This newsletter will focus on the 2021 General Election on Nov 2nd. First, take a look at our Endorsements and Recommendations and consider them when voting. Important appellate judgeships are on the line just a few weeks from now. Secondly, we need to remind our fellow Philadelphians of the power this City wields when we vote together, so sign up to canvass or call neighbors. Thirdly, you can apply to become a paid Poll Worker during this election. And you can help out with campaigns for local seats outside of Philly this week. And don't forget to sign up for workshops to build your organizing skills, and join us for our Movie Night this Tuesday at 7PM to relax.
PNN's Endorsements & Recommendations for the Nov. 2nd Election
Justice is truly on the Ballot in this election. There are critical appellate court positions on the ballot – these statewide judges make important decisions that affect every aspect of our lives and are often our last resort to protect our civil, criminal, and constitutional rights. Yet many do not vote in this historically low turnout election. Your vote is important and can make a difference.
Philly Neighborhood Networks makes its endorsements and recommendations based on a long process of candidates' questionnaires and interviews that began in the Spring Primary, members’ polling, further investigation and research, consultation with other progressive groups in the city, and deliberation by our Executive and Steering Committees. Whether you are voting by mail or in-person on Nov 2nd, please consider these endorsements and recommendations.
PNN ENDORSEMENTS & RECOMMENDATIONS
CANDIDATES FOR THE 2021 GENERAL ELECTION
APPELLATE COURT JUDGES – These progressive judges are running statewide against right-wing opponents:
PA SUPREME COURT – MARIA MCLAUGHLIN – Democrat
PA SUPERIOR COURT – TAMIKA LANE - Democrat
PA COMMONWEALTH COURT – LORI DUMAS & DAVID LEE SPURGEON - Democrats
COURT OF COMMON PLEAS – All are unopposed Democrats and are excellent candidates that PNN endorsed in the Spring primary and deserve your vote:
DANIEL R SULMAN
MUNICIPAL COURT – GREG YORGEY-GIRDY - Democrat
JUDICIAL RETENTIONS – NO RECOMMENDATIONS. The election system does not provide sufficient information on the individual judges’ performance during their prior term in order to make an informed recommendation on retention.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY – LARRY KRASNER - Democrat
CITY CONTROLLER – REBECCA RYNHART - Democrat
QUESTION 1: Should Philadelphia Recommend To The State Legislature That It Legalize And Tax The Sale Of, Recreational Use Of Marijuana For Persons 21 Or Older? RECOMMEND YES. There are simply no good reasons to criminalize the possession of marijuana, or ban it for persons 21 years of age or older.
QUESTION 2: Should The City Establish A Department Of Fleet Services To Manage All City Owned Vehicles? RECOMMEND YES. This consolidation has actually been in place already on a temporary basis, has worked well, and should be made permanent.
QUESTION 3: Should Civil Service Rules Be Changed To Allow The Personnel Director To Determine The Number Of People On An Eligible List For Hiring Or Promotion? PNN TAKES NO POSITION. There are differing views whether this change would increase diversity in the City workforce, with no compelling evidence one way or the other.
QUESTION 4: Should Council Be Required To Make A Mandatory Annual Appropriation Of .05% Of The General Fund To The Housing Trust Fund Every Year? While housing advocates view this as a significant positive change for the affordable housing movement, there are concerns about the Housing Trust Fund, accountability, and its administration to assure proper priorities. On balancing these factors, we recommend a yes vote. RECOMMEND YES
Help Us Elect Good Judges!
The challenge we face as progressives is to turn out voters on November 2nd. Republicans are going to show up for this off-year election. And important appellate judgeships are up for grabs, including one for the Supreme Court.
That's why it is so important for Democrats to make the effort to vote on November, 2nd - otherwise, Republicans will again win a stronghold on judgeships.
What Can You Do?
We would like you to help us conduct an experiment in engagement. We are targeting the divisions of three of our Steering Committee members – Tonya Bah, Gail Loney and Steve Paul – where our volunteers will knock every door with a helpful flier that gives neighbors information on the coming election and our positions on issues.
We will engage with them on issues that are a part of their everyday reality – gun violence, gentrification, trash removal, unfair rental practices and lack of investment in their neighborhood. And we will encourage them to get involved in these by using the flier to sign up for something.
And we will ask for their commitment to vote in the Nov. 2nd Election.
