Folks are beginning to get into the holiday spirit as we head into Thanksgiving, but we still have some things that need attention. This Saturday you can take part in a grassroots rally for tenant rights. Tell President Biden that he must stop the explosive liquid gas tanks that will be rolling through our neighborhoods. Be sure to check out what happened this week in history. And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, please give to Onward, our end of the year campaign to support our organizing and programs in 2022. But first, a word of caution...
Caution on Student Vaccinations & Turkey Day Gatherings
From Dr. Walter Tsou:
The Commonwealth Court in Pennsylvania, still under the sway of election denier Kevin Brobson, has ruled that the Secretary of Health does not have the ability to mandate masks – a ruling that is being appealed by the state health department.
In the meantime, children 5 to 12 will not be fully vaccinated for five weeks after their first shot. The Wolf administration recommends that school kids wear their masks until January 17th. Even vaccinated kids can colonize SARS CoV-2 in their nasal passages and test positive, but being vaccinated will prevent over 95 percent from needing hospitalization.
For parents, the safest route is to get yourself and your kids vaccinated, and for everyone to wear masks until at least 85% of your kid’s classmates are fully vaccinated.
Thanksgiving reunions are also likely to increase the spread of COVID, so people should do some due diligence on private gatherings and indoor spaces. Please be safe and have a pleasant holiday!
Dr. Tsou is the PNN Steering Committee Chair on Healthcare, former health commissioner of Philadelphia, and an expert on health reform who frequently briefs members of Congress.
Block Party for Tenant Rights
Saturday, Nov. 20th, Starts at 10AM, shifts all day, 401 W. Walnut Lane
There is a rapidly developing housing struggle in Germantown with a tenant named Anthony. His landlord served him with a five day vacate notice last week and has threatened to start the eviction process. However, the landlords are in violation of city laws which are meant to protect tenants from wrongful eviction.
That alone will not stop the landlords, so this Saturday we will demonstrate that Anthony has our support to stop them! There will be an all-day block party with Anthony and other tenants, which we hope will serve as the start of a Tenants Council to help these tenants get their power back!
Decide how much you want to do – whether you want to help facilitate the block party, do outreach to others, pass out snacks, collect information in the neighborhood or simply to bear witness – all are welcome.
If you are able to attend the block party this Saturday, folks will be working in shifts and can coordinate transportation. Please call 610-401-7472 for more information.
Say "No!" to Bomb Trains
Now that Build Back Better is ready to go, we can return our attention to things that dropped through the cracks while we were focused on Jan. 6th and Joe Manchin. One of the most important ones – and one that can be resolved without cost – is to immediately put a halt to policy that will allow so-called "bomb trains" to run through our city.
If you're not familiar with this issue, here's a primer: Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) is liquefied methane, a greenhouse gas (GHG) that is 100 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in heating our atmosphere over a 10-year period, a timeline that scientists say we must instead be working to reduce GHG emissions to address the climate crisis.
But that's not even the worst of it. That LNG is extremely volatile (remember the refinery explosion?), and it will be shipped via train cars that have not even been put through safety checks. Essentially, rolling bombs will pass through highly populated areas, mostly black and brown and poor, by train every single day, passing right through Philadelphia.
All of this is about to happen because the Trump Administration granted a Special Permit for this hazardous, flammable, and potentially explosive cargo to travel approximately 200 miles through populated areas on its way to be processed just south of our city.
Joe Biden can stop this. So, let's get his attention. Sign the petition below to Let Joe Know that he needs to have Pennsylvania's back.
Will Convictions Lead to Substantive Change in City Government?
The convictions of John Dougherty and Bobby Henon on corruption charges in federal court are an upheaval in politics-as-usual governing. Dougherty has stepped down from his position at Local 98 and Henon is preparing to step down from his position on City Council when sentences are handed down.
No matter your take on the fairness of the sentence or the honor of these men, this moment provides good government folks the momentum to demand some substantive changes in how our elected representatives conduct themselves.
Among them are - curtailing "councilmanic prerogative", disallowing councilmembers to hold another job, and removing the multi-million dollar slush fund to district councilmembers with no transparency to the public, among others.
In 2022, Philly Neighborhood Networks plans to up the ante as we push our elected officials to work in the interest of all Philadelphians, and prod them to pass common sense policies that represent the will of the people. We will let you know when you can take part in an action or event and hope that you'll join us at every opportunity. Onward.
This Week in History
Nov. 19, 1863 – Gettysburg Address. This day marks the anniversary of Lincoln's famous address to commemorate those lost in the battle, and to remind a war-weary public why the Union had to fight, and win, the Civil War.
Nov 22, 1963 – JFK Assassinated. Still swathed in conspiracy theories, on this day our 35th president was assassinated while traveling through Dallas, Texas, in an open-top convertible.
Nov 24, 1859 – Theory of Evolution. British naturalist Charles Darwin published "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection" which introduced the theory of evolution to the world. More than 160 years later religious fundamentalist continue to reject the science.
Thanks for your activism!
Tim Brown, Organizing Director