WALKING THE BEAT: Post-Election Blues (and Reds)

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BY JOE SHAY STIVALA
I am saddened at the likely election loss of three lady jurists that I admire. They ran for statewide judicial positions. Judges Maria McLAUGHLIN and Timika LANE needed more turnout to overcome rural counties which have become more MAGA-hardened. And Pennsylvania is loaded with them. Democratic urban areas are scattered through a hodgepodge of what we call the “sticks.” This configuration began with cheating in the Walking Purchase (1737) when walking, as agreed, changed to running. Pennsylvania got too big. Cities developed on key waterways with large patches of green in between.

JUDGE Carolyn Nichols was presented with the Philadelphia Bar Association Minority Bar Committee Leon Higginbotham Lifetime Achievement Award. Third Circuit Judge Theodore McKee, L, was also honored. Photo courtesy of Nichols’ Facebook page

The McLAUGHLIN race was hurt by that ugly TV ad. After a complaint by the Bar Association, it was modified – but not enough – and after it had run 12 DAYS! I felt that Judge BROBSON should have OBJECTED TO IT.

The race isn’t over yet, as we go to press. The latest count has McLaughlin down by only 34,900 votes and gaining as ABSENTEE BALLOTS – most of which appear to be cast for Democrats – are still being counted in big urban counties. And her fellow Philadelphian running mate Judge Lori Dumas, who was behind right after election day, has not put herself 12,000 VOTES AHEAD of her Republican rival for a Commonwealth Court seat!

THE GREAT ELECTION NEWS is that superb jurists were elected in Philadelphia, and other judges were retained for another 10-year term. Best wishes to them!!

FRIENDS of Nick Kamau, C rear, held a fundraiser for his quest to become a Common Pleas
Judge in the 1518 Lounge. A full house attended which included Carol Jenkins, 27th Ward Leader; Judge Dan Sulman; Marisa Piccarreto, consultant; and John Brady of Democratic City Committee. Photo by Joe Stivala

National election outcomes were a NEEDED WAKE-UP CALL for Dems who have been cozy and relaxing after BIDEN won, and a 24-hour news cycle replaced the noisy Trump 24-minute one – with the White House volume lowered. MIDTERM elections are cruel, with the party OUT OF POWER winning more often than not. So get going, DEMS. Traditional midterm losses have to be overcome and additional seats in Congress gained.

There is a trend with many (mostly) GOP candidates to not mention their party affiliation in posts, ads and handouts – all to broaden their vote base. And for campaign signs to emphasize the first name of the candidate (Like “Jack” in N.J.). It is easier to remember the person and mention it more often in conversation.

The Virginia GOP governor-elect was a moderate guy who got city voters (although he hoed a different line in the countryside), but the low Dem voter turnout was enough for him to echo Gov. Murphy’s words in Jersey: “I hear ya.”

BIG PETE Frazier-Lyde was one of several birthday honorees at Democratic City Committee
weekly Pizza Day. Lyde, the leader of 61st Ward Democrats, thanked all present as City Committee Chairman Robert Brady looked on. Photo by John Brady

The win of Larry KRASNER for DA must have sent the FOP reeling a bit. In the words of the Thayer poem, “There was no joy in Mudville” (Caroline Road)…. POLICING was an election issue in Pittsburgh, where a Black State representative defeated a GOP retired cop…. Driving the campaign sign of Krasner’s opponent around and around City Hall got no votes, and was too lengthy for safety there…. Krasner was asked for his “plan” to fight crime. For any DA, the plan is the same: Prosecute. But there must be arrests to prosecute. With over 550 shootings – there were not 550 arrests in Philly…. Arkansas Sen. Tom COTTON attacked Krasner. Outside interference in a race always gets three words from me.

The GOP National Chair said that “Freedom will win” in election of GOP judges. But Rona, freedom wins no matter which party is the winner.

BELATED HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO: Sherman HARRIS, labor leader; Karen SUGARMAN, consultant; Richard V. VINCI, Esq.; Latrice BRYANT, committeewoman; and “Big Pete” LYDE, ward leader!!

Dylan KEENAN, a young man, passed from effects of PTSD. A local 98 electrician, he served his country bravely in Afghanistan. My thoughts and prayers are with his parents.

A HISTORICAL MARKER was placed in Center City to mark the 45th year of publication for the Philadelphia Gay News. PGN was a forerunner in the early fight for LGBT rights and acceptance. Mark Segal, R, editor and publisher, was congratulated by State Rep. Mary Isaacson and Councilman Mark Squilla. Photo courtesy of Isaacson’s Facebook page

The ongoing DOUGHERTY-HENON trial seems to be all about the FEDS upset about free speech between pols and labor leaders. The delicate sensitivities of the Feds may have been upset; but such rough conversations have been present in America since the earliest of times.

When I talked of such trials with the late, great Jim TAYOUN, he often mentioned CLASS WAR: the suited and coiffed feds on a lofty perch looking down at the rolled-up sleeves and dirty fingernails of ordinary folks. Is this trial an inhibition of free speech? I get through it by singing an old song: “The right to speak my mind out – that is America to me.”

NOT MENTIONED in news coverage of the election loss of powerful New Jersey State Sen. John Sweeney to a truck driver, is the massive seniority loss that will limit the ability to accomplish much. I am surprised that Sweeney stayed in office over years from that district of rural open lands, where I used to attend tractor pulls at the fairgrounds. You don’t have land there – you have a “spread.” I once looked for a boat slip there for my former clerk, a Black man, and drove to a marina there – only to see a Confederate flag flying above it.

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