Slow movement on actually getting stimulus dollars, you know, spent

Daily News reports that Philadelphia has only spent $1m of $157 awarded to date (not counting money that went directly to agencies like PHA or SEPTA), and saved a total of 52 jobs. The article cites lack of communication and competition between agencies (hopefully resolved), with Council kept somewhat in the dark. And with spending mostly still to come, there seems to still be need to ensure that those future projects are focused to actually create ... jobs in Philadelphia.

Head out to contested Montco for Election Day: make a difference in the PA court system

Posted on behalf of Jody Dodd:

There is a truly outstanding candidate for Judge in Montgomery County, Jeff Lindy, with a long history of public service and protecting civil rights (including as a prosecutor). One of the things I love about Jeff is as a married father of two great kids, he was the Co-Chair of the Bar Association's gay rights committee. He sees justice for all as more than just a mere phrase. You can find out more about him at:

Here is where you come in. Jeff needs folks to work the polls and knock on doors for election day. As we all have heard, the expectation is the turnout next Tuesday is going to be low. This makes it even MORE important that every vote is made and counted. Volunteers for Jeff on election day can literally mean the difference between winning and losing.

I am working with a couple of other folks to coordinate volunteers for Montgomery County on election day, next Tuesday, Nov. 3rd. We need 1/2 day and full day volunteers. If you can do it, and I REALLY hope you can, please call me, Jody Dodd, at 215-731-9500 (work) or 215-563-8574 (cell). This really is a chance to make a difference in an area that very desperately needs good judges!!!!

It's Our Money: Schools bridge $200 million shortfall (?)

OK So I'm not sure whether to be relieved or appalled at the fact that the District is claiming they bridged a $200 million shortfall in their budget expectations mostly without harming classrooms. Let me repeat that - $200 million. In one year.

For perspective, heads rolled when Vallas announced a $73 million deficit three years ago.

The District has said there's a difference between budget adjustments and a deficit. Fair enough. At the same time, while they tell us as parents not to worry, they've claimed that there's no money for raises as contract negotiations heat up.

I still don't understand where you lose $200 million in the budget and kids don't get impacted. I'm relieved, don't get me wrong. But it's an eyebrow raiser if there ever is one.

Without buying an ad, Sestak pulls within 4 points of Specter

Pennsylvania's swing to the left (of center) continues.

According to a Rasmussen poll released today, Congressman Joe Sestak has pulled within 4 percentage points of Arlen Specter in the Democratic senatorial primary, after trailing the 28 year incumbent by 19% in June, and 13% in August.

Sestak's dramatic rise comes despite the two term Congressman's never having run for statewide office and without the benefit of a statewide television advertising campaign.

According to the same poll, Sestak continues to best Specter in prospective matchups with Republican Pat Toomey, with Sestak running even with the ultra-conservative GOP frontrunner, while Specter currently polls five points behind Toomey, head to head.

With Sestak's war chest currently closing in on $5 million (about where gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato's is), he is very well positioned to run a healthy statewide campaign in all media markets. Indeed, his dramatic rise in the polls should provide a boost to his future fundraising.

Stay tuned for more shattering of the status quo among PA Dems.

Shipping PA prisoners out of state

Oh man.

Where to be on Thursday: Bread & Roses Tribute to Change Event

This won't be just any tame progressive gathering. This Thursday, many of Philadelphia's finest and fiercest grassroots activists will be gathering at the National Constitution Center to honor movement photographer Harvey Finkle at the annual Bread and Roses Tribute to Change celebration.

The Bread and Roses Community Fund has been nurturing Philadelphia's grassroots for over three decades. At a time when many foundations have veered off the road of supporting independent activism, Bread and Roses has remained a stalwart champion of the belief that any real change starts with organizing from the bottom up. They are early founders of pretty amazing groups across the city, including the Public School Notebook, Kensington Welfare Rights Union, Media Mobilizing Project, Parents United for Public Education, Casino Free Philadelphia, Taller Puertorriqueno, Disabled in Action, and Equality Advocates - all of whom are doing pretty well right now.

Photographer Harvey Finkle, one of the founders of Bread and Roses, will display a historic gallery from decades of photographing Philadelphia's activist movement - and this humble (and gallant!) man for once will step from behind the camera to the front of it as Bread & Roses' honoree. Expect to see a lot of YPP regulars there too, Ray and myself for instance, and hundreds of other passionate advocates from all corners of our city.

There's only one catch. With the event at the National Constitution Center, you'll need to get tickets ahead of time. Register here and don't forget to put in whatever extra donations you can. See you Thursday!

"Pray the Devil Back to Hell" documentary screening today

Presented by Mothers in Charge

The School District of Philadelphia Auditorium
440 N. Broad St

Contact: Dorothy Johnson Speight,

Special Appearance by Director Gini Reticker

From the NY Times review: "Uplifting, disheartening, inspiring, enraging — the mind reels while watching the documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” even as the eyes water, the temples pound and the body trembles. Directed by Gini Reticker and produced by Abigail E. Disney, this no-frills, no-nonsense inquiry into human beings at their absolute worst and heartening best charts the overlooked victory of the Liberian women’s peace movement. Even those who think they know the story of modern Liberia may be surprised at what they discover."

Farnese, he was the good gov candidate, wasn't he?

Maybe he really is, but this doesn't look good, to put it mildly.

The way to reform the local Democratic party... Elect Republicans?

Ah, Bykofsky. He decries the patronage mess of the BRT and the illogic of DROP, and then issues a call of action centered on November 3rd, when we should all...

vote Republican?

Machine politics are a real problem, though the system does some good as well. But the answer is putting into office as a protest vote barely-vetted Republican challengers who have not faced a competitive primary? Oy. We will fix the BRT by focusing on the BRT, not by sacrificing the DA's office (which is apparently unimportant because it doesn't pass legislation or raise taxes).

Disclaimer: I volunteer and have volunteered with Seth Williams for District Attorney.