August 14th Ups & Downs
A senior legal advisor to Trump’s campaign purposely misgenders Dr. Rachel Levine, while a Dem state House candidate and Biden campaign surrogate apologizes after old racist and sexist tweets are reported on. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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Pennsylvania Capital-Star. A report from the online news publication in December 2019 on several trips made by pension investment officers to Los Angeles, where the official stayed at five-star hotels for a meeting has resulted in the teachers’ pension fund adopting a new more transparent travel policy. Although all of the exact details of the new policy aren’t all known yet, the Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that the chairman of Pennsylvania’s Public School Employees Retirement System, a $55 billion public pension fund, has to approve all out-of-state travel that costs more than $2,000.
Jenna Ellis. The senior legal advisor to President Donald Trump’s campaign purposely misgendered Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, a transgender woman, on Twitter this week by saying, “This guy is making decisions about your health.” Washington Post reporter, Dave Weigel, tweeted out a screenshot of Ellis’ tweet, next to an image of a “Trump Pride 2020” t-shirt. Ellis responded to Weigel’s tweet saying, “I have a lot of pride too that Donald Trump is your President! Great shirt!” Several members of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly responded to the tweet from Ellis, calling on her to take down the tweet. The original tweet from Ellis is still posted to her Twitter account.
Manny Guzman Jr. The Democratic candidate for the state House’s 127th District and Joe Biden’s state’s Deputy Coalitions Director for Latino Engagement apologized after online news outlets Inside Sources and Delaware Valley Journal reported on old racist and sexist tweets of his between 2011-2013. The old tweets included calling women “bitch” and “hoes,” plus suggesting that he “could hit a woman in retaliation and also reinforced the racist trope that Asians eat cats,” according to PA Post. Guzman has since apologized for these tweets and they have since-been deleted.
Theresa Lafer. The State College councilwoman allegedly called someone a “New Order Nazi” in an email exchange with an individual over a disagreement about the recently passed ordinance by council to mande the wearing of face masks in the borough, according to The Daily Collegian.
Mark V. Tranquilli. The Allegheny County Common Pleas judge was recommended to be suspended after formal charges were filed by the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board against him for allegedly referring to a Black juror as “Aunt Jemima,” according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The board wrote that Tranquilli violated both the “Judicial Code of Conduct and the Pennsylvania Constitution following allegations of misconduct, including using a racist epithet and Ebonics in the courtroom.”
Pat Toomey. The GOP Senator was one of 11 U.S. citizens sanctioned by the Chinese government in response to “escalating geopolitical dispute over the status of Hong Kong,” according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Toomey issued a statement in response to the sanctions saying that his “response is simple: I stand with the people of Hong Kong.” Conservative groups have applauded Toomey and other GOP lawmakers sanctioned by China.
Post-Gazette Newsroom. The union members at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette voted 88-31 in favor of striking after “years of stalled contract negotiations and multiple complaints of labor law violations by Block Communications Inc.,” WESA reports.
Philly’s Columbus Statue Supporters/Opponents. The debate over the Christoper Columbus statue in Marconi Plaza continues in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Art Commission unanimously voted to approve the city’s request to remove the statue in South Philadelphia and place it in storage, at least temporarily, but a common pleas judge ordered a delay of the approval to move the statue, while a lawsuit brought by neighborhood group Friends of Marconi Plaza proceeds, according to KYW Newsradio.
Penn State. After facing backlash, the university is altering the legal agreement students must sign in regards to returning to campaign during the coronavirus pandemic. Spotlight PA and the Daily Collegian published stories about the original agreement that said students were required to “assume any and all risk” of COVID-19, which Spotlight PA reports “some said amounted to a liability waiver.” Just one day after the stories were published from both outlets, Penn State issued a statement saying, “it would provide an updated option.”
Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens had an earlier-than-expected exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but they are doing something that Pennsylvania Sec. of State Kathy Boockvar said that no other NHL team has committed to-date. KDKA reports that the Pittsburgh Penguins are teaming up with the Department of State and Allegheny County to support voting initiatives that aims to “increase voter participation and assist election administration in November.” The story continues to report that the joint effort will also “explore initiatives like volunteering as and helping recruit poll workers, educating the public about voting and sponsoring get-out-the-vote campaigns.”
TWEET OF THE WEEK
— bill peduto (@billpeduto) August 13, 2020
In case you missed this week’s Rasmussen poll of Wisconsin….
— J. Miles Coleman (@JMilesColeman) August 13, 2020