This week we're playing catch-up on redistricting at the national, state and local levels. Councilmember Derek Green tells us he plans to open hearings on Ranked Choice Voting. Show solidarity with homeless activists this Wednesday. And be sure to check out what happened this week in history. But first, let's talk about this past election...
Let's not sugarcoat it. The 2021 General Election did not go well for progressives in state-wide races. The Democrats who were fielded in our appellate court races - including our friends Maria McLaughlin, Timika Lane and Lori Dumas - all lost to right-wingers. They will soon be hard at work attacking our democratic institutions in Pennsylvania.
This happened because turnout was atrocious - 18.4% across the state - with turnout particularly low among Democrats. Meanwhile, this election also featured school board races all over the red districts, a near guarantee that the far right would turn out across the state.
Still, we saw local wins for progressives - Larry Krasner was overwhelmingly elected to serve another four years as Philly's District Attorney, and our collar counties turned out more Democrats for wins in local offices. And at the other end of the state, Pittsburgh elected its first African-American mayor, and a progressive, Ed Gainey.
A deeper analysis will be forthcoming once all the data is loaded into progressive databases and we can slice and dice the electorate, but one thing is clear - the progressive movement needs to more fully engage voters, new voters, and non-voters in an all-out effort to keep fascism at bay in the 2022 midterm elections.
We certainly have the motivation - the governor's seat is on the line, and we have a real chance to pick up Toomey's old seat. Plus, we get to pick up some new state legislators when the new maps are drawn. All of this gives us hope that we can make some headway in D.C. and keep the Keystone State in the Blue column in 2024.
We will do our part - canvassing, phoning and texting folks to encourage them to turn out - and we'll let you know how you can play a role in making a progressive victory a reality.
Join an Overnight Occupation to Fight Homelessness
Wednesday, Nov. 9th, 6PM, Dilworth Plaza
Our friends at ACT UP will conduct an Overnight Occupation and Teach-In at City Hall to demand systemic change from our city to address the problem of homelessness. In our city, more than 6,000 individuals and families needlessly suffer homelessness. Meanwhile, there are more than 130,000 abandoned properties, some of which could be used to house these needy folks. Mayor Kenney needs to go beyond empty rhetoric.
The teach-in will cover the history of homeless occupations and occupy movements globally, as well as offer training in civil disobedience. The occupation action will take place starting on Wednesday, Nov. 9th, 6PM and run thru the night until Thursday morning at 8AM. Feel free to stop by in solidarity or to stay the night with other activists.
Latest on Electoral Map Redistricting
Congressional Redistricting: No clear word yet on when the Legislature may introduce a mapping bill, but Governor Wolf is seeking feedback and the Senate State Gov't Committee may have a hearing next week on publicly-drawn congressional maps including the Draw the Lines Citizens' Map.
State Legislative Redistricting: The LRC certified data that reallocated 27,000 state prisoners back to their home or last-known address. The LRC legally has 90 days to release a preliminary map but is expected to act sooner in an attempt to have maps ready for 2022. Last week, Fair Districts PA released its People's Maps (statewide House/Senate) and the Keystone Counts released 8 community-sourced Unity Maps (House districts).
City Council Redistricting: Council members received the Redistricting Roadmap from 80+ groups last week. The Kenney administration was advised of the urgency in reallocating the 4,000+ individuals who were counted in city-run facilities (in the 6th District) back to their home or last-known addresses.
Want to take part in a Community Input Meeting? Ten virtual meetings will be scheduled around the city to gather community input around the current boundaries and how they should shift. See the schedule Here.
City Council Update: Green to Hold Hearings on "Ranked Choice Voting" for 2022
Councilmember Derek Green told PNN that he intends to hold hearings early in the new year to investigate the process of ranked choice voting, a system where voters rank the candidates in order by preference on their ballot. Meanwhile, State Senator Williams is ready to introduce the legislation that would authorize this system for Philadelphia. We'll keep you posted as this campaign develops and let you know where you can help.
Not familiar with RCV? Here's how it works: If no one has a clear majority on the first ballot, the lowest candidate is eliminated and their votes are distributed among the remaining candidates by voter preference. This process continues until one candidate achieves a majority and is declared the winner. Click here to learn more.
This Week in History
Nov. 5, 1855 – Eugene Debs Born. Happy birthday to Eugene Victor "Gene" Debs, an American socialist, political activist, trade unionist, one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World, and five times the candidate of the Socialist Party of America for President of the United States.
Nov 7, 1916 – First Congresswoman. The Montana suffragist Jeannette Rankin is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She is the first woman in the history of the nation to win a seat in the federal Congress.
Nov 9, 1935 – CIO Founded. The Congress for Industrial Organization was founded by eight international unions belonging to the American Federation of Labor. In its statement of purpose, the CIO said it had formed to encourage the AFL to organize workers in mass production industries along industrial union lines.
Thanks for your activism!
Tim Brown, Organizing Director