Maypole at Brauhaus Schmitz (Instagram/@barbhmphilly)

RECAP: Looking back on the week that was

• Tools to get ready to vote

The mayoral race is still super close, per a new poll released by the Gym campaign, which means your vote counts more than ever. It also counts in all the judicial and row office races, and on the charter change questions (which almost always pass). Check out all the deets and prep for the polls with our Procrastinator’s Guide — now including Council candidate videos from PhillyCAM. Are you a mail voter? Here’s our map of secure ballot drop boxes around the city.
[PoliticsPA/Billy Penn x 2]

• Charter school ups and downs

In addition to 217 public schools, Philly taxpayers fund 83 charter schools across the district. Independent oversight can make it easier to implement new programs, like the semester-long internship just launched for all juniors at Boys’ Latin High School. Critics say it can also ease impropriety. A former administrator at Franklin Towne Charter in Bridesburg is speaking out with concerns the CEO manipulated the lottery to keep out students from certain zip codes. 
[Phila SD/Billy Penn/Inquirer$]

• Philly-born play earns 5 Tony noms

“Fat Ham,” the Black queer reimagining of “Hamlet” by Temple grad and Villanova professor James Ijames, snagged five Tony nominations, including the first-ever for Philly’s Wilma Theater, where the show first premiered in 2021. Set at a family BBQ in the American South, the play won last year’s Pulitzer Prize for drama.

• 2026 planning begins in earnest

10 tourism and government orgs formed a group called Coalition 2026 to coordinate plans for Philly’s semiquincentennial celebrations. Philadelphia expects to be a national destination during the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. 2026 events already scheduled include the MLB All-Star Game and matches for the FIFA World Cup, which alone is expected to generate $460 million in economic impact.
[Biz Journal$/Phila 250/BP 2019/BP 2022]

Pa. Convention Center and surroundings (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead

• Last chance candidate forums

There are a handful of opportunities to meet or listen to the candidates in this last week before the primary election. 
– Monday, May 8: Kensington Voice hosts some mayoral hopefuls (incl. Jeff Brown and Amen Brown) plus the District 7 Council contenders at McPherson Square Library. (4 to 6 p.m.)
– Monday, May 8: Philadelphia high school students take the mic in the WDAS Kids Debate, which streams live on Facebook. (6 to 7 p.m.)
– Tuesday, May 9: Who’s running for a position on a statewide court? Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts hosts a Zoom forum with candidates for appellate judge. (6 to 7:30 p.m.)
– Tuesday, May 9: WURD Radio hosts “Inclusion, Innovation and Philadelphia’s Future,” a mayoral candidate debate at the UC Science Center. (6 to 8 p.m.)
– Tuesday, May 9: G-Town Radio hosts the two District 8 Council candidates, incumbent Cindy Bass and challenger Seth Anderson-Oberman, for a debate in Vernon Park. (7 to 9 p.m.)

• Hearings on water rates and SEPTA spending

Will we see transit fares increase next year? Public hearings on SEPTA’s $1.7 billion operating budget for FY24 take place virtually and in person this Monday and Tuesday. If you want to offer comment, email or RSVP to attend. Your water bill could also be going up, as the Philadelphia Water Dept. struggles to replace aging infrastructure. City Council holds a public hearing at 9 a.m. Monday on the proposed rate hike, which would see the average bill increase by about $14/month.
[PhillyVoice/SEPTA/BP 2022/PHL Council/WHYY]

• 13th annual Philly Tech Week

Now through next weekend, the return of Philly Tech Weeks brings dozens of events across the city. There’s the NET/WORK job fair, a free coding lesson, social meetups for women or LGBTQ people, and plenty more, including Technically Philly’s signature event, a daylong meetup at the Comcast Technology Center. It’s capped off by the always amusing Kensington Derby, where people-powered vehicles race through a course filled with obstacles and mud.
[PTW/Eventbrite x 2/BP 2022]

• Pierogi festival in Port Richmond

Nearly 4k people have already RSVP’d for the Port Richmond Pierogi Fest at Gaul & Co. Malt House. The block party will feature 20 pierogi vendors, 150 crafters and artists, six live bands, and pay-as-you-go drinks. The neighborhood has a plethora of places offering the Polish dumplings; a few years back we rounded up seven great options here
[Facebook/BP 2017]