Open minds and open water at the Manayunk Canal (Instagram/@sweetandbritephl)

Will ruling against Ethics Board spur big money in local politics?

Opinions are sharply divided over the significance of a judge’s decision last week to toss out an Ethics Board lawsuit against a super PAC associated with supermarket magnate and former mayoral candidate Jeff Brown.

Some say its impact will be narrow, Meir Rinde reports, while others say it effectively “subverts” campaign finance law and paves the way for more dark money in local politics.

A pro-Brown flier sent out by For A Better Philadelphia last spring after the PAC was ordered to stop spending money on electioneering. But the PAC said it had already paid for the mailers, and a recent decision found no illegal activity. (Billy Penn illustration)

Philly receives more green to go green

A major budget boost is on the way for Philadelphia’s project to expand the city’s green urban canopy more equitably: The 10-year Philly Tree Plan is getting a $12 million USDA grant.

Benefits range from health to violence reduction, Meir Rinde reports, and the new funds represent the “largest investment in Philadelphia’s urban forest in almost 30 years.”

Tree cover in Philadelphia is unevenly distributed. The Philly Tree Plan aims to change that. (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

🏒 BP Quizzo live at Fitler Club! Join us tonight for Philly trivia in person at the garden of this social club next to the Schuylkill River in Center City. Your $25 ticket includes unlimited hors d’oeuvres and happy hour snacks, and the top score wins 4 tickets to the Flyers home opener. See you there?

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

• Where will outgoing Council President Darrell Clarke land after four decades in City Hall? On the Liquor Control Board, if the Pa. Senate approves his appointment to the $89k/year position. Of note, Clarke reportedly doesn’t drink alcohol. [Inquirer$/KYW]

• RIP JoAnne Epps, Temple University’s respected and beloved acting president, who died suddenly yesterday after falling ill during a campus event. There’s a celebration of her life today at noon at Temple’s Bell Tower; we’ll have a look back at her legacy tomorrow. [6ABC/Temple]

• Bail has officially been revoked for Philadelphia police officer Mark Dial, who faces murder charges in the fatal shooting of Eddie Irizarry in Kensington last month. [WHYY]

• Lanternflies might not cause as much irreparable harm to trees as previously thought, per a four-year study out of Penn State, which found they could bounce back after infestations. [KYW]

• New local sports outlet PHLY has launched, with YouTube shows and podcasts by a slew of personalities previously at The Athletic, PhillyVoice, and…maybe 97.5 The Fanatic. Midday radio sports talker Anthony Gargano apparently thought he could do both things, but the station has now suspended him for breach of contract. [YouTube/Crossing Broad] 

“Today’s perishables” on the CSX tracks next to the Schuylkill Banks. (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

Weekly brief on gun violence prevention (with PCGVR)

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

• Public libraries can play a big role in gun violence prevention, something community advocates in Kensington noted last summer, when the Lillian Marrero branch temporarily closed. [Trace/Kensington Voice]

• Community organizers, nonprofit leaders, and media practitioners are invited to a free panel next Wednesday about cultivating a more nuanced approach to reporting on gun violence. [Eventbrite]

• Will the Pa. Supreme Court allow Philly to enact local gun laws? After arguments last week, judges gave no indication of when they might issue a ruling. [WHYY]

• Several hundred kids joined police officers in Fairhill for a “Football Not Firearms” rally, with food, music, and 150 footballs donated by the Eagles. [CBS3/Peace Day Philly]

By the numbers in Philadelphia

  • 31: Shooting victims recorded last week, vs. 25 the week prior. [PCGVR]
  • 1,303: Shooting victims this year so far, down 24% vs. this time last year. [PCGVR]
  • 314: Year-to-date homicides, down 19% vs. last year’s pace; up 30% vs. five years ago [Philly Police]


Pa. House Speaker McClinton joins Mayor Kenney and Rebuild officials for another groundbreaking, this one for $20 million in improvements to F.J. Myers Rec Center (4 p.m.).


🕺🏼 Enjoy the smooth and classic taste of PBJ — that is, Prince, Bowie, and Jagger — at an Underground Arts dance party in Callowhill. Tickets are $15 plus fees. (8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22) 

🪷 Celebrate the Indian “festival of chariots” at Krishna Fest 2023 at Eakins Oval, featuring a chariot procession, bhakti yoga, free vegetarian bites, henna, and vendors. (12 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23) 

📚 Palestine Writes, the only North American literature festival celebrating Palestinian writers and artists comes to Penn for a weekend of literary community and culture. (Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 23-24)

📘 Billy Penn is participating in Philly Story Fest, joining journalists from media outlets around Philadelphia to tell the city’s best stories on stage at the Bok. Tickets are $25. (7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5)

Catch up on the previous week

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