Your support is key 🔑
70% of our budget comes from individual members, making our work possible without paywalls.
Will you join us?
? Want this daily digest emailed to you? Sign up for the free Billy Penn newsletter and it’ll land in your inbox every morning.
RECAP: Looking back on the week that was
• Surprise mayoral endorsement and a GOP contender
Always influential, Philly labor unions could play a huge role in this mayor’s race, as the crowded Dem primary could hinge on as few as 10k votes. The first endorsement is a surprise: Municipal workers’ DC 33 backed ShopRite owner Jeff Brown, whose straight talk impressed leadership: “It’s not like talking to a politician.” Meanwhile, despite a 7-to-1 voter reg imbalance, Republicans could field a legitimate candidate in November: Councilmember David Oh. [BP 2015/Inquirer$/Billy Penn]
• Sixers arena opposition gets high-powered boost
Surging grassroots opposition to the Sixers’ plans for a Center City home got a boost last week, with the formal creation of the Chinatown Coalition to Oppose the Arena. In addition to a successful history of pushing back on development projects (a casino, a ballpark), the group brings firepower: among its 40-plus members is nationally renowned civil rights org Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Per an informal survey, the coalition says 90% of neighborhood businesses are against the proposed construction of 76 Place at 10th and Market streets. This could easily become a big issue in the mayoral race — stay tuned. [BP x 2/WHYY’s PlanPhilly/BP]
• Wawa teases tech training hub in Center City
Instead of replacing shuttered Wawas with rival Sheetz, as BP readers (jokingly?) suggested, how about a tech training hub? That’s what Wawa CEO Chris Ghysens teased Friday at an Chamber of Commerce event. Speaking about the 19th and Market location, which closed last fall over “safety and security challenges,” Ghysens said the still-in-planning venue could provide training and strengthen the region’s tech worker pipeline. [BP 2020/PhillyVoice/BP/Biz Journal$]
• Gearing up for playoffs with green hoagie rolls
Five years ago around this time, the Eagles were the underdogs as they entered the playoffs en route to a Super Bowl. This time around, Philly is the top NFC seed — and the city is hype. Notwithstanding the usual Ticketmaster issues, seats for their first postseason game at the Linc sold out in minutes. And for the first time in its 70-year history, Cacia’s Bakery is making green rolls, which you’ll be able to buy on gameday. [BP 2018/Eagles/CBS3/Billy Penn]
VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead
• Shapiro takes over as governor
Josh Shapiro will be sworn in Tuesday as Pennsylvania’s 48th governor, at a Harrisburg ceremony you can watch via livestream. He’ll rest his hand on a trio of bibles, one from his family, another carried by a Jewish soldier from Philly on D-Day, and a third that was in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue the day of the 2018 massacre. The party afterwards will feature performances by Wiz Khalifa, Smokey Robinson and Mt. Joy. [Shapiro/ABC27/PennLive$/Jewish Insider/NBC8]
• City Council returns for the spring session
It’s going to be a weird spring for Philadelphia City Council, which reconvenes this week. The entire body is up for re-election, and the May 16 primary already has a crush of people vying for the five Democratic at-large seats (there are seven overall, but two are reserved for a minority party). Meanwhile, mayoral hopefuls will be alternately pandering to or trashing the legislative body. District 4 Councilmember Jones and District 2 Councilmember Johnson are hosting their own mayoral candidates’ forum this Thursday. [Billy Penn/@CouncilmemberKJ]
• Philadelphia celebrates MLK Day of Service
Looking for volunteer opportunities to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.? There are nearly 100 projects going on today and Monday, including the central operation at Girard College and several events in the suburbs. While nearly everyone’s familiar with some aspect of King’s life and work, many are not aware of his strong ties to the Philly region. Here are five ways the city influenced him — and vice versa. [Global Citizen/MLK Day of Service/WHYY/Billy Penn]