September 6th Ups & Downs
The Mayor of Philadelphia unfairly picks a fight with Philadelphia Magazine, statewide elected officials Twitter accounts receives some recognition, and the PAGOP makes two new hires to their staff. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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Jim Kenney. The Mayor of Philadelphia made a drastic move this week to unfairly single out Philadelphia Magazine, making their coverage of City Hall much more difficult. Philadelphia Magazine reports that due to the coverage of Kenney for the last year, culminating with a recent expose about the controversial DROP program, that all requests from Philadelphia Magazine must come from their editor-in-chief, Tom McGrath directly to Kenney’s Chief of Staff Jim Engler. The article notes that such a measure was never made during the previous two Mayoral administrations and makes their work covering City Hall much more difficult. Although the Magazine did endorse state Sen. Anthony Williams in his quest to one term Kenney, a move like this is uncalled for and downright wrong for the great journalists at Philadelphia Magazine.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, who received $15,000 as a part of the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news covering the shooting deaths of 11 people and the wounding of seven others at the Tree of Life Synagogue, donated the monetary award to the Tree of Life congregation this week. The money will help repair the synagogue.
PA Politicians Twitter. Some elected officials use social media to send out press releases to essentially make Facebook and Twitter a one-way platform to send out their message. William L. Harder, a researcher at American University in Washington who teaches in the School of Public Affairs and the School of International Service, wrote a story for the Philadelphia Inquirer that shows how unique a number of Pennsylvania’s most noteworthy politicians use Twitter to engage with constituents. Harder compares the accounts of Gov. Tom Wolf, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the PA Treasury, and more to the accounts of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Delaware Gov. John Carney who rarely engage with their constituents on Twitter.
Census Funding. Dollars are being brought in for funding the upcoming census in Pennsylvania, but should other foundations be necessary in the first place? The William Penn Foundation awarded $1 million toward 2020 Census outreach efforts in the state this week. One might ask, why are foundations needed to step in to fund this effort? The most recent state budget did not include funding from the $12 million that a state commission recommended that was needed to ensure that residents are counted in the census. Gov. Tom Wolf pushed for the funding, while a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania House GOP said the state funding “didn’t prove to be necessary in previous census counts” and added that they view that “the census is really a federal project, a federal initiative” although other states have committed funds to the effort, including California pledging $100 million for the census, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
PA8 Republicans. Former Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne) announced this week that he was not going to make a bid for the 8th Congressional District in Northeast PA represented by Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna). The NRCC has placed the Trump friendly district in its top 3 targets in the state, due to the president winning the boundaries by 10 points in 2016 over Sec. Hillary Clinton, although Cartwright has won comfortably in his previous two bids. Barletta was viewed as a GOP candidate with noteworthy name recognition for the seat, so the news of Barletta sitting out a bid for the district leaves the race wide open among Northeast Pennsylvania Republicans. Teddy Daniels, a former police officer and wounded combat Army veteran, is the lone GOP candidate that has entered the race for the 8th District thus far.
Traci McDonald-Kemp. McDonald-Kemp made history in Washington County by being the first black woman to take the oath of office as a Washington County Common Pleas Court judge and became the first black woman to be elected to countywide office in Washington County, according to the Observer-Reporter. She was unanimously approved by the state Senate on June 27 to fill the seventh-seat vacancy.
Matthew Staniszewski. The Washington City Councilman is being pressured by his peers to resign after he was recently arrested for driving under the influence, according to the Observer-Reporter. Washington City council members sent a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf petitioning his removal from council due to his fourth DUI. Staniszewski’s lawyer called the letter to the Governor “unconstitutional.”
Calvin Tucker and Vonne Andring. The two longtime Republican operatives find themselves in a new position with the Pennsylvania GOP. Chairman Lawrence Tabas announced the hirings of Tucker and Andring for newly created positions within the state party this week. Tucker, who served as a media surrogate and African American Advisor to Donald Trump while he was a presidential candidate, was tapped to be the Director of Engagement and Advancement for the state party. Andring has worked on various campaigns that include Ted Cruz for President, Scott Wagner’s bid for Governor, and Doug Mastriano’s successful 2019 special election bid for the state Senate’s 33rd District, was selected to be Senior Advisor for the PAGOP.
Joe Biden. The Scranton native and Democratic presidential frontrunner has received a number of endorsements in the state of Pennsylvania thus far, but could a decision to not commit to a union presidential forum in Philly come back to haunt him? Biden has made it clear he’s seeking union support in his quest for the Democratic Party nomination, but when the Philadelphia AFL-CIO announced that they were having a presidential summit in September, the former VP hasn’t committed to attending yet. This resulted in Philly AFL-CIO Council President Pat Eiding calling out Biden in an NPR interview noting his headquarters being in Philly, yet “his folks haven’t found the importance of coming together and talking to our workers.” Eiding also added in the interview with another jab that “Senator Sanders certainly sees Philadelphia as important enough to talk here,” according to WHYY. Seven Democratic presidential candidates have committed to attending the event thus far. Former Congressman and Chair of the Philly Democratic Party, Bob Brady, told the Inquirer that Biden, who is a longtime friend of Brady, is “going to try to figure out a way to get there.”
TWEET OF THE WEEK
In honor of the NFL season kicking off on Sunday, the tweet of the week goes to this funny response from the City of Pittsburgh’s Twitter account to a poll on asking Pennsylvanians who they are rooting for this season.
Who is your favorite kid?
— City of Pittsburgh (@CityPGH) September 6, 2019
Honorary mention goes to Gov. Tom Wolf for poking fun at his age while referencing the Steagles and hoping for a showdown between the Birds and the Steelers in the Super Bowl.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) September 6, 2019