- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
Ben Waxman's blog
I wanted to write a quick follow-up to my post yesterday on the Virginia Tech shootings. I wrote that we shouldn't rush to judgment. This is a suggestion that has not been followed by conservative bloggers. Our counterparts on the right have actually criticized the victims...for not being sufficiently heroic. From the National Review:
As NRO's designated chickenhawk, let me be the one to ask: Where was the spirit of self-defense here? Setting aside the ludicrous campus ban on licensed conceals, why didn't anyone rush the guy? It's not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons. He had two handguns for goodness' sake—one of them reportedly a .22.
Another day, another senseless tragedy involving young people and gun violence. A lone shooter went on a rampage throughout Virgina Tech's campus yesterday and killed over thirty people. Across the country, colleges and universities are in mourning. President Bush flew back from a trip abroad to attend the memorial service.
According to New York Times, there was a two hour gap between first two shootings and the mass killing that occurred later. During that time, campus administration failed to take several key steps that could have saved the lives of students. The university discovered the dead bodies, but did not issue a campus wide alert until the second round of killings. Security personal thought the problem had been contained to one dorm.
As I wrote last night, I am working for Ellen Green-Ceisler’s campaign. Ellen is running for a seat on the Court of Common Pleas and is one of the most qualified people running for judge. If elected, I truly believe that she will be a forceful advocate for fairness, accountability, and transparency in the judicial system. I hope that the members of this community will join me in supporting this excellent candidate.
In the coming weeks, Ellen will be making posts about her qualifications. I encourage you to read those posts and submit any questions that you might have. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out the cover story in this week’s Philadelphia Citypaper. Doron Taussig has written another great article about the upcoming election that focuses on Ellen’s campaign.
You can read the story by clicking here.
Over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with a ton of great candidates. If even a handful of them win on Election Day, it will be a tremendous victory for those who want to make Philadelphia a better place to live and work. I wanted to let folks on Young Philly Politics know that I am formally working for two campaigns: Marc Stier for City Council at Large and Ellen Green-Ceisler for Judge - Court of Common Pleas.
I’ve mentioned several times that I am working for these candidates, but I wanted to follow Ray’s lead and write a full disclosure. I think both Marc and Ellen are terrific people who will make a big difference if elected. They are both dynamic leaders who will bring real change.
Witness to Innocence is a great organization that works to highlight the stories of exonerated death row inmates. I encourage every who can to attend this event.
Death penalty opponents are encouraged to attend a fundraising reception to benefit Witness to Innocence (www.witnesstoinnocence.org) – a national anti-death penalty organization based right here in Philadelphia .
Witness to Innocence is led by and composed of exonerated ex-death row prisoners and their family members. The fundraising reception will be held at the National Liberty Museum ( www.libertymuseum.org ), 321 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Coffee and gourmet desserts will be served. Exonerated ex-death row prisoners and family members will share their dramatic stories.
I am not a lawyer, but it’s clear that the recent ruling on local campaign finance regulations sets a precedent for Philadelphia have greater control over how elections are conducted. There has already been a lot of discussion on Young Philly Politics about publicly financed elections. We should take this opportunity to discuss other ways to increase participation and strengthen local democracy.
One such proposal is to lower the voting age for municipal elections to 16. I think this is a great idea and one that Philadelphia should seriously consider. Teenagers in Philadelphia are impacted by taxes, crime, education, and a lot of other issues facing the city. They deserve to have a voice in the process.
To read why, click “Read More.”
Over the past few days, we’ve been hearing a lot about this so-called pension crisis facing Philadelphia. Columnists and politicians alike are sounding the alarm, claiming that the next mayoral will be paralyzed by the city’s financial obligations. I believe there is some merit to these concerns, but it is simply not accurate to say that all future spending needs to be put on hold.
Let’s look at the numbers. According to a report from PICA, employee benefits are going to grow by 25% over the next three years (FY 06=FY 09) and debt service is going to increase by 30% and other spending obligations will increase by 5.7 % whereas is only expected to increase by 7.9 %. So, the city is obviously going to spending a bit more on pensions.
For the rest of “Is there a Pension Crisis?” please click “Read More.”
The strike at Philadelphia Community College is now entering its second week. According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the union leadership has significantly scaled back their demands. Professors and support staff are now seeking an average raise of only 3.92 percent. This will cost CCP about $340,000 less than the union’s initial proposals.
