Understanding the 3 ballot questions facing Philadelphia voters

Pat Loeb
May 15, 2018 - 7:33 am
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia's two incumbent congressmen are feeling confident going into the Tuesday primary. Both Democrats face low-profile challengers. Republicans seeking the seats are running unopposed. A small number of Philadelphians, voting with Delaware County in the fifth district, will face a long list of candidates, but for most city voters, the toughest choice may be the ballot questions.

There are three charter change referenda. The most controversial one asks if Philadelphia City Council should provide a minimum $500,000 appropriation to the Police Advisory Committee. Opponents, including Republican Councilman David Oh, say changing the charter to guarantee appropriation amounts is not a prudent way to budget, but this question is expeced to pass.

A second question concerns giving council veto power over the mayor's appointments to the school board. The question is worded strangely to suggest that voters are deciding whether to return schools to local control but that is a done deal. Really, the issue is adding another layer to the appointment process by having nominations put to a vote in council.

Initially, the question generated conflict. In its original form, it also restricted the mayor's ability to fire board members. But council relented on that. The mayor says he's fine with the veto power provision.

"City Council has to appropriate money," Kenney said. "Hopefully they'll appropriate new money this year for our school needs, and they should and have a right to have a say in who runs our schools."

The "Me Too" movement will be a feature of Philadelphia city ballots, as well. The third question asks if sexual harassment training should be mandatory for all city workers. The question is expected to pass easily.