Jen Murphy's blog

Show your LOVE for Philly for Change!

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Look at all of these fabulous people who are showing their LOVE for Philly for Change by being a Host for our fundraiser on Monday:

Peggy Banaszek, Karen Bojar, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown, Sherrie Cohen, Kyle Derr, Anne Dicker, Fred Druding, Jr, Sam Durso, Larry Farnese, Renee Gilinger, Susan Gobreski, Councilman Bill Green, Derek Green, Elaine Griffin, Jennifer Kates, Mike Krautkramer, Rep. Babette Josephs, Albert Littlepage, Brett Mapp, Hannah Miller, Rep. Patrick Murphy and Jenni Murphy, Ray Murphy, Jen Murphy, Rep. Tony Payton, Jr, Josh Richard, Ryan and Amy Roat, Angeles Roca, Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, Jeff Scott, Wendy Sedlak, Marc Stier, Andy Toy, Ben Waxman, Mary Ellen Weber, Seth Williams, Townsend Freimiller Associates

Want to show YOUR love?

Come Celebrate Presidents' Day with Philly for Change: Happy Hour Fundraiser 2/18

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Come to Philly for Change's HAPPY HOUR FUNDRAISER on Presidents' Day!

What better way to celebrate our past Presidents (well, the ones that we liked) and to ponder who the NEXT one will be?

MONDAY, February 18th
5:30-7:30pm
Mad River Bar & Grill
126 Chestnut Street
RSVP HERE: http://www.evite.com/app/publicUrl/DPLWLPVQPEHPODCLVBSP/pfc

Consider becoming a Host for this event! Host committee is now forming - join it by emailing Jen at phillyvotes@gmail.com or calling 267-205-0657

Host - $60
Attend - $20
Student/Low Income - $10

We'll have some complimentary food and drink specials!

Come have fun with us and help support our 2008 GOTV efforts!

Rep. Cruz's War on Drugs, Take 2

As Charlie posted yesterday, State Representative Angel Cruz (D-180) introduced a bill in the State Legislature that would ban needle exchange programs from operating within 500 feet of a residence or school. I posted similar concerns yesterday over this legislation which would essentially prevent a very successful needle exchange program, Prevention Point, from operating in Philadelphia. I sent Rep. Cruz's office an email yesterday voicing my concern and asking him to consider working with neighborhood groups in his district and Prevention Point to solve the issue of discarded needles rather than create a state law that would in effect ban needle exchange programs in urban areas. I also emphasized that research has overwhelmingly shown needle exchange programs to be effective at reducing the spread of new HIV infections while NOT increasing drug use rates.

This is the response I received from his office:

Dear Jennifer,

If you would like to forward your home address I will forward it to Prevention Point to use as a needle exchange site.

If you have any questions please feel free to call 215-291-5643.

Sincerely,

Joseph H Evangelista, Executive Director
State Representative Angel Cruz
District Office

I sent a reply to Mr. Evangelista with my address, but reminded him that with the pending legislation it would be against the law for me to operate a needle exchange site from my home. I did offer that the closest location to my house might be at the Philadelphia Zoo, but that the $18 admission price might deter folks who are only concerned with obtaining a clean needle and stopping the spread of HIV in the process.

What concerns me most about this legislation is that Rep. Cruz could actually do something as a state legislator to protect the safety of his constituents - he could work at actually reducing drug use in his district and Philadelphia as a whole. But that's not what he is doing.

Philadelphia has a serious drug problem. While the 1980s onward saw a reduction in overall drug use, many researchers argue that the number of hard-core drug users (those who consume a lot of drugs) is actually higher today. This is usually marked by drug-related emergency department visits and deaths. A 2002 national report revealed that Philadelphia had three times the national average in heroin-related emergency department visits. Not surprisingly, many of Philadelphia's heroin problems are found in Rep. Cruz's district. For those of you who are not familiar with the 180th district, it is an area of North Philadelphia that (very) roughly encompasses Kensington Ave to the east, 5th Street to the West, Lehigh to the South and Wyoming to the North. Some of you might remember when part of this district had been perjoratively nicknamed "The Badlands" because of its open-air drug markets and scores of abandoned houses serving as "shooting galleries" during the 1990s. It was an area of rampant drug problems and these problems continue today. For my dissertation, I interviewed many former heroin addicts who were seeking treatment at a methadone maintenance program in South Philadelphia. Almost all of them would refer to locations in the 180th district where they would go to buy and use drugs (i.e., the infamous "K and A" intersection). Operation Safe Streets attempted to target some of these areas.

