The Progressive-Moderate alliance that swept Obama into office is in trouble in Philadelphia. The FOP’s attempt to drive judge Craig Washington out of office is bringing conservatives to the election booth, and progressive candidates are reluctant to mention the issue, even though this kind of pressure could make other judges think twice about challenging a police officer,
Whether or not to have casinos in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods is what is on many people’s minds, but casino issue is not being discussed as a June 19 election issue. Judges facing election aren’t supposed to express bias, and none of the other candidates are mentioning casinos either. Although Seth Williams, who was once a meticulous, and many considered fair assistant DA, made tolerant comments on civil disobedience might ease tension preventing such situations as a troublesome casino protester up against a tired police officer.
Philadelphia Bar ratings,
If things get more conservative locally it may mean eventually Republicans in control again nationally. But since Dick Cheney is bragging about what he claims torture and government secrets keeping us safe, repressive conditions in America could get much more institutionalize next time conservatives win.
Meanwhile Dan McCaffery is suggesting in a shrill TV commercial that Seth Williams is soft on crime because someone who served a year for a first time gun violation later killed someone and if you don’t look at the ad very carefully one would think a man convicted of having an unloaded illegal gun was actually sentenced to only one year on a murder conviction,
It also containing an old out of context statements by the retiring DA Lynn Abraham, back years ago when she was running against Seth,
Philadelphia went through a lot of fear in the Rizzo years and police officials who misbehave are just now being to be held accountable for their transgressions. It will be a shame if we go back toward square one in this June 19 election. Especially if Cheney’s dream of the national government cycling into openly supporting official transgression ever takes hold.
I have a different idea, just dreaming of compromise on the casino issue might make people pay more attention to the important local races and save the city a lot of money that otherwise would be going into prosecuting civil disobedience efforts on the casino issue.
I dream of river boat gambling cruises, and the city earning money from rich people who could afford a $100 prepaid voucher for food and maybe up to half the voucher could be saved for future restaurant expense. This, instead of poor gambling addicts and their relatives crowding up local social service agencies. And also a casino at the airport, with a $20 entertainment voucher to get on the gaming floor, that could be used if not used at the casino toward future restaurant purchases elsewhere in Philadelphia. This would be much better than flush-from-casino-cash revelers urinating on Liberty Bell Mall, and yelling “ride ‘em cowboy” while taking a horse drawn carriage ride around Independence Mall, and destitute gamblers making their neighbors miserable.
Originally Governor Rendell begged the casinos to set up shop at the airport, but they refused to cooperate because they wanted to mess up the neighborhoods instead. When the gambling interests got Chester to agree to a Casino, they snuck through a state law forbidding a casino within 10 miles from Chester. This stopped a casino at the old Navel Yard as well as one at the airport. If local casino supporters and opponents unite to urge the repeal of the Chester casino law, a united Philadelphia effort might get the state legislature to listen.
Now for the future danger nationally. Even if Cheney’s bragging about doing wrong forces a trial, one juror might agree that torturers saved this country from a second attack, and in jail his supporters would support him for years like they did with General Douglas MacArthur who defied Truman during the Korean War, or the way Southern legislators used to back hate crime.
Preserving progressive politics locally is the best way to help preserve it nationally. What happens in the immediate future in Philly may make a difference.
By Richard Kane