Philadelphia Public Record

Page 1

Vol. XVI No. 14

Issue 1053

April 2, 2020


There is no way to ease into this, so let’s just rip that Band-Aid off: The Philadelphia Public Record is going on hiatus after this issue. The unprecedented effects from the coronavirus pandemic have

“The good things we do must be made a part of the public record”

impacted all of our lives in a myriad of ways. For this newspaper, the political life of Philadelphia and its citizens is our mission, the reason that this paper has managed to survive and thrive ever since





its founding by legendary Philadelphia politician Jimmy Tayoun. Covering events, legislation, policy and the politicians making that policy is what we do. (Cont. Page 6)


SHOWING solidarity with Northeast Philadelphia’s diverse community, Councilman Bobby Henon, L, and FOP Lodge 5 President John McNesby congratulated the owners of a convenience store for distributing critical household supplies to their heavily Asian clientele around Frankford & Cottman Avenues. Photo by Wendell Douglas

Panepinto Jewelers 740 Sansom Street, Suite 506 Philadelphia PA, 19106

Store#: 215-923-1980 Cell#: 215-470-7629



Text of the City Emergency Bill City of Philadelphia City Council Chief Clerk’s Office 402 City Hall Philadelphia, PA 19107 BILL NO. 200258 (As Amended, 3/26/20) Introduced Mar. 12, 2020 Councilmember Quiñones Sánchez for Council President Clarke Referred to the Committee on Appropriations AN ORDINANCE Authorizing transfers in appropriations for Fiscal Year 2020 from the Grants Revenue Fund, the Director of Finance – Provision for Other Grants, to the General Fund, the Managing Director and to the General Fund, to certain or all City offices, departments, boards and commissions. THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA HEREBY ORDAINS: SECTION 1. The Director of Finance is hereby authorized to make the following transfers in appropriations for Fiscal Year 2020 from the

Grants Revenue Fund to the General Fund. FROM: GRANTS REVENUE FUND 9.15 THE DIRECTOR OF FINANCE – PROVISION FOR OTHER GRANTS Advances and Other Miscellaneous Payment ... $85,400,000 Total ... $85,400,000 Total “FROM” Grants Revenue Fund ... $85,400,000 Total “FROM” Section ... $85,400,000 TO: GENERAL FUND 2.1 THE COUNCIL Purchase of Services ... $325,000 Materials, Supplies and Equipment ... $75,000 Total ... $400,000 2.14 THE MANAGING DIRECTOR Personal Services ... $25,000,000 Purchase of Services ... $25,000,000 Materials, Supplies and Equipment ... $25,000,000 Contributions, Indemnities and Taxes ... $10,000,000

Total ... $85,000,000 Total “TO” General Fund ... $85,400,000 Total “TO” Section ... $85,400,000 SECTION 2. It is the intent of Council through this Ordinance to increase the appropriations available in support of the City’s response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. SECTION 3. Reporting requirement. Beginning on April 17, 2020 and on a bi-weekly basis thereafter, the Finance Director shall submit to the President and Chief Clerk of Council a report describing in detail the expenditures made, or expected to be made, by the City in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each report shall provide information that is current as of one week prior to the date of the report. Following the issuance of each report, the Finance Director shall provide such additional information as the President of Council or the Chief Financial Officer of Council may request. SECTION 4. This Ordinance shall take effect immediately.

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Expanded Food Access Across the City


he City of Philadelphia has announced its commitment to providing free food to residents who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis through community food sites. Residents can pick up a box of food (one box per household) on Mondays and Thursdays between 10 a.m. and noon at sites throughout the city. This effort is a partnership with the community-based sites, as well as Philabundance and Share Food Program.

Over the past week, the City has worked with partners to stand up a new food distribution warehouse, generously provided rentfree by Alliance HSP. The new warehouse greatly expands distribution capacity to City food hubs. Deputy Mayor Cynthia Figueroa said, “Providing this service to Philadelphians is critical at a time when many so many people find themselves in a difficult situation. This partnership is another proud Philly moment, reflecting a com-

mitted, caring partnership that is dedicated to making sure our neighbors in every part of the City have access to food during these unprecedented times.” There is an online video announcement from Deputy Mayor Cynthia Figueroa regarding the new food sites. (The announcement is also recorded in Spanish.) The City plans to announce additional food distribution sites. In addition, the City, School District, and partners will continue to oper-

For the latest information About the coronavirus In Philadelphia, visit The City’s information site: Phila.Gov/COVID-19

ate student meal sites at over 80 locations citywide. Last week, 222,469 meals were distributed to students through this collaborative effort. The following sites are offering food:

The Philadelphia Public Record (PR-01) (ISSN 1938-856X) (USPS 1450) Published Weekly Requested Publication ($35 per year Optional Subscription) The South Philadelphia Public Record 21 S. 11th Street, Suite 205 Philadelphia, PA 19107 Periodical Postage Paid at Philadelphia, PA and additional mailing office POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to: The Public Record 21 S. 11th Street, Suite 205 Philadelphia, PA 19107 (215) 755-2000 Fax: (215) 525-2818 EDITORIAL STAFF In Memoriam:James Tayoun, Sr. Editor/Publisher: Greg Salisbury Managing Editor: Anthony West Everyday People Editor: Denise Clay Contributing Editor: Bonnie Squires Photographers: Leona Dixon

Wendell Douglas Jim Jenkins

Harry Leech

Director of Operations:Allison Murphy Production Manager: Sana Muaddi-Dows Sales Director: Melissa Barrett

Food site Address (Zip) People’s Emergency Center 3750 Lancaster Ave. (19104) Upper Room Baptist Church 7236 Ogontz Ave. (19138) Opportunity, Inc. 5900 Lansdowne Ave. (19151) Christ Church South Philly 229 Moore St. (19148) Mitchell Elementary School 5500 Kingsessing Ave. (19143) Resurgence Church 1738 West Atlantic St. (19140) West Kensington Ministry 2140 N Hancock St. (19122) Dare 2 Imagine Church 6610 Anderson St. (19119) Shekinah SDA 531 Chew Ave. (19120) Association of Former Gang Members 1631 W Susquehanna Ave. (19121) Keep the Faith Ministries 1906 Harrison St. (19124) Parkside Association 1719 N. 52nd St. (19131) Richard and Friends 1916 E Venango St. (19134) Triumph Baptist Church 1648 W Hunting Park Ave. Giving Heart Ministries 6506 Elmwood Ave. (19142) SEAMAAC 1711 S Broad St. (19148) Overbrook West Neighbors (OWN) 5925 Lancaster Ave. (19151) Iglesia Cristiana Avivamiento 5500 Tabor Rd. (19120) Mizpah SDA 4355 Paul St. (19124) Christian Compassion CDC 6100 Cedar Ave. (19143)

Circulation: Yousef Maaddi The Public Record welcomes news and photographs about your accomplishments and achievements which should be shared with the rest of the community. Contact us by phone, fax, e-mail or by dropping us a note in the mail. If you mail a news item, please include your name, address and daytime telephone number so we can verify the information you provided us, if necessary. The Public Record reserves the right to edit all news items and letters for grammar, clarity and brevity. No reproduction or use of the material herein may be made without the permission of the publisher. City & State will assume no obligation (other than the cancellation of charges for the actual space occupied) for accidental errors in advertisements, but we will be glad to furnish a signed letter to the buying public. The Philadelphia Public Record is a publication owned by:

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Teamsters 628

in front of a lot of people on a repeated basis. And finally, it can pay for itself – each email Gym sent could raise money, which could pay for the next email. $84,765.06 pays for a lot of emails. Gym also raised $246,550.00 from various PACs. Big PAC donors giving more than $10,000 included American Federation of Teachers COPE - VOLUNTARY A/C, Carpenters Legislative Program of Greater PA, District Council 21, Local 32 BJ PA American Dream Fund, Local Union 98 I.B.E.W. Committee on Political Education, PFT Committee to Sup-


Amount Description

215 People’s Alliance


Field Program

Basecamp Strategy


Digital Consultant

Brendan McPhillips



Democratic City Committee $6,000.00


Democratic City Committee $32,000.00

Political Contribution

Edge Hill Strategies LLC



Eric Rosso



Helen Gym


Debt Repayment

Jeffrey A Miller Catering


Event Catering

Law Office of Adam Bonin $9,000.00

Legal Services

McKenna Media


Ad shoot Production

Mission Control Inc.



