Newsletter for Friday, June 17
INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY
We feel the same way about the waterfront, buddy. (Instagram via @frankandthegram.)
SCHOOL REFORM COMMISSION ADOPTS BIG TRANSGENDER STUDENT POLICY
It’s now school district policy to allow transgender kids to use the names, pronouns and bathrooms they prefer. The School Reform Commission made it official yesterday evening. A School District spokesman noted to Philly.com that this is in line with what local schools were already doing. Still, some would say it’s about time, as nearby districts like Montgomery County and Cherry Hill have already passed formal policies. The new protections also allow transgender youths to go out for whatever sports teams or student groups they want, regardless of gender.
PHILLY PASSES A SODA TAX: WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
Philadelphia is now the first major city in America to have a tax on sugary beverages. But don’t expect to run to the store later today and find jacked up prices on your Mountain Dew. City Council passed the measure Thursday on a 13-4 vote. The 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages and diet sodas doesn’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2017, which seems like a long time from now — if there wasn’t such serious opposition to this measure. But the time between now and then will be busy, so here’s what to look for.
THE GUN DETECTION TECH PHILLY COPS HAVE BEEN USING SINCE JAN 1
Philadelphia Police started using SENTRI January 1, which was not exactly the ideal day given SENTRI is a technology designed to detect the sound of gunshots. These sensors, connected to surveillance cameras and installed to help police officers answer the recurring question of “gunshot or firework,” were inundated with New Year’s Day fireworks. It’s gotten better. The department has continued using the technology as part of a nine-month pilot program. More than gunshot detection, they want SENTRI to be a tool that helps them catch criminals on camera and collect data.
Each year, the Philadelphia Mans Basketball League travels to Jamaica to host a training camp for under-served kids, and they need help raising money to do it.
Where: Haas Biergarten at La Peg at 140 N. Columbus Blvd. 19106
When: June 17, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.
How much: $20 includes beer and wine
BILLY PENN LIKES
PHILLY’S NEW MAYOR AND THE ART OF HORSE-TRADING
Despite outcry from some in the anti-soda tax camp, revelations that soda tax dollars would fund things other than pre-K shouldn’t be a surprise. This type of horse-trading between a mayor and City Council isn’t uncommon. In fact, it’s expected. But it’s OK if you’re not used to seeing a mayor trading affirmation of the wants and needs of individual council members. Former Mayor Michael Nutter wasn’t exactly known for this toward the end of his tenure; and you’re not seeing too much of this mirrored by Gov. Tom Wolf and the Harrisburg legislature, either. Here’s some background on the give and take you can expect to see more of during Jim Kenney’s first term.
WHY KENYATTA JOHNSON AND JORDAN HARRIS ARE GOIN’ ON A BOAT
The Saturday before the Democratic National Convention gets going in Philadelphia, state Rep. Jordan Harris and Philly Councilman Kenyatta Johnson will be on a boat. It’s a yacht, rather, and it’ll be decked out on three floors that include an open bar, a dance party and a cigar lounge meant to welcome folks from out of town to Philly for the convention. Some have said holding such a lavish affair on the eve of the DNC is a tone-deaf move for two Philadelphia politicians who have made addressing poverty in their districts a priority. Harris, for his part, says that’s baloney. Here’s why.