POLS ON THE STREET: Will Philly Ever Learn How to Handle Protests??

Filed under: Politics,Pols on the Street |

by Joe Shaheeli

CHERI HONKALA, leader of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, was outside City Hall last week to discuss the denial of her group’s application permit to protest during the upcoming Democratic National Convention.

CHERI HONKALA, leader of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, was outside City Hall last week to discuss the denial of her group’s application permit to protest during the upcoming Democratic National Convention.

Why in the world would anyone want to not give Cheri Honkala a permit to protest?

She’s the lady who for years has staged demonstrations, set up tent cities, and staged blockades in her constant efforts to draw attention to the fact we have homeless, the poor get poorer, and human rights are denied our city’s neediest.

Whether she has a permit or not, she will parade. Her army is legion. They come from all over the city, state, and the nation. They respond to a Honkala call. She is a homebred Philadelphian, knows this city as well as most of us, plus she has a son who has done well in the motion-picture industry.

We predict one of the illegal demonstrations, maybe only half a dozen (since a week in hot July finds many electing to go down da shore or up the Poconos rather than picket), will be led by Cheri. Missing will be the agreements she would have reached with the City had she been given a permit.

Many are the images we recall of Honkala getting the kind of press and television she sought through her demonstrations. We will be in the audience for this one.

Local GOP Plugs For Sen. Toomey

Taking Katie McGinty’s challenge to US Sen. Pat Toomey seriously is the Republican City Committee. Every Tuesday, the Philadelphia GOP makes use of a phone bank in its airy offices at 3525 Cottman Avenue.

They have put out a call for volunteers to come out and make phone calls for Toomey from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Stints are from 40 minutes and on up, with light refreshments served. For more information, please call (215) 561-0650 or email Kirsten Yellen at kyellen@toomeyforsenate.com.

Where Goeth Commonwealth?

Though Trump keeps shooting himself in the foot with his mouth and other decisions while Clinton numbers have climbed in other swing states, he still looks like he can take this state according to a new Quinnipiac University Swing State poll. The bump for her hasn’t happened.

S. BROAD STREET from City Hall to Washington Avenue will be painted to reflect this photo in time for Democratic National Convention delegates. It is sponsored by Night Found. The Artist Mat Tomezsko and Poet Laureate Yolonda Wisher describe this as 14 movements, Symphony in

S. BROAD STREET from City Hall to Washington Avenue will be painted to reflect this photo in time for Democratic National Convention delegates. It is sponsored by Night Found. The Artist Mat Tomezsko and Poet Laureate Yolonda Wisher describe this as 14 movements, Symphony in Color and Words. N. Broad gets turf restoration and 52 planters and Garden Walk. Photo by Wendell Douglas

Clinton still leads Trump here, 42-41%, which is virtually unchanged from the within-the-margin-of-error 43-42% lead Clinton had in Quinnipiac’s May 10 poll. The new poll was conducted between Jun. 8 and Jun. 19, sampling 950 voters (live interviewers calling land lines and cell phones), and its results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

As with the May 10 poll, voter demographics break nearly the same way for both candidates: Clinton’s strength comes from female (50-34%) and non-white voters (66-15%), while Trump does well among male (50-33%) and white voters (47-38%). Clinton’s popularity with female and non-white voters narrowed a bit since May, when she had a 51-32% advantage with women and was up 74-14% with non-white voters. Meanwhile, Trump has lost a slight amount of ground with males (54-33% in May) and white voters (48-37% in May). While each does well with voters in their own party (Clinton’s support remains unchanged, but Trump dropped a few points with GOP voters), Trump continues to lead with independent voters, 42-34%, which isn’t much different from the 43-36% advantage he had in May.

And just like the rest of the country, it appears 2016 will be more of an unpopularity contest in this state: Trump has a negative 35–60% unavailability rating with Pennsylvania voters, while Clinton has a negative 41–56% rating.

Electoral College Favors Hillary

Hillary Clinton will be chosen as our next President by the Electoral College, if vote patterns continue as they have in the past.

That’s the conclusion of local politico Mike Reed, who has been studying Electoral College outcomes. His prediction should be clipped for election night as television commentators report Electoral College votes.