Normington Petts & Assoc. $28,000.00


Northeast Democratic Club $10,000.00


Rachel Fortier



Reclaim Philadelphia


Field Program

Screen Strategies Media


Media Buys

Sean Dix



port Public Education, Plumbers Union Local 690, SEIU Healthcare and Unite Here TIP Campaign Committee. Gym raised $207,699.38 from large donations (more than $250.00) in 2019. Donors giving $3,000 or more included Adam Butler, Barbara Schiffrin, Dominick A. Cipollini, John Chou, Jolley Christman, Kairol Rosenthal, Michael Fortunato, Michael Weiss, Richard Campbell, Richard Schiffrin, Richard Vague, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young LLP, Teresa A. Wallace, Todd Carmichael, Victor Keen, Willig Williams & Davidson, and Won G

Gym. Of the 691 contributions found in the Board of Ethics data for Helen Gym, 480 appeared to come from Philadelphia ZIP codes and 211 came from outside the city. Most of Gym’s fundraising took place in the first half of 2019. After the primary was over, her fundraising and spending activity dropped off significantly. Gym raised $450,170.57 in 2019 cycles 1, 2, and 3 which covered Jan 1, 2019 through June 10, 2019 (the primary was May 21, 2019.) Her total fundraising haul for the rest of the year was just

$74,615.00. Gym was virtually guaranteed to win an at-large position on City Council after coming in first in the Democratic primary. Gym’s campaign spent $681,739.66 during the reporting periods before the primary, and only $67,886.99 after it. Expenditures included the following large items listed in the accompanying table. Friends of Helen Gym ended 2019 with $51,337.93 in the bank and no debt. David Lynn is a political animal living in Philadelphia. He is currently social distancing along with everybody else.



Blue’s website, the organization charges a flat fee of 3.95% on all contributions made through their platform. This means that Gym raised approximately $84,765.06 through online contributions. Online fundraising has a number of advantages. First, it is relatively inexpensive to reach people via email. You don’t have to rent a hall or pay for catering and a DJ. Second, you can be timely – Gym can (and does) make the most of whatever events are happening at any given time in both Philadelphia and the national level. Third, it gets a candidate’s name

These are difficult times. We’re here to help you.

STATE REP MARY ISAACSON Paid for by Friends of Mary Isaacson 215-503-3245

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BY DAVID LYNN n 2019, Helen Gym’s campaign committee, Friends of Helen Gym, was a fundraising machine. Gym started 2019 with $276,179.01 in the bank, and during the year raised an additional $524,785.57 for a total of $800,964.58. Of this, her committee spent $749,626.65. According to campaign finance data available from the Philadelphia City Board of Ethics, Gym spent $3,348.22 on credit card processing with ActBlue, a Democratic online gift-processing platform. According to Act-

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Campaign Math: How Gym Brings It in


To Be in Business, or Not to Be?



POLS on the STREET BY JOE SHAHEELI weet harmony didn’t last long on Capitol Hill in Harrisburg. Republicans have begun to push back on Gov. Tom Wolf’s executive order for all businesses deemed “non-life-sustaining” to shut down. Senate GOP leaders sent a letter to Wolf calling for revisions to his list of companies that may stay open. Topping their list was residential construction, noting that the federal Department of Homeland Security considers residential construc-

A P R IL 2 , 2020


tion to be essential. They also referred more vaguely to “critical infrastructure” projects. House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) stated he would introduce a measure to reopen all construction projects. He has the backing of 60 Republicans and should not find it hard to recruit Democrats as well. Observers are betting Wolf will fold his hand long before this measure comes to a vote. Already the Commonwealth has conceded that highway construction is essential. One lawmaker proposes a solution that may provide the governor an elegant way out. State Sen. Doug Mastroianno (R-Adams) has unveiled a plan to allow “all businesses to reopen if they agree to abide by Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of La-

Staters had contracted the COVID-19 virus; 63 had died from it. Initially concentrated the Democratic heartlands of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Allegheny County, it is already spreading toward the center where Republicans hold sway. We anticipate a muddle through the middle, with constant tweaks, throughout the month of April.

Trump Signs Pa’s Disaster Request President Donald Trump swiftly declared a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, answering Gov. Wolf’s call within 24 hours. Federal assistance will back up State and local recovery efforts against the virus – meaning dollars will start flowing to public as well as private nonprofits for COVID-19 control.

New pools of federal funds will support Community Disaster Loans, Crisis Counseling, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Program, the Disaster Unemployment Assistance and Statewide Hazard Mitigation.

City Council OK’s Millions in Relief City Council signed off on an emergency relief measure of $85 million for a wide range of sudden municipal reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be in business like lightning. A smart part of the package was an additional $400,000 for councilmembers to conduct coronavirus information campaigns. Getting the word out to their constituents about all manner of things is, after all, one of the core parts of their job description. And

Philadelphia will not survive this pandemic without mass information.

For Relief Money – Who You Gonna Call? There have been grumblings of late among the city’s – what should we call them, “grumbling class” – about the need to pay extra to City workers judged “essential” by their departments. It is certainly understandable at a time when so many citizens are losing pay instead. But think for a moment. All this money, from Washington and Harrisburg as well as City Hall, has to be processed by someone. Even if they’re working remotely, they’re working in awkward ways in difficult times. Suppose some of those dollars may shower down on you, even without your (Cont. Page 15)

Political Directory For information on advertising in The Political Directory, please call Melissa Barrett: 215-755-2000 ext 5; email:

Always Hard At Work for You!

Rep.Maria P.

Donatucci D-185th District 2901 S. 19th St. Phila PA 19145 P: 215-468-1515 F: 215-952-1164

State Senator

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bor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration mitigation measures to contain the spread of the virus.” This tug of war will be decided by opposing sets of numbers. On the pro-business side is the number of Pennsylvanians out of work. A University of Pittsburgh researcher estimates that two-fifths of the state’s workforce is impacted by the governor’s restrictions. Unemployment compensation and a federal check will only go so far to assuage their anxiety. The GOP got a boost when it was learned that Wolf’s family business had been granted a waiver for its life-sustaining activity: building kitchen cabinets. The governor hastily canceled that waiver but lost trust anyway. On the other side are the medical stats. As March ended, 4,843 Keystone

Anthony Hardy Williams 8th Senatorial District

2901 ISLAND AVE. STE 100 PHILADELPHIA, PA 19153 (215) 492-2980 FAX: (215) 492-2990 ---419 CHURCH LANE YEADON, PA 19050 (610) 284-7335 FAX: (610) 284-5955 6630 LINDBERGH BLVD.

2103 SNYDER AVENUE PHILADELPHIA, PA 19145 (215) 755-9185 FAX: (215) 952-3375 ---SENATE BOX 203008 HARRISBURG, PA 17120 ROOM: 11 EAST WING (717) 787-5970 FAX: (717) 772-0574

“Paid for with Pennsylvanian taxpayer dollars”




Rep. Rosita

Youngblood 198th District

1st District City Hall Room 332

310 W. Chelten Ave.


P: 215-849-6426

Phila PA 19148

Check Our News & Calendar Daily Updates @

State Rep.

Joanna E.




191st Leg. Dist. 52 S. 60th Street, Phila 19139


T: (215) 748-6712 F: (215) 748-1687 State Senator



1621 W. Jefferson Street Philadelphia, PA 19121

215-227-6161 Paid for with PA Tax Dollars

610 N. SECOND STREET 215.503.3245


Angel Cruz

District Office 3503 ‘B’ St. 215-291-5643 Ready to Serve you

Councilman At-Large

DEREK S. GREEN City Hall, Room 594 Philadelphia, PA 19107


City Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker 9th District

District Office 1538 E. Wadsworth Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19150 Phone: 215-686-3454 Fax: 215-685-9271.

