Archive: April, 2012
It was refreshing to see primary voters in two Philadelphia legislative districts say no to politics as usual by rejecting an old-guard Democratic House member and turning away a newcomer who pinned her hopes on being the namesake daughter of the man who had held that office.
The apparent defeat in the 182d District of State Rep. Babette Josephs, 71, not only paves the way for the election of Pennsylvania’s first openly gay state lawmaker, but also served as savvy Center City voters’ rejection of unsavory — not to mention, silly — campaign tactics.
A weird Josephs flyer warned that 33-year-old lawyer Brian Sims “says he will work with Harrisburg Republicans.” Horror of horrors, the Josephs camp concluded, Sims’ nod toward bipartisanship would result in disenfranchised minorities, cuts to schools, and “mandatory ultrasounds before abortion.”
The reporting of additional information concerning the allegedchild-abuse death of a 6-year-old boy again raises questions about the protection of children in Philadelphia.
Records indicate that although Khalil Wimes was not officially under the supervision of the city Department of Human Services when his death occurred on March 19, a DHS social worker did see Khalil several times when she monitored two older siblings during their supervised visits with the boy.
If the social worker saw signs of abuse, which others now say were clearly visible, why weren’t steps taken so DHS could intercede? Is the social worker, who has been put on desk duty, solely at fault? Is her supervisor to blame? Or is it the procedures or culture within DHS?
Bravo for the voters scattered around Philadelphia who noted the test run of new photo-identification rules by engaging in what might be called “one man, one protest” tactics.
Or one woman, as in the case of the 80-something voter who proudly informed election workers at her Upper Roxborough polling place Tuesday that she left her ID at home on purpose.
Those voters who refused to produce identification were standing up against the state’s unprecedented requirement that citizens must provide government-issued identification before their votes can be counted.
When the sun beats down this summer, beach lovers may have a hard time finding that perfect place on the sand because New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection is abdicating its responsibility to ensure beach access.
It is letting Shore towns, some of which have been hostile to tourists, write their own beach access plans. It is providing so few guidelines, that advocates rightly worry citizens’ suits pressing for access could be lost causes. Even if DEP were to reject a town’s plan, there are no real consequences. The state says it would be more difficult for towns to get shorefront replenishment funds but not impossible. DEP hasn’t even considered the wily town which could take the money and then change its access plan to be prohibitive.
While there are 1,200 paths to New Jersey’s 127-mile coastline, beach access is a lot more complicated. Shore towns have kept day trippers at bay, by restricting parking. Some eliminate it altogether, charge a high price or put a time limit on it. Keeping families away is even easier. The towns can fail to provide enough restrooms. Try explaining that to a toddler.
The type of leader who will be hired to become Philadelphia’s next superintendent of schools became clearer Tuesday with the district’s announcement of a five-year plan to erase a massive budget deficit.
The city’s two previous superintendents — Arlene Ackerman and, before her, Paul Vallas — were visionaries who brought with them their own master plans to restructure the system and make it more successful academically, if not economically.
But by implementing a new road map to the future before replacing Ackerman, who stepped down eight months ago, the School Reform Commission appears to be saying the next superintendent will be expected to follow a path already set for him, or her.
By cutting a wide swath through Harrisburg’s safety-net spending, Gov. Corbett’s proposed fiscal plan for Pennsylvania may look as if it balances the budget without breaking his no-tax pledge. But what if his plan backfires?
There’s a compelling case to be made that the supposedly fiscally prudent course being taken by the governor, with a roughly 20 percent cutback on welfare spending, could drive up other state, county, and city costs while needlessly subjecting thousands of needy residents to suffering.
That’s going to be the rallying cry in Harrisburg on May 7 as advocates from across the state plan to gather in protest of the welfare cuts.
Camden County’s Cooper River Park could become a much better version of itself now that the county is beginning a long-awaited $23 million, five-year face-lift that will bring people to the water’s edge for recreation.
This is a welcome project in a park that will pull together urban and suburban outdoor enthusiasts looking for a good softball game, run, picnic, walk, bike ride, or boat race, or who just want to throw a line in the water and hope a bass or catfish bites.
Too few people enjoy the river’s edge on the Jersey side, but Philadelphia landscape architects Cairone and Kaupp have designed a handsome combination of paths, boardwalks, and overlooks to bring more visitors there.
Inquirer editorial page editor Harold Jackson chats Monday, April 23, starting at 1 p.m. about the forgotten aspects of the 'good old days.' Read his column from Sunday here. On a mobile device? Join the chat here.