Sam Durso's blog

Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday

D.A. Seth Williams stops by Philly For Change Meetup Wednesday night to talk about guns in the wake of recent violence. The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary has renewed the focus, at both the local and national level, to find solutions to gun violence.

Philly progressives are invited to meet the D.A. and join the discussion.

Also on the bill is Action United's Jasmine Rivera, who will tackle another hot topic in the new year: the proposed closure of 37 public schools in the city. Jasmine's helping lead the organizing to stop it. Come out and discover what's going on and what you can do.

Philly For Change January Meetup starts at 7pm on Wednesday the 9th at Tattooed Mom, 530 South Street, in the private room on the 2nd floor. T-Mom features Wednesday drink specials and $3 burgers and veggie burgers. Come out, meet local progressives, get involved, and have a great time doing it!

Jump into 2013's hottest progressive issues Wednesday night!

Meet George Badey, 7th Dist Dem (+ Mummer) for Congress, + 2 views of AVI @ PFC Meetup Wed 7/11 (Free Parking!)

George Badey, Democrat for Congress in the 7th (Joe Sestak's old district) headlines July's Philly For Change Meetup. A native of South Philly who attended Penn Law on academic scholarships and who fought the good fight on the Gore legal team at Florida in 2000, Badey now chairs the over-achieving Radnor Democrats (who won their school board for the first time since the Civil War) and has earned folk hero status for leading the successful Save the Mummers campaign in the Bush financial collapse parade of 2008-2009. Badey also plays sax for the always-awesome Fralinger String Band. He sounds like a natural for PFC.

Badey faces famously incompetent Republican freshman Patrick Meehan in November.

Also of interest to YPP people will be two informed but different opinions of Mayor Michael Nutter's Actual Value Initiative (AVI). Explaining the mayor's position will be Nutter's Director of Legislative Affairs Lewis Rosman. Providing a presumably alternative view will be actvist and former Controller candidate Brett Mandel.

We'll also be toasting the Obamacare ruling and plotting future progressive actions in the city.

Philly For Change July Meetup is Wednesday July 11th at 7:00 at Fergie's, 1214 Sansom Street. Parking is FREE in Center City after 6:30.

PFC Wednesday 6/6: Wisconsin Heroes, Schools, and Working Families Party

Philly For Change June 6th Meetup features 3 Wisconsin Heroes, a discussion of the School District Budget, and a promising introduction to the Working Families Party of Pennsylvania.

All that, and the group's triumphal return to Fergies, makes for a good reason to take advantage of a pleasant evening and come out.

Three Philly For Change heroes are on the ground in Racine, Wisconsin today, battling the evil Scott Walker and standing up for collective bargaining rights and the best parts of the American Way. I'm very very proud of them, and I hope you'll consider joining me in welcoming back Hal Rosenthal, David Sternberg, and Keith Campbell, as they lead a discussion of the meaning of Wisconsin.

On the local level, we'll also discuss the mind-bending School District budget and what we can do about it.

Finally, we will welcome the arrival (and not a minute too soon) of the Working Families Party to Pennsylvania. This sounds like an inspiring opportunity to bring exactly the kind of politics to our state that it really needs. More good news is that two awesome organizers, Julia Ramsey and Julie Blust, are working with the party and will introduce it to PFC Wednesday night.

Philly For Change June Meetup is Wednesday June 6th from 7:00 to 9:00 at Fergies,1214 Sansom.

The last time I checked, the dude from the late and greatly missed Bebe's Barbecue was cooking at Fergies, meaning you can enjoy some of the city's best barbecue with some of the city's best politics.

Come on out!

We are the 99%! Join the Solidarity March Thursday 11/17 at 3:45!

We are the 99%, and no middle-of-the-night/media blackout raids can stop us from fighting intolerable economic inequality and the government collusion that consents to it. You cannot evict a movement. You cannot evict the truth.