Facebook: CouncilwomanCherelleLParker Twitter: @CherelleParker9

We are getting a reality check about how we took our social life for granted. We are really seeing the reality of it. And it’s painful. I can’t overemphasize our appreciation for our doctors, our nurses, police, firemen – all of them doing their job well under horrible circumstances. We will have a different perspective on those serving us once things get back to normal. God bless them. Were told to stay in our houses and they go off to work PPR: You were in Congress during the Great Recession. How do you compare what happened then with what is happening now? BB: The Great Recession wasn’t as much as this. This is positively devastating, not just for businesses but for people. That was a money crunch, no doubt about it – we had to do a bailout of the automakers like GM. But there wasn’t any threat of death, no people being isolated and stuck at home, being quarantined. This is 100 times what that was. PPR: The primary is being moved from April to June – what are the ramifications of that? Do you think this could move us closer to reforms like automatic registration and online voting? BB: I don’t think there will be a move to online registration. Voting is a social event – you get to see your neighbors, get out of the house – you feel much closer to who you’re voting for. It’s an activity, people are moving around. I’m not a big fan of mailin ballots. I understand the need, but it is a misguided belief that mail-in will increase the number of voters. I don’t think that’s going to happen. PPR: What would you say to reassure Philadelphians who are facing so many

threats to their lives as they know it – illness, isolation, business closure, foreclosure? BB: We’ll get through

this one way or another. The thing we can feel better about is when we can appreciate what we had. You never appreciate what you have

until you lose it. The American people are extremely resilient. We can get back to our lives – and appreciate what we have.

BOB BRADY: “We should all recognize that the real heroes of all this are our clerks – the people who work in grocery stores, the CVS, the Rite Aid, the pharmacist – all the people showing up to work.”


commissioners will have to hire a whole lot more people for such an election – 10, 20, 30 times the number of people to process that. Just because you get to vote by mail, doesn’t mean the commissioners don’t have to process it. I talked to City Commission Chair Lisa Deeley and she feels horrible about asking people to come into work. What if something should happen to them? She feels responsible. Hopefully, we’ll be back to normal by the June 2 primary date. PPR: What do you see the impact of the stimulus package being on Philadelphia? BB: I don’t know what the breakdown is yet. I understand it may be $3 billion – that’s nowhere near enough for our mayor to do what is needed to keep people safe by getting ventilators, hospital beds … it is something, but it is nowhere near enough to sustain people working paycheck to paycheck. Something is better than nothing, but what do you tell those families working paycheck to paycheck? It’s really tough. PPR: What would you tell the countless Philadelphia businesses counting on government loans and grants to keep them afloat? BB: Take care of your employees, the people who get laid off. We should all recognize that the real heroes of all this are our clerks – the people who work in grocery stores, the CVS, the Rite Aid, the pharmacist – all the people showing up to work. And, of course, our first responders – our doctors, our nurses, God bless them. I thought the best quote I saw was from a doctor who said, “This is a war, and we are soldiers.” They’re not even thinking about what could happen to them. God bless them.

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ike virtually everyone else in Philadelphia, Democratic City Committee Chairman Bob Brady has had his world turned upside-down by the coronavirus pandemic. The former congressman has been working all available lines of communication to make sure ward leaders, committee people and Philadelphia residents know about issues ranging from the massive changes to the state primary to the upshot of the recently passed $2 trillion coronavirus-relief package and what it could mean for the city. Brady paused his efforts for a phone interview, which has been lightly edited for content and clarity. Philadelphia Public Record: What have you and the DCC been focusing on during the crisis? Bob Brady: Just keeping people safe and letting people know what’s going on. We’ve been making calls, getting a letter out to let people know about the status of the election and the filing deadlines for the committees, that they’re being postponed. We’re trying to work some things out to keep in touch, to let people know that we’re still there and that we can hopefully get through this. We’re planning to do a teleconference with everyone and, hopefully, we can get Vice President Biden on the line to answer all their questions. Trying to work that out is a nightmare, but we’re working on it. PPR: What have you been hearing from the political establishment? BB: They’re concerned about their families. Also, when it comes to elections, they’re concerned about the different scenarios going around, like that it could be a purely mail-in campaign. That would be a nightmare. You’re asking people to come in to work – and the

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DCC Chairman Brady Has Philly’s Back in Crisis



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(Cont. From Page 1) In 21 years of service, we have covered the inner workings of Philadelphia’s vibrant political and governmental apparatus as well as the people who do this work. While we have seen many a sensational story surface in our colorful community during those years, our most important mission has always been to focus on the accomplishments and successes of our hard-working public servants. During these years, we have seen a city transformed, a society full of dynamism. We are proud of our peerless reporting on others

who serve as well: our family-sustaining labor unions and our heroic veterans. What makes it possible for us to fulfill that mission is the advertising you have seen grace our pages over the 1,053 issues that we have published over the past 20 years. And right now, for reasons that are as vivid as the boldface headlines running across the front pages and homepages of wherever the crisis is covered, that is a mission impossible. With unemployment applications slated to cross the 1 million mark in little more than three weeks’ time, with stretches of the city boarded up like a hurricane came through, with the campaign season completely upended, there was little choice in the end. While the decision to suspend production was not arrived at lightly, in the end, it became clear that doing so was necessary to give the Public Record the best

chance to come back once life begins returning to normal in the Philadelphia region. And we hope that is sooner rather than later. We expect that the combination of flattening the curve and the range of loans and grants being made available to businesses through federal, state, and local government, as well as the $2-trillion coronavirus relief act’s focus on helping Americans get back on their feet, will catalyze a quick turnaround for the city – and a quick return of the Public Record. We know we are not alone. You, our fellow citizens, are likewise coping with urgent, life-changing challenges. We pray for you all to pull through along with us. As a community, we can make it together. Thank you so much for your support over the years, and we will be back as soon as possible – and stronger than ever!

BY ALFONSO GAMBONE, ESQ. ou, like many in Philadelphia, Camden and their surrounding suburban communities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, may have read or heard of stories about jails and prisons releasing inmates due to the COVID-19. There is strong constitutional ground for this release under the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution along with Article 1, Section 13 of the Pennsylvania Constitution and Article 1, Paragraph 12 of the New Jersey Constitution. The COVID-19 epidemic continues to shut down businesses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and across the country. In addition, State governors have ordered people to “shelter in place” to decrease the chance of contamination and spreading this virus to others. While it appears that, in many cases, this virus does not result in

death; it can severely incapacitate someone and require hospitalization. The shelter-in-place order and the business shutdown are being done to prevent the overrun of our hospital system with literally millions of people seeking treatment all at once. The virus spreads through respiratory droplets or by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it. Infected persons who are asymptomatic and not even know they are infected can spread the disease even through indirect contact with others. Officials and medical experts have urged “social distancing,” which is the isolating of oneself from other people as much as possible. This call for social distancing is virtually impossible in county, state, and federal prisons. In Philadelphia alone there are approximately 4,432 people currently in the county jail

system. Medical experts have classified jail facilities as “ticking time bombs” for disease as they are, by nature, crowded with people, often suffering from diseases that weaken their immune system. The risk posed by COVID-19 in jails and prisons is significantly higher than in the community in the risk of transmission, exposure, and harm to individuals who become infected. This is based on a variety of factors: • Close proximity of individuals in those facilities • Reduced ability to protect with social distancing • The lack of necessary medical and hygiene supplies ranging from hand sanitizer to protective equipment • Ventilation systems that encourage the spread of airborne illnesses and diseases (Cont. Page 8)


The News in Black & White

THIS IS the façade that will greet admissions at Philadelphia’s first emergency hospital. Temple University’s Liacouras Center was retrofitted by the Army Corps of Engineers with 200 hospital beds and other gear to meet an expected surge in COVID-19 patients citywide. Photo by Wendell Douglas

COVID-19, Jail and the Constitution


MARK your CALENDAR Caution: Check with all events to make sure they have not been canceled during the coronavirus lockdown. Some events have been reorganized as online events. Apr. 4- State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler hosts S. Philly Health & Job Fair at EOM, 144 Moore St., 10 a.m.-1 p.m. For info: (215) 271-9190.

