July 20th Ups & Downs
Mayor Jim Kenney scores a victory in the courtroom, but gets called out by Jay-Z. The Pennsylvania congressional delegation actually came together on a topic? Education debates makes its way into the PA spotlight. Let’s look at the ups and downs for this week.
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Jim Kenney. A victory in court on Wednesday morning had him thinking he was On to the Next One, but then Jay-Z penned an op-ed for the Inquirer airing grievances with the Philadelphia mayor on another decision. Kenney had a reason to celebrate when the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court upheld the decision that the 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on soda and other sweetened beverages was legal. “Today’s decisive ruling offers renewed hope for tens of thousands of Philadelphia children and families who struggle for better lives in the face of rampant poverty,” Kenney said in a press release. Funds from this tax are planned to be used for education and other neighborhood initiatives. It was looking like a great day until he saw the Inquirer op-ed from Jay-Z. Earlier that week, Kenney made the announcement that the Made in America music festival would not be held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 2019. Stunned by the news, Jay-Z picked up a pen to explain his disapproval at this decision. “We are disappointed that the mayor of the city of Philadelphia would evict us from the heart of the city, through a media outlet, without a sit-down meeting, notice, dialogue, or proper communication,” Jay-Z wrote. He continued to write about the economic impact that the Labor Day Weekend music festival has on the city and had another question for Kenney, “Is this an accurate representation of how he and his administration treat partners that economically benefit his city? Do they regularly reject minority-owned businesses that want to continue to thrive and grow alongside his city’s people?” Kenney would later address this op-ed in a press conference stating, that he loves Jay-Z and wants to keep Made in America in Philadelphia.
Harrisburg ABC27. Since March, 11 employees at the Harrisburg-based ABC affiliate have left the television station. It started with Flora Posteraro, 20 year anchor for ABC27, who said she was forced out for speaking out on work conditions in the newsroom.
Since her departure, 10 employees, seven women and three men, have “left oe given notice”. Some of those departing took to social media to detail the working conditions. “Posteraro accused station manager Robert Bee of disparaging and demeaning female anchors while giving preferential treatment to their male counterparts, and at least six of the now-former employees, including two men, cite workplace conditions as factors in their departures.” Bee responded for comment in the article stating, “We don’t respond to personnel matters.”
Bipartisanship. Come together, right now. Over Putin? In a rare display of bipartisanship, a majority of the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation responded negatively to President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. Trump thought the meeting went great, but most of the Democrats and Republicans released statements via press release, Facebook, and Twitter explaining their disapproval of the meeting. PoliticsPA ranked these responses from most critical to most supportive and noted the Representatives who didn’t say anything at all. Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders shared via Twitter that President Putin has been invited to the White House for a fall meeting. Only time will tell how the PA Delegation will address this news.
Jewell Williams. According to an internal investigation, Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams made inappropriate comments that violated the city’s sexual harassment policy. The Inquirer’s story states that the internal complaint against Williams was filed with Philadelphia in the summer of 2017 by Marlaina Williams. She claims that the sheriff subjected her to four years of sexual harassment. Sheriff Williams has denied these claims, “I would hope that people would let due process prevail, because I am sure that I will be vindicated in the final analysis,” the statement said, adding that since January, all Sheriff’s Office staff had completed sexual harassment training. Multiple city officials, including Mayor Kenney, have already made calls for the sheriff to resign.
Campaign Ads. Ok, it may only be July 20th, but some Pennsylvania voters are already seeing some general election ads. Last week, GOP candidate for Governor, Scott Wagner released his first campaign ad for the general election detailing himself “straight-talkin, trash-haulin’ businessman for Governor.” Wolf had previously been on television, but responded this week with an attack ad on Wagner’s painting him as the “number one champion of big oil and gas.” In Pennsylvania’s newly drawn 8th Congressional District, GOP challenger John Chrin decided to release his first campaign ad for the general election as well. Chrin is facing incumbent Rep. Matt Cartwright in November for the seat.
Education.School is out for the summer, but education was at the forefront of news in Pennsylvania this week. On Monday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited schools in Erie with Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Butler). She was met with protests from the rally held outside of Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School by Keystone Progress, Erie County United, and NextGen Pennsylvania. Wagner and Wolf have accused one another of trying to cut school funding, while both campaigns deny these accusations. Education has become one of the main focuses in this race this month. Through the state Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday upholding the soda tax, Kenney stated his hopes for these funds to be put toward helping education for Philadelphia’s public schools.
P.S. Be on the lookout Monday for a Q2 related story.
Tweet of the Week:
Is this a joint press conference?
— J.D. Prose (@jdprose) July 19, 2018