Lord Otis of Rittenhouse Square (Instagram/@amtlphilly)

RECAP: Looking back on the week that was

• Gov calls for repeal of death penalty

Gov. Shapiro has changed his mind about the death penalty since backing it as attorney general. Speaking at a church in Philly last week, the governor announced he’ll continue Wolf’s practice of not signing execution warrants, and went even further, calling for the General Assembly to abolish capital punishment. Legislation to do so is now being introduced in both chambers — in the Pa. Senate by Sens. Muth and Sharif, and in the Pa. House by Rep. Rabb. Philly DA Krasner called on the current attorney general to also drop support for death penalty sentences. [WHYY/Pa. Gov/Pa. Senate/Pa. House/DAO]

• Council proposes new public safety director

What’s missing in Philly that’s found in other municipalities successful in reducing gun violence? Perhaps coordinated collaboration between different agencies â€” which leaders in both Chester and Trenton credited with recent declines in shootings. To address that, Council President Clarke and Councilmember Jones introduced a plan to create a new Office of the Chief Public Safety Director. That would require a charter change, so if the legislation passes, voters would see it as a ballot question in the May primary. [PhillyVoice/Delco Gov/CBS3/PHL Council/WHYY]

• Grant to move forward with capping Vine Street Expressway

Philly just won a federal grant to seriously explore building a cap over I-676 and reconnect Chinatown’s halves. Decades ago, community members protested the Vine Street Expressway, but failed to stop the highway from slicing the neighborhood in two. The $1.8 million comes from the Reconnecting Communities Initiative sponsored by Philly U.S. Rep. Evans. [@RepDwightEvans/WHYY’s PlanPhilly/Billy Penn/BP 2021]

• New book for everyone in Philly to read

“Interior Chinatown” is this year’s selection for the Free Library’s One Book, One Philadelphia program. Launched in Philly in 2003, the annual initiative promotes “literacy, library usage, and civic dialogue” with planned events and discussion prompts about one great read. The 2023 pick, a novel by Charles Yu in the format of a screenplay, explores stereotypes and representation in the media. [@Onephlbook/Free Library/WHYY]

Spring Garden Station on SEPTA’s Broad Street Line (Danya Henninger/Billy Penn)

VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead

• Rumor: Building trades to back Parker for mayor

The Philadelphia Building & Construction Trades Council plans to make its mayoral endorsement on Wednesday, and it’s likely to be for Cherelle Parker, according to The Inquirer. Under former leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, the 30-union coalition helped propel Jim Kenney to a win. Dougherty stepped down after his federal bribery conviction and was replaced by Ryan Boyer, but the Building Trades Council is still considered politically powerful. [Tribune$/Inquirer$/WHYY 2015/BP 2022]

• End of Temple grad student strike?

The union representing Temple graduate student workers on Friday reached a tentative agreement with the university. It would increase compensation this year and over the next three years, and would reimburse striking students for any health care costs incurred this month after the university canceled benefits. TUGSA members are expected to vote on the proposal this week; until then, the strike continues. [Billy Penn]

• Mardi Gras brings parties…and donuts

In Christian tradition, the day before Lent begins is a day of indulgence. Several New Orleans-inspired bars and restaurants are hosting parties or offering specials for Mardi Gras. The Pennsylvania Dutch call the semi-holiday Fastnacht Day, and various bakeries around the city will be reprising their donut prowess to celebrate this Tuesday. [Metro/BP 2022]

Catch up on the previous week

Receive Billy Penn’s free daily roundup in your inbox every morning