On Saturday, February 9, I took part in a meeting of Reclaim Philadelphia, held at the Friends Center, 15th and Cherry streets in Philadelphia. This is the political movement that encourages progressive activists (like me) to run for local offices-committee people (like me), City Council, and state legislature.
Among the candidates present seeking endorsement for the May 21 primary election were Luigi Borda, Omar Sabir, and Marwan Kreidie, running for City Commissioner; Ethelind Baylor, Sherrie Cohen, and Justin DeBernardinis for City Council at Large; Tonya Bah, running in the 8th Councilmanic District; and Wade Albert and Gregory Weyer, for Common Pleas Judge. Candidates were asked questions about such real issues as ending the ten-year tax abatement for real estate developers (which siphons money the City needs for services), the police advisory board, a moratorium on charter school development (and focusing on strengthening the public schools), housing as a human right, supporting workers right to organize, and climate change and renewable energy.
Their website is https://www.reclaimphiladelphia.org/.
This Wednesday, February 6, I joined in the meeting of Philly For Change, held at Tattooed Mom, 5th and South streets in Philadelphia. Philly For Change is a progressive group, borne out of the Howard Dean campaign in 2004.
We listened to candidates for various municipal offices, who are running in the primaries on May 21. Addressing us were candidates for Common Please Judge: Wendi Barish, George Twardy, and NIcola Serianni. For City Council at Large, there was Beth Finn, and for Sheriff, there was Rochelle Bilal, President of the Guardian Civic League, the association of African-American law enforcement officers in Philadelphia. For City Commissioners 9responsible for the election system in the city), addressing us were Luigi Borda, Jen Devor, and Marwan Kreidie (full disclosure, I know Marwan from back at Temple). All of these candidates spoke to us how their lives affected their decision to run for office, not for their benefit but for the good of the community. These were everyday people having to deal with the social system, and they want to make it better for all.
Lisa Deeley, Chair of the City Commissioners, spoke to us about the Commissioners’ web site, https://www.philadelphiavotes.com/ .The deadline for registering to vote in Pennsylvania i February 11. Eric Thut, Executive Director of Netroots Nation (https://www.netrootsnation.org/), told us about the group’s upcoming convention on July 11-13, to take place in Philadelphia.
On Saturday, January 26, I attended a town hall meeting held at the Church of the Holy Trinity, 1904 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, for Medicare for All, sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), along with the National labor Campaign for Single Payer, CWA District 2-13, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees-IBT, PASNAP, and UNITE-HERE, among others.
The speakers included Ed Mooney, Vice-President of CWA District 2-13, who spoke of the health care issue from the perspective of contract negotiations, and of the fight to implement in this “land of the free” a national-wide health insurance plan, as in Canada; and Michael Lighty, a fellow in the Sanders Institute and leader in California’s campaign for a single-payer system. Questions were taken from the audience.
The idea of health care as a commodity has led to a deterioration in health care, in spite of increasing costs. The time is NOW for a single-payer plan , as in Canada, to cover every American, no matter what their station in life, for health insurance. That would be one less source of anxiety alleviated from the minds of most Americans.
On Wednesday, January 16, 2019, I attended the poetry reading at Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom street in Philadelphia (https://www.fergies.com/), sponsored by the Moonstone Arts Center (http://moonstoneartscenter.org/) , one of the great promoters on poetry and poets in Philadelphia.
Next Wednesday, January 16, the next Moonstone poetry reading will feature Jennifer Anolik and Amy Barone. Jennifer Hook and Anila MacNeal will host the open mic.This will again take place at Fergie’s.
On Sunday, January 27, Moonsoone will host a tribute to poet JC Todd, featuring her new book, Damages of Morning. The event will take place at 2:00 PM at Fergie’s.
On Wednesday, January 30, Moonstone will host Hive Night, Apiary magazine’s celebrate of local poets, which will include an open mic. This will also take place at Fergie’s.
Yesterday, January 4, I attended a reading at A Novel Idea On Passyunk, 1726 E. Passyunk Avenue in Philadelphia. The reading was led by Thirty West Publishing House, a new independent publishing company in Philadelphia. https://www.thirtywestph.com/
Tonight, I will attend the monthly meeting of Philly For Change, at Tattooed Mom, at 5th and South streets in Philadelphia (https://www.tattooedmomphilly.com/). Featured speakers tonight will be candidates for this years’s municipal elections:
Melissa Robbins, and Fernando Trevino, running for City Council;
Jen Devor, running for City Commissioners;
and judicial candidates Gregory Weyer, Kay Yu, and Henry Sias.
Tomorrow, December 17, there will be a silent memorial service honoring sex workers who were killed while at their jobs, making money to earn a living live all other workers. In Philadelphia, it will take place at Thomas Paine Plaza, 1401 JFK Boulevard, from 12-4:00 PM. After this, there will be a discussion and presentation at the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), 531 N. 12th Street in Philadelphia, from 7-10:00 PM.
Today I attended the grand opening of a new bookstore in South Philadelphia, A Novel Idea On Passyunk, located at 1726 E. Passyunk Avenue. It’s part of a movement back to small independent bookstores, locally owned and operated, away from the big box chains and Amazon and the other online systems. This is more personal, more neighborhood oriented.
Christina HR Schneider and Alexander Schneider, owners of the new store.
Patrons enjoying the new bookstore, which will hold author events and will feature local authors and publishers.
The outside of the store, at 1726 E Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia
I will take part in the swap-meet tomorrow, starting at 3:00 PM, taking place at my favorite bar, Dirty Frank’s, on 13th and Pine streets in Philadelphia. There I will sell my books of poetry and my anthology.
I will also be at Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom Street in Philadelphia, for the Wednesday evening poetry reading of the Moonstone Arts Center, http://moonstoneartscenter.org/ . On Wednesday, November 21, the featured readers will be Hanoch Guy and Lisa Grunberger, with warren Longmire as host; on Wednesday, November 28, the featured readers will be Lynn Levin and Joan Roberta Ryan, with Alina MacNeal and Jennifer Hook as hosts. Following the featured readers will be the open mic, where I and other fine Philadelphia poets will read their material.
I will join other trade unionists in the 31st Annual Tri-State Labor Day Celebration, on Monday, September 3, 2018. we will assemble at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall, 1301 S. Columbus Blvd (at Washington Avenue) in Philadelphia, hold a kick-off rally, them parade, towards Penn’s Landing for food, refreshments, and fun for the kids. Please take pride in being a workers-you made this economy and country-and join in the fun, you deserve it.