. However, those committees cannot legally coordinate with candidates. After reports that Jeff Brown and Amen Brown will likely both benefit from super PAC backing, the chair and exec director of the Philadelphia Board of Ethics published a strongly worded warning against coordination. [Phila Gov/Billy Penn/Al Dia/Inquirer$]
• New Airbnb rules go into effect
Tougher regulations for Airbnbs in Philly, which were approved by Council in summer 2021 after several dangerous building collapses, finally go into effect this week after a half-year delay. The law requires anyone who rents space where they live to obtain a “limited lodging operator” license. It isn’t expensive, but requires a proper zoning permit and proof the space is up to code. [WHYY’s PlanPhilly/BP 2019/Inquirer$/Airbnb]
• Chicks, milkshakes, and a giant butter sculpture
The PA Farm Show returns for a 107th year next weekend, taking over the purpose-built complex in Harrisburg to showcase the state’s $185 billion ag industry. If you’ve never gone, it’s a fun experience (just ask former Mayor John Street, a self-described “farm show junkie”). Even if you don’t make it out yourself, get excited for the reveal of this year’s butter sculpture — though it will be hard to top Gritty. [Pa. Gov/BP x 3]