Funding Philly’s Ethics Board; Henon reports to prison; Weekly gun violence brief | Morning roundup

Gun Rights

Give Philadelphia’s Ethics Board a bigger budget? 

Philly’s Board of Ethics recently stepped into the mayor’s race, suing a dark-money PAC for a violation of finance laws meant to stop corruption.

  • The board’s budget has remained flat since it was created over a decade ago — even as its role has greatly expanded, in large part thanks to the Supreme Court’s cash-freeing Citizens United ruling.

It needs more money and a bigger toolkit, argues Committee of 70 Policy Director Pat Christmas, because Philadelphians deserve to know who’s spending to influence their votes.

Philadelphia City Hall (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

• Pennsylvania will start classifying xylazine as a Schedule III narcotic. The move will make it easier to arrest and charge dealers of “tranq,” which now shows up in almost all Philly street drugs, and require manufacturers to use more stringent protocols. [Metro/CNN]

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• Former Councilmember Bobby Henon reported to Fort Dix to begin his 3.5-year prison sentence for bribery and corruption. He was convicted alongside former union leader John Dougherty, who has not yet been sentenced and faces additional charges. [CBS3/BP]

• Graffiti reading “human traffic[k]er” was written on a Chestnut Street statue of Robert Morris, a financier and slave trader who signed the Declaration of Independence. Federal officials used lasers to try to remove the marking. [KYW]

• Several women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Temple assistant football coach Antoine Smith. [Inquirer$]

• PHL Airport saw a 31% drop in passenger traffic from 2019 to 2022. American Airlines will try to build it back up with new aircraft and more flights. [Forbes]

• Missing spooky szn? The Lincoln Mill Haunted House in Manayunk hosts a “Halfway to Halloween” event on April 29. [BP 2022/PhillyVoice]

Sunset’s last moment at Philadelphia Museum of Art (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

Weekly brief on gun violence prevention (with PCGVR)

We publish this report each week in partnership with the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting• Watch video interviews with leaders from the Civic Coalition to Save Lives, the collaboration of 90+ business, philanthropy, and civic orgs formed last fall to stem gun violence in Philly. [6ABC/WHYY]

• For the fifth year in a row, Philadelphia suffered the highest rate of fatal shootings among the nine largest U.S. cities (some smaller cities saw higher rates). [American Violence]

• The city has started installing 100 new surveillance cameras near 14 rec centers as part of a $5 million effort to deter violence. A local study from 2018 found that adding CCTV cameras made “no significant impact“ on crime. [WHYY/Criminal Justice Review]

• A new Pa. House bill would limit purchases to one handgun per person per 30-day period, with some exceptions. Gun reform legislation has languished in Harrisburg for decades; the NRA is worried the new Democratic majority could change that. [Pa. Legis/BP 2018/WESA]

• Want to do your own reporting on gun violence? RSVP for a May 6 info session on PCGVR’s Credible Messenger Reporting Project, which pairs journalists and community members with lived experience, offering grants up to $7,500. [PCGVR]

By the numbers in Philadelphia

  • 31: Shooting victims recorded last week, vs. 38 the week prior. [City Controller via @PCGVR]
  • 501: Shooting victims this year so far, down 20% vs. this time last year. [PCGVR]
  • 124: Year-to-date homicides, down 11% vs. last year’s pace; up 35% vs. five years ago [Philly Police]


Nothing public on the schedule for Mayor Kenney. On Monday he joined 160 U.S. mayors in demanding Congress move forward gun safety legislation at the federal level.


🎾 BP Quizzo: Join us at Padelphia for a night of Philly trivia! Space is limited at this new-style racket club on the Schuylkill River near City Live Ave, so register early. BYO, plus we’ll have some snacks and sips, and prizes for the winners. (6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 26)

🗳️ Get practice casting a ballot and learn about Philly’s electronic voting machines at a free demo — with refreshments — at the Nicetown-Tioga Free Library Branch. (3 p.m. Wednesday, April 19) 

🪩 MilkBoy in Center City hosts Cos-Palooza, a cosplay-encouraged dance party that’s described as “an anime Cochella.” 21+, entry is $10. (10 p.m. Saturday, April 22)

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