Meeting of the 36th Ward was Informative

I recently was appointed a Committee person on the 36th Ward, 35th Division.  I represent six square blocks of voters.  My first job was to check on voters who might have no ID to comply with the Voter ID requirement in the Commonwealth of PA.  As reported earlier, the requirement to show State issued ID has been waived for this election.  I knocked on doors, passe out registration application and was amazed at the increased diversity in my neighborhood.  It will be a journey worth taking.

I missed my first meeting because I was not notified.  The mailing list is a little behind the times.  I found out about this meeting because the Chairwoman of the 36th Ward, Anna Verna, was concerned that someone else might be leasing the meeting space for the 36th Ward on a part-time basis.  Whatever the reason, I am glad I found out about the meeting.  My attendance was worth the wait.  For many years I wondered what exactly the 36th Ward was doing.  As I campaigned for City Commissioner I as impressed by how other wards organized candidates nights and conducted outreach.  I wondered what was going on in my own neighborhood.

I was fortunate to attend a fundraiser sponsored by the 39th Ward in South Philadelphia on Wednesday night.  Kevin Price, an active 2nd Ward member, invited me to attend this meeting.  The power of politics was truly in effect.  John 'Johnny Doc' Dougherty, Mark Squilla, Jim Kenney, Bob Brady and Anthony Hardy Williams were there.  I also was surprised to see Leland Beloff.  Leland was convicted in 1987 of using a mafia threat to shake down a developer.  He was 45 at the time.  He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $150,000.00.  Sometimes the seedy side of politics and the illusion of power corrupts. 

Last night's meeting was impressive for the visitors and the urgency of the moment.  Councilman Kenyatta Johnson presented information on his upcoming Job Fair and Job Readiness workshop.  He also spoke of the urgency of getting out the vote in the upcoming election.  State Senator Larry Farnese also attended.  He mentioned that he is on the ballot and would like our vote.  He was commended by myself and Marjorie Jones for his work in the community.  Malik Haugton of the Obama for America campaign came by .  He spoke of his teams efforts at outreach and the strategy for November 6th.  Finally, State Representative candidate Jordan Harris spoke of his upcoming inauguration and the fact that all committee people were invited to take a bus ride to Harrisburg on January 1st.

Ms. Verna then got down to the business of the election.  No double pay for duties performed on election day was her opening statement.  She outlined that committee persons should make sure to pick up their binders.  Also, she re-emphasized to the Obama Campaign that they should utilize the expertise of 36th Ward members for outreach on election day.  Harold James, reserved as always, passed out information from the Commonwealth of PA for Entrepreneurs and Grants.  There were no introductions of committee members.  I met one who was trying to be Judge of elections.  I wished her luck.  I thought it was a great first meeting.

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