Done together, we think that we can greatly increase voter turnout compared to the same race four years ago. When the results are available, we'll see how we did and debrief on our work. It's a first step to engaging and empowering our neighbors as we prepare for the 2022 primary where Committee Persons are selected.
All Canvasses are on Saturday, starting with a walk-thru of the script at 10:30AM. We'll be heading to our turfs by 11AM and will cover our 40 doors. We will knock all doors, engage in conversation when possible, and leave a flier at every door. Below are the dates. We'll give you the details when you sign up:
Oct 16th - Tonya Bah's Place (1456 W Chew Street)
Oct 23rd - Gail Loney's Place (2219 N Lambert Street)
Oct 30th - Steve Paul's Place (4710 Greene Street)
Aside from general apathy, we face another Big Problem: 200,000 Philly voters think that because they applied for a ballot in 2020 that they're going to automatically get one in 2021 - but they won't.
The rule was written so that they could apply one-time for the 2020 general election, but if they wanted permanent status to receive a Vote By Mail Ballot, they are required to apply for it in 2021.
We're going to be making phone calls to these folks - likely voters - to let them know about the need to apply for permanent status right now in time for the October 26th, 5PM deadline.
You can apply online now until OCTOBER 26th for your Vote by Mail Ballot Here.
Want to Be a Poll Worker?
The City could use your help on Election Day. Poll Workers open voting machines at the beginning of the day, check voters into the polling place, support the functioning of the polling place, and close everything up at the end of the night.
If you are selected, you can watch a virtual training and be available to work on Election Day from 6:15 AM until election materials are picked up from the polling place location sometime after 8:00 PM. This is a paid one-day position. If you're interested, click below.
Want to Help Statewide Races Outside Philly this Week?
The people who win the small races in 2021 will likely be candidates for higher office in the future. This is an opportunity to build our farm team in winnable State and Congressional districts.
On Monday (10/11) and Tuesday (10/12), at 1 PM, our Blue PA Committee will be canvassing in Horsham for the Horsham Council, the Hatboro-Horsham School Board, Common Pleas, Superior, Commonwealth, and Supreme Courts seats. If you are interested in any of the above, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
On Wednesday (10/13), you can canvass in Northampton, Bucks County for town supervisors, school board, Tax Collector, and Auditor. The group will rally at the High Point Café on Allen Lane at 3 PM, and canvass for about two hours. If you are interested, contact George at email@example.com
ATTENTION SPANISH-SPEAKERS: The North Penn School Board candidates need language capable volunteers to help reach Spanish speaking voters. To join the team, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Build Your Organizing Skills
Philly Neighborhood Networks is willing to provide skills-building workshops for activists who are ready to take a larger role in the work we do in our community. This training is for you if:
You volunteered before, but know you can do more
You have an idea for a project, but don’t know how to get started
You want to develop your organizing skills
You like working with people to make change
These workshops will be run by leadership trainers with the goal of preparing participants to take the next step in community and electoral organizing.
Our first workshop will be on Thursday, October 21st at 7PM. If you are interested in getting more involved in our city's politics, then use the link below.
Join Us for Movie Night: "The Power to Heal"
Tuesday, Oct. 12th, 7PM, Virtual Event
Join us this coming Tuesday for a special viewing of "The Power to Heal: Medicare & the Civil Rights Revolution", a one-hour documentary on how Medicare helped create equity in healthcare in our nation.
Following the movie, David Barton Smith, the author of the book on which this movie is based, and Dr. Walter Tsou, former Health Commissioner of Philadelphia will share their thoughts and answer questions from the audience. Watch the trailer here.
This Week in History
Oct 10, 1973 – Agnew Resigns. On this day, former vice president Spiro T. Agnew, who like to call his detractors "nattering nabobs of negativity", resigned to avoid criminal charges on tax evasion.
Oct 11, 2002 – Jimmy Carter Wins Peace Prize. The former president received the Nobel Peace Prize for his “decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”
Oct 12, 1492 – Columbus Invades Bahamas. The Spanish merchant reached what he thought was East Asia, claimed it for the Queen of Spain and plundered its riches, thereby "discovering America."
Oct 14, 1979 – First March for Gay Rights. The National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights aimed to urge Jimmy Carter to sign a bill to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Thanks for your activism!
Tim Brown, Organizing Director