Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A younger version of PA Society

A group of young Philly professionals is offering an alternative to the annual PA Society dinner this weekend.

A younger version of PA Society

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This, in the words of Miley Cyrus, is "pretty cool."

Not that the twerking pop-icon and reported finalist (unbelievably) for Time magazine's Person of the Year (which, thankfully, is Pope Francis) has anything to do with the inaugural Pattisan Leader Ball.

What, you ask, is the Pattisan Leader Ball?

Well, it's an event scheduled for this Saturday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the Red and Clover rooms of the Hyatt at the Bellevue on South Broad to coincide (clash, actually) with the annual PA Society Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.

The new event is sponsored by a group of young Philly professionals. It's named for Pennsylvania's two youngest governors: Robert Pattison, of Philadelphia, who was 32 when elected in 1882; and George M. Leader, of York County, who was 36 when elected in 1954.

Gov. Leader's 30-something grandson, George M. Leader IV, is scheduled to speak.

It's more cocktail party than sit-down dinner. There's a jazz band and a short program. Tickets are $65, available at About 140 people are expected.

Proceeds go to a Philly-based non-profit, The Monkey and The Elephant, a coffee shop run to provide help and housing for young adults who've aged out of foster care.

The idea here is to offer an alternative to the exercise in excess that PA's political elite indulge in every year in Manhattan, a multi-day round of posh parties and receptions keystoned by a black-tie dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf with dinner tickets starting at $350.

(For the unfamiliar, here's a look at a list of events from last year's weekend. They tend to repeat annually.)

An organizer of the Philly ball, 27-year old Nicole Allen, a recent Drexel Law grad and senior fellow with the Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, says many young people cannot afford or are not invited to PA Soceity events.

I love this idea. It can help get more younger people involved in PA politics and policy. It raises money for a public good, in contrast to the self-indulgent profile-raising that goes on in Manhattan. And it contributes to the city and state economy rather than pumping money into New York.

I'm not suggesting it's a "wrecking ball" to PA Society. But it might be sign that change is coming.

Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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