Tom Wolf’s Ethics Code Is a Good Start

Tom Wolf

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Governor-elect Tom Wolf’s transition team unveiled a “code of ethical conduct” for team members on Tuesday, and for the life of me, I couldn’t initially figure out what the big deal was. After all, the the requirements outlined in the code seemed pretty basic for anybody legitimately seeking to enter public service.

I will not use my position with the Governor-Elect’s Transition Team for personal gain or take any substantial action affecting any matter, for personal gain or that of my immediate family or organization with which I have a substantial financial interest.

We’re not getting rich off of government service? Big surprise.

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GOP May Try Gerrymandering the Presidency


There are precious few people in America who love the Electoral College, with the probable exception of George W. Bush. Because most states are winner-take-all, a Democratic voter in a conservative state like Kansas (say) can go a lifetime without ever having cast a meaningful vote for president.

The GOP wants to solve this problem. Partially. Actually, only as far as it takes to guarantee the presidency to Republicans. The solution? Distribute electoral votes proportionately by state — so that a “swing” state would end up delivering half its votes to the Republicans and half to the Democrats.

That doesn’t sound so unfair, perhaps, except the Republicans want to change the voting rules only in a few states — and leave them as they are in the remainder. The result? A gerrymandered Republican presidency. And it could start in Pennsylvania.
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Officials Sue State Over New Gun Law

A group of local, state, and federal officials today announced a challenge to the new Pennsylvania law that lets the NRA sue cities for restrictive gun ordinances.

The suit was filed by State. Sens Daylin Leach, Larry Farnese, and Vincent Hughes, along with State Reps. Cherelle Parker and Edward Gainey, joined by the cities of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Lancaster.
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It’s Time for Pennsylvania to Stop Discriminating Against Black Kids

Philly classrooms aren't quite this empty this fall, but they're shedding students more quickly than expected.

Last week’s news was filled with important stories about the gubernatorial election and a couple of major, sordid crimes, so if you missed out on the somewhat quieter news generated by David Mosenkis, it’s no wonder. But it’s important enough that the news needs to be repeated — indeed, to be shouted from the mountaintops.

The news is this: The school funding system in Pennsylvania is — there’s no nice word for it — racist.

“An analysis of enrollment, demographics, and basic education funding of Pennsylvania’s 501 public school districts reveals dramatically higher per-student funding in districts with predominantly white populations compared to economically similar districts with more racial diversity,” said the study by Mosenkis, a Mount Airy data analyst. (See the summary below.)

In other words: In Pennsylvania, white kids get more. Black kids get less.

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What Governor Tom Wolf Means for Philadelphia

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Four years of Tom Corbett have, to put it mildly, been rough on Philadelphia. Chaos in the state-managed and largely state-funded school district. Cuts to social services that Philly’s high-poverty population rely on heavily. A general sense that the city’s worries and challenges were not a priority for a Republican governor from the other side of the state.

Well, Corbett is finished, in significant part because 88 percent of Philly voters cast their ballots for Wolf.

So how will the city fare with Governor Tom Wolf, a progressive Democrat, running Pennsylvania?

Better, probably, but not nearly as well as many imagine.

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