Labor Day has come and gone, and with it goes the summer.
That means it’s time to start speculating on just about every political race coming up in the next two years.
My Facebook page and Twitter feed are all abuzz with people who want to speculate on whether or not Tom Corbett will be the first Pennsylvania Governor to face the indignity of being drop-kicked through the goalpost of one-term governing, on who will be the Democratic nominee, and on who’s happier to see the end of Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration: his critics or His Honor.
It’s technically a little over six months before primary season (kind of like duck season, or rabbit season without Elmer Fudd … unless Tom Knox decides to run…), but folks are already fixated on the horse race in both races.
But me? I’m more interested in the issues. The stuff that whoever wins these races is going to be expected to tackle. Where the rubber truly meets the road.
If I were just your average Philly voter, here’s what I’d want the folks trying to get me off of my couch and out to the polls to address.
1) Schools: Between the current Governor’s treatment of the School District of Philadelphia, which is akin to a four-year-old brutally mistreating the family pet, and the current Mayor, who is basically the permissive parent that stands and watches as the four-year-old cuts the pet’s tail off, Philly’s schools have no champions in the halls of power.
If you’re a parent who wants to stay here or a businessman (or woman) who wants a good workforce to fill your jobs, you should ask some tough questions when the candidates come to call. Questions like: What are you going to do about funding? Are you finally going to make the Marcellus Shale and the myriad of developers pay for the services they’ve been using for free? And why are you paying $400 million for a new prison just outside the city when putting that money toward education is a statistically better investment?
And for the mayoral candidates, this question: When are you going to go to court and file the civil-rights lawsuit that will finally get the district out of the clutches of the abusive four-year-old who’s held it for more than 10 years?
2) Violence prevention: A lot of this can be solved with better schools, but there’s more that needs to be done in the area of violence. Stuff like, oh, I don’t know, no longer allowing the NRA to write our gun laws? Providing afterschool and other programs for kids as an alternative? Using some common sense in either of these departments…?
3) Jobs: Nothing stops violence like a job. So ask the candidates what they plan to do about that. Will there be training?
You have my permission to slap the mess out of anyone who says “tax break”, “tax cut” or “job creator” when you ask about this because we’ve given so-called “job creators” so many tax breaks and tax cuts that the inequality gap looks more like the Grand Canyon and we can’t fund our schools. No more gimmes.
This is just a sampling of what I think the issues are. If you have others, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I may use them for a future column.