July 19th Ups & Downs
The State Supreme Court rules in favor of a Pittsburgh paid leave law, a Congressman garners national headlines while defending President Trump in a House vote, and the Pennsylvania news industry takes a hit. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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Pittsburgh Paid Leave Advocates. Pittsburgh progressives notched a win this week after the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the city can require employers to provide paid sick leave, upholding a 2015 piece of legislation that passed in Pittsburgh City Council. The ordinance was previously shot down in two lower courts prior to this week’s ruling. The law requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year, while employers with fewer than 15 employees must provide up to 24 hours of paid sick leave, the AP reports.
Crooks and Cronies. For those who despise accountability, it was a good week. Longtime columnist John Baer is no longer writing for the Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer. For years, Baer has provided excellent and thorough coverage to readers throughout the Commonwealth. Let’s hope he hasn’t written his last column. Overall the Philadelphia Inquirer now has 40 fewer employees out of a total of around 1,000 according to Billy Penn. An internal memo from Inquirer management this week warned that they may no longer be a daily newspaper in 5 years. Also announced this week was that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will publish a print edition just 3 days a week starting September 30, eliminating 2 additional days of print.
Mike Kelly. The Butler County Republican said this week that he is a person of color and an Anglo-Saxon. He is not. While defending President Trump in a vote pushed by House Democrats condemning a tweet by the President to four Democratic congresswomen suggesting that they “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” Kelly explained that he didn’t understand why people were offended by the tweet adding that he is a person of color. “They talk about people of color, I’m a person of color,” Kelly said in an interview with VICE News. “I’m white. I’m an Anglo-Saxon. People say things all the time, but I don’t get offended.” Kelly talked about his Irish heritage in explaining his answer, which is also not Anglo-Saxon, as he said. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, Anglo-Saxons are Germanic peoples “who, from the 5th century CE to the time of the Norman Conquest (1066), inhabited and ruled territories that are today part of England and Wales” – not Ireland.
Wally Scott. The Democratic Mayor of Reading made a decision this week that garnered national headlines, local opposition, and a call from Lt. Gov. John Fetterman to reconsider. Scott was expected to raise a rainbow LGBTQ Pride flag for the first time in front of Reading’s City Hall on Monday, but called it off just minutes before. According to the Inquirer, a Scott staffer said that the Mayor doesn’t support flying flags that represent “political movements.” Fetterman and other progressives have reached out to tell the Mayor to fly the flag outside of City Hall.
Chaka Fattah. The former Philadelphia Democratic Congressman was denied a bid to cut his 10-year prison term for corruption after four counts were tossed on appeal, according to the AP. Fattah, who served two decades in Congress, is two-and-a-half years into a prison term.
John Hetrick. The Earl Township Supervisor resigned from his appointed position as emergency management coordinator this week after a Facebook post made about a woman who drowned along with her son in a flash flood. Hetrick said, in a now deleted post, that “almost everyone who dies in the car in flooding did so because they made a very bad choice.” According to the Pottstown Mercury, Hetrick said he should have chosen his words more carefully, although he felt the need to put something “blunt and forthright to try to keep people from hurting themselves.”
Jack Cairns. The chairman of the Robinson Township Republican Committee resigned after it was revealed that he shared numerous Islamophobic posts on Facebook over several years. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Cairns said in a post in April 2017 in a photo of the Islamic holy city of Mecca with the caption, “One nuke! Bye bye.” He wrote in a post in June 2018 that he “Hate Muslims” among various other Islamophobic posts. Cairns told the Post-Gazette that his posts, “weren’t done with any intentions of trying to cause a genocide” and said they were “not the best choices.”
PA Dems for Impeachment. In the first impeachment vote since the Dems took over the House, the Pennsylvania Democratic delegation is split on the matter. Five of the nine members of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation voted against killing the impeachment resolution, including four members voting for this measure for the first time. The Democrats representing the most progressive areas of the state, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, voted against killing the impeachment resolution, while the Democrats in the more moderate Northeast and Southwest voted to kill the resolution.
Women for Trump. Since President Donald Trump’s election, women have been trending towards the Democratic Party. Despite the noticeable shift in the electorate, the Trump 2020 campaign’s first “Women for Trump” event kicked off this week in the Philadelphia suburbs. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the event drew about 1,000, mostly women, in attendance to see Trump allies, including RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, the president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, and more as they touted Trump’s agenda and expressed confidence in his reelection effort.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Just got a weekly Email digest from @RepSusanWild, called “A Wild Week in the House.” This is unfair. I cannot use my last name so easily.
“This week, things got Schloss-tastic in Harrisburg!”
“Today in Harrisburg, we Schlossed up the opposition!”
Doesn’t have the same ring
— Mike Schlossberg (@MikeSchlossberg) June 15, 2019