Do you take the Market-Frankford Line to or from work? If so, you’ll be experiencing some weekday changes starting today. News-wise, we’ve got a lot of politics in today’s newsletter. We’ll start locally, with West Philly voting tomorrow in a special election to choose a new state rep. Nationally, Bernie Sanders has the lead in three battleground states, including Pennsylvania, according to a poll. And, ex-NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg is starting to make an impact in both Pa. and New Jersey.

Hundreds of foreign organizations have made financial gifts to or contracted with the University of Pennsylvania between 2013 and the middle of last year, according to federal records. Among the organizations were Chinese banks and real estate firms, pharmaceutical companies in nearly a dozen countries, and Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defense. The total amount of foreign money that flowed to Penn during that time period totaled $257.9 million.

But Department of Education officials who are cracking down on how schools report foreign funds say that the total should be even higher. The department said that since July 1, 10 schools — including Penn and Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh — disclosed $3.6 billion in “previously unreported” foreign money.

West Philly voters are going to the polls tomorrow to fill the vacancy left by ex-state Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell. She resigned after being charged with taking more than $500,000 from her own nonprofit. Voters will choose between a Democrat and a Republican. But neither of the candidates were chosen by voters in a primary.


In Pennsylvania, party insiders and loyalists nominate candidates for special elections. That gives these selectors a lot of power because a person elected in a special election is likely to stick around for years.

The poll, which was conducted before the Vermont senator’s win in Nevada on Saturday, looked at the primary contests in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. President Donald Trump is running close to each of the Democratic contenders in those states, according to the poll. But among the Dems, Sanders led in all three of those states.

And while Pennsylvania and its fellow battleground states usually get a lot of attention, New Jersey often does not. At least not until Mike Bloomberg came along. He’s the first Democratic candidate to have a brick-and-mortar presence in the state. Back in Pennsylvania, though, Bloomberg might be making some inroads, particularly in the Latino community.

🗳️Interested in how Pennsylvania is shaping the 2020 election? We’re launching a new email newsletter covering the nation’s ultimate battleground state. Sign up and don’t forget to pass it along.

What you need to know today

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“They weren’t having it. Not the young people crushed by violence. Not the family members drowning in trauma. Not the woman who eventually stormed out, disgusted with having to wait to speak until the ‘experts’ had their say. And not the paralyzed gunshot survivors who have mostly been left out of the city’s conversations about gun violence.” — writes columnist Helen Ubiñas about the paralyzed gunshot survivors who brought their stories and struggles to a recent City Hall meeting.

  • The Fire Department is an example of what treating addiction like a disease, not a crime, looks like, The Inquirer Editorial Board writes.
  • When is graffiti historic? And, can it ever merit preservation? When it comes to the Boner 4Ever building on North Broad, the most Philadelphian approach would be to leave it alone, giving the city a new, shared monument, writes Noah Yoder, a graduate student of architectural conservation at Penn.

What we’re reading

Your Daily Dose of | The ‘New’ Phanatic

The Phillie Phanatic sprouted some wings, grew bushier eyebrows, and got a bigger backside. The mascot’s makeover debuted yesterday at the Phillies’ spring training game down in Clearwater, Fla.