The 36th Ward will have a New Look in the Next Four Years

The recent primary to choose a Gubernatorial candidate to challenge the incumbent Tom Corbett was interesting.  Most of the polls had Tom Wolf winning the Democratic nomination in a major way.  At the end of the day, he did win convincingly.  Governor Tom Corbett was unopposed and he seemed very energized during his victory speech.  I did not see Tom Wolf's speech but Democrats need to galvanize behind his campaign if we hope to change the direction of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the next four years.
I feel that Allyson Schwartz ran a tough race but she couldn't match the television coverage that Tom Wolf generated.

In the City of Philadelphia not much changed with the State Representatives that defend our causes in Harrisburg.  Jordan Harris ran unopposed in the 186th District.  In spite of some cash accepting scandals involving other State Representatives, all of them held on to their positions.  Ronald Waters, Vanessa Lowery Brown, Louise Williams Bishop and Michelle Brownlee kept their seats and will live to see another legislative day.  W. Curtis Thomas, Angel Cruz, Rosita Youngblood and Dwight Evans seem to be unbeatable.  I am looking forward to what they can do to help our beleaguered school district.

It is also amazing that Congressmen do not even have to campaign anymore.  Bob Brady and Chaka Fattah probably did not spend a penny campaigning.  They ran unopposed and did not even have to have a get out the vote drive.  Senator Anthony Williams assisted many wards with campaign material.  I can see why some voter apathy can occur in this regard.  There is no real change at the top.  The amount of money that a new candidate would have to raise to supplant one of these incumbents would be mind boggling.

The overall voter turnout in Philadelphia was reported at around 20%.  This is confounding to me as an elected participant of the Democratic party.  I am the Inspector of Elections.  In this capacity, I verify voters signatures and party affiliation when they arrive to the polling place to vote.  It was pretty surprising the other day how many people objected to revealing their party affiliation when asked.  I doubled as the Machine Inspector to help the former Inspector of Elections earn a paycheck for the day.  We do need to get younger people involved and fast.

A major point of contention in the 36th Ward, which represents part of South Philadelphia, was the slate of Committee Persons that Ori Feibush encouraged to run for office.  Our Ward Leader, Anna Verna, led us to believe that it was a major takeover attempt on his behalf.  The two candidates who ran in the 36th Ward, 35th Division were relative newcomers to the political process.  They campaigned under the banner of Citizens for a Better South Philadelphia.  In spite of their presence outside of the polling place most of the day, they were unsuccessful in their attempts to win the committee seats for our division.  Michael E. Bell and Juanita Jarrett held serve and will represent for the next four years.

Many of the existing Committee Persons in the 36th Ward also held onto their seats.  There will be new faces though.  Tiye Thompson, Julia Bringhurst, Pamela Stroman, Karen Harris, Moira Kulik and Dawn Chavous are a few names that come to mind.  I can not say for sure if they were backed by Ori or some other power.  They could have been motivated by public service alone.  Regardless of the political backing, congratulations to all other winners of Committee races.  The process of electing a new Ward Leader is now on the table.  According to Democratic Committee rules set in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the election should occur on June 9th.  Let the Games continue!!

Harold James is the heir apparent to the void left by the departure of Anna Verna in October 2014.  There is a challenger on the horizon.  After a tough reorganization meeting in June, I hope the process will flow more smoothly than what happened then.  The whole process of trying to gather votes becomes aimless when there is no actual roll call vote.  As we all prepare for the gubernatorial election, I hope the 36th Ward gets the leadership it deserves.


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