RECAP: Looking back on the week that was
• Charter school board holds private shutdown vote
North Broad’s 900-student Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School edged closer to shutting down after 25 years as its board voted to approve the closure. There’s debate over whether the vote is legal, however — it was held in private, after school community members were told to leave the meeting, which appears to violate Pa.’s Sunshine Act. MCS founder Veronica Joyner has said she plans to sell the building, assessed five years ago at $8.8 million, and will refuse to rent it out to another school operator.
• Mail voters can cure their ballots
As of Friday, about 64,000 Philadelphia voters had returned their mail ballots for this week’s election, about 58% of people who requested them. Of those tens of thousands, about 1,800 are at risk of not being counted because of technicalities like missing signature, missing secrecy envelope, incorrect date, or lack of date. (That last was the most common error, and its numbers included one Jim F. Kenney.) Good news: if you’re on the list — check our searchable database here — you have a chance to fix things by picking up and returning a new ballot at City Hall.
[Pa. Gov/Billy Penn]
• Sit-ins and empty tables
People in Philadelphia last week continued demonstrations and actions connected to the Israel-Hamas war. Hundreds of activists calling for a ceasefire on Thursday filled 30th Street Station, disrupting the evening rush hour commute and resulting in 68 arrests for “defiant trespass.” Friday evening brought a display of empty Shabbat tables to the Art Museum steps, with a photo of each of hundreds of Israeli hostages taped to the backs of the seats.
• Ramen bar opens in familiar space
A subterranean space on Sansom Street in Center City is attracting a lot of attention in its new incarnation as Chika, a Blade Runner-inspired noodle bar from Glu Hospitality, which also runs a bagel shop above. Photos of the layout — cushioned booths next to a diner-esque counter, black-and-white tile floor — might look familiar to folks who follow Mike Solomonov. It was formerly home to CookNSolo’s philanthropic restaurant Rooster Soup Co., which closed in 2019 after two years donating all proceeds to the nonprofit Broad Street Ministry.
[Billy Penn/BP 2019]
VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead
• Philly finds out who’ll be 100th mayor
When the polls close on Tuesday, we’ll know for sure who will be Philadelphia’s 100th mayor: Democrat Cherelle Parker or Republican David Oh. It hasn’t exactly been a cutthroat campaign. The nominees participated in one debate, during which Oh acknowledged that Parker was “a good candidate” when confronted with the fact that a Republican hasn’t come close to winning since 1999. Oh has contrasted his “outsider” status with Parker’s inside connections, casting himself as the candidate for change. Parker points to her wide network and big-name endorsements as proof she has the clout to get things done. If she wins as widely predicted, she would be the first woman to be Philly mayor.
• Take BP’s election guide to the polls — in 4 languages
If you’re planning to vote in person, a reminder that Billy Penn’s Procrastinator’s Guide is your cheat sheet for the election — we’ve got bios on all the candidates, including the many running for judgeships. FYI: You can bookmark the guide on your phone and take it with you inside the voting booth for easy reference. Also! If you know people who’d be more comfortable reading the guide in Spanish, Chinese, or Arabic, please pass along the links.
[Billy Penn x 4]
• I-95 temporary roadway gets removed
The innovative temporary lanes that allowed I-95 to reopen just two weeks after this summer’s devastating collapse in Northeast Philly are being dismantled this week so PennDOT crews can finish constructing the permanent overpass bridges. The backfill aggregate made in Delco from recycled bottles will be stored for reuse elsewhere, per the Pa. Dept. of Transportation, which warns of slight delays Monday and Wednesday evenings as the lanes are shifted.
[Billy Penn x 2/PennDOT]
• Bellevue’s gym reopens after 3 years
The Sporting Club that takes up multiple floors of the historic Bellevue on the Avenue of the Arts has long been one of Philly’s swankiest gyms, with politicians and celebs calling it their go-to. Perhaps fitting, then, that coverage of its reopening this week is so far only behind paywalled sources. The new incarnation has been outfitted with a golf pavilion, pickleball courts, and new outdoor spaces, per reports.
[Sporting Club/Philly Mag$/Biz Journal$/Inquirer$]
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