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GIORDANO: Parker’s Primary Victory a Win for Suburbs, Too

If you’re like me, your initial reaction to Cherelle Parker’s big win in Philadelphia’s Democratic Party’s mayoral race is the like the relief people feel when you’re driving and you narrowly miss a collision or the joy you feel when your medical tests come back clear.

Philadelphia dodged the disaster of Helen Gym, the darling of White progressives, becoming mayor. That’s good news for everyone in our area, not just in the city. And I believe Cherelle Parker will be a suburban-friendly mayor who draws suburbanites back to Philadelphia.

Parker started to come on my show about a year ago, and we openly discussed that some of her advisors cautioned against going on my station and talking with me. Listeners bonded with her over her joyous and infectious spirit, her support of restoring quality of life in Philadelphia, and her staunch opposition to safe injection sites.

On the other hand, Helen Gym put out a press release to the media attacking six Democrats who joined me for mayoral debates. The release noted I had said that I’d have to move away from Philadelphia if Gym were elected mayor. I took it as a high honor that the release directed me to “Start packing.”

I believe Parker will reach out to the suburbs because when she served in Harrisburg, she reached across party lines on many big issues. And on my show, she has dispelled the idea Philadelphia can’t work across geographic lines with suburban leaders.

Her approach is important because, even though Helen Gym was defeated, she still had a strong base of support. She did best with White progressives, particularly those making over $100,000 yearly and living in places like Center City and Chestnut Hill. Those people have largely been insulated from the violence plaguing Philadelphia. Those people loved Gym events featuring AOC and Bernie Sanders and touted the money and support Gym got from Jane Fonda.

Parker rolled up huge support from Black and Latino neighborhoods that have suffered under the wildly progressive policies of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. It’s hard to concentrate on the latest chic policies of the merry band of radicals when the bullets are flying.

Even though Parker has the nomination, she will face a quality challenger in Republican nominee David Oh. On my show this week, Oh pushed back on Parker’s apparent support for an arena that the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers want to build on Market Street. He also opposes her call for constitutional stop-and-frisk stops by the Philadelphia Police. Oh feels these stops are overreach by the government, and he plans to link that position to the theme of overreach by Philadelphia’s city government.

In addition to the Philadelphia races, there were two big developments in suburban races. Republican Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale was defeated by two Republican Party candidates endorsed by the Montgomery County GOP. Liz Preate Havey, former chairperson for Republicans in Montco, told me the endorsement sealed the defeat of Gale and that going forward, the Republican State Committee should endorse candidates in primaries to head off candidates like Doug Mastriano, who Josh Shapiro destroyed in the recent governor’s race.

The special election held in Delaware County held to fill the position of former state Rep. Mike Zabel showed how ineffectual the Delco Republicans are and how abortion is a critical issue. Democrats spent more than a million dollars to defeat Republican Katie Ford. And even though she told me that women should have the right to choose, Democrats relentlessly portrayed her as the vote that would restore Republicans to power in the House in Harrisburg and then take away all abortion rights in Pennsylvania.

The bottom line from this week is Philadelphia showed signs of sanity, and it’s good for our region.

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Gym, Gale Both Go Down to Surprising Defeats in Tuesday Primary

They are polar opposites politically, but they shared the same fate Tuesday night.

Progressive Philadelphia city councilor Helen Gym and Montco MAGA Republican Joe Gale were both defeated in Tuesday’s primaries, and both outcomes were viewed as surprising by political insiders.

In Philly’s Democratic primary for mayor, Gym had a narrow lead in the latest polls and the support of celebrity pols Sen. Bernie Sanders and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But she finished in third place with about 20 percent of the vote, well behind the victorious Cherelle Parker at 33 percent.

Parker, a former state representative and councilwoman, ran as a centrist Democrat. A Philadelphia native who campaigned on improving schools and public safety, Parker supports hiring more police and bringing back “stop and frisk” in the fight against crime.

“Under a Parker administration, every legal tool available, every constitutional tool available to our Police Department will be employed to ensure that we end this sense of lawlessness,” Parker said during the campaign.