Apr. 8- State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler & Congressman Dwight Evans host Mobile Office Hours at S. Phila. Library, 1700 S. Broad St., 1-4 p.m. Assistance with State & federal issues, SEPTA ID processing. For info: (215) 271-9190. Apr. 9- State Sen. Larry Farnese hosts Senior Expo at S. Phila. H.S., 2101 S. Broad St., 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Free health screenings, exhibits, refreshments, light lunch. Seating is limited; RSVP: (215) 952-3121. Apr. 13- Phila. Democratic Committee hosts Jefferson-jackson Day Celebration at Sheet Metal Workers Ha., 1301 S. Colum-

bus Blvd., 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets: $150. RSVP by Apr. 8: (215) 241-7800. May 1- Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Committee hosts Annual Contest & Open House at 10401 Decatur Rd., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Competition in 5 categories: general carpenter, interior finish, floor layer, mill/ cabinetmaker & millwright. Trade exhibits. Complimentary refreshments. For info: Charles Brock (215) 824-2300. Jun. 5- 42nd Ward Democratic Committee hosts Fish Fry at Cooper’s Sports Bar/ Grill, 100 Wyoming Ave. 5-9 p.m. Tickets $10. Foer info: (215) 313-7019.

Despite the continuing coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania’s 2020 Complete Count Commission and Philly Counts 2020 want you to know that the 2020 Census has begun and will continue throughout the crisis. If you haven’t received your form, or if you have any questions about the census, please visit

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APRIL 2, 2020





They Help Share Food


n Monday morning, Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. (7th District), State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-W. Phila.) and State Rep. Morgan Cephas (D-W. Phila.) joined Executive Director George Matysik and other volunteers and staff from the Share Food Program

to distribute food boxes to the public at Overbrook West Neighbors. This collaborative effort is part of the recently announced partnership between Share Food, the City of Philadelphia, and other entities to deliver food to all Philadelphians in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

Residents can pick up one box per household on Mondays and Thursdays between 10 a.m. and noon at sites throughout the city. “Over the past few weeks we’ve more than doubled our distribution to meet the need across the region. This is a time to be bold and creative as we work with

our partners to get as much food to as many people as possible,” said Matysik. “As Southeastern Pennsylvania’s largest distributor of excess food, we’ve been


APRIL 2, 2020

Y COVID-19, Jail and the Constitution (Cont. From Page 6) Difficulty quarantining individuals who become ill Based on these factors, if you or a loved one is currently being held in a county jail facility on a probation detainer or simply on high bail, your criminal defense lawyer should consider filing a motion to lift that detainer or reduce that bail based on Article 1, Section 13 of the Pennsylvania Constitution and the 8th Amendment of the US Constitution (New Jersey, Article 1, Paragraph 12) which prohibits cruel punishment against someone while held in custody. This is a very strong constitutional protection which could allow you or a loved one to be released immediately. It’s important to keep in

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mind that the COVID-19 epidemic is delaying all court proceedings and will likely delay your criminal matter. You could literally spend additional months in custody waiting for a trial date or a hearing on your violation. Under the 8th Amendment, incarcerated persons rights are violated if he/she is “incarcerated under conditions posing a substantial risk of serious harm” and that “harm is caused with a deliberate indifference to an inmate’s health or safety.” These are fundamental rights under the state and US Constitutions which would allow the court to hear an emergency petition focusing on this issue. While courts are closed around the country, most courts, including those in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, continue to hear emer-

gency petitions for bail, lifting of detainers, and for protection from abuse (PFA) and temporary restraining orders (TRO). Bail is not meant to punish a person but simply to ensure a person’s appearance at trial. While probation detainers are different from bail arguments, court will also consider a person’s contacts with the community, propensity toward violence, and reasons for the violation. If the violation involves a new arrest for a violent crime, especially a felony crime, the court is less likely to release someone but there are always arguments that your attorney can make which a court will find persuasive. Gambone Law offers free case reviews and serves many areas in Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey.

o! Here we go again with this mind-boggling question: What’s a trillion dollars? A trillion dollars is $1,000,000,000,000. That’s 12 zeroes to the left of the decimal point. A trillion is a million million dollars. The US government spends more than the entire Gross Domestic Product of Australia, China and Spain combined. If you laid a trillion one-dollar bills end to end, you could make a chain that stretches from earth to the moon and back again 200 times before you ran out of dollar bills! One trillion

understanding BANKRUPTCY BY MICHAEL A. CIBIK AMERICAN BANKRUPTCY BOARD CERTIFIED his Week’s Subject: Bankruptcy and the Coronavirus Stimu-


working to build the systems and make the space we need to ramp up in a short period of time; and are honored to assist the City in these trying times.”

Share Food is in the midst of its largest ever distribution effort, more than doubling its capacity in recent weeks to meet the needs of the region.

dollars would stretch nearly from the earth to the sun. A military jet flying at the speed of sound, reeling out a roll of dollar bills behind it, would take 14 years before it reeled out one trillion dollar bills. What do one trillion dollars look like? We’ll start with a $100 dollar bill, currently the largest US denomination in general circulation. Most everyone has seen them; slightly fewer have owned them. They are guaranteed to make friends wherever they go. A packet of one hundred $100 bills is less than 2 inches thick and contains $10,000. It fits in your pocket easily and 1 million dollars (100 packets of $10,000) could be stuffed into a grocery bag. While a measly $1 million looked a little unimpressive, $100 million is a little more respectable. It fits neatly on a standard pallet. We’ll start with one layer, 7 packets wide by 16 packets deep, with each packet being $10,000. Increase that to 90 layers and you

have a stack 38.7 inches tall that is worth a little over $100,000,000. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll round this down and consider a pallet to be exactly $100,000,000 (one hundred million dollars). We’ll just put the extra $800,000 aside and have ourselves a party. With all this money sloshing around, who’s going to miss it? Now keep up with me; 10 pallets of $100 million are $1 billion and a row of 50 double-stacked pallets (50 x 2 = 100 pallets total) is 10 billion dollars. Multiply that by 100 rows – let’s see one hundred rows x 100 pallets per row is 10,000 pallets – remember, one pallet to be exactly $100,000,000 (one hundred million dollars). At 96,768 square feet, it’s about 2.2 acres and well over the size of a football field. It is mind-boggling when you hear some government officials say that it is only a trillion dollars. Remember, that’s a lot of $100 bills!

lus Bill. Last week, Congress passed and President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act. By now, you have heard plenty about the stimulus checks, but you may not have heard that the law provides relief to people who are in or about to file a bankruptcy. Under the law, you do not have to include coronavirus-related payments from the federal government as income when filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Those coronavirus payments do

not need to be included as disposable income, either. If you are in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy already, the law allows you to seek payment plan modifications if you are experiencing a material financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, including extending your payments for up to seven years after your initial plan payment was due. If you are having a hard time paying your bills during this time, please call or text me at (215) 735-1060.

nounce a new Lenten initiative, ‘The Power of Faith and Hope in a Time of Uncertainty: A Virtual Lenten Retreat.’ Beginning Monday, Mar. 30, and running through Saturday, April 4, I have started to share a video each night at 7:00 p.m. via my Facebook page. The series will extend to Palm Sunday and will include dynamic presenters from across our Archdiocese who will bring Catholic Families closer to Christ through scripture, reflection, and prayer. Six of the videos will be in English and American Sign Language and one will be in Spanish. “Please consider participating in this upcoming Lenten Video Retreat. Give this gift of hope to yourself. Christ is hope and through Him we’re a people of hope. I’m praying for you during this time of uncertainty.” On each of the evenings leading up to Palm Sunday, a video is being posted to Archbishop Pérez’s Facebook page. At that same time each night, installments will be posted to his Instagram page as well as the Archdiocesan Vimeo Channel, the Archdiocesan website, and, the official digital news agency of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The presenters include