Stand in solidarity with the movement that changed the narrative and forced politicians and the media to confront, for the first time in decades, America's greatest threat: oligarchy. Join the We Are the 99% March:

WHEN: Thursday November 17 at 3:45

WHERE: Meet at Municipal Services Building, 1417 JFK Blvd, across from City Hall. March to Market Street bridge

Leave work early. Better yet, take your co-workers! Take your boss! She's probably part of the 99% too.

It's critical that we show Philadelphia and the world that once the truth is out, it isn't going to go away. Democratic elected officials are especially welcome, by the way.

Philly For Change Endorses Honkala, Oh, O'Brien and 10 Democrats

For the first time ever, Philly For Change, one of the city’s largest progressive political organizations, is endorsing Republicans and a Green. Last Wednesday night the group voted to endorse six candidates in Tuesday’s elections, including Republicans David Oh and Dennis O’Brien, Democrats Bill Green and William Greenlee, all for Council At Large, Republican Al Schmidt for City Commissioner, and Green candidate Cheri Honkala for Sheriff.

Those candidates join the group’s earlier endorsements to form Philly For Change’s slate. Those endorsements include Seventh district Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez, At Large Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown, City Commissioner candidate Stephanie Frank Singer, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court judge candidate Kathryn Boockvar, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge candidates Barbara McDermott and Carolyn Nichols, and Municipal Court judge candidate Joyce Eubanks along with Mayor Michael Nutter.

“We’re responding to our members and the times,” said Philly For Change Chair David Sternberg. “The reality is that Republicans will hold two At Large seats on City Council and a City Commissioners’ seat, and our members want to choose the best people for those critical positions.”

Tonight: Meet Occupy Philadelphia's Steve Ross, Green Sheriff Candidate Cheri Honkola (and watch the Phils) @ PFC Meetup

On the eve of tomorrow's protest, meet Occupy Philadelphia's Steve Ross, who is coordinating communications for the event, and also meet internationally famous activist for the poor/Green Party sheriff candidate Cheri Honkola, along with some other great local activists, at Philly For Change Meetup tonight.

Occupy Philadelphia takes City Hall at 9:00 am Thursday as part of the international movement protesting corporate greed and the financial exploitation of 99% of the population. Steve will answer questions about the occupation and about future sites for marches and protest as the movement in Philly evolves. This is all happening right now, so it's very very exciting. You won't want to miss a chance to come out and meet Steve and be part of this moment in history.

Cheri Honkala is running for sheriff in an effort to end sheriff sales and keep families in their homes. Can she do it? Come out tonight and decide for yourself. Democratic candidate (and North Philly State Representative) Jewell Williams also has been invited.

If that's not enough, Education Voters' Ian Moran gives us an important update on the effort to replace the School Reform Commission and the onslaught of vouchers bills in Harrisburg, and local star organizer Pedro Rodriguez updates us on the movement to save Social Security.

And there's a new campaign in town: Food and Water Watch's Emily Heffling explains their Fair Farm Bill campaign.

Finally, if you're afraid of missing Roy Oswalt's attempt to pitch the Phils into the League Championship Series, there will be a television behind the bar, and across the street at Bob and Barbara's. Get to Meetup early and you can order dinner from Tritone's kitchen, as well.

Philly For Change Meetup is tonight, October 5, starting at 7:00, at Tritone, 1508 South Street. It is wheelchair accessible.


Occupy Philadelphia Hits City Hall Thursday Morning at 9:00!

Over 1000 activists converged on Arch Street United Methodist Church tonight and agreed that the Occupy Philadelphia protest against corporate greed and financial exploitation will happen this Thursday October 6 at 9:00 am at City Hall. Future sites for further protests or marches will be discussed in the coming days.

Updated information about the protest appears regularly on the Occupy Philadelphia Facebook page.

