Last Week Today is a roundup of all things politics and civics that happened in Philadelphia during the previous week. This includes legislation, news from political officials, government initiatives, and internet ephemera.
Weekend 7.21, 7.22, 7.23
Temple Grad Wins WSOP
This week we’re starting off with some civic pride for the local guy who just became very wealthy. Temple grad Scott Blumstein increased his worth by $8 million after he won the Main Event at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas on Saturday. The WSOP attracts thousands of entrants competing for the multi-million dollar cash prize and the coveted WSOP bracelet, basically the Stanley Cup of the poker world. Blumstein became the fourth youngest winner in history at 25-years-old. The New Jersey native said being able to play poker legally online is a big advantage.
Congrats Scott Blumstein
NJ Kid wins $8.1 MILLION in World Series of Poker!!
— John Clark CSN/NBC (@JClarkCSN) July 23, 2017
New Interim DA
Philadelphia’s new District Attorney, Kelley Hodge, was sworn in on Monday, becoming our city’s first African-American female district attorney. Hodge was last in private practice at the Elliot Greenleaf law firm. She will serve until a new DA is sworn in in January.
Bob Brady in Hot Water
“I don’t remember none of that,” U.S. Congressman Bob Brady said when reporters asked him if he payed $90,000 to get a primary rival to stop his campaign in 2012. The accusations came after an aide involved in the transaction plead guilty to her role in the deal. Apparently, Brady’s campaign secretly paid $90,000 to rival Jimmie Moore’s campaign so that Moore would drop out of the race. Brady’s lawyer, Jim Eisenhower said the transactions did happen, but they were completely legal and after Moore dropped out. Eisenhower also said that Brady’s campaign purchased polling data and a campaign manager from Moore, totaling $90,000.
— G.W. Miller III (@gwmiller3) July 27, 2017
Repairs for Roosevelt Boulevard
A 12-mile section of Roosevelt Boulevard will be resurfaced and repaved as part of a $7.6 million project expected to be done in November. The stretch of the boulevard being repaved is between 9th Street and the start of Bucks County. Lane closures are expected during construction.
Top of Ben Franklin
Two daring photographers were on top of the Ben Franklin Bridge around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning. Their illegal antics caused the bridge to shut down for almost two hours while over 40 firefighters and policemen brought them down and into handcuffs. The men were charged with criminal mischief, interference with transportation, and causing or risking widespread damage, all felony charges.
— FOX 29 (@FOX29philly) July 26, 2017
Allentown Mayor Indicted
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski has been indicted for participating in pay-to-play politics. Investigators say that for years he funneled government contracts to businesses based on personal gifts like cash or tickets to events. He faces over 50 counts including extortion, fraud, and bribery. Pawlowski sustains that he never accepted illegal campaign contributions and claims he will not be stepping down from his current campaign for a fourth term. Multiple elected officials, former officials, and businessmen are also being charged in the wide-ranging investigation. Nine people have pleaded guilty since the investigation began four years ago.
So Bob Brady funneled campaign money to chill a black political challenger and the Allentown mayor just got indicted. Great day for PA
— Ryan W Briggs (@rw_briggs) July 25, 2017
Food Stamps Decreasing
30,000 Pennsylvanian’s no longer qualify for food stamps after failing to meet minimum work requirements. Work requirements have been steadily increasing since the recession ended as a way to ensure that able-bodied people are working. Most of the change comes in the suburbs. Montgomery and Chester counties both saw 78-percent decreases in recipients. Philadelphia only saw a 4-percent decrease in recipients.
Sessions Attacks Sanctuary Cities
Jeff Sessions is ignoring consistent criticism from President Trump and is instead launching an attack on sanctuary cities. Sessions threatened to take millions of dollars in federal grants from cities who don’t comply with immigration policies. Philadelphia is one of these cities, and officials say this policy hurts the city no matter what. They say that if they lose the funding, law enforcement officers will lose valuable resources. If they comply with federal immigration policy, immigrants will be reluctant to report crimes to the police and more criminals will be on the streets.
ICE chief: sanctuary cities are hot bed of crime.
NYC: our crime rate's at an all-time low.
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) July 27, 2017