• Rev. Matthew W. Guckin, director of Catholic mission and identity for the Office for Catechetical Formation and Parochial Administrator Pro Tem, Saint Francis de Sales Parish; • Deacon Anthony Willoughby, St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish and campus minister at St. Francis Home for Children and St. Gabriel’s Hall; • Mrs. Megan Mohan, associate director of outreach for ANTHEM; • Rev. Eric Banecker, parochial vicar, Saint Pius X Parish; • Sister Maeve Nativitas, Sisters of Life, St. Malachy Convent; • Mr. Eustace Mita, co-founder and chairman of Man-Up Philly; and • Rev. Matthew Biedrzycki, parochial vicar, Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter & Paul. American Sign Language interpretation is provided. Archbishop Pérez recently recorded videos introducing this initiative and released them on social media. For comprehensive information about the pastoral and temporal response of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please visit covid19/.


he Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee planned to recognize collective organizing and community control during this year’s annual Labor Seder. A traditional Passover dinner, the event focuses on the intersection between the contemporary labor movement and the Passover story and brings together Jews and non-Jews, union members and those unaffiliated, and people from all walks of life. Every year, current events and various local action movements inspire the theme, ranging from the importance of women in the labor movement to civil rights. This year’s choice to focus on community control was in part inspired by the Stadium Stompers, a coalition of Temple University students, faculty, and North Philadelphia residents opposed to the construction of a new football stadium and in favor of a more democratic, community-oriented governance of the university. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, neighborhoods, workplaces, organizations, and policymakers needed to remain conscientious of public health and wellbeing; Jewish Labor Committee obviously canceled the Seder. Most

individuals can exercise this duty as well by staying inside and keeping a safe distance of over six feet from other people during necessary errands or walks outside. The same collective consciousness and care for others that guides community organizers in Philadelphia can serve to maintain physical and mental health of individuals and their peers. Further, the Judaic tradition places value on Shmirat Haguf, or “guarding” (taking care of ) the body. The concept of self-care really does pre-date the contemporary moment and Jewish Labor Committee recognizes its importance in light of current events. Thus, instead of working to replace every bit of minutiae or each meeting, PJLC encourages all to find inner peace this Passover. In this time of chaos and uncertainty, PJLC turns to its principles for guidance. It exists as the voice of labor in the Jewish community, and now more than ever Philadelphia’s workers need allies. Below are links that both inform and provide channels for direct action. You can learn about how the coronavirus pandemic affects the labor movement in addition to directly support workers, all without

leaving your home. All have websites with easy links. Give: • Neighbors Helping Neighbors mutual aid sheet facilitates donations of food, money, time, and other resources to Philadelphia residents in need • Donate (as an individual or organization) to the PHL COVID 19 Fund, led by United Way of Greater Philadelphia and South Jersey • Contribute to Philabundance to fund emergency food boxes for those who are food insecure Learn: • Attend a webinar on COVID-19 and the Philadelphia labor community: PSU Labor School, Town Hall with Philly Councilmembers. • Review and submit information to Philly Workers for Dignity’s resource guide, updated almost daily • Workers have paid sick time that can be applied during coronavirus; read more from the Inquirer Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee aims to provide support during such an uncertain time. Stay at home, remain informed, and help others if you can.

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rchbishop Nelson J. Pérez of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese has announced a six-day pastoral and temporal response to the COVID-19 pandemic for his flock to prepare spiritually for the approach of Holy Week. Archbishop Pérez wrote, “Our Lenten journey has taken an unexpected turn with the worldwide outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). In an effort to impede the spread of the virus and to protect those most vulnerable among us, all of us have changed the way that we live. Life as we understand it has temporarily changed, but this too shall pass. We are people whose hearts are grounded in our faith and in our hope, that is the strength that helps us during this time of uncertainty. “Though we are living out concepts such as isolation, quarantine, and social distancing – as believers and followers of Christ we know we are never truly alone and that He is always by our side. It has been a painful, confusing, trying time for all of us, but in Christ and His triumph over the cross there is hope. Until we can safely be together again physically, we can pray together in spirit. “I am overjoyed to an-

Comfort Food, Solidarity During Passover Season

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Archbishop Pérez Launches ‘Virtual Lenten Retreat’








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hiladelphia City employees required to work during the COVID-19 shutdown will earn 50% more than their base pay under an agreement MAYOR JIM KENNEY’S administration negotiated last week with the municipal unions. These 15,000 necessary employees are encouraged to work from home if possible. These “necessary employees” account for more than one half of the City’s workforce of roughly 27.000. Defending this agree-

EVERYDAY PEOPLE BY DENISE CLAY o how’s your Coronacation? I got that phrase from my homie Vincent Thompson. He’s been doing a series of Facebook Live videos detailing his dayto-day life under the city’s coronavirus quarantine. It’s mostly stuff like work, grocery shopping, and discussions of haircuts missed. But it’s mostly constructive. There’s not much more you can do while we’re all in lockdown due to a global pandemic that is impacting 1,315 Philadelphians as I

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ment with the unions, a Kenney spokesperson stated, “At a critical time when a large portion of the City workforce is already unavailable due to child care or other challenges, essential employees are expected to work longer hours, take on additional responsibilities, and in this particular case are putting their own health at risk.” Yes, I see paying police, firemen and EMTs time and a half for hazard pay, but paying people who were encouraged to work from home is beyond the pale. I assume the other 12,000 City employees not deemed essential could be subject to layoffs eventually, but I have not heard of these City employees losing their jobs. I have heard of contractors or contract workers (600 at the Philadelphia Airport) not getting paid. So you can imagine I know of contractors who are suffering as City employees are

working for home at overtime rates. The one comment that I saw reported on another media site that almost sent me around the bend was by AFSCME District Council 47 PRESIDENT CATHY SCOTT. She said, “They wanted to incentivize people to come to work, given how dire the circumstances are. Paying them additional compensation is one way to incentivize people. A lot of our members have built up a lot of [vacation or other leave] time.” Oh, that’s right, the mayor can force you to close your business, but he cannot force his needed workers to come to work. It appears that the 15,000 number of essential employees is lower than what the unions originally wanted to get overtime pay. Of the 15,000, some may not be essential as some “essential departments” have been (Cont. Next Page)

write this on Tuesday night. It’s also caused 14 deaths, many of them in the city’s nursing homes. The city’s doctors have been working day and night to help these patients. In many cases, they’re helping their colleagues, often without personal protective equipment, and exposing themselves to the virus. Like I said, the doctors are busy. Which is why it seems a little selfish to me that folks are still continuing to remind America that Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love So Put the Damned Gun Down in spite of the city being in the throes of a global pandemic. On Monday night, five people attending a birthday celebration on the 2300 block of West Howard Street were shot and injured. Among the injured was a one-yearold boy, who is now in critical but stable condition at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. The other four

people are in Temple University Hospital as of the day I’m writing this. In fact, Monday was a particularly busy day in Philadelphia gun violence. In addition to the shooting at the birthday party, two other men were shot and killed, one on a SEPTA train. And all of those people had to go to the hospital for treatment. Or to be declared dead. Or both. Depends on how good a shot the person was. Mayor Jim Kenney decried the incident, especially since it comes while the city is trying to get people to understand what the “Stay at Home” part of the phrase “Stay at Home Order” means. “We need everyone to come together to stop gun violence at any time, but never more so than right now,” Kenney said. “Let’s do our part for the health professionals battling COVID-19 every day, by putting the guns down so these brave women and men have every (Cont. Next Page)

