News & Brews May 17, 2024

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National themes to guide Pa. AG race? 

The Associated Press reports that the race for Pennsylvania attorney general will focus on “national political themes.” Democrat nominee Eugene DePasquale plans to center his campaign on abortion and elections, while Republican nominee Dave Sunday says “the number one issue facing Pennsylvanians” is the fentanyl crisis, exacerbated by the lack of border security.

For charged Philly campaign consultant, this isn’t first legal scuffle

Earlier this week, I shared that former Philly union leader Chris Woods had been charged with stealing more than $150,000 from union members for illegal political purposes. Also charged in the scheme was Democrat campaign consultant Tracy Hardy. Turns out this isn’t Hardy’s first crime-related rodeo. The Inquirer reports, “More than a decade ago, Hardy was a central witness in a scandal … involving campaign-finance violations during Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray’s underdog bid in 2010 to unseat his predecessor.” One of those convicted paid to have Hardy leave the country so he wouldn’t be questioned in the case.

Pittsburgh population is ‘stagnant’

The Post-Gazette reports that data released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week show “Pittsburgh added 300 people from 2020 to 2023, about a 0.1% increase.” The story notes, “Even if the city’s numbers seem relatively stable, analysts say broader regional declines in population — … Allegheny County was one of the top 10 counties in the U.S. for population decline from 2022 to 2023 — remain concerning. The county lost 7,780 residents, a decline of 0.63%, in that time frame.”

Philly may lose status as 6th most populous city 

The Inquirer reports that according to new U.S. Census Bureau data, Philly is still the country’s sixth-most populous city. But if current trends continue, it could lose that spot to San Antonio Texas. “Between April 2020 and July 2023, Philadelphia lost 3.3% of its population… Those pandemic-era losses dropped the city’s population to about 1,550,542.” Meanwhile, San Antonio “saw the largest numerical increase in its population of any city in the country in 2023, adding about 22,000 residents last year. That influx increased the city’s population to 1,495,295 people.”

Pa. courts’ transparency grade is B+ for one reason 

Spotlight PA reports, “Every year, thousands of officials in state government must fill out reports by May 1 that disclose their sources of income, creditors, and business interests, as well as any gifts, hospitality, or other perks they accepted,” These forms are then posted online for anyone to search. For Pennsylvania judges, however, while they have to file the forms, the forms are not publicly available online. Instead, you have to ask the courts directly for a copy (which, incidentally, I’ve done before and is fairly easy to do). Per the former head of Pa.’s Office of Open Records, “Anytime you can create ease and post things online, it is better for transparency … It’s the difference between a B-plus and an A.”

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