Gov. Wolf Wants to Decriminalize Marijuana

wolf - marijuana

Good news for N.A. Poe: Gov. Tom Wolf says he is in favor of decriminalizing pot.

“I believe, for a number of reasons, that we ought to decriminalize marijuana use,” Wolf told Pittsburgh TV station WPXI. “I think our prisons are over-crowded as a result of people going to jail for reasons that, you know, we break up families for reasons that we shouldn’t.”

He added: “We destroy lives and we make it hard to find employment. So often right now possession of a small amount is a felony and an employer looks at that and dismisses (the person) automatically.”

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Voters Seek Fresh Blood in At-Large Council Race

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The theme of Tuesday night’s At-Large City Council primary election? Voters are ready for fresh blood — but perhaps not full-fledged insurgents.

On the Democratic side, two incumbents — and one sort-of incumbent — lost. Two incumbents survived, though only in the middle-of the pack. But the two of the three leading vote-getters were Derek Green, a former aide to Councilwoman Marian Tasco, and condo king Allan Domb, who has been at home in the city’s establishment for years and was aided by half-million dollars of his own money. Hardly rebels, even if Domb wanted to portray the result as an upset.

The winners? Green and Domb; incumbent Council Members Blondell Reynolds Brown and Bill Greenlee; with well-known education activist Helen Gym appearing — with just a few precincts left to count — to capture the fifth and final spot. Read more »

No More Iniquity Inequity!

woman stealing

Shutterstock.com

 

Last month’s “Equal Pay Day”—the day that’s set aside to demonstrate how much extra work women must do to earn what men earn—touched off a tsunami of back-and-forth over the causes of inequality in the workplace. Do women make less money than men do because they take time off to have kids? Choose careers with less stress and responsibility (and easier college majors)? Are battered down by the male patriarchy?

These questions are way too thorny for me to answer. And anyway, I’m much more outraged by a new report that highlights a differential just as disturbing when it comes to gender relations. It provides incontrovertible proof that women lag far, far behind men when it comes to employee theft. Read more »

City Council Votes to Make Permanent the Office of LGBT Affairs

helen fitzpatrick

Director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs Helen FItzpatrick at this week’s IBA LGBT Business Leaders Luncheon. | Photo courtesy of JPG Photography

This afternoon, Philadelphia City Council passed a bill to make permanent the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, which is currently headed by Director Helen Fitzpatrick.

But the move isn’t completely official yet. In order to pass, the bill requires a change to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter, which must be signed by the  Mayor and voted on by the public in the November general election. The ballot measure will read:

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House Resolution Seeks to Honor Homophobic Pro-Life Advocate John Patrick Stanton [UPDATED]

Swearing in

Via Shutterstock.

The late John Patrick Stanton was called “the father of Philadelphia’s pro-life movement” by LifeSiteNews.com and the “pro-life movement’s leading light” by Catholic Philly. He lead radical anti-abortion protests outside the Planned Parenthood location at 12th and Locust for years. His protests were often so disruptive that he was arrested. Now, the PA House is attempting to pass a resolution to honor Mr. Stanton as a “humanitarian, activist and founder of the pro life movement in this Commonwealth,” despite information distributed to members of a House committee alleging that he was violent and homophobic toward to patients, community members, and Representative Brian Sims. Read more »

Lawyers in AG’s Office May Unionize

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane looks on before newly elected members of the Pennsylvania Legislature are sworn in, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Republicans who control both the Senate and House picked up additional seats in the November election. In the House, Republicans outnumber Democrats 119 to 84 and in the Senate, 30 to 20. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane looks on before newly elected members of the Pennsylvania Legislature are sworn in, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Here’s another headache for Attorney General Kathleen Kane: The lawyers in her office may unionize.

“The office’s 189 attorneys – minus executive-level staff – have been invited to a May 27 meeting with representatives of the American Federation of Teachers Pennsylvania union in Harrisburg to discuss general ‘workplace rights’ issues,” PennLive reports. “A flyer announcing the meeting and obtained by PennLive promises ‘a frank discussion’ about the following topics: voice at work; job security; and protection against arbitrary treatment at work.” Read more »

Philadelphia Sick Leave Law Starts Wednesday

city hall sick leave

Believe it or not, Philadelphia’s sick leave law goes into effect Wednesday.

Why would that be so hard to believe? Consider: Mayor Nutter vetoed sick leave legislation twice in recent years before undergoing a conversion on the issue. And opposition to such worker-friendly requirements is so intense that Republicans tried to block Philly’s bill in the Pennsylvania Legislature. (They’ve only passed the Senate with their bill; even if they get the House, they’d have to do so in sufficient numbers to override a likely veto from Gov. Tom Wolf.)

Now, according to some estimates, 200,000 Philadelphia workers stand to benefit. Read more »

Former Eagles Owner May be Kingmaker in GOP Presidential Race

Supporters reach out to touch Norman Braman Tuesday, March 15, 2011 before he ate lunch at a Cuban cafe in Miami.  | AP

Supporters reach out to touch Norman Braman Tuesday, March 15, 2011 before he ate lunch at a Cuban cafe in Miami. | AP

Once upon a time, he was the man known for firing Buddy Ryan and letting Reggie White leave town, but these days Norman Braman — the former Eagles owner now located in Miami — is seeking a different legacy: As GOP kingmaker.

Braman is said to have committed at least $10 million to the presidential campaign of GOP contender Sen. Marco Rubio. “Marco Rubio will have the resources necessary to run a first-class campaign, that’s already been determined,” Braman told Forward earlier this spring. Read more »

Tony Come Lately?

Hillary Clinton, left; Philly Jesus and State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams.

Hillary Clinton, left; Philly Jesus and State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams.

As a full supporter of the #BlackLivesMatterMovement, I wield a hefty amount of skepticism towards any candidate’s newfound interest or consciousness on this matter — whether in local elections or in the early going of the presidential campaign.

State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams wants to be your next mayor, Philadelphia. As the “Philly is Baltimore” solidarity movement took to the city streets last week, Williams could be seen out amongst the swaths of people. His campaign promise? Zero tolerance.

“I would have a character clause” in police contracts, Williams is reported as saying during a business forum held last month. “You don’t get to come back for arbitration.”

Eliminating the use of hate speech is an interesting idea, but language certainly does not always correlate to intent. There are a lot of bigots out there who’d be smart enough to mind their mouths, or who play the PC game well enough to not even consider themselves bigoted at all.

It’s a valiant effort, but hardly enough to create real change in communities and the laws that police them.  Read more »

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