Drug addiction should be an issue that Rep. Cruz addresses. It is definitely a huge issue in his district. He should be going to Harrisburg and figuring out ways to direct Commonwealth resources to help combat this problem. But, unfortunately, the solution he has come up with, banning needle exchange programs, is reactionary and short-sighted. Rather than trying to work with the new mayor and city council to combat the illegal drug activity on the streets of his district, he is making what appears to be a calculated political move to satisfy a small number of angry constituents in his district. Rather than going to Harrisburg and demanding more money for drug treatment programs in his district, he is going to ask them to ban the only effective harm reduction program that Philadelphia has ever had. And, in the end, the residents in his district will be no safer from the violence associated with drug-dealing, and those in need of serious drug treatment will have one less resource to count on for information.

Are You Coming to the Philly for Change Picnic on Sunday!

If you are not planning to be in Wildwood for the annual Brady Bunch politco picnic, come to the PFC Picnic in Clark park instead. We always have a great time!

Come meet up with your old PFC buddies and make some new ones at Philly for Change's 3rd annual Summer Picnic!
We'll also announce the finalists for our Legacy Project too, so you won't want to miss it.

When: Sunday, July 29th, 1-6pm
Where: Clark Park, 45th and Kingsessing
Cost: $10 donation for food and drink

Bring your families, and bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on!

Clark Park is in West Philadelphia. You can take the 11, 13, 34 or 36 trolley. If you drive, there should be plenty of street parking. The picnic will be held near the basketball courts, near 45th and Kingsessing (which is between Chester and Woodland).

RSVP to attend the picnic here.

Our picnic is mostly just about having a good time so you can rest assured that there will be no speeches, action steps or anything else to do except eat and chat!

Is Maria Quinones-Sanchez Our Best Chance for a Unified Progressive Movement?

Amidst all of the debate back and forth about the merits and drawbacks of the various mayoral, council, and judicial candidates, there is one candidate who has bubbled to the surface as the most unifying candidate among all progressives. She also happens to be running in the most gerrymandered city council district in the country, a district that desperately NEEDS a candidate to unify these diverse neighborhoods. Neighborhoods that have been forgotten by their city and state representatives. Neighborhoods that are vibrant and craving real leadership. Neighborhoods that have been deliberately chopped up and split from one another. And all of us agree: these neighborhoods need Maria Quinones-Sanchez.

Help us change politics forever

Whew. Only five more days. First, let me say that it makes me happy how well people have been getting along, even while supporting different candidates for the same position. There are over 4000 people on the Philly for Change email list, and even those supporting a different mayoral candidate than Michael Nutter, or somebody different than one of our endorsed council candidates, have been respectful of the democratic process that led to those endorsements.

Now it's time to put the pedal to the metal (did I really just write that?) and get some of these fantastic, progressive candidates elected on Tuesday.

Come out and volunteer this weekend. We'll be knocking on doors and talking to voters all across the city. And of course, we need your help on Election Day! Email me (jmurphy@pfcvotes.com) if you want to help out for any of our endorsed candidates. The whole list is here:
http://www.phillyforchange.com/phillyforchange/endorsements/index.html

In short, our endorsed candidates are Nutter for Mayor and for Council: Anastasio (1st), Roberts (2nd), Johnston (5th), Quinones-Sanchez (7th), Ackelsberg (8th) and Stier, Ruben, Toy, Brown, and Green for At-Large. Click above for our judicial and row office endorsements or go to our website www.phillyforchange.com

Take the Philly for Change Challenge!

As has been recently announced and discussed on this blog, Philly for Change has endorsed a slate of really great City Council Candidates that you can read all about on our website: www.phillyforchange.com

Well, with only 4 weeks to go until E-day, it's time to step up to the plate and make sure we elect these great candidates! How can I do that?
Easy: Sign up for the Philly for Change Challenge.

What is the Challenge? Again, easy: The PFC challenge is you committing to volunteering for FOUR activities in the next FOUR weeks (phonebanking, knocking on doors, attending fundraisers, volunteering on Election Day, etc). That's it! (sorry folks, blogging does not count). I know, not much of a challenge, (well maybe it is for those of you with serious internet addictions) but those few hours of your time can make all the difference. And if enough people sign up, then we can ensure we elect a progressive city council slate. Wouldn't that be a great thing to wake up to on May 16th?

Philly for Change Endorses More Candidates for City Council!