WALKING the BEAT BY JOE SHAY STIVALA O NATIONAL DIRECTION is the real COVID crisis: Dictatorships like China can control people’s lives better – down to the block leader to watch and direct you. Yet our recognition of coronavirus was slow, then two relevant federal agencies argued over procedures, then the testing protocols were flawed costing weeks. Then the respirators. There are maybe some 62,000 of them about (many already in use). Another 100,000




hiladelphia STATE SENS. VINCE HUGHES, ART HAYWOOD, ANTHONY WILLIAMS and LARRY FARNESE have been conducting community and town-hall meetings on Zoom and other programs. This is an internet technique used by many currently to communicate. Farnese is very connected to his constituents and their well-being, as the latest polling shows him with very high approval ratings. The city and country were clearly unprepared for

similar machines, like the sleep-apnea ones, can be used, but their functions are limited. All the national talk about producing them along with gloves and masks is pondered in Washington, but still the USA is not on a manufacturing WAR FOOTING (?). Governors must fend for themselves. No one knows how long we, as a nation, must pass through the fire. When it is over, it won’t be all at once, but incrementally, with flash points of resurgence – because not all are tested. When you hear that one neighborhood has more cases, it can be because more were tested there. Or when figures double by day, it includes new test results of infection that are now counted. Without complete testing, we are not sure where we are in this. An obsession for re-election by Trump should not prevail over a push that

might include suppression instead of in-place. China has published a directive to 100 cities indicating that warm weather may slow infection rate – with a possible fall return. If so, and November elections have to be postponed by act of Congress, then the next person in the national chain-ofcommand – who is not a candidate for any re-election – then is President until an election is completed. Nancy PELOSI could be president! A news story showed that Philly had a very MEAGER population growth. The media gave reasons for the population outflow. In REALITY – as predicted here – there are REAL REASONS for the slowdown. The implementation of AVI (Actual Value Initiative) for real-estate taxes drove taxes upward – mostly in areas favored by new residents (young millennials). And (Cont. Page 15)

the coronavirus situation. MAYOR JIM KENNEY was adamant that businesses should all stay open, which appears to be far from the correct course. The City has been working with businesses such as manufacturers to produce PPE and to secure hotel rooms for additional quarantine and medical treatment space. They are fiercely eyeing the former Hahnemann Hospital, whose deed is insecure at this hour. The City was negotiating a lease agreement with developer JOEL FREEDMAN. He drove the hospital into bankruptcy so he could obtain the real-estate assets. Friedman attempted to extract $1 million a month from the City to use the facility to treat COVID 19 patients. So far, Friedman has been rebuffed with prejudice by the city. Hahnemann hospital served one of the poorest inner-city communities in

America. Only Temple University health system treats more poor people. Now, with the Hahnemann closing, Temple is in danger of being overrun with patients who are unable to pay for their health care. This is a big problem in our city and of course the coronavirus situation will exacerbate it. It’s interesting to note that PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S approval rating has gone up substantially during the national emergency of the coronavirus. This enrages many Democrats who spend all day watching MSNBC and CNN take shots at Trump for every inaccuracy of speech or idiosyncrasy of personality. Trump’s base doesn’t watch those stations and is completely uninfluenced by them. Democrats have crystallized their entire opposition percentage but have not increased it. They just become more furious at Trump. (Cont. Page 15)


(Cont. From Prev. Page) hospital bed, ventilator, and resource they need to keep fighting the virus.” That would be nice. But then again, you would think that the phrase “global pandemic” would make people less likely to engage in all that gunplay in the first place.

Because let’s be honest, folks. When the nation’s poorest big city is dealing with a crisis that has taxed its medical facilities and has led to the lives of a lot of people being upended due to schools closing, jobs closing, and the city essentially shutting down, the last thing it needs is for you to channel your inner Tony Montana.

Whatever beef you you 11 have with that dude from the next block can be squelched until we’re no longer trying to figure out when we can leave the house without a mask and gloves on. Besides, you don’t want your grandmom to chance getting the ’Rona because she’s got to attend your funeral, do you? T HE P UB L I C R E CO R D

that people will continue to form opinions different than NPR’s “interpretation” of events? So now they are only going to give you their interpretation. Because if you do not agree with them you are stupid, misguided or nefarious (as is anyone who is center-right). Therefore they are going to do the thinking for us.

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(Cont. From Prev. Page)) ordered to deem all employees essential when only a portion of them actually are. “There are full units, for example, that are being required to work when probably there are one or two people that should be required to work,” according to Scott. I wonder if the any of the workers she deems unnecessary are blue-collar people in those departments. DC 47 only represents whitecollar workers. AFSCME DC33 represents the blue collar. I also wonder if this time-and-a-half gimme is a payback to the unions that helped Kenney get elected. Kenney expects to cover this additional expense through emergency relief from the federal government. I wonder how these emergency funds will be allocated to Philadelphia. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP has said that he is dealing with the various state governors rather than mayors. This is particularly true in respect to New York, where it appears the Trump administration is dealing with GOV.

ANDREW CUOMO and side-stepping MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO. While I am not a fan of GOV. TOM WOLF, I am more comfortable with our tax dollars going through him to Philadelphia than directly to Kenney. The mainstream media has been taking a hit during this crisis. A recent Gallup poll shows that only 44% of the public thinks the media are doing a good job covering COVID19. Gallup also noted that of the people carefully watching the events unfold, most are relying on information from the health experts from the CDC and other agencies and from press conferences rather than the media. Gallup also shows that President Trump’s approval rating as it relates to the handling of this crisis is 60%, and Trumps overall approval rating at 49% is the highest of his presidency. Perhaps this reliance on original sources rather than the media is the reason the NPR Station in Seattle announced it would stop airing the President’s daily updates on COVID-19. The fact that more people are seeing Trump in a better light is of concern. Are they afraid

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Beware Gouging, Scamming



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he Mayor’s Office in its daily briefings on the COVID-19 crisis has warned against companies or businesses overcharge for goods – is always a concern in times like this. Top products like cleaning supplies and bottled water are most likely to be price-gouged. Phila-


(215) 236-6700

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Alan Parham, Adminstrator

Local 57 - Esteban Vera, Jr., Business Manager Local 135 - Daniel L. Woodall, Jr.,, Business Manager Local 332 - Samuel Staten, Jr., Business Manager Local 413 - James Harper, Jr., Business Manager Laborers’ District Council - Ryan Boyer Business Manager Building better and safer communities in Philadlephia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties

Do it Right, Do It Safe, Do It Union.

delphians who think this is happening should email the State Attorney General’s office at You should provide the name and location of the store and the specific product in question. A photo of the product and price is helpful too.

Scam emails about COVID-19 that impersonate organizations, like health or charity organizations, are becoming more frequent. These scam emails mimic or hide their identities so they can steal your login and password to infect your computer and network with malware.


ennsylvanians are experiencing layoffs and furloughs in unparalleled numbers due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, and they need relief. State Reps. Elizabeth Fiedler (D-S. Phila.), Sara Innamorato (D-Allegheny), Summer Lee (D-Allegheny) and Danielle Friel Otten (D-Chester) are working on legislation to ease the burden on and increase protections for all Pennsylvanians by implementing a rent and mortgage freeze. “Across the commonwealth, families are facing the terrifying prospect of not being able to pay their rent or mortgage for the foreseeable future,” Fiedler said. “People are making choices about whether they will pay their mortgage or rent, buy food, or pay for medicine. By freezing rent and mortgage payments we can ease some of the financial stress our constituents face right now.” “These bills uphold a social contract: We’re asking folks to stay home, so our responsibility is to protect those homes,” Innamorato said. “We have to keep people safe and economically secure as they navigate an unprecedented crisis.” Other states are also looking at ways to provide relief from rent and mortgage payments; New York’s State legislature has introduced S8125A, a bill suspending rent payments for certain residential and

Tartaglione Points To Recovery Programs

State Sen. Christine Tartaglione (D-Kensington) advises Pennsylva-

courts in states including New Jersey, South Carolina, and Washington ordering the criminal legal system to use all available levers to help control the spread of COVID-19 in the United States – already the worst in the world. “This historic health emergency demands swift, decisive action by all who have been empowered by the people to act on their behalf,” Krasner said. “My office has been working with the Philadelphia Police Department, the 1st Judicial District of Pennsylvania, and the Defender Association to greatly reduce the number of new people entering county jails and to increase the number of people being released, because the health of everyone – including those working in jails, police precincts, and courts -- depends on it. No one with any amount of public power should get to sit on the sidelines during this crisis.”

