Bellevue Bulletin 05/17/2019: Soda Tax, Development Codes, and Philly’s Upcoming Election
Welcome back to your weekly update with Bellevue! Here’s everything that happened this past week:
Back in 2016, Philadelphia Mayor Kenney passed the controversial Soda Tax – and it’s cut down on soda consumption across the city. Christina Roberto, a clinical psychologist and epidemiologist who works as a researcher and assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, led a recently released study that says sales of sweetened beverages in Philly have dropped by 38% in the year after the tax was put into effect. The Mayor’s office has projected that the tax will have brought in more than $194 million by June 30th, the close of the current fiscal year. All the money made from soda tax revenue will go back to expanded pre-K programs and the Rebuild initiative.
There are only six days until the local election, where voters will have to choose between 28 different names on the Democratic ballot for City Council. The Council at-large race is one of the biggest in recent history, and all three incumbents and two challengers have employed the help of TV spots in preparation for the election. People have been debating as to whether or not TV ads actually have any effectiveness, as people begin to cut their cable and turn to Facebook and streaming services. But, Philly.com says, in lower-turnout elections like the upcoming one, voters tend to be older – and still have cable. It remains to be seen!
In City Council, Council President Darrell Clarke is taking a stab at redoing the code that governs construction and development in the city, citing that he believes gentrification is accelerating. In the legislation that will be introduced to Council on Thursday, Clarke calls for a new Council-led commission to review and revise the city’s code, which had its last rework in 2012. President Clarke’s new Zoning Code Review Commission would be comprised of councilmembers and others appointed by his office, with the intention of holding public hearings on the state of the code and submitting a report with recommendations for change.
In Council this week, Councilman Oh introduced a number of resolutions including: recognizing the US Army for providing for the safety and security of the nation since its creation in Philadelphia, 244 years ago; a resolution welcoming the LRRP/Rangers of I Company 75th Rangers to Philadelphia for their National Convention; and a resolution calling for Council to hold hearings regarding accountability for the state of road surfaces in Philadelphia. Councilmember Curtis Jones put forth a resolution recognizing the Philadelphia Muslim Community and acknowledging May 5th, 2019 through June 4th, 2019 as the holy month of Ramadan. Finally, Councilmember Henon put forth a resolution recognizing May 20th to May 26th, 2019 as National Emergency Medical Services Week in the City of Philadelphia, and honoring Philadelphia’s Paramedic of the year, Christian Apelt.