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At their monthly membership meeting last night, Philly for Change endorsed six more candidates running for City Council:

Irv Ackelsberg - 8th Councilmanic District (CD)
Blondell Reynolds Brown - At-Large (AL)
Derek Green - AL
Matt Ruben - AL
Marc Stier - AL
Andy Toy - AL

These candidates join the three that were previously endorsed at last month's meeting:
Vern Anastasio - 1st CD
Damon Roberts - 2nd CD
Maria Quinones-Sanchez - 7th CD

Come meet the candidates!

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Philly for Change will be hosting a candidate forum for those running for City Council At-Large on Saturday. Please plan on attending! There will be time for audience questions and we will look toward audience feedback to help determine possible endorsements.

What: PFC At-Large Candidate Forum
When: Saturday, March 24th, 11am-1pm
Where: First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut Street

Coffee and refreshments will be served (Thanks to the generous supporters of our fundraiser last month!)

All Democratic candidates for At-Large have been invited (when we could find contact info). Please email Jen if you would like to participate - jmurphy@pfcvotes.com

If you have specific topics/questions in mind for the candidates, please post them here!

MAYORAL FORUM POSTPONED!

I apologize for the short notice but I just received word that Dwight Evans cannot make Saturday's forum because he has to attend a funeral. Therefore, PFC and ADA have decided to postpone the forum so that we can have an event with all of the declared candidates.

Because of the widespread publicity of this event, you are still invited for coffee and refreshments with candidates Michael Nutter and Tom Knox. There will not be a forum, but both candidates will address the audience and you can ask them questions.

I will keep you posted about the rescheduled date for the forum. I am so sorry for the inconvenience. Please forward this to anybody else you think was planning on attending.

Jen Murphy
Chair, Philly for Change

When progressive values are under attack, what do we do? STAND UP, FIGHT BACK!

When progressive values are under attack, what do we do? STAND UP, FIGHT BACK!

I'm really sick of listening to Democratic politicians and former politicians talking about how they want young, fresh faces within its leadership. They go to schools, rallies, college campuses and implore that WE get involved. That WE take a stand. That WE even...think about running for office!

But the reality is that they don't actually want that. They want us to get involved in THEIR campaigns. They want us to promote THEIR agendas. They want us to help THEM keep whatever power they have.

Now, more than ever, we progressives need to unite and forcefully push ahead with our own movement. I think some of us were optimistic and really believed that many of these Democrats shared our values. We justified their actions we disagreed with. We thought, maybe they just got a bit misguided somewhere along the way. And we said to ourselves, mabye if we got in there, then they would accept us, listen to our well-reasoned and researched ideas, and follow our lead. And then we were able to sleep at night and dream of a united local Democratic party fighting for a more progressive city and state.

Well, it's time to wake up and smell the deleted emails.

Click "read more" below to find out why you need to come out to an event tonight to fight Dem party leaders who will never let us have our turn unless we take it- a lesson I am learning on the Anne Dicker campaign.

Protect Every Pennsylvanian's Right To Vote!

Protect Every Pennsylvanian's Right To Vote!

HEY PHILLY--Come to Harrisburg on February 1st and Voice Your Opposition to H.B. 1318!

No need for id requirement.
Stop further disenfranchisement of people convicted of felonies.

Lobby Day to Stop House Bill 1318 is Wednesday, February 1st!

Buses Leave Project H.O.M.E., 1515 Fairmount @ 7:30am & 24th and Lehigh @ 7:30am

Buses return by 5pm

For more info contact: Jennine Miller, Project H.O.M.E., 215-232-7272, x3042

*On the bus, organizers and team captains will explain how the the lobbying will work.

UPenn Republicans Turned Vigilantes

Watch out University City residents: Penn Students are armed!

The Inquirer published an article today about increasing crime rates in University City.
http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/13212030.htm

Rather than rely on Penn to provide increased security, the College Republicans there are proposing an alternative:

[Penn undergraduate Cory Bray, who heads the school's College Republicans chapter and knows one of the robbery victims, has loudly condemned the administration and urged students to apply for concealed-weapons permits.

"If Penn can't protect us," he said, "we should be able to protect ourselves."]

Hey, he has a point, right? I mean, people gotta stand up and take back their neighborhood (oh, wait...)

Only time will tell if local gun dealers decide to start setting up tables on Penn's campus. Of course, they will have to negotiate space with the hordes of people signing up students for credit cards. Maybe they can score a deal: Apply for a New Platinum Visa and Get a Free Gun!

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