In Montgomery County, incumbent GOP county commissioner and political firebrand Joe Gale was soundly defeated in his party’s primary, losing to both Liz Ferry and Tom DiBello. Both were endorsed by the Montco GOP, while Gale chose not to seek the party’s endorsement.

Gale, who was seeking his third term, did not respond to requests for comment.

“Last night was a great night for Montgomery County and the GOP,” said Republican Party Chairman Christian Nascimento. “Liz Ferry and Tom DiBello ran a hard, positive race that resonated with voters, and were able to overcome all the ridiculous negativity that was thrown at them.

“For the first time in over 10 years we will have a unified Republican ticket running for both seats on the County commission board. The hard work begins now, but I am so proud of how the party unified and came together to help get them across the line. This is a new day for the Montco GOP, and the first step towards returning Montgomery County to the example of responsible government that it once was.”

On the Democratic side, incumbent Jamila Winder (who was appointed in February to replace Val Arkoosh) and lawyer Neil Makhija beat out three others and will appear on the November ballots.

Likewise in Bucks County, endorsed GOP candidates Gene DiGirolamo, the incumbent, and Pamela Van Blunk beat unendorsed candidate Andrew Warren.  DiGirolamo and Van Blunk will appear on the November ballot running against Democrat incumbent commissioners Bob Harvie and Diane Ellis-Marseglia in the general election.

“We won big,” said Bucks GOP Chair Pat Poprik. “We had excellent candidates. We really did. And now for the fall, we have very strong candidates.”

In the statewide judicial races, Mongomery County President Judge Carolyn Carluccio will be the Republican nominee for Supreme Court justice, squaring off against Philadelphian Dan McCaffery, the Democratic nominee this fall.

Democrats comprise a 4-2 majority on the state’s high court, with the death of Chief Justice Max Baer last fall leaving the vacant seat.

And Megan Martin, a Delaware County native, who became the state Senate’s first secretary-parliamentarian, and Philadelphia Democrat Matt Wolf won their primaries and will contest for a seat on the Commonwealth Court.

Democrats Jill Beck, of Allegheny County and Philadelphian Tamika Lane will be on the ballot for two open seats in Superior Court, running against Republicans Maria Battista of Clarion County and Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Harry Smail Jr.

“Our entire endorsed slate of judicial candidates have won the Republican nominations for their respective races in November, and I couldn’t be happier about this team’s upcoming victories in the general,” said Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Lawrence Tabas. “From the beginning, we knew that these candidates would deliver wins in November and we are extremely happy the Republican electorate agreed with us.

“These four candidates will rule on the law as written and always uphold the Constitutions of Pennsylvania and the United States.”

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As She Leads in Latest Poll, Locals Ask: What Would Mayor Gym Mean for Suburbs?

A recent poll shows that Helen Gym is ahead of the field — slightly.  What would a Philadelphia mayor who is an unapologetic progressive mean to the businesses and families in the suburbs?

The Emerson College/PHL17 Poll has “Gym at 21 percent, followed by Cherelle Parker with 18 percent, Rebecca Rhynhart with 18 percent, and Allan Domb with 14 percent. Jeff Brown trails with 10 percent.” The poll showed that 15 percent were undecided less than a week from Election Day (May 16).

“When these voters are asked which candidate they lean towards, and that is added to their total support, Gym’s support increases to 23 percent, Parker to 21 percent, Rhynhart to 20 percent, and Domb to 17 percent,” the poll stated.

“This is an exciting race where there is no clear frontrunner,” said  Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling. “The top four candidates are within the poll’s margin of error and could receive the most votes depending on demographic turnout.”

Gym could win the Democratic nomination with fewer than a third of the electorate because so many candidates are running and dividing up the vote totals. And with a 7-1 Democratic voter registration, the Democratic nominee will likely be the next mayor, barring a major upset. Republican David Oh, a former city councilman, is unopposed in the GOP primary.

“Like many Chester County voters, I am concerned about the rising crime in Philadelphia and its spread to the suburbs. As I write this, Helen Gym is holding a campaign rally with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, which tells me everything I need to know about whether she will hold criminals accountable. There’s only one candidate in the Philadelphia mayoral race that I trust to make the city and its suburbs safer, and that is City Councilman David Oh,” said Eric Roe, a former Pennsylvania state representative and candidate for Chester County Commissioner.

