Close this search box.

March 21: Going Dark

Philadelphia's Boathouse Row

🌅 It’s Tuesday. DYK the first compact disc hit U.S. stores 40 years ago this month?

PA Weather
California | Increasing Clouds, 57
Mansfield | Sunny, 54
East Stroudsburg | Sunny, 61

PA Sports
76ers (48-23) | lost to Chicago 109-105 | WED vs. Chicago
Penguins (34-26-10) | lost to Ottawa 2-1 | WED vs. Colorado
Flyers (25-32-12) | TUE vs. Florida

What We’re Hearing
“If you look at the Social Security system , you look at entitlements in general, it is mathematically, it’s unsustainable over time. We can’t do is break our promises to people of a certain generation.” – Dave McCormick

Sign Me Up
For the best morning read in the Commonwealth. Get your free subscription to the PoliticsPA Playbook and we’ll email you every weekday morning. Join the PoliticsPA community.


Top Story

1. ‘Who Was The Trigger Man?’ PA Lawmakers Grill Norfolk Southern CEO Over East Palestine Chemical Burn

Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw testifying before a PA Senate committee

“Pennsylvania lawmakers grilled Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw on Monday about who made the final decision to set toxic chemicals on fire as a safety precaution three days after last month’s catastrophic train derailment just across the Ohio border.

“Who was the trigger man?” state Sen. Doug Mastriano asked Mr. Shaw during his first public testimony at the state Capitol about the incident. Sen. Katie Muth said, “There seems to be some confusion on whose idea this burn was.” (Post-Gazette)


Norfolk Southern’s Shaw Promises To “Make It Right.” “The president and chief executive officer of Norfolk Southern, Alan Shaw, appeared before the Pennsylvania Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee on Monday.” (PoliticsPA)

Legislators Frustrated With Norfolk Southern CEO’s Appearance Before PA Senate Committee. “Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan Shaw’s appearance before a state Senate committee on Monday focused heavily on the decision to purposely burn the leaking chemicals, which sent a plume of ash and smoke into Pennsylvania.” (PennLive)

Shapiro Administration To Maintain Presence In Western PA Following Derailment. “Pennsylvania state agencies on health, agriculture and the environment will maintain a joint presence in Beaver County to assist Western Pennsylvania residents as the aftermath of the toxic train derailment nearby in Ohio continues to unfold.” (CNHI News)



2. Lawmakers Gauge Level Of Gov. Shapiro’s Support For School Choice

Home | Leadership OD/ID LLC

“Pennsylvania’s Acting Education Secretary Khalid Mumin made a statement in his opening remarks at Monday’s budget hearing defending Gov. Josh Shapiro’s proposed education budget that Republican lawmakers didn’t let him forget.

Mumin, a former school superintendent in the Reading and Lower Merion school districts, said, “The goal within this budget is to ensure that every Pennsylvania student has access to a quality education.” (PennLive)


Education Secretary Khalid Mumin Calls Shapiro’s School Plan a Starting Point For Fair Funding. “Gov. Josh Shapiro’s $44.4 billion budget proposal makes a sizable investment in public education as a starting point to begin addressing funding disparities among the state’s 500 school districts, Pennsylvania Education Secretary Khalid Mumin said on Monday.” (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

‘Abbott Elementary’ Goes All-In Against Charter Schools. “ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” has made charter schools its boogeyman. The popular sitcom, now in its sophomore season, is wrapping up an arc in which the titular institution, a chaotic but whimsical inner-city Philadelphia school, faces off against the big, bad charter company down the street, Legendary Schools, which is actively seeking to incorporate it.” (The Hill)

A Complete Guide To The Candidates For State Supreme Court. “Pennsylvania elects its Supreme Court justices in statewide partisan contests. The winners of the May 16 primary will compete during the Nov. 7 general election.” (Spotlight PA)

A Proposed PA Bill Would Ban The Use of Hand-Held Phones While Driving. “A Pennsylvania state senator has introduced legislation that would ban drivers from using cell phones and other hand-held devices when behind the wheel, a change supporters say would make roads safer.” (WESA)

Uncertain Revenue Expectations Cloud PA’s Financial Future. “Two of Pennsylvania’s most respected economic analysts offered muddy expectations of future revenue estimates on Monday.” (The Center Square)


Around The Commonwealth

3. What Is ERIC And Why It Matters

With all the talk about “election integrity” and legislation being proposed in state houses regarding voting, it appears that “getting it right” is foremost on lawmakers’ minds as the calendar speeds toward the 2024 presidential election.

So why are legislatures leaving a nonpartisan organization devoted to “assisting states to improve the accuracy of America’s voter rolls and increase access to voter registration for all eligible citizens?”


CISA: Election Security Still Under Threat at Cyber and Physical Level. “Federal cyber leadership doubled down on the need to continue to fortify election security at both the local and national level as threats from foreign and domestic actors will still be a problem ahead of the 2024 presidential election.” (NextGov)

All Three Luzerne County Officials Declining Invitation To Hearing On Election Paper Shortage. “That would leave only three invitees — two state and one federal — to participate in the Congressional hearing called “Government Voter Suppression in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania” set for March 28 in Washington, D.C. to examine “how a severe shortage of available Election Day ballots provided by Luzerne County effectively closed polling locations and prevented thousands of Pennsylvanians from exercising their right to vote in the 2022 midterm election.”” (Times Leader)

  • Pittsburgh, Allegheny County: Who’s Running For Office. (PoliticsPA)


