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Today's newsletter is 980 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Police watchdog hiring new leader

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Department of Justice

Philadelphia police's watchdog group is expected to hire Tonya McClary as its new leader after more than a year of searching, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: McClary, who held similar roles in Dallas and New Orleans, brings expertise to an agency bracing for a potential legal fight with the police union over the future of police oversight in Philadelphia.

Driving the news: The Citizens Police Oversight Commission is expected to announce McClary's appointment today at a board meeting.

What they're saying: McClary, a lawyer and a pastor, confirmed to Axios that she was offered the job but said she hasn't yet relocated to Philadelphia.

  • "I don't have too many comments right now. I need to kinda just get there and get myself on the ground and get rolling," she said.

Behind the scenes: Axios has learned that an outside firm interviewed at least five candidates before extending an offer to McClary.

  • McClary would replace interim executive director Anthony Erace, who has led the police watchdog since the City Council established it nearly three years ago.
  • Erace didn't respond to a message requesting comment.
  • The agency hasn't offered details about McClary's job, but they will likely be made public at today's meeting.

Catch up quick: McClary inherits a daunting task as CPOC's new leader as the agency determines its path forward after Erace's tenure, which has been marred by controversy and infighting among commissioners.

  • Last year, some commissioners wanted Erace replaced by Richard Rivera, a former police officer and the current police director in Penns Grove, New Jersey.
  • Three commissioners resigned after an offer was extended to Rivera, pointing to a city law they said excluded former police officers from consideration.
  • Their departures forced the board to pull the plug on the initial search and hire an outside firm, Jane HR, in September to conduct a new search.

Yes, and: CPOC hasn't conducted a single investigation into a citizen's complaint in nearly three years and could face a court fight with the police union over its ability to conduct independent misconduct investigations into officers.

  • Mayor Cherelle Parker also proposed flat-funding CPOC at $3 million this year, which is still about $2 million more than McClary's budget in Dallas.

The bottom line: McClary faced similar roadblocks while leading Dallas' Community Police Oversight Board, where she became the first civilian to access departmental internal affairs records, per the Dallas Morning News.

  • Dallas' police union discouraged officers from sitting for interviews with the watchdog because a local law allowed them to blow off subpoenas without repercussions.
  • After three years, McClary left her Dallas position in September but didn't say whether those struggles contributed to her leaving.
  • She had been a finalist for police monitor in Boulder, Colorado, in 2023, per the Dallas Morning News.

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2. 🦫 Punxsutawney Phil, Phyllis get encore

Can woodchucks smoke celebratory cigars? Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

It must feel like Groundhog Day for songwriter Oliver Richman.

Why it matters: The TikTok sensation has recorded a follow-up to his hit song, "The Ballad of Phil and Phyllis," after learning that Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog couple recently welcomed two babies.

The big picture: The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club announced the newest additions in a post last week, per the Washington Post.

  • While Phil successfully predicts the seasonal forecast about 30% of the time, he was flabbergasted to learn he was becoming a first-time father at the ripe age of 138.

What happened: Richman's first song explored the complicated relationship between Phil, who lives forever with the help of a magical elixir, and his mortal wife.

  • The song received millions of views on social media and inspired creators to post their own duets about the star-crossed rodent lovers.

Zoom in: Richman's heart-tugging serenade from Phyllis, which has drawn thousands of likes and shares, focuses on the couple's legacy that'll live long after she's gone.

What they're saying: "Nothing's supposed to live forever," Richman sings while melodically playing the piano. "Nothin's supposed to last that long. That's what they say, Phil. It all goes away, Phil."

  • "But something deep inside me knows they're wrong. If nothing's supposed to live forever, I'll give you a part of me I guarantee you'll find in the winters and the springs, in the song your shadow sings. Forever is the things I leave behind."

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3. News Market: Sixers' studies delayed

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🏀 Philadelphia is three months late in releasing critical impact studies on the 76ers' plan to build a $1.5 billion arena near Chinatown. There's no timeline for their release. (Inquirer 🔒)

🥨 Pretzel fanatics, get ready. Center City Pretzel has finally reopened after being closed for 18 months following a fire that gutted the shop. (6ABC)

🏫 Mayor Cherelle Parker tapped nine candidates for the school board. Her appointments include a former teacher, a district employee and a former special counsel for the district. (Chalkbeat)

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  2. Senior Director, Portfolio Management at NRG Energy.
  3. Research Business Administrator II at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

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4. How many miles Philadelphians travel daily

Average daily miles traveled per person
Data: Replica; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Philadelphia County residents travel 23.9 miles on average every day — well below the national average of 42, per mobility analytics platform Replica.

Why it matters: These numbers offer a compelling snapshot of differing mobility trends and needs across the country, helping policymakers and transit advocates determine sensible solutions or changes for their communities.

How it works: The data is based on anonymized mobile device info, roadside sensors, input from transit agencies and more.

  • It factors in all forms of transportation, including personal vehicles, public transportation, taxis/rideshares, walking and biking etc.
  • Replica's estimates are based on a typical spring weekday in 2023.

By the numbers: Our compatriots in Monroe County traveled the most average miles (70) among U.S. counties with 100,000 people or more.

  • They were followed by Coconino County, Arizona (68.6), and Parker County, Texas (66.7).

Statewide, Pennsylvanians traveled 38.9 miles a day.

Zoom out: New York City accounts for all three 100,000-plus person counties with the lowest number of daily miles traveled — no surprise there, given the area's density.

  • It's 12.9 for New York County (Manhattan), 15.5 for Kings County (Brooklyn) and 16.6 for Bronx County.

😂 Isaac cracked up at one of our reader's April Fools' zinger: "Axios Philly bought by Truth Social!"

😑 Mike is like Arnold Schwarzenegger: He'll be back.

Today's newsletter was edited by Delano Massey and copy edited by Steven Patrick.