Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, the Republican freshman congressman from Bucks County, will face off in November with millionaire Scott Wallace, who won the Democratic primary Tuesday night. The first congressional district race is expected to be one of the most closely watched as Democrats try to flip the U.S. House of Representatives from red to blue.
U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick won the Republican primary for the First Congressional District. Fitzpatrick will face off with Scott Wallace, who won the Democratic primary Tuesday night. It will be one of the most closely watched races come this fall as Democrats try to flip the U.S. House of Representatives from red to blue.
Leaks in the ceiling, holes in the wall, a family of raccoons. This is what Antoine and LaVerna Moseley endured when they lived for more than a year in the second floor apartment of a house owned by Sheriff Jewell Williams. Their story raises questions about whether Williams was a shoddy landlord to struggling residents - and if he was misleading when he said only one tenant lived at the property, following the violations he received for operating an illegal triplex.
Marcel S. Pratt, 33, was confirmed last month as the new city solicitor. He is a West Philadelphia native who excelled in school and made it to University of Pennsylvania on an academic scholarship. From there, he went to law school at Temple University and landed at one of the most prestigious law firms in the city. He was wooed away in 2016 to take the lead on lawsuits the city filed on behalf of residents. Now Pratt will lead the entire law department.
City officials are trying to figure out how $33.3 million went missing from the city's main bank account. The discrepancy in how much the city lists as having in its records versus what the bank statements show was first flagged in the city's 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) released in February. But it wasn't until the current series of budget hearings that Councilman Allan Domb has peppered every city financial official about the unaccounted-for funds.
City Council members are so skeptical about the new property assessments that they have requested that a real estate appraising firm be hired to audit the city's office of property assessment. A request for proposal was issued Thursday at Council's request to find a vendor to assess the process used in determining the 2019 property values, which resulted in property values skyrocketing as high as 47 percent in some neighborhoods.
Advocates for Puerto Rican evacuees are telling other Puerto Ricans on the island to avoid Philadelphia. After months of fighting with local, state and federal government officials, activists have almost given up hope that any help will be provided to the hundreds of families who moved here after their homes were destroyed during Hurricane Maria. FEMA is about to cut off another round of families from federal aid and the city is only providing five housing opportunities for the hundreds of evacuees seeking help.
In just the last year property values across the city increased 8 percent (taxable value increased by 11 percent), with several pockets of the city increasing by more than 20 percent, some by more than 70 percent, according to the city's latest citywide property valuation.
In the first seven month of fiscal year 2018, which ends June 30, police officers racked up $12 million in overtime just waiting to be called to testify in court hearings or trials. That's one of the biggest reasons, with five months remaining in the fiscal year, the police department has already burned through its entire $57 million overtime budget.
In the end, Adrianne Gunter waited 878 for a federal administrative law judge to tell her what she already knew: that she is too disabled to work. Gunter received a letter this week that now allows her to apply for Supplemental Security income (SSI)- federal aid for those who are poor and disabled, blind or elderly. She is not the only one waiting years for a hearing and decision from the Social Security Administration, which administers the SSI program. The Philadelphia Office of Disability Adjudication and Review has one of the worst averages for decision times in the country: 756 days. The SSA's goal is 270 days- or nine months- for an appeal decision.
Philadelphia's general fund spending has grown by 13 percent over the last two years, and if a proposed increase for the new fiscal-year budget is enacted, it will have increased spending by 17 percent since 2016.
The Kenney administration has agreed to provide five subsidized homes to some of the Puerto Rican families who relocated to Philadelphia after Hurricane Maria. The decision comes after a heated meeting last month among advocates and city officials over the city's refusal to allow Puerto Rican evacuees to skip the line for public and subsidized housing.
Leola Howell, who is wheelchair-bound due to cerebral palsy, and her 4-year-old daughter have been homeless since May. After months of couch-surfing they entered the city's homeless shelter system and are struggling to find permanent low-income housing that is handicap accessible. Howell's story highlights the city's struggle to house tens of thousands of poor Philadelphians who can't afford surging rents and a public housing system that is maxed out. Add disability to the mix and it's even more difficult.
Claudia Vargas is a reporter covering City Hall.