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Showing posts from February, 2013

The SRC Contract Proposals are Ridiculous

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Promise Academies, an explosion of charter schools and visions or grandeur when it comes to student achievement can all implode rather quickly.  All parents want the best education for their children.  Those that can afford it send their children to private schools.  The rest of us send our children to public schools and work to achieve goals within the limits of public education in Philadelphia.  I say limits because Philadelphia spends less per student than many other counties in Pennsylvania.  Unless a student can test into a magnet school, it is a tough process to get the quality education that we all covet.

The recent proposals submitted by the School Reform Commission are frightening for any unionized employees.  It was already reported in the papers that Principals will not be getting raises that they were promised.  I don't think that principals can strike and are not union.  People count on raises and work hard to earn them.  Some of the low lights of the upcoming contra…

Happy 50th Birthday Reginald M. Wallace

There are some milestones that one celebrates in life that are truly historical.  Reaching 50 years of age is one of those marks that causes time for introspection.  My best Friend Reggie Wallace turns fifty years old today.  We actually met back in 1964.  Our mothers were enrolling our siblings in St. Rita's and we were along for the walk.  We happened to be in the same kindergarten class and the rest as they say, is history.

Reggie and I were comic book buffs.  We shared a love for baseball cards and Philly sports.  He left the fold and became a 49ers fan and a Bulls fan.  The only Philly team he remains a fan of is the Phillies.  We were altar boys together and he managed the basketball team at St. Rita's while I tried developing my jump shot.  We used to take our long rides on the Broad Street subway to visit Mr. Kelpsch at LaSalle University and a life long friendship was born.

Reggie went in the military after high school while I matriculated to Howard University.  We s…

Kia Boggs Pinkney: A Light in My Life

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My relationship with Kia Boggs Pinkney goes back almost 35 years.  I was on my way to Chew Playground or the Christian Street YMCA when I noticed this beautiful girl with long hair and skinny long legs.  She was truly a keeper and I wondered where she had been all of my life.  Somehow, we began a few phone conversations and then a bigger event occurred.  I met Louise M. Boggs on the 2 bus and the rest is history.

In the course of our 35 year relationship, we have shared some good times and gone through some tough times.  Kia and Mom Helen were the first two people who I saw when my Father passed away.  I think they brought a pan of chicken but just them being there was a blessing.  I became Kia's big brother and we had many adventures together.  Beginning with parties at St. Joseph's Prep, be still my heart, to other events at La Ferry and Kim Graves, she rolled with me and my homies on a regular basis.

Kia wrote one of the first letters I received while at Howard University.…

Happy 25th Anniversary Shawn and Michael

I get a little serious sometimes in my blogs.  Today, I am on a lighter note.  Twenty-five years ago today, at 4:00 PM, I married my college sweetheart, Shawn Clarice Keith.  We celebrate a milestone today and I am happy for the decision I made.  We have two beautiful children and are working hard to raise them and maintain a loving household.

We lost some people along the way.  George Brown, Vera Brown Keith and Geraldine Brown Buggs were very important people in Shawn's life.  Her Grandfather, Mother and Aunt all played a significant part in raising her.  Julius Bell Sr., John A. Bell and Louise M. Boggs were important people in my life.  My Father, Grandfather and Grandmother helped to mold me and become a loving Husband.
We lost one friend from the wedding party, Kristin Taylor.  Thankfully, everyone else is still journeying with us. 

It will be a low key day.  We hung out at Harrah's on Sunday with Mona and Donnell Smith.  Prayers out to Joann Keith and Andy Boyd.  Mona…

The Blade Runner's Attorneys Need To Feel The Heat

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Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend on Valentine's Day in South Africa.  This is international news because of his fame acquired on the Olympic track.  He is a double amputee who beat the odds and competed at a high enough level to earn significant sponsors like Nike and Oakley sunglasses.  He lived in a gated community in a country in which 50 people are killed a day.  It is sad that the murder of Reeva Steenkamp is not an uncommon occurrence.  The response of Oscar Pistorius' attorney is what troubles me.

The defense attorney made the following statement:

Pistorius sobbed softly as his lawyer, Barry Roux, insisted the shooting was an accident and that there was no evidence to substantiate a murder charge.

"Was it to kill her, or was it to get her out?" he asked about the broken-down door. "We submit it is not even murder. There is no concession this is a murder."

His defense team is not even going to concede murder in this case.  Oscar shot th…

There is an Exciting Synergy Going on in South Philly!!

I was fortunate to attend an event that could define how politics is conducted in South/Southwest and Center City Philadelphia over the next few years.  Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and his staff sponsored a grand opening for a neighborhood office today at 1634 Wharton Street in the Point Breeze neighborhood of South Philadelphia.  It was a packed event on a frigid February morning.  It was momentous for a numerous reasons that I will outline in the next few paragraphs.

Neighbors in Action is an advocacy organization that was formed in the mid 1980's.  It was organized to help ease some of the social ills that affected the ills which overwhelmed many of the families that lived in the 19146 zip code.  It was a low income area with a high rate of crime and drug use.  Many of the individuals trying to make a living there were hard working and honest.  The property utilized to address some of the social ills was acquired from the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation for $1.00.…

France's Intervention in Mali is Beneficial or Self-Serving?

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The Islamic militants were about to overtake the legitimate government in Mali.  There would be no more music or Western influences.  Limbs would be amputated for the slightest crimes.  After the overthrow of the government of President Amadou Toure, the situation was ripe for a new voice.  The Islamic uptick in power was fueled in part by arms confiscated during the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi.  Also, the government of Mali was typical of many other governments trying to recover from colonial influence: corrupt and catering to the ruling few.

The French have a long history in Africa.  Most of it has not been good.  Mali, Senegal, French Guinea, Algeria and Senegal were among a number of countries known as Francophone countries.  Britain, Italy and Spain divided Africa up for its natural resources, slaves and general plunder.  Many of these countries utilize French as their primary language.  It took years and many revolutions for these countries to re-establish local and independen…

Carl Greene, Former Executive Director of PHA, Wouldn't Get a Dime

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Philadelphia has a long history of fallen politicians and those hoping to receive benefits from those people elected to office.  A short list includes Leland Beloff, Jimmy Tayoun, Corey Booker, Ron White, Rick Mariano and Shamsideen Ali.  We have become famous for the shakedown.  Two Philadelphia politicians who paid the price for transgressions committed while holding Commonwealth of PA positions include Vince Fumo and John Perzel.  I guess the campaign promises for honest government quickly fall by the wayside as the power slowly starts to corrupt.  State Representative Dwight Evans has been humbled by his unwillingness to play by established rukes.

Carl Greene is currently suing the Philadelphia Housing Authority and in a sense, taxpayers of Philadelphia, for wrongful termination.  He and former Mayor John Street have been at odds this week in court over who dropped kick who while both were still in position.  Carl Greene has alleged that then Chairman of the Board Street ordered …