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Top officials can’t agree on how to reduce shootings | Morning Newsletter

And, a former Villanova football player could change the landscape for college sports with a new lawsuit.

Well, folks, we made it to Friday and that means we are one step closer to the weekend. But before we put our feet up and relax, let’s take a look at what’s happening around us.

First: Top Philly officials are supposed to work together, but they can’t seem to agree on how to reduce shootings. Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw wants her officers focused on arresting people for dealing drugs and illegally carrying guns. District Attorney Larry Krasner thinks cops should prioritize shooting and homicide investigations.

So who’s wrong? Who’s right? That doesn’t really matter. What matters is that this gun violence needs to stop.

Then: Forty of the 100 municipalities in Jersey’s Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties have passed ordinances allowing at least one type of recreational marijuana business under New Jersey’s cannabis legalization law, which gave towns until Aug. 21 to block cannabis businesses from setting up shop within their borders. It’s likely that the number of towns welcoming cannabis will go up, but here’s what we got on the books so far.

And: A class-action lawsuit by a former Villanova football player could change college sports.

All right, let’s get to it.

— Sam Ruland (@sam_ruland,

In a continuation of their increasingly public feuding, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and District Attorney Larry Krasner say they don’t agree on which crimes to prioritize as the city tries to tackle its worst gun violence crisis in a generation.

It started Wednesday when Outlaw said during a virtual briefing with Mayor Jim Kenney that the force is focused on arresting people for dealing drugs and illegally carrying guns as a means of violence prevention. Outlaw said that those crimes “are not prioritized the same way” and that she and the DA “just don’t agree” on whether illegal gun and narcotics charges can reduce violent crime, making it hard to slow the bloodshed.

Krasner’s office has long contended that there’s little evidence to suggest people who are arrested in Philly for nonviolent gun offenses go on to commit shootings and homicides.

But that conclusion is difficult to assess considering about four in five shootings in the city don’t even result in charges, meaning little is known about those perpetrating the majority of gun violence and what their criminal backgrounds are.

“Fundamentally, there are very key disconnects there,” Outlaw said, “as far as which crimes we prioritize, and who believes what are the main drivers of the violent crime that we’re seeing.”

Outlaw’s comments marked another public dustup between some of the city’s key law enforcement figures who are tasked with addressing a grim surge in shootings that is disproportionately affecting some of Philadelphia’s most disadvantaged communities. The news conference came just days after the city recorded 400 homicides in nine months, an 18% spike compared with the same time last year, and police statistics show more than 1,700 people have been shot so far this year.

Read reporter Anna Orso’s full story here.

Recreational marijuana is coming to New Jersey, but it won’t be on every corner — yet.

In Philadelphia’s South Jersey suburbs, 40 of 100 municipalities have opened their doors to cannabis businesses under New Jersey’s legalization law, which was signed in February and allowed towns to ban marijuana businesses, but not the delivery of cannabis to residents.

Some of the 60 towns that opted out, like the city of Camden and Bellmawr, did so to buy more time to write local regulations, but intend to allow at least some cannabis businesses to develop in the future.

“There is an opportunity to move the city in a different direction, to build and stimulate the economy using this legislation as a leverage tool,” Dwaine Williams, Camden’s affirmative action officer and a member of the Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee, told Camden City Council during a Sept. 7 hearing.

It’s definitely a big move for Jersey — statewide, the industry is expected to quickly reach $1 billion in sales, boosted by Pennsylvanians trekking across the Delaware River.

Reporter Harold Brubaker has everything you’re going to want to know here.

Reopening resources

  1. Here’s our latest list of restaurants, large performance venues, universities, and gyms in the Philly region where you need to show proof of vaccination.

  2. Should you laminate your vaccination card? What if you lose it? Here are the dos and don’ts.

  3. Here’s what you need to know about medical exemptions.

  4. It could be time to upgrade your face gear. Which masks work best?

What you need to know today

  1. A former Villanova football player is suing the NCAA, claiming athletes are employees of schools. That legal approach has failed in the past, but the Supreme Court’s name, image, and likeness decision may have changed the landscape.