Guy Ciarrocchi, former president of the Chester County Chamber of Commerce, said, “I think the big unspoken and unwritten story is the number of businesses making plans to close or relocate to the suburbs. Almost no one will talk on the record, nor will the chamber or other business leaders.  How many chose to close matters, and how many relocate to the suburbs matters. And in my opinion, it’s no victory when a major employer leaves center city or Port Richmond and relocates to King of Prussia.

“But the issue is that many are preparing for the worst—higher taxes, increased crime with little or no consequences, and underperforming schools.”

Pat Poprik, chair of the Bucks County Republicans, believes a Gym mayoralty will not be good for the suburbs or the city.

“I think she’s very progressive, further left than Mayor Kenney.” Poprik said, noting that Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came to rally with Gym on Sunday.

Gym tweeted: “I am honored to stand with two of the most inspiring political leaders and fiercest fighters for working people. The eyes of the nation are on Philadelphia because we are going to make history this Tuesday.”

Sanders tweeted: LIVE from PHILADELPHIA: Join @aoc  and me as we rally to make @HelenGymPHL – a true fighter for the working class – the next mayor of Philadelphia!”

And AOC retweeted Gym: “Everything must change. On Tuesday, vote for courage and transformation. This is our moment to build a Philadelphia where public schools are strong, communities are safe, workers are protected, and young people have a future to believe in. We get the city we fight for.”

Poprik says this is the wrong message for suburbanites who are increasingly concerned about the state of the city.

“That doesn’t bode well for the city. Bucks Countians don’t want to go there. You don’t feel safe there,” Poprik said. And that will only get worse if Gym takes over and drives more left-wing policies. “Philly has so many problems that could bleed into our counties,” she said. More Philadelphia residents will move to the suburbs. “They’re fleeing California (because of progressivism),” she said.

“It’s too much,” she said. “It’s out of control. I don’t think it’s best for the city to have somebody that liberal.”


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Progressive Canvassing for Helen Gym Shot by Fellow Canvasser in Philly

A quiet neighborhood in East Germantown was the scene of a homicide Monday when, shortly after 4 p.m., a canvasser for OnePA political PAC shot and killed another canvasser who worked for the same organization. The group was canvassing for progressive candidates, including former city council member Helen Gym.

Canvassers, who can be paid or volunteers, pass out literature for candidates or causes door-to-door. Sometimes they also ask for signatures on petitions.

No charges have been brought against the 22-year-old who fired the shot that killed Eddie Brokenbaugh, 46, said Officer Tonya Little, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Police Department.

The younger man, whose name was not released because he was not charged, told police he fired his weapon in self-defense after Brokenbaugh pulled a gun on him.

The shooter was licensed to carry a weapon and waited at the scene for police to arrive. Brokenbaugh’s gun was illegal.

The two apparently had a long-standing beef, officials said.

While far-left mayoral candidate Helen Gym said the workers were not part of her campaign, they were canvassing on her behalf through OnePA.

“I was devastated to hear about the tragic death of a canvasser today,” Gym posted on Twitter. “My thoughts are with the victim’s family, the OnePA community, and everyone impacted by this irrevocable loss. Though the canvasser was not part of our campaign, this loss is deeply felt by all of us.”

OnePA tweeted: “Today, a One PA team member tragically lost their life. We are heartbroken, and our condolences and sympathy are with their family. We are mourning this senseless loss and continuing to gather the facts and investigate what happened.”

While Gym says the canvasser was not working for her campaign, OnePA has a pinned tweet about Gym reading: “In just 9 days, we get to make HERSTORY by getting @HelenGymPHL elected as #Phillys100thMayor. Helen believes in restoring the village back to our city. It takes a village to continue to care for and support each other; it also takes a village to ..”

OnePA’s co-director had worked for Gym when she served on the city council, according to media reports.

@BigTrialBlog posted a picture of Brokenbough posing with Gym and other campaign workers on Twitter, saying, “‘Not part of our campaign:’ Here’s Helen Gym posing with campaign workers, including Eddie Brokenbough, the ex-felon who was packing an illegal gun when he was shot dead by another campaign worker.”

