RECAP: Looking back on the week that was
• Fetterman’s shorts cause Senate uproar
John Fetterman has always favored shorts. It’s something we noted eight years ago, the first time he ran for U.S. Senate, and it didn’t change during his political rise. Now that he’s an actual senator, the chamber is relaxing its dress code. The announcement last week by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer spurred backlash and attacks on Fetterman as “disrespectful.” A group of traditionalist senators are planning a resolution to reimplement the requirement to wear coat/tie or dress/suit on the Senate floor.
• Debate over Sheriff’s Office’s missing guns
Are 185 guns missing from the armory at the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office? That’s what a report from the City Controller’s Office found, saying 76 service weapons and 109 confiscated firearms were unaccounted for in an audit. Sheriff Rochelle Bilal, whose office has faced a series of scandals since she was elected in 2019 as a reformer, disputed the report and blamed her predecessors’ sloppy accounting.
[Phila Gov/BP x 3/AP]
• $12 million for Philly trees
Philadelphia is getting a $12 million grant from the USDA to help implement the Philly Tree Plan, a 10-year project to make the green canopy more equitable across the city. Street trees have been correlated with better health and lower rates of violence, and this grant — “the largest investment in Philadelphia’s urban forest,” per city officials — represents a significant boost to the current $2 million annual spend.
[Phila Gov/Billy Penn]
• Hakim’s receives historical marker
In recognition of its 64 years in West Philadelphia, Hakim’s Bookstore yesterday was commemorated with an official state historical marker. A staple on the 52nd Street corridor since the 1950s, the city’s oldest Black-owned bookshop is now run by the namesake founder’s daughter, who recounted decades of spreading Afrocentric knowledge and joy.
VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead
• School cafeteria worker contract deadline
The current contract for food service and climate staff in Philly district schools expires on Saturday, and workers have authorized a strike if their demands aren’t met. The 1,900 employees are seeking more flexibility and higher pay — most make $15.50/hr, per their union. District officials say they’re confident an agreement will be reached; a work stoppage would be hugely disruptive to Philadelphia schools.
• Changes coming for Lincoln Drive
Fall is here, and with it comes upgrades to one of Philadelphia’s most dangerous roadways. Installation of speed tables (like speed bumps, but flatter) on Lincoln Drive is set to begin, kicking off a series of PennDOT improvements like rumble strips. Plans do not yet include a traffic circle at a particularly dangerous intersection, but it will get new road paint to help with left turns.
[Inquirer$/Chestnut Hill Local$]
• Updates on Bellwether District
The Bellwether District, aka the massive project rising on the land of the former PES refinery in South Philadelphia, is a year ahead of schedule. Most abatement and demolition on the 1,300-acre site finished up in spring, and construction is expected to begin this fall. This Tuesday developers host a virtual community meeting to present their traffic impact study (RSVP here). A community resource fair is planned for Oct. 5.
• Ready for fall foliage?
Starting this week, state foresters will put out a weekly report showing where to find the best autumn colors. The city has several stunning trees — we crowdsourced this list a few years back — but it might be worth planning a daytrip, because Pennsylvania is considered one of the world’s best places to see fall foliage. Start with this map from the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources, and go from there.
[Pa. Gov/BP 2020/Pa. Gov]
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