  2. NRIA, which has built thousands of rowhouses in Philly and owns a swath of Delaware River waterfront land prime for development, is being investigated by the FBI and SEC. NRIA’s ads often appear on Fox News. Not disclosed to viewers: Federal prosecutors have charged a key executive with fraud.

  3. Congress has approved more than $46 billion in rent relief to stave off an eviction crisis, but many state and local governments have been slow to pay out the money to landlords and tenants. Philadelphia many run out of relief money in two weeks.

  4. The historic and structurally unstable St. Laurentius Church, a beloved landmark with soaring spires that define Fishtown’s skyline, is set to be demolished after years of attempts by its owners.

  5. William R. Hite Jr. arrived in 2012 at a low point for the Philadelphia School District. Over nearly a decade, Hite — who announced this week he’s leaving the superintendency in August 2022 rather than seek a new contract — has reshaped one of the nation’s largest school systems. Here are some highs and lows of his tenure.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Ball is life, am I right ? 🏀 Awesome shots, @t.do___.

Tag your Instagram posts with #OurPhilly, and we’ll select a favorite each day to feature here and give you a shout-out.

That's interesting

🤒 Now that kids have resumed more-normal lives, hospitals are seeing an unusually big, early surge of sickness, particularly respiratory syncytial virus. And that’s the case at CHOP.

🍽️ “Streeteries” have changed the landscape not only in Center City but in other neighborhoods such as Fishtown and West Philadelphia. Now, they could become permanent under one councilmember’s proposal.

👯‍♀️ During her conservatorship, Britney Spears was forced into psychiatric care that cost $60,000 a month. Every year hundreds of thousands of other psychiatric patients also receive involuntary care, but few have Spears’ resources to pay for it.

❤️ LOVE Park will look slightly different to visitors and residents Friday: Vendors and performers will be around the park for a “Latin America Thrives in Philadelphia” market.

🐊 “Florida Man” has struck once again, but this time he’s from North Philly.

🍂 Cooler weather has made its way to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, making it a good time to hit the trails. Here are five hikes you should check out this fall.

🚃 Have you ever wondered why SEPTA has a stop called Suburban Station in the heart of Center City Philadelphia?


Next month, Pennsylvanians will head to the polls and find themselves asked to weigh in on a slate of judges, many of whom most voters will never have heard of. There’s a wide variation between states when it comes to putting judges on the bench, but Pennsylvania judges are mostly selected in partisan elections. In recent years, some experts have wondered if the election of judges compromises their ability to remain impartial in cases. The Inquirer tapped two Philadelphians to debate: Should Pennsylvania stop electing judges?

  1. “An Arizona Democrat’s unfathomable opposition to progress is a win for her hedge-fund, Big Pharma donors, and a huge loss for democracy,” writes Inquirer columnist Will Bunch about Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.

  2. “On American campuses today, we’re biting our own tongues. So we’re not reaping the full benefits of diversity, which is supposed to teach us about each other.” Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, writes that students of all kinds are self-censoring, especially if they don’t agree with the perceived campus wisdom about race and criminal justice.

What we're reading

  1. The Sopranos is one of the most-written-about TV shows in its short history and according to HBO, became particularly popular once again during the pandemic. Now a new younger audience is becoming obsessed, dressing in cheetah prints and hosting pasta parties. But why? The New York Times dives in: “Why is every young person in America watching ‘The Sopranos?’”

  2. An R. Kelly survivor said she was happy testifying against the now-convicted singer because he no longer had control over her. “You don’t tell me what to do and what to wear and where to go and how long to be in a room anymore,” Azriel Clary, who had previously defended R. Kelly in a 2019 CBS News interview said in federal court.

  3. What’s an unreleased John Lennon tape worth? The tape of Lennon speaking with a group of student journalists and singing an unpublished song fetched 370,000 kroner — or $58,240 — at an auction in Denmark. NPR’s got the full story.

Photo of the Day

Just remember, if a bird poops on you, it’s considered good luck. 😬 🐦 🪶