Marc Stier's blog

Forum on Health Care Alternatives for Pennsylvania

Sponsored by West Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks

Sunday, November 11
7:00 PM

Abbraccio’s
820 S. 47th Street

Speakers:

Marc Stier, Health Care Campaign Manager for SEIU PA State Council. SEIU is a founding member of Pennsylvanians United for Affordable Health Care and the Pennsylvania Healthcare Access Network.

Chuck Pennacchio, Executive Director, of Health Care 4 All PA

Live Blogging: Turnout today

I’m stealing someone’s wi-fi now so I can report on what I’m hearing about turnout

In my division 21-24 in Mt. Airy, it has been slow and steady all day with no real rush in the morning. We have about 175 voters right now. That might get us to 45%. We have about 903 total registered voters and typically do 70-75% in primaries and 90% in presidential generals.

I just heard about a division in Germantown, Ward 12, that had about 50 voters an hour ago. I don’t know the division but most division in ward 12 have 300 voters or so, if I remember correctly. So they could get to 40-50%

A friend in Overbrook, ward 34, said that there were 15 voters at 7:30 which is low but not abysmal for that time of day.
I’m told by people running state wide judicial campaigns that if turnout is “not absysmal” in Phlly which I think means about 20%, our state wide candidates have a shot.

So far, it looks to me like we are doing better than not abysmal.

SEPTA to City: Stick It

I did something unusual for a transit activist yesterday. I didn’t protest SEPTA’s new fare increases in tokens and transfers. Instead, I said that while I had some doubts about whether fares needed to be increased as much as SEPTA claimed, I thought it was much better for transit agencies to have regular, small increases than to sock riders heavily every five or six years.

And I also said that along with proposing small increases in tokens and transfers, SEPTA should drop its appeal of Judge DiVito’s decision blocking their plan to eliminate transfers.

The new fare increases are meant to make up for the revenues lost due to Judge DiVito’s decision. Until today SEPTA said that it would rescind these fare increases if the courts allow the elimination of transfers to proceed. At today’s meeting they adopted a proposal that brings the transfer decision back to the board if the court rules in SEPTA’s favor.

Retirement Letter from Thomas Paine Cronin

Tom Cronin recently sent the following letter to some his friends and allies among community and labor leaders in the city. It is worthy of a wide readership among progressives.

As a preface, let me just say that Tom has been one of the most important voices among labor leaders in favor of progressive public policy. And he has done more than anyone else in the labor movement to forge broad coalitions. I've worked closely with Tom on a number of issues--especially transit funding, raising the minimum wage, and most recently inclusionary housing. I've learned a great deal from him about coalition building and the importance of militancy. More than one one he has encourged us to push our politicians as hard as possible--to the extent of engagining in sit-ins in their offices.

Civil Liberties and Larry Craig

I'm sure we are all having fun over another example of Republican hypocripsy on gay issues. But is anyone else disturbed about Craig being arrested for merely propositioning someone--and doing it in a way that most straight men would hardly recognize it as such?

I can see why laws against people actually having sex in a public restroom might be a good idea. But laws against a fairly subtle come-on? What is the point---except to harass gay men.

Anyone have an idea how often this kind of harassment occurs in Philly?

In the meantime, as a discussion in Slate points out, this incident has given new meaning to the words "airport layover."

Transfers Win In Court

Common Pleas Court judge Gary DeVito chastised SEPTA for what he calls "a flagrant abuse of discretion" and ordered the transfer elimination revoked.

DeVito said SEPTA moved ahead with this without studying the impact on those who would be most adversely affected, and he says SEPTA "could have designed a plan with an equitable impact on all its riders."

More details and further steps soon.

Marc

It is time to bring down the curtain on the transfer follies

The transfer issue is becoming crazier and crazier.

After the revelation at the end of the last week that SEPTA had not been following the Federal Transportation Administration’s requirement of studying the impact of its fare structure on racial minorities and the poor, I thought we had all the surprises we were going to have and we were just waiting for Judge DiVito to receive final briefs on Thursday and make his decision known by Monday or so.

But the surprises have not stopped.

I don’t have all the details, but from what I have been able to piece together, it looks like SEPTA has asked Judge DiVito (and I think that is the correct spelling of his name), to delay making a decision for another week. Why, I don’t know. But perhaps that request is connected to a second thing I’ve heard: SEPTA General Manager Faye Moore has written to the Federal Transportation Administration, claiming that SEPTA did in fact do the study they were supposed to do.

live blogging from the transit hearing

live blogging from the transit hearing at my blog blog.stier.net. So far things are going well for the good guys. We're on a lunch break. Details about the morning session are available now. More At 1:45 or so.

