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 8.18 – 8.20
Philly Economic Growth
A new study by Headlight Data ranked Philly as the 4th fastest growing economy of all metropolitan areas in the US. Between 2015 and 2016, Philly added 45,000 jobs, a 1.7 percent growth rate. Philly ranks behind Nashville, Tennesse; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Tucson, Arizona.
PA Senator Pat Toomey tweeted his support for Trump’s firing of cabinet members Steve Bannon and Anthony Scaramucci, but some say it was too late. Many took to Twitter and criticized Toomey for not taking a stand against Bannon until after his firing.
Hypocrite! Where have you been. Easy to jump on the bandwagon. Tough to take a principled stance. You are part of the problem. #ImpeachNow
— Athena🙌🔥 (@Athena_1984) August 19, 2017
That's strange. I contacted your office in January regarding Bannon and was told you supported him 100%. 🤷♀️
— Jennifer Fuller (@jafuller121) August 19, 2017
Soda Tax Effects
A Florida marketing firm, Catalina, released a study suggesting that the soda tax is causing people to buy less soda in the city. The study indicates that sales of soda in the city have dropped 55 percent, at the same time sales of soda just outside the city’s border rose 38 percent. The city has raised $39.3 million from the tax, slightly under the Kenney administration’s prediction of $42.6 million in revenue.
Big Fan John but have to philosophically disagree on this. If individuals want to drink sodas, let them with full disclosure of health risk
— Chris Boschetto (@ChrisBoschetto) August 23, 2017
Fate of Rizzo Statue
Mayor Jim Kenney said Tuesday that the fate of the contentious Frank Rizzo statue will be left to the city’s Art Commission. A request must be submitted to the commission so that they can have a hearing and vote on the piece, the process is expected to take months. Kenney also said that the controversy is taking away from other important issues, and questioned if most Philadelphians even cared about the “piece of metal.”
Cosby Trial Delayed
Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial has been delayed until early 2018, after Cosby had to replace multiple members of his defense team. Cosby recently hired lawyer Tom Mesereau, who gained fame defending Michael Jackson in his 2005 child molestation trial.
Cosby hires Michael Jackson's lawyer. Strategy: feed all the jurors propofol and hope they don't remember anything when they wake.
— Lindsay Glazer (@LindsayGlazer) August 22, 2017
Philadelphia International Airport Improvements
The Federal Aviation Administration announced on Tuesday that $286.6 million in grants have been secured for airports across the country. Philadelphia International Airport will receive $16.5 million of the grant money. The airport will use the money to extend its main runway 1,500 feet, which will make it one of the longest on the east coast.
NFL Draft Revenue
This year’s NFL Draft generated $94.9 million in economic impact according to a new study by Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau and Temple University’s Sport Industry Research Center. The draft attracted 250,000 fans who spent money at hotels, bars, restaurants and other local shops. The study also said that 63 percent of attendees were from “out of town.”
NFLDraft exceeded $$$$ expectations in Philly
$94.9 million impact for Philly surpassed estimates of $80 million
Bring it back 👍🏼 pic.twitter.com/sTikkjW6XN
— John Clark CSN/NBC (@JClarkCSN) August 24, 2017
Police Officer Accused of Bribery
A Philly Police Officer is accused of taking bribes from towing companies in exchange for directing lucrative police work to the companies. Sgt. Brian Smith allegedly took over $20,000 between December 2015 and November 2016. Smith pleaded not guilty to the charges. It is alleged that Smith took the bribes, and sent text messages with confidential police information on where accidents were located to tow truck drivers throughout the region. This is in violation of the police department’s rotational towing policy.