The assembled activists were led through a clear agenda by skillful young facilitators and organizers, who presented options for sites and dates and then polled the crowd to come to decisions. To find out more about the background of the protest, check out the interview with Occupy Philadelphia organizer Justin Harrison conducted by the City Paper's great Daniel Denvir. Harrison is a splicing technician who serves as unit secretary for the Communications Workers Local 1300.

Occupy Philadelphia Communications Coordinator Steve Ross will be answering questions tomorrow night, Wednesday October 5, at 7:00 at Philly For Change Meetup at Tritone, 1508 South Street.

Occupy Philadelphia: Wall Street Protest Coming Here

A group of 200+ energetic, enthusiastic mostly (but not exclusively) college age citizens met Thursday night at Arch Street United Methodist Church to plan bringing the Occupy Wall Street protest south to Philadelphia.

Many of the organizers and participants had participated in the protests in New York City and were eager to see rallies "for the 99%," as they call it, here in the cradle of liberty. The event was organized largely through social media.

As Susie Madrak reports on Crooks and Liars, related protests already have occurred in Boston and San Francisco, with broad, clear economic messages aimed at political leaders: tax the rich, stop corporate greed, and create good jobs.

The next planning meeting is scheduled for 6:30 Tuesday October 4 back at Arch Street Methodist, Broad and Arch Streets. The date and place of the actual Philly protest will be decided then.

I heard about the meeting through my friends in Philadelphia's wonderful, nationally-recognized poetry community. I had the good luck and honor of attending with poets Frank Sherlock, Jacob Russell, and Ryan Eckes.

Right now, in the aftermath of the August Tea Party power grab and with next year's elections looming, and some Democrats finally beginning to stand up, it is certainly a critical moment to let people in government and everyone else know that, at a very basic level, we do not accept an economic system and government that is still functioning first of all for the benefit of the rich, or top 1% of wage earners, and to the detriment of everyone else.

That's oligarchy, and that's not what the U.S. or Philadelphia should stand for.

State Senator Larry Farnese explains the bill to abolish the SRC, we talk Van Jones, Jobs Plan, and Picnic @ PFC Meetup Tonight

For the benefit of those immune to the awesomeness of Rick Perry's hair, Michele Bachmann's facts, and Mitt Romney's sparkling, human-like personality (is he plugged into a power strip or isn't he?), a political meeting will be held tonight.

Will the School Reform Commission continue to rule Philly's School District? Philly For Change Meetup is pleased to host State Senator Larry Farnese tonight, as he addresses the bill that would abolish the SRC and talks about what could or should come next. Larry is the grandson of a former Philadelphia School Superintendent, so no doubt this is a big issue for him, and the departure of Arlene Ackerman provides an apt time to discuss big picture changes to the district. It's a discussion not to be missed.

Also featured on the bill tonight is Philly For Change's formal introduction into the AMERICAN DREAM MOVEMENT, spearheaded by green jobs activist Van Jones, with participants including our national affiliate Democracy For America, Campaign For America's Future, and other major progressive groups. This is Progressive America finally getting organized, with a real national economic campaign and a platform, the Contract for the American Dream, that could have an impact on politics today and on the elections next year. Most of all, it's progressives fighting back for jobs and the American economy. It's an exciting movement, and PFC is very happy to get in on the ground floor. Tonight's event includes participation, so stop by in person. More events to follow.

Other big issues for Young Philly Politics readers on the bill tonight are the proposed changes to Philadelphia's immigration laws (well described here by Dan) and the very critical, under-publicized issue of the changes that City government will soon make to the Council map.

Also, we'll discuss the Philly For Change Picnic. (It can't rain forever!)