The highlight so far has been the introduction of a letter from the federal transportation asdministration to SEPTA telling it that itisi inappropriate to raise fares without a study of the possible disparate impact on the poor abd racial minorities.

SEPTA Transfer Hearing Monday 10:00.

(I don't have time to format this with all the hyperlinks. To see the complete version, go to the PTC website http://www.patransit.org)

Another Hearing on SEPTA Transfers

Last week, after a day-long hearing, Judge Gary DeVito issued a temporary injunction blocking SEPTA from eliminating transfers. (See stories in the Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer.)

Judge DeVito had planned to issue a final ruling tomorrow. But he now has called for another hearing on the transfer issue on Monday. It will be at 10:00 in his courtroom, City Hall, Room 232.

Come join transit activists from around the city to express your support for transfers. You can join us for a few minutes or all day.

No one I know is entirely sure what issues prompted Judge DeVito to call the hearing. Perhaps he wants more information about one of the following issues:

City Sues SEPTA To Save Transfers / SEPTA's False Claims


City of Philadelphia To Seek Injunction To
Stop Elimination of SEPTA Transfers


Join us Tuesday, July 31, at 10:00 am in
Court Room 232 of City Hall to support this effort.

This is an attempt to stop SEPTA from taking action
that will harm the most poorly served riders of SEPTA, who face fare
increases of 36% if they take one transfer and 55% if they take two.

SEPTA
False Claims About Transfers

SEPTA Board Meeting Today. Come help save transfers.

Join us as the SEPTA Board meeting today, Thursday July 26 to protest SEPTA’s decision to eliminate transfer as of August 1.

The SEPTA Board meets at 3:00 PM on the mezzanine level at 1234 Market Street.

No one is exactly sure why SEPTA is so determined to eliminate transfers since, once we factor in the loss of ridership that will inevitably when transfers are eliminated, it is very hard to believe that they will save much money. After all, anyone who needs a transfer to travel on SEPTA to work five days a week and to take one other round trip on the weekend will find that it makes more sense to buy a pass.

The only ones, in other words, for whom the pass makes no sense, are occasional SEPTA riders.  Their fares will rise by 36% if they use one transfer and 55% if they use two.

Help Save Our Transfers

Next week could be a great week for transit riders and activists as we may finally get the predictable, dedicated funding we have long been seeking for SEPTA and the other transit agencies around the Commonwealth.

But August 1st could be a very bad day for transit riders here. The SEPTA Board, which recently raised transit fares by 11%, has called for the elimination of 60 cent transfers on that day. That means riders will have to pay an additional fare—a $1.30 token—instead of a transfer.

The Pennsylvania Transit Coalition (PTC) has called for a reversal of this decision. Eliminating transfers will increase the fares of riders who have to transfer once by 36%. Riders who have to transfer twice will see their fares go up by 55%.

A Bad Idea that Sounds Good

A bill changing the 2008 Pennsylvania primary from April to February just passed the House of Representatives and is on its way to the Senate.

This sounds like a good idea. We Pennsylvanians have been pretty much shut out of presidential primary politics for a long time since the major party nominees are usually chosen by the time our primary rolls around in April.

All other things being equal, I’d like to have a voice in choosing the Democratic nominee for President. And it might be fun to take part in a presidential primary. Maybe I could even get a job doing so.

But all other things are not equal.

Will Philadelphia Home Rule Go Up in Smoke Again?

The General Assembly is moving forward with plans to enact a state wide smoking ban. But, in the process, it is likely to weaken the ban already in place in Philadelphia.

And, even worse, it is likely that the General Assembly will prohibit Philadelphia and other cities and towns from making laws more stringent than the new state law. So, once again, teh state will override the right of Philadelphians to make laws that concern only ourselves. .

The Senate passed smoking ban legislation a week and a half ago. It bans smoking in many public places but it exempts 25 percent of the space in casinos and private clubs. And it also allows smoking in businesses in which less than 20 percent of revenues come from food sales, which will allow smoking in many bars.

What’s worse, the bill prohibits municipalities from enacting smoking laws that are tougher than the state law.

Will Philadelphia Home Rule Go Up in Smoke Again?

The General Assembly is moving forward with plans to enact a state wide smoking ban. But, in the process, it is likely to weaken the ban already in place in Philadelphia.

And, even worse, it is likely that the General Assembly will prohibit Philadelphia and other cities and towns from making laws more stringent than the new state law. So, once again, teh state will override the right of Philadelphians to make laws that concern only ourselves. .

The Senate passed smoking ban legislation a week and a half ago. It bans smoking in many public places but it exempts 25 percent of the space in casinos and private clubs. And it also allows smoking in businesses in which less than 20 percent of revenues come from food sales, which will allow smoking in many bars.

What’s worse, the bill prohibits municipalities from enacting smoking laws that are tougher than the state law.

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