Helen Gym with campaign workers, including Eddie Brokenbough

Gym has claimed that if elected, she would declare a state of emergency and focus all city departments on community safety. She wants to convene a task force with city, state, and federal officials to combat illegal guns, improve 911 response times and prioritize mental health services.

“Helen Gym is putting her gun control plans into action, but perhaps a little too close to home,” said Albert Eisenberg with BlueState/Red. 

The Gym campaign did not respond when asked to comment.

Sage Cruz, co-executive director of One PA said, “Philadelphia’s ban the box law prohibits employers from asking about criminal history during the application process, and One PA complies with that law. We’re not going to dredge through the past of a man who has died while there is an active investigation underway. We are processing the loss of a loved member of our community who is no longer here and are asking that people give our community and his family space to grieve and give investigators a chance to do their work.

“Both individuals involved in this tragedy were paid temporary canvassers who had worked with our organization previously, the older man from 2021 and the younger from 2022,” she added.

OnePA responded to DVJournal’s requests for comment.

However, judging by the lawn signs, the canvassers did not seem to have made many inroads on the Church Lane block before their deadly encounter.

Several residents where the shooting occurred had signs for another candidate, Charelle Parker. A placard for Gym was affixed to a light pole near a corner bodega.

Two young men inside the bodega declined to comment.

“I think it’s crazy, for what it’s worth,” said one man, who did not want to share his name. “Nobody’s life is worth a disagreement.” That man had lived at his Church Lane house for 50 years. “I’m glad I wasn’t home (when the shooting happened),” he said.

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GIORDANO: Next Mayor’s Race Is An Inflection Point for Philly

I hosted six Democrats and one Republican running for Philadelphia mayor on Talk Radio 1210 last week. A listener from Delaware County tweeted at me, “Totally awesome format! I am not a resident of Philadelphia, but I live in DELCO, so what happens there affects me.”

Public safety was the key issue that I raised with the candidates. If you live in the suburbs but work or play in Philadelphia, you want to feel safe when you visit the city. Under the current administration and District Attorney Larry Krasner, no sane person feels safe.

Maybe, more importantly, the lawlessness in Philadelphia is bleeding into the suburbs. Abington Police Chief Pat Molloy is often on my show. He tells me that since the Philadelphia City Council, supported by Mayor Jim Kenney, passed the Driving Equality bill, Abington officers are making many more car stops for vehicles with no registration and often with illegal guns and drugs.

The premise of the bill is that cops can’t be expected to stop people of color for motor vehicle violations relatively. Therefore, for a significant number of violations, they are to write down the license plate information and send a ticket in the mail. A mayor concerned with public safety would veto a bill like this.

A Philadelphia mayor concerned with public safety would also remove Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw from her position.

Outlaw was hired because Kenney promised to put a Black woman in that position. I don’t see any clear plan from Outlaw to turn things around, and according to several sources, the morale in the police department is very low.

Only Democratic candidates Derek Green and Jeff Brown said they would remove Outlaw, and Republican David Oh would replace her with a former or current member of the Philadelphia Police Department. Allan Domb told me he believes Kenney tied Outlaw’s hands. On a very positive note, a candidate said to me off the record that former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsay would be in charge of public safety if that candidate were elected. That would be a tremendous development.

My biggest disappointment was that the candidates did not seem energized by my argument that Philadelphia needs at least a thousand more cops, and the current police salaries are not moving the needle. I argued that we need to increase wages a great deal more but also need to develop a campaign using athletes, celebs, influencers, etc., to say that being a cop is a great, noble profession.

This problem of recruiting cops is not just confined to Philadelphia. David Kennedy, president of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, wrote in the Pittsburg Tribune that when he applied to be a state trooper in 1995, he had to compete for the position with 10,000 applicants. Last year he reported that last year the Pennsylvania State Police had only 1,000 applicants.

I don’t recall any widespread issues with the state police, but it indicates progressive critics’ tarnishing of the profession. This trend cannot continue without putting every citizen at risk.

I’m still hopeful that even though I say deficiencies in the candidates, every one of them would protect Philadelphia better than Jim Kenney. The candidates in descending order that I trust the most to get a handle on crime are David Oh, Allan Domb, Cherelle Parker, and Amen Brown.