There are 538 Electoral College votes; a presidential candidate needs 270 to win the election. The allocations are based on the 2010 US Census and they are effective for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.

In 2012, Barack Obama and Joe Biden received 62,346,445 popular votes and 332 Electoral College votes. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan received 58,976,480 popular votes and 206 Electoral College votes.

Cartoon copyWashington, D.C., is treated as a state, casting 3 Electoral College votes just like Delaware.

Al Gore received more popular votes than George W. Bush but did not win the election because Bush had 271 Electoral College votes, while Gore only received 266 Electoral College votes.

Reed believes there are 10 states whose Electoral College votes a presidential candidate could win, giving him or her an excellent chance at becoming the next President of the United States. They are California (55 votes), Florida (29 votes), New York (29 votes), Illinois (20 votes), Pennsylvania (20 votes), Ohio (18 votes), Michigan (16 votes) and North Carolina (16 votes). Seeing them as pro-Democratic, Reed believes these states should go to Hillary Clinton.

They make a total of 203 Electoral College votes and the Democratic nominee only needs 67 more to be elected our next President.

Despite the seemingly ubiquitous coverage the US presidential election receives, Reed notes, “The United States ranks 31st out of 34 countries when it comes to voter participation. Belgium ranks No. 1 and Turkey No. 2.”

Back on The Hill, World unto Itself

If our City Council managed to pass controversial legislation and pass on the City budget, maybe we can expect the same from General Assembly. That is the hope of the leadership of both parties. Though budget negotiators have yet reach an agreement, there have been reports talks have gotten closer to producing a budget total spend.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration remains intent on a budget much closer to $33 billion than $32 billion or less, which is a more-agreeable total for the GOP. A mix of tobacco/smoking/vaping-related taxes seems a certainty as the foundation for any new revenue package. Tobacco alone comes up significantly short of funding the Wolf administration total ask, which is roughly $1 billion more than the IFO’s revenue estimate.

Adding pessimistic thoughts is the fact Keystone State employment situation continues to sour. The State Dept. of Labor & Industry reports Pennsylvania’s employment situation in May did not improve from April. The state’s unemployment rate, which has been increasing for much of 2016, went up to 5.5% in May, compared to April’s 5.3% rate. That puts the state eight-tenths of a percentage point above the national unemployment rate, which was 4.7% in May.

RECEIVING Jobs with Justice Solidarity Awards last week were, from left, Councilman Bill Greenlee; former Councilman Wilson Goode, Jr.; Karen Schermerhorn, co-president emerita of AFT 2026 Faculty & Staff Federation, Community College of Phila.; George Ricchizza, president emeritus of SEIU Local 1201; and Ken Washington, director, government relations at Laborers District Council.

RECEIVING Jobs with Justice Solidarity Awards last week were, from left, Councilman Bill Greenlee; former Councilman Wilson Goode, Jr.; Karen Schermerhorn, co-president emerita of AFT 2026 Faculty & Staff Federation, Community College of Phila.; George Ricchizza, president emeritus of SEIU Local 1201; and Ken Washington, director, government relations at Laborers District Council.

Where Party Strength Is Now in This City

Gregory Irving, Registration Voter Administrator, reports both major parties have seen a slight bump in registration, a possible indication of a large presidential voter turnout. Dems still lead with 806,296 to GOP with 186.696.

Over 20,000 registrations have been processed, but many, Irving notes, were repeats or changes of address. “They seem to want to make sure they are registered for the presidential election,” he notes. “We’ve also received over 500 calls from anxious voters checking to see if they were registered.”

How Will Ct. Rule On Sweet-Drink Tax?

The suddenly renamed “Sugary-Sweetened Drink Tax” is on its way to the courts.
The broad coalition, known as the Philadelphians Against the Grocery Tax, has approved a court challenge, which will be heard by the State Supreme Court.

Lawyers are sure to spend several months debating the merits of this case. We’ll stay out of the legal arguments.

We do, however, note the SC, which will weigh the landmark measure of Pennsylvania’s chief well of Democratic votes, is now ruled by a solid Democratic majority.

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