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The Johnny Doc trial has City Hall on edge | Morning Newsletter

And, what’s next after the SEPTA strike vote

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

Here’s hoping you had a great weekend. We got a chance to see the scarecrows at Peddler’s Village, one of the free events in our Things to Do calendar.

As the federal bribery trial of Philly labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty continues today, officials throughout City Hall are keeping a nervous eye on the case — because the names of staffers, lobbyists, political consultants, and union leaders keep popping up in court.

Be sure to pack an umbrella if you get out. We’re looking at rain for a good portion of the week, with temperatures that definitely feel like fall.

— Kerith Gabriel (@sprtswtr,

John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, as the longtime top dog of the city’s electricians’ union, has long made some people shake in their boots. Now, people in City Hall want to avoid being tainted by his trial.

As the names of and even recorded conversations featuring bold-faced city figures keep coming up at the trial, Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration has breathed a collective sigh that nothing too damaging to the mayor has come — so far — from the trial of Dougherty, a Kenney ally, and Councilmember Bobby Henon.

“They are all watching the trial and intrigued, but not concerned, for themselves or their futures in politics,” one City Hall insider.

Our reporters Sean Collins Walsh and Jeremy Roebuck examine the trial’s political fallout.

A week from today.

That’s how long SEPTA has to make good with its largest labor union, which authorized a strike yesterday. The current agreement expires Nov. 1 at 12:01 a.m.

Transit Workers Union Local 234 president Willie Brown said SEPTA forced the vote by refusing to budge on demands that include higher wages, paid parental leave, and a onetime payment to reward the front-line workers who have kept transit running through the pandemic. And SEPTA says that “productive” talks are continuing.

Buses, trolleys, the subway, and elevated train lines operating in Philly won’t be shut down immediately, if at all. Strike approval simply gives the union leverage as talks continue this week.

“We don’t want to strike,” Brown said. “We’re going to do everything we can to keep the system running. But if things break down, we’ll do what we have to do.”

Our reporter Thomas Fitzgerald has more.

What you should know today

  1. The Eagles are now 2-5 for the season after a mistake-filled loss to the Raiders in Las Vegas on Sunday.

  2. Pennsylvania is one step closer to regulating private drug and alcohol recovery facilities, allowing the state more oversight to protect vulnerable people.

  3. Jasper Johns, one of the most influential American painters of a generation, is on dual display with 500 other works at the Whitney Museum in Brooklyn and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

  4. How is leadership of the $73 million PSERS pension fund able to keep so much of its communications with consultants private? It’s complicated.

  5. The Pennsylvania Bar Association is clapping back on an attack ad against a Democratic candidate for state Supreme Court. The bar has requested the ad be “immediately” withdrawn.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

This feels like a get-up-and-go kind of morning. Thanks @kslouf for providing the inspiration. Have a shot you want us to share with the rest of the region? Use the hashtag #OurPhilly.

That’s interesting

🏈 Penn State lost to Big Ten rival Illinois on Saturday after a college football record nine overtimes. That’s right, NINE.

😮 A Broomall man was charged with forging a racist email he claims was created by a Delaware County official.


“We’ve seen the dangers of simply asking people to do the right thing, without offering access, incentives, or mandates. We’ve also seen the importance of having a functioning school system for kids. … To keep schools open, we have to keep teachers safe and healthy. Most teachers are due for boosters — come on, Philly schools: Don’t let us down,” writes special education teacher Nicole Wyglendowski, urging school district support to get all teachers a COVID-19 booster shot.

  1. Would the city have taken greater precautions if the rain that arrived from Hurricane Ida were snow? AccuWeather chief meteorologist Jonathan Porter thinks the answer is yes.

  2. It’s human nature to expect the worst, writes our columnist Jenice Armstrong, who says that’s why people were quick to believe the worst in the case of rape on SEPTA’s El train.

What we’re...

  1. Following: The Philly Memes Facebook page. If you’re looking for city life and the news about it to have a little levity, this page is doing its thing.

  2. Watching: Dancer Adrianna Poindexter on what being described as “Other” means as a mixed-race woman in America.

  3. Reading: Lisa Scottoline on why Sicily is a beautiful region that you need to experience, despite her being pickpocketed and losing her passport and cash during quite the vacation.

Photo of the day

Have a good week, everyone. Until tomorrow.