Jeff Brown’s Grocery Stores Gave Ex-Offenders A ‘First Chance.’ Now It’s A Key To His Mayoral Campaign. “Mayoral candidate Jeff Brown has touted his grocery franchise’s practice of hiring ex-offenders. Some of the people who benefitted say his programs mostly work.” (Inquirer)

The Latest TV Ads In The Philly Mayor’s Race Include Two Mayors And The First Attack Ad. “The battle for Philadelphians’ attention is heating up on television as the city’s mayoral race enters the final eight weeks before the primary election — and without clear front-runners.” (Inquirer)

The Gloves Come Off. “It’s getting chippy out there! With the May 16 primary less than two months away, the Democratic candidates for mayor have officially taken the gloves off.” (Inquirer)

Fellow GOP Official Calls For Investigation Into Rift Involving York County President Commissioner. “York County President Commissioner Julie Wheeler received a cease-and-desist letter over alleged disparaging remarks she made against the county’s outgoing solicitor, Michèlle Pokrifka, leading to a call for an investigation from one of Wheeler’s colleagues.” (York Dispatch)

‘Johnstown Is Having a Moment’: $24.4M Federal Grant Will Kick-Start City Revival, Officials Say. “Johnstown is poised for a rebirth after receiving a federal grant of $24.4 million in 2021 that will pay to fix the city’s broken iconic Johnstown Inclined Plane, rebuild an historic Amtrak train station and renew downtown’s central square and transit center.” (Post-Gazette)

Olshan Nominated To Be U.S. Attorney For Western PA. “Eric G. Olshan has served as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Western District of Pennsylvania for more than six years. The district covers 25 counties in the western half of the state and stretches from the Pittsburgh area north to Erie and as far east as Altoona.” (Tribune-Review)

Liv Bennett Withdraws From County Executive, County Council Races. “Allegheny County Councilor Liv Bennett withdrew from the race for Allegheny County Executive on Friday. She also ended her county council re-election bid.” (WESA)

DuBois Manager Arrested For Fraud. “John “Herm” Suplizio, who is also the executive director of the DuBois Area United Way, allegedly made $620,815 in fraudulent transactions, using funds from city bank accounts and the Dubois Area United Way account to pay his personal credit card bills, make political donations and gamble.” (Altoona Mirror)



4. What They’re Saying

A glance around the Keystone State at editorials and opinions.

  • Davis’ Clumsy Handling of Clemency Firings Raises Questions, But Shapiro’s Move To Strengthen The Process Is Encouraging. (Post-Gazette)
  • We Shouldn’t Fund a Broken Education System. (Sen. Ryan Aument)
  • Pennsylvanians In Poverty Need Government To Get Out Of The Way. (Nathan Benefield)
  • Campaigns To Kill ‘Wokeness’ Are Efforts To Perpetuate Racism, Disenfranchisement. (Janice Ellis)
  • Secession Is Here Already. What Can We Do About It? (Michael J. Lee)
  • Irresponsible Spending And More Costs On Pennsylvanians. (Rep. Tim O’Neil)
  • What Am I Not Being Told? (David Reel)


1 Thing

5. Boathouse Row Goes Dark

Boathouse Row — Visit Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s nightscape is about to lose a signature feature of its magic. The lights illuminating Boathouse Row along the Schuylkill for more than four decades are going dark, perhaps until the end of the year, for what officials say will be a transformative upgrade.

The overhaul project began Monday — coincidentally the first day of spring — and will involve removing all the bulbs and replacing them with 6,400 LED bulbs that will be programmed to change colors in 16 million possible combinations with the capability to “dance,” said the city Fairmount Park Conservancy, the project lead, and the city Parks and Recreation Department.

Removing the old bulbs also will allow for structural repairs on the historic Victorian houses where the lights have made some areas inaccessible, they said. Officials estimated that it would take eight months to finish the work.


Thanks for starting your day with us.
What did you think of today’s newsletter?
Please invite your friends
to subscribe to the PoliticsPA Playbook


3 Responses

  1. Wealthy people like McCormick do not pay their share of SocSec taxes (FICA). If they paid FICA on all their income, not just salary, there would be no problem funding SocSec forever.

  2. Leaders like pompous Dave McCormick proclaiming from his million dollar perch how social security is not sustainable is the problem. We don’t need any more detached elitists but we do need problem solvers because what McCormick fails to grasp is that the country club life he leads is supported by Social Security because it helps provide stability in society.

  3. Rhynharts coup of getting two former Mayors to endorse her…

    Folks scratching their heads about former Mayor Streets pick ( maybe it was the consulting fee…) and they get why Nutter backed her. The commercial of the two of them together is must see TV.

    But other folks, a number from around the country are asking where’s Derek Green?

    They ask that if Philadephia elected Nutter for 2 terms and were satisfied, why hasn’t Green risen above the group of candidates and run away with the primary?

    Green is cut from the same mold as Nutter. Has done behind the scenes what Nutter got done in public and has a wider network than Nutter…

    So people are wondering why Green seems to be invisible? Gaining virtually no traction??

    A large cut of people in Philly know Green is hands down the most qualified candidate.

    They’re wondering why he or his campaign doesn’t seem to know that by not more aggressively, vocally and charismatically making his case…

    A 1st among equals running as an also ran.


  • Do you agree that ByteDance should be forced to divest TikTok?

    • Yes. It's a national security risk. (60%)
    • No. It's an app used by millions and poses no threat. (40%)
    • What's ByteDance? (0%)

    Total Voters: 30

    Loading ... Loading ...
Continue to Browser


To install tap and choose
Add to Home Screen