District Attorney Krasner continued: “I also want to thank the ACLU of Pennsylvania and all of our local justice organizers for sounding alarms on this public health emergency early. The COVID-19 pandemic makes it clearer than ever how deeply our fates are tied to one another. We will get through this crisis faster and less generationally traumatized only by exercising maximum respect and empathy for our fellow humans. “Right now, there are tens of thousands people who are sitting in jails and prisons across the country who are too old or feeble to be a danger to the public, who are too poor to make bail for a non-serious offense, or who are locked up because of a technical violation – and in Pennsylvania, which has among the most-unfair systems of parole and probation, the fault for such a violation is just as likely to lie with the State as with the prisoner.”

individuals can be immediately released from prison. “The process that we have now is not conducive to significant reductions in the prison population,” Bradford-Grey said. “But without an agreement on who we're prioritizing for release, we’re going to continue this dangerously slow, case-bycase process of evaluating who should or should not be released. We simply don’t have time for that.” The Defender Association’s letter includes specific categories of incarcerated individuals, including those held on technical violations of probation; those with less than six months remaining on their sentence; and those 55 and older who have underlying health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to getting sick.

The letter also includes detailed recommendations for doing away with the current time-consuming process of filing paper motions in favor of forming teams of attorneys and judges who can review the parole, bail and detainer motions simultaneously to expedite the release of those who are eligible. “We’re in an unprecedented emergency that requires progressive, unprecedented solutions," said Bradford-Grey. “We are well past ideological debates over who does or does not deserve to be in prison. We are literally in a life-or-death situation--not just for our clients, but for the people who work inside our prison system, and the communities where people will return when they are ultimately released.”

Defenders Join Plea


he Defender Association of Philadelphia submitted policy recommendations for more efficiently hearing cases and reducing the prison population to justice system stakeholders to the District Attorney’s Office. Among the recommendations outlined in the letter is for the DAO, the 1st Judicial District and the Defender Association to meet, agree and commit to releasing certain categories of incarcerated people during the COVID-19 pandemic. People in prison are at a particularly high risk of being infected with and spreading COVID-19. Now that there are confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the prisons, Chief Defender Keir Bradford Grey said steps must be taken to identify and agree upon which


nians who are seeking to maintain or enter outpatient drug and alcohol recovery programs during the COVID-19 emergency that help is available to them through online and telephone-based counseling services and meetings. “At this difficult time for all Pennsylvanians, it is imperative that we as a community redouble our efforts to support those among us who struggle with substance use disorder and those in recovery,” Tartaglione said. “I am pleased to report that the Commonwealth’s Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs, as well as many private-sector programs are acting to mitigate the new challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.” While Pennsylvania remains under the disaster emergency declared by Gov. Tom Wolf on March 6, all designated Single County Authorities that have received grant funding from the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs for outpatient substance use disorder services may use those funds to provide counseling and other clinical services using telehealth technology. Qualified counselors may provide telehealth using real-time, two-way interactive audio-video transmission services in licensed Drug & Alcohol Outpatient clinics. While the two-way interactive transmission is the preferred method, services provided by telephone and in the home are also acceptable. For further information from the Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs, visit: https://www.ddap.


istrict Attorney Larry Krasner joined calls for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to exercise its authority to the fullest extent in order to reduce jail and prison populations to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks that could be calamitous for surrounding communities and health-care systems. District Attorney Krasner expressed support for the remedy requested by the ACLU of Pennsylvania in an emergency King’s Bench petition. The ACLU has requested that the state Supreme Court order county jails to immediately release certain inmates who are a low risk to public safety in order to support public health efforts to contain and control COVID-19 outbreaks in communities across Pennsylvania. The emergency petition calls on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to follow similar actions by high

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small business tenants for 90 days, while both New York’s and New Jersey’s governors announced a 90-day grace period for many mortgages. “The COVID-19 virus has revealed just how important a strong safety net is to a thriving and resilient 21st-century economy,” Otten said. “As we face an unknown and invisible threat to our very way of life, we must strive to ensure the safety and security of every citizen in our commonwealth. Just as the stock market has a circuit-breaker function to protect shareholders and investors, our housing market needs a circuit-breaker to protect homeowners and renters in these unprecedented times, to enable them to do their part to stay calm, stay safe and stay at home so that we can flatten the curve and save lives.” “We need to institute infrastructure which protects our families, friends, and neighbors in emergencies,” Lee said. “We can’t risk people being put out on the street in the middle of a pandemic; shelter-in-place, isn’t possible if housing isn’t secure.” “Housing is a human right,” Fiedler, Innamorato, Lee, and Otten all agreed. “We must do everything we can to protect each other during this time. Our families, neighborhoods, and communities are at stake. “Together, we can ensure that we make it through these trying times,” they said.

DA: Slash Inmate Counts

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Fiedler Calls to Freeze Rents, Mortgages




Penn Students Suffer from Evictions, Layoffs

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THE UNIVERSITY of Pennsylvania’s historic Quadrangle, along with all its other dormitories, stands dark and empty as most of its 25,000 students have been expelled from their residences – and many from their livelihoods as well.

BY CLAY S. MIRANDA CONTEE n March 19, the unofficial grad student union at Penn, Graduate Employees Together at the University of Pennsylvania (GET-UP) posted a petition demanding better treatment for students after the University evicted all residents of campus dormitories in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The issues raised in the petition are nationwide and endemic to academe. Seventeen percent of U.S. students have faced a lack of safe and reliable housing due to COVID-19-related closures, according to a survey conducted by RISE, a group that advocates for free college. Although the University did approve several hundred requests to stay on campus and other requests for financial assistance for travel, it is unclear how many requests were denied. “We feel like no one cares for us just because we don’t have the money and are somehow less important,” Hussein Khambhalia


told the Inquirer last week. Khambhalia is from Tanzania, where he does not have reliable internet and shares a room with two siblings. He is just one of hundreds of Penn undergraduates whose application to remain on campus was denied. The University is acting in concert with many other schools nationwide and feels justified in its actions. “Human contact (…) is a fact of life in a university environment, whether in classrooms, dining halls or at University events,” an official statement reads. “Eliminating large gatherings and creating social distancing are important steps to help prevent the spread of the virus. To achieve this, we want as few people on campus as possible. The risk of keeping people on campus in close quarters is far greater than sending them home.” However, the students behind the GET-UP petition feel differently. They claim that “these are not reasonable responses to prevent the transmission of COVID-19,” and they

may have a point. Forcing students to travel from a high-density campus, through airport crowds, and back to their older adult parents is a recipe for viral spread and is even in direct opposition to a citywide initiative to cease all evictions. City Council member Helen Gym criticized Penn’s evictions, calling them “a violation of the spirit of what we are trying to accomplish.” Gym is referring to her recently proposed resolution calling for a moratorium on all evictions in Philadelphia. “We need to be able to keep people in their homes in the event that they fall ill or have a required quarantine,” Gym said. “We don’t want people to end up on the street.” Gym’s use of the term “home” is interesting. Perhaps the University just sees the dorms as housing, but many campus residents feel differently. “A university is not just a place you go and learn, it’s a community, it’s a place where people live,” Penn undergraduate Maher Abdel Samad told