Hornstein Collects 5th Union Endorsement, Releases Plan to Make Philly Less Weird

Hey folks, I always think there are too many bogus "either/or" choices imposed on Philly politics: you "either" are the progressive reform candidate "or" you're the labor candidate "or" you're the candidate supported by business owners. Jeff Hornstein's City Council campaign has been putting the lie to that supposition by picking up support from progressives, unions, and business owners, and now by releasing a plan for Philly's economy that people from all those groups are getting behind. Please check it out. --Sam

First District City Council candidate Jeff Hornstein picked up the endorsement of one of the City’s most politically active unions, AFSCME District Council 47, his fifth major union endorsement, as he unveiled “Investing in Philadelphia’s Future,” his plan to grow the City’s economy and green business on the Delaware and to “make Philly less weird.”

Progressive Star Tony Payton is 3d State Representative to Endorse Jeff Hornstein

State Representative Tony Payton Jr., a progressive leader who successfully made the transition from organizer to legislator, today became the third state representative to endorse Jeff Hornstein for City Council in the 1st district.

Hornstein, a longtime organizer who most recently served as organizing director of the SEIU Local 32BJ, also is vying to make that transition.

“The wave of support has been overwhelming and very inspiring, “ said Hornstein, who described Payton as a smart, young, progressive legislator who doesn’t accept politics as usual. “And neither will I, on City Council,” Hornstein said.

Prior to Payton’s announcement, Hornstein was endorsed by State Representative Mike O’Brien, who serves wards along the Delaware River, and by State Representative Babette Josephs, who serves parts of Center City and South Philadelphia.

Pioneering Progressive State Representative Babette Josephs Endorses Jeff Hornstein

Hey everyone, I'm managing Jeff Hornstein's City Council campaign. In that capacity, when I write on a subject that I think may be of interest to YPP readers, I may post it here on my blog. Hope there's no hard feelings for the partisan politics. Thanks! -- Sam

State Representative Babette Josephs, one of Pennsylvania’s most respected leaders for progressive causes, including women’s rights, LGBT rights, consumer rights, seniors’ issues and environmental protection today endorsed Jeff Hornstein for City Council in the 1st district.

“I am honored to have earned the endorsement of Representative Josephs, whom I consider a hero, a progressive pioneer and a friend,“ said Hornstein, who noted that Josephs has long represented the conscience of Center City politics for himself and many voters. Josephs has served the 182nd district, which includes parts of Center City, Society Hill, Bella Vista and Hawthorne as well as parts of South Philadelphia, since 1985.

Jeff Hornstein testifies at City Hall fracking hearing

City Council candidate Jeff Hornstein -- who is running for the now open seat in the City's 1st district -- testified at a special hearing on hydrofracking on Tuesday evening, called by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown. Here's Jeff's testimony:

Welcome to Saudi Arabia, PA. They say our fellow commonwealthers upriver and out west are sitting on one of the largest deposits of natural gas in the world. Industry professionals – some of whom are now the top advisors to Governor Corbett – want you to know that this gas could provide lots of power in a relatively cleaner way than coal or petroleum.

Inside Job @ Philly For Change Movie Night: 11/17

This Wednesday, November 17 at 7:45, Philly For Change inaugurates Movie Night with a viewing of Charles Ferguson's much lauded documentary of Wall Street villains and the 2008 financial crisis, Inside Job, at the Ritz 5, 214 Walnut Street.

Join your Philly For Change friends as we make a night of it with the movie and dinner and discussion after at Pagoda, 125 Sansom Walk (by Ritz East).

Tom Corbett exhorts supporters to suppress Philadelphia's (African American?) vote: "Keep that down!"

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett crossed a line that wise politicians of both parties know to never cross. Before a roomful of apparent supporters, Corbett said:

“President Clinton is coming back into Pennsylvania on behalf of my opponent again. The President is coming in on Saturday. Mrs. Obama is coming in on Sunday or Monday….

I saw today that the Governor said yesterday that Bob Brady should resign as chairman of the Democratic committee of Philadelphia if he doesn’t get 50% turnout….

I don’t think he’s going to get 50%.

But we want to make sure that they don’t get 50%.

Keep that down.”

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