Former Councilperson Helen Gym declined to respond to our invitation. If she is elected mayor, Philadelphia will become more lawless and violent. The phrase “inflection point” is often overused, but this mayor’s race result is clearly an inflection point.

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DelVal Leaders Believe if Gym Wins, the Suburbs Lose

Some Delaware Valley leaders fear Helen Gym will be Philadelphia’s next mayor.

Gym is a formidable candidate, and with nine people—so far—running in the Democratic primary this May, the vote is up for grabs. A lot is riding on the race. Given the Democratic voter advantage of 7-1, whoever wins the primary will very likely be the next mayor.

Gym has a strong base of support from her time on the city council and as a former teacher turned school activist who often wielded a megaphone as she led demonstrations here and in Harrisburg.

She has hired Brendan McPhillips as her campaign manager. He successfully shepherded another far-left candidate, John Fetterman, into the U.S. Senate, despite Fetterman suffering a debilitating stroke during the campaign. And McPhillips, who grew up in Philadelphia, was Gym’s campaign manager for her successful 2015 city council bid.

Retired state Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery/Bucks) said Philadelphia’s policies affect the areas that border it.

“Weakened law enforcement is a big deal, affecting Montgomery County and the other collar counties,” Mensch said. “Any liberal mayor is not good for a stronger economy and jobs and crime.” He noted his “comments are based on current history.”

Guy Ciarrocchi, the former Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry president and a Republican who ran for Congress, said Gym’s anti-police stance on criminal justice would lead to even more crime in Philadelphia, which notably surpassed 500 murders again in 2022, and crime would inevitably spread outward.

On taxes, something businesses consider before relocating, Gym backed a wealth tax on the value of direct holdings in stocks and bonds at a maximum rate of 0.4 percent. It targets the top 5 percent of families with incomes of $364,000. And such a tax might also lead many businesses to go elsewhere.

Businesses that leave Philadelphia are more likely to head to Florida, Virginia, or Texas rather than Radnor or Chester County, Ciarrocchi said.

“You need a vibrant metropolitan area to have a vibrant suburban area because there’s a synergy there,” he continued. Many company officials find the Philadelphia area convenient because it is near I-95 and has Amtrak connections. So, within a few hours their employees can reach New York or Washington, D.C. Housing has traditionally been less expensive in Philadelphia and its suburbs than those other metropolitan areas. And there are amenities that employees like, such as excellent restaurants, the Philadelphia Zoo, the Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, and several theaters.

But if Philadelphia continues to deteriorate, none of that will matter.

As a suburb, “You want Philadelphia to be growing in population,” Ciarrocchi explained. “You want Philadelphia to be growing its economy. What you don’t want is a downtown that people are afraid to go into at night, where employees are hesitant to work, where the schools aren’t working,” he said.

Regulations that Gym supports make it challenging to redevelop crumbling neighborhoods and would make builders who might want to invest in those areas think twice.

Ciarrocchi said, “Our economy is in real trouble. Suburban leaders care a great deal about who is mayor—he or she is the ambassador for our region. It’s imperative that the next mayor focuses on policies that encourage businesses to open up and grow here—and fights violent crime. We don’t need candidates focused on micromanaging businesses or not interested in fighting crime.”

Several of the other Democrats running for mayor are more promising for business.

For example, developer Allan Domb, a former councilman. Or grocery store owner Jeff Brown.  Both have the resources to get their messages out there.

“Brown is going to have a lot of people writing large checks or having an outside committee helping him,” said Ciarrocchi.  He said there is lots of support and a base in the African American community for Rep. Amen Brown.

But Gym has “very successfully gone from being a sort of gadfly community organizer to a very serious candidate,” said Ciarrocchi, who grew up in South Philadelphia and still has affection for his former hometown. “I think that anybody who doesn’t take her seriously has to be absolutely clueless…Her platform sits at the sweet spot of where urban Democratic Party voters are, that being left of center and more progressive. She’s shown to be a savvy campaigner.”

As for the progressive or socialist economic philosophy, Ciarrocchi believes they would be a disaster and drive away more of the middle class.

“We need leaders focused on ‘growing the pie’—not simply fighting over how to redistribute it or punishing job creators,” Ciarrocchi said.