Blowing off class is a time honored tradition among college students. Now, pupils at CPP can combine laziness with social action. It’s not often that you can fight the man by sitting in your room listening to Phish. Supporting the strike is not only the right thing to do; it’s actually in the long-term interests of the students and the general public.
To find out why, click “Read More.”
Philadelphia Forward and the Reformers Roundtable are teaming up for a very cool project. They want voters to sign up at their website and create an online platform for the mayor and city council race. Using cutting edge technology, the website will actually allow users to edit the platform in real time. From now until April 3rd, anyone can log onto the site and make changes.
To learn more about this initiative, please click "Read More."
Over the past few days, I’ve been watching as various candidates prepare their nomination papers and submit them to the City Commissioners. It’s been clear that the process is both cumbersome and confusing. While challengers are the ones who usually have the most trouble, Bob Brady has shown that even the most seasoned politicians can get confused.
The problem with local elections goes far beyond gathering and filing petitions. Every part of the process seems to be wrought with confusion and difficulty. How many good people have looked at this mess and decided not to seek public office? We clearly need to reform the basic way in which Philadelphia conducts its elections.
Click "Read More" for the rest......
By now, you’ve probably heard the news. A Republican judge from Bucks Country has declared that the petitions gathered by Casino Free Philadelphia were invalid. Despite having over 27,000 signatures and widespread public support, the voices of Philadelphia’s citizens are still being muffled on the important issue of casinos.
Who exactly is this judge and how did he get to decide Philadelphia’s fate? Ward Clark is a senior justice on the Bucks Country Court of Common Pleas. The case landed in his courtroom after Philadelphia Common Pleas Court President Judge C. Darnell Jones II decided that the issue was too hot for a local judge. Clark threw out the petitions without even looking at them.
How did this happen? And what can we do? To find out, please click “Read More.”
According the Romenesko, a blog that focuses on print media and journalism, the Philadelphia Inquirer is in negotiations with Rick Santorum to publish a regular column. Republican owner Brian Tierney is apparently thinking about adding another right-wing voice to the opinion page. While Santorum wants it to happen, it appears that it's not a done deal. Here is the important quote from Romenesko:
Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum says his talks with the Inquirer are "informal" and the column "may or may not happen." Publisher Brian Tierney confirms "low-level discussions" with Santorum, but puts the chances of the politico's column ever appearing at "one out of 1,000. We'd probably be more likely to have Dan Rather write a column for us. Seriously. And I'm not being facetious."
I think adding anther right-wing voice, particularly someone as extreme as Santorum, is the wrong move. He's been rejected by the voters of Pennsylvania. Why should he be granted a forum for his crazy viewpoints? It's not likely to boost circulation, since consumers have already dumped brand Santorum at the ballot box. It's also interesting that this is happening right after the Inquirer added Michael Smerconish to their Sunday section. How many Republicans does it take to fill an editorial page?
In the past few weeks, I’ve heard friends of mine passionately support almost all of the mayoral candidates. I know people who like Brady for his union background, Fattah for his focus on poverty, Nutter for his independence, and Evans for his experience. All of these opinions come from people who I generally agree with about politics.
It’s not just the mayoral candidates. Everyone seems to have a different idea about how to increase progressive power on city council. I know people who want put all our resources behind Marc Stier and some who want to find an entire slate for council at large. Others believe that our best hope lies with district challengers like Vern Anastasio, Damon Roberts, and Maria Quiñones Sanchez.
As this process unfolds, I think it’s important for progressives to remember that elections are temporary. We need to be thinking long-term about the health of our movement and keep expanding our coalition. To find out what I mean, click “Read More.”
Vern Anastasio's campaign has produced an excellent new video. They have posted it on the campaign's website and also on YouTube. You can watch it by clicking here:
The video is very short and gives a great overview of the overarching themes of the campaign. If you like what you see, please share this video with a friend.
Please join me on Tuesday, February 20th in Mt. Airy for Marc Stier's campaign kickoff. Marc is seeking the Democratic nomination for City Council at Large. Marc is one of the hardest working people in Philadelphia politics and has done a great deal to build the progressive movement at the local level. Here are the details:
Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 5:30 pm
Brossman Center of Lutheran Theological Seminary
7301 Germantown Avenue (just above Allens Lane)
Most people who read Young Philly Politics are familiar with Marc Stier. He has his own blog and is a regular contributor to several local sites. Marc has reached out to our community more than any other candidate this cycle. He also champions a style of politics that I think most bloggers support—the politics of hope over fear.