News flash: There's an election today in Pennsylvania. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Though there are no municipal positions up for grabs, contenders are vying to be selected as Republican or Democratic candidates for a slew of seats, including governor, lieutenant governor and national and state legislatures. (If the maximum number of women win, btw, the gender balance in Pa.'s legislature has the potential to shift dramatically.) Although Pa. is a closed primary state — i.e. you can only vote for a candidate in a particular party if you’re registered in that party — all registered voters can vote on the ballot questions. Here's a pullout explainer on who the stakeholders are for each question, and here's our general procrastinator's guide, with capsule info on all the races and everything you need to be informed at the polls.
Turnout is traditionally low in nonpresidential election years, but the electorate in Philly seems particularly dismissive of this primary. Of the 16 people Billy Penn surveyed Monday afternoon, only one named a candidate he was excited to support — and he can't vote anyway, since he's not yet a citizen. Most admitted they weren't aware an election was happening, though some said now that they knew thanks to the questioning, they'd try to make it to the polls. And even those who were most informed were still confused about which congressional district they were in. Somewhat understandable, considering the entire state map was just redrawn. But thinking your councilperson is your U.S. rep? Turns out that's kind of a common thing.
The day before a cyclist was killed at 10th and Spring Garden, a video posted to Twitter claimed to show a purposeful hit and run attack by a car driver on a bicycle. The user who posted uses the handle @BenjifromPhilly — but whether the incident actually happened in Philadelphia isn't clear. When PlanPhilly began investigating, the user name was changed to @BenjifromTexas. However, others pointed out that the scene looks a lot like the 5200 block of Florence Avenue in Southwest. Police are now actively investigating, and trying to determine if the clip was a prank or the real thing.
Yesterday, New York Times investigative reporter Eric Lipton was apparently passing through Philadelphia, and he stopped to admire the "character" of the 30th Street Station. He specifically called out the "old fashion clicking departure time board." We like to call it a flippy board. It's officially called a Solari board, after the Italian company known for manufacturing them — and it's not actually supposed to be there any more. In August 2016, Amtrak officials confirmed to Billy Penn that it was slated to disappear and be replaced with a new digital version. At the time, there was plenty of outcry, but good news: it's still there. Are plans to remove it still active? Stay tuned, we're on the case.
Philly native André W.Y.Z.E., of Humble Media, hosts an evening called "Philly Unplugged." Joining W.Y.Z.E. on the mic at this South Street soul food destination will be local artists C. Jae, Kyle Sparkman and India Sage André. Advance tickets are required; VIP tix include a drink.
Where: Ms. Tootsie's Soul Food Cafe at 1312 South St., 19147
When: May 16, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
How much: $20 or $30 for VIP