A spokesperson for Gym’s campaign agreed to send a comment for this article. Days later, no comment was forthcoming.

Gym’s record on public safety shows she wants to use social programs to try to stop crime and violence in the city rather than beefing up the police presence, including spending $50 million in federal funds on those programs.

She introduced a measure to reduce police response to violent protests. As for the movement to defund the police, Gym was on board. She tweeted, “We don’t have to keep the same systems over and over. Minneapolis Council showing how transformative change can happen.”

And while state lawmakers impeached progressive District Attorney Larry Krasner to try to change the downward crime spiral engulfing Philadelphia, including some 562 homicides in 2021, Gym opposed that move.

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Philly ‘Environmental Justice’ Rules Could Empower Activists to Block New Businesses

When builders or business owners look at a distressed neighborhood in Philadelphia, they may see a potential opportunity– to build a new manufacturing workspace or multi-unit housing.

But when Philadelphia Councilmember Helen Gym sees that construction, she sees a potential injustice. And she’s proposed a new law to force builders and business owners to undergo additional scrutiny when trying to build in these neighborhoods. She calls it “environmental justice.”

People concerned about economic growth call it a potential nightmare.

Gym’s legislation, the Community Health Act, requires the Department of Public Health to develop an environmental justice map that identifies communities that experience excessive exposure to pollution. The result would be a “Cumulative Impacts Assessment,” which would then be used before issuing any new or renewed permits “for any industrial siting, activity, or operation” that could emit pollution.

“We are empowering the city to use their full authority to fully assess how new projects will impact our communities – ensuring new projects don’t compound harm or exacerbate the existing disparities,” Gym said in a statement. “This will make Philadelphia a national leader in advancing environmental justice and build a livable, breathable, healthy future for our city.”

The legislation would also empower something called the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee, which would help implement this additional level of permitting. The 17 members include self-described “climate justice activists” like Terrill Haigler, a former professional dancer and sanitation worker best known for his “YaRavTrashman” Instagram account.

The city’s health department would use these reviews to “make a determination to issue or to not issue a permit, license, or other approval,” according to the proposed law.

Councilmember Kendra Brooks (At Large) commends Gym’s legislation.

“As a Black woman from Nicetown, where one in three kids has asthma, including many of my own relatives, I know firsthand what the toll of environmental racism feels like, and with so many of our community members lacking access to quality healthcare, the cumulative impact is devastating,” said Brooks. “We can no longer accept the status quo of working-class Black people living shorter lives in toxic neighborhoods filled with pollutants – because it is literally killing us.”

Advocates for business and economic growth, however, are concerned. They see an additional layer of bureaucracy in a city that’s already a difficult place to get projects permitted. And, they note, Gym’s plan wouldn’t put the decision to conduct an “environmental justice” review in the hands of city officials or zoning experts. Residents could petition to force businesses or builders to undergo the potentially lengthy — and costly — review.

“Philadelphia’s municipal leaders would better serve their community by focusing on reducing crime or expanding educational opportunities for youth than by pursuing another layer of bureaucratic control in the name of ‘environmental justice,'” said Gordon Tomb, senior fellow of the Commonwealth Foundation. “There are thousands of state and federal regulations to ensure a safe environment and reduce pollution. In fact, Pennsylvania alone has more than 25,000 environmental protection regulations on the books.”

Pennsylvania is hardly a pro-business state. A recent data analysis by Wallethub ranks Pennsylvania 44th for its business environment. And a 202o ranking by Arizona State University’s Center for the Study of Economic Liberty listed Philadelphia as one of the toughest cities in America to do business. “If you’ve got barriers to entry for new businesses or make it difficult to expand existing businesses, you’re by definition also restricting the employment prospects,” said Stephen Slivinski of ASU at the time.

Leo Knepper, executive director of Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania, also sees trouble ahead.

“I’m honestly amazed when businesses undertake projects in Philadelphia,” Knepper told DVJournal. “Their level of local regulation and turning a blind eye to the blatant harassment undertaken by organized labor at open shop construction projects are already an enormous barrier. Adding another piece of unpredictability to the construction process will drive away more potential employment opportunities.”


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