the Daily Pennsylvanian last week. The word “home” came up several times in the testimonials of evicted Graduate Assistants. Despite contracts that promise secure and safe housing until June 1, 2020, the Penn administration made it clear that GAs should leave. “All in [College Houses and Academic Services] cannot understate how much we appreciate you and your contribution to the College House system. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” the director of four-year houses and residential programs wrote in an email on Mar. 12. Days later, the university terminated GA contracts. One GA, Hector Kilgoe, writes that Penn has “fired all of the graduate associates who still remain in the college houses in order to break our contracts and attempt to evict us all.” This seems to contradict Penn’s official statement that “all University paid employees will continue to be paid.” Contradictory reports are inherent in any story about Penn, given its administration’s skill at spinning. Perhaps the nuance here is that Penn, with the backing of the Trump Administration’s National Labor Relations Board, does not consider its graduate students to be employees. Or perhaps it is because GAs work for free housing and meal swipes rather than direct payment. Whatever the reasoning, the result is hardship as evidenced by the petition’s many testimonials. According to Samuel Samore, one of the authors of the GET-UP petition, it is not just the GAs that are hurting. “Other graduate students living in campus housing have been forced to leave that housing. Also, a significant number of external funding sources have [been] pulled … leav-

ing many graduate students vulnerable to loss of income this summer and beyond.… Compounding this issue is the fact that, for many graduate students, the crisis has made it impossible to make progress on essential dissertation research …, so that these students will need more time to complete their degrees, and they will run out of years of guaranteed funding that much sooner unless Penn acts.” It’s hard to feel too sorry for the undergrads at elite institutions like Penn, though. At this school, which graduated the likes of Donald, Ivanka, and Tiffany Trump, for every struggling Highly Aided student, there are many others who are the children of the economically privileged 1%. Hence the student body comprises a paradoxical mix of victims and victimizers. One trending article written by Dominic Gregorio, Penn ’20, laments that “Penn stole our senior year” and calls the pandemic “the common cold” and an “overreaction from the hippie-millennial coalition.” Meanwhile, bottoming the DP’s articles of interest is the headline, “Penn’s dining provider to lay off approx. 140 workers without pay starting March 31.” Although GET-UP has not yet officially presented university administrators with its petition, it has been widely circulating for over a week now, even receiving a mention on Bloomberg. In summary, Bloomberg identifies a dichotomy “between two visions of a university” as either “a community devoted to the well-being of its members, or an elitist institution dedicated to learning above all else.” Bloomberg captures the essence of the COVID-19 evictions, which is teaching a generation of scholars that, in America, institutions of higher ed-

ucation are market actors. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the business of online degrees. With liberal-arts colleges, state universities and the Ivy League temporarily transitioning to online courses, some students, particularly those in master’s programs, want a refund for what is widely considered an inferior educational experience. It is understandable that master’s-degree students are the most unsettled by the move to online courses. In a candid exposé of the scandal behind American higher education, author Kevin Carey explains that unlike colleges, masters programs are a “black box – there is no requirement to publish any admissions data. This means universities can dramatically lower their admissions standards and enroll thousands of highly profitable students without sullying their brand.” It also explains why online degrees with inflated price tags have become a billion-dollar industry and a significant contributor to the nation’s $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. And things are only getting worse under the Trump Administration with Diane Jones leading Betsy DeVos’s higher education agenda. Perhaps Penn graduate student Hector Kilgoe sums up the situation best. Administrators “seem to have this drive to make sure everyone gets out no matter what. They’re definitely putting the institution first. This is all about risk management. It has nothing to do with taking care of us.” At present, the university has made no announcement regarding tuition refunds, nor refunds for room and board fees, and the substantial problems the petition raises have not been addressed or resolved.

our travails.... At the same time, I got emails from conservative blabber buzz. It was full of UGLY ANGER and verbose venom. I wrote back that this is the WRONG TIME to spout division. BIRTHDAYS: Happy Born Day to Judge Shanese JOHNSON – role model; State Sen. Sharif STREET, man of great energy; Sharon VAUGHN, 42nd Ward leader and innovator; and Al DEZZI, father of Philly recycling! DEATHS: Eric VACCA of Chestnut Hill passed from cancer complications. I served in uniform with Maj. Vacca, who operated with his high code of ethics. Dorothy LITZ passed at 92. Loyal wife of Jack LITZ, ESQ. Jack was one of THREE gents who claimed to be leader of the 39th Ward during a turbulent time. Congrats to Pat BIANCIULLI, Esq. for 18 years at IBEW Local 98; Dan STEVENSON with eight years at Rivers Casino; Ryan RAIKER as director of digital management at ABBY Inc. Also to John LOTT for 12 years at Fox News! THANKS to Rania MAJOR, Esq., who got the word

out citywide to lawyers and law enforcement on courts and jails, day-by-day operations and procedures during our virus troubles. What to do, how to do it, or not to do it in filings, hearings and visits; was explained on her own time to many via Facebook. You can call her with a question and she will call you back with an answer.... Thanks, too, to the DA’s OFFICE for working up a list of pre-agree on various motions and filings to ease the strain on the courts!... Thanks to the Hospital Workers Union for finding masks and gloves in distributor warehouses, and placing hospitals in DIRECT contact with distributors. DOG TV: Would you believe it – a TV channel for dogs? The programming may be boring to HUMANS (a dog walking and sniffing) but dogs enjoy it. I read where dogs do not see what we see on TV – something about the pixels in an image. Then I was told that was due to analog broadcast, while dogs can SEE a digital broadcast (?). My friend Harry WEIMAR has two dogs who sit in front of DOG TV with rapt attention and will not be disturbed!


(Cont. From Page 4) knowing about it ahead of time? Nobody can move this amount of money around without study, organization and control – not in the private sector, not in the public sector. Consider, then, that the hard-working bureaucrat who cut you that check may, in fact, be “essential.”

City Workers Plan For Peace This Year FOP Lodge 5 has welcomed a one-year contract extension in light of the pandemic. The agreement includes 2.5% for the Police Department, 2.25% for the Sheriff’s Office and 2% for the Register of Wills.


(Cont. From Page 10) A better tactic is to realize that this is a national emergency and, like Trump or not, accept him as the chief executive. It’s OK to hate the general but it’s not OK to try and sabotage him when we’re at war. Same goes for the president.

Observers expect the Ken- 15 ney administration to come up with similar amicable agreements with all other City unions in short order.

Violent Crime Down Around Town We cannot end without a tribute to some seldom-appreciated Philadelphians: our violent-crime community. A study of a late March week found violent crime down 14% compared to the same week in 2019. Apparently, assailants are trying to practice social distance like the rest of us. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen! An unfortunate finding was that gun homicides remained high. Shooters are not inhibited by social distancing, it seems. Most Americans just want to be safe and want to get through this scary time. Most citizens could not care less about politics while this is going on. Check Our News & Calendar Daily Updates @ www.


(Cont. From Page 10) the taxes went up EVERY YEAR, with the 1st Councilmanic District hit hardest. Determining your market value uses a comparable-sales model known as a GMA, an amoeba-like, blobshaped scribble. Developers are discouraged from developing and young couples dismayed at the slow loss of the full 10-year abatement, the single biggest reason for development here. Rent has risen to over $1,000 a month in desired areas. You can get lower rents mostly in opioid-ravaged Kensington. The word had gotten out to young professionals in Washington and New York that Philly was a low-cost city to move to – and commute to the Big Apple if needed. No longer. Rising rents will leave our POOR with no affordable units. These are self-inflicted wounds. We will be FOREVER changed by the coronavirus. More reliance on technology in business and education will be seen. Philly school kids will mostly have computers. I have already

taken part in two ZOOM meetings with two groups. The political virtual TOWN HALL was begun in the Joe BIDEN campaign. Did you notice that the number of ROBO-calls seems to have diminished? One that I used to get had a Mexico area code. I texted them in Spanish to stop. To my surprise, they actually answered: “We will keep calling you.” On computers for Philly school students, columns in the Philadelphia Public Record had long suggested that businesses purchase them for individual classrooms and get their name on a classroom plaque. Computers powered by a hand crank were developed for just under $200 each for Third World countries. But kids in Third World countries – and in the USA – would nowadays not be seen with one of those models: not cool! I got a postcard entitled “President TRUMP’S Coronavirus Guidelines for America” in large, bold letters. On the other side was the standard instructions: Wash hands, stay inside. This was a BLATANT POLITICAL PIECE taking advantage of

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