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Despite law, some alleged abusers in Philly still have their guns; 2020 political player David Cohen leaves Comcast | Morning Newsletter

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The Pennsylvania domestic violence law known as Act 79 aims to keep victims safe by making alleged abusers hand over their firearms. Surrounding counties are seeing weapons recovered at a rate of between 40% and 60% since the law rolled out in April. But in Philly, that number is drastically lower. Meanwhile, one of Philly’s most powerful people outside of elected office is stepping down from one of the region’s most powerful companies. Now, there’s speculation about what this political power player will do next.

— Ray Boyd (@RayBoydDigital,

A new Pennsylvania law was created to protect victims of domestic violence. It requires that alleged abusers turn in their guns. But in Philly, the rollout has been less than ideal.

Since April, 574 accused domestic abusers have been ordered to hand over weapons in the city. The number who complied: 62.

So why has Philadelphia struggled to get defendants to turn in weapons? It depends on whom you ask. Some point to flaws in the law, while others blame communication among law enforcement. Sheriff-elect Rochelle Bilal said she was surprised how many guns might still be out there and added that "saving lives should be a priority.”

David L. Cohen is one of the most powerful unelected people Philadelphia has seen in decades. On Thursday, media giant Comcast announced that Cohen would be stepping away from his operational role in the company after 18 years, leaving behind a wide range of responsibilities for others to take on.

A Comcast source said that while Cohen was not forced out, a factor in his departure is likely that he and CEO Brian Roberts have been at odds over how “Comcast is perceived in Philadelphia.”

The source — citing Cohen’s years in city politics as then-Mayor Ed Rendell’s right-hand man — called Cohen “a genius” in his heyday. But the source noted that Cohen has fallen out of touch with Philly politics as more progressive movements have taken shape.

Cohen’s political influence made him a top lobbyist in Washington and he’s become a force in presidential campaigns, hosting fundraisers for Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama. He’s also given money to several GOP candidates.

What you need to know today

  1. After Mayor Jim Kenney threatened to block City Council’s attempted revisions to Philly’s controversial 10-year tax abatement, Council President Darrell L. Clarke agreed to make changes.

  2. Ahead of the trial of a Philadelphia police officer charged with murder, District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office is taking aim at the state law that allows police to use deadly force in some circumstances.

  3. Two weeks ago, police dragged a progressive New Jersey activist out of a Statehouse hearing — creating the most viral moment in Garden State politics and a stone-cold whodunit.

  4. A West Philly bar has been called a haven for hate in recent weeks after word spread that a group of people with Proud Boys swag visited the establishment. The bar has been under fire since, prompting an explanation from ownership.

  5. Philadelphia’s efforts to save the city’s tree canopy have only resulted in losses of leafy shade in the last 10 years. Now, the city has a new plan it hopes reverses the trend.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

As a former Temple Owl 🦉, I can attest to just how gorgeous that campus is in the fall 🍂. Thanks for sharing, @ana.mus.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s interesting

  1. A dog found in a Camden dump survived devastating dogfighting injuries in 2015. Sweet Pea defied death and has been named the ASPCA’s 2019 Dog of the Year.

  2. What’s a Philly Christmas tree without an Arctic Splash and soft pretzel ornament? You’ll never have to find that out, thanks to Jawnaments and its line of ultra-Philly decorations.

  3. The danger of texting and driving is well-publicized, but a new Rutgers study finds that cell phone use is leading to injuries in a completely different walk of life at a growing rate.

  4. Meanwhile, your movie selections are probably taking on more of a holiday vibe. Tired of the same old flicks? My colleague Gary Thompson rounds up the 10 most overlooked holiday films. It’s a Wonderful ... list.

  5. Speaking of movie staples, E.T. has returned to Earth for the first time in four decades. The mission: to sell you high-speed internet.


“Now, instead of bedrock, the Phillies are attempting to build a roster on paper, on the tens of millions of dollars that had been burning a hole in John Middleton’s vault as he waited impatiently to bring that damn trophy back.”Columnist David Murphy on the Phillies’ attempts to build a contender.

  1. Philadelphia’s tax abatement was a once a good policy, writes architecture critic Inga Saffron. But she adds that no policy is good forever. She offers five suggestions to modernize the controversial policy.

  2. Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s idea to address the pitfalls of college education in America ignores the fact that college is no longer just an economic problem, writes columnist Will Bunch.

What we’re reading

  1. As part of its ongoing series on poverty in the Lehigh Valley, the Allentown Morning Call shares the story of a man on the verge of homelessness, highlighting the limited options low-income seniors have.

  2. Through countless fist pumps, television viewers have now spent 10 years with MTV’s Jersey Shore. Despite the chaos, the Ringer explains why no show has done a better job of capturing what real friendship looks like.

  3. And speaking of being friends, Vox looks at a new neurological study that explains why we love do-gooders but don’t want to date them.

Your Daily Dose of | Spongebob

“Hooray for Lorenzo Pugliese,” writes John Timpane after seeing The Spongebob Musical at the Forrest Theatre. He couldn’t help but rave about the University of the Arts grads’ “spectacular, aerobic, full-throated, happy-making performance” as SpongeBob SquarePants.