What Shall Jim Cawley Do Now?

Continue his excellent work as a top lobbyist and spokesperson for Pennsylvania’s filthiest extractive industries without skipping a beat, probably.

Posted in Elections, Governor

Tea Party Garbageman: GOP House Leadership Cost Corbett the Election

Quite true: by passing all of his legislative priorities!

Thus do we find [Senator Scott] Wagner, who was elected to his first term a week ago today, telling WPHT-AM host Chris Stigall that lapses by the House GOP leadership helped contribute to Gov. Tom Corbett’s defeat to Democrat Tom Wolf.

“I think that House leadership had something to do with Corbett’s defeat. If Tom Corbett was a product, he was launched in a way that I wouldn’t have launched a product,” he told the station on Monday.

(via John Micek)

Posted in Elections, Governor, State House

PA School Funding “Formula” Systematically Shortchanges Non-White Students

Equal funding per pupil: we don’t have it!

David Mosenkis analyzed the distribution of Pennsylvania’s state education funding, and found a clear statistical relationship between higher percentages of non-white students in a school and lower school funding. Racist, racist, racist.

Dale Mezzacappa explains the details:

Mosenkis followed a simple statistical construct by using a linear formula showing how much a district should get per student based on its poverty rate. His graph shows a “best-fit regression line” through the points. The 50 percent of the districts that fall above the line get more than expected, while the other half that fall below the line get less than expected.

Then he colored the districts yellow or brown based on whether they fell above or below the median in terms of non-White vs. White students. His numbers show that half the state’s 500 districts are 92 percent White or more. The yellow dots are districts that are at least 92 percent White and the brown dots are districts below 92 percent.

Tom Wolf was elected with a clear mandate to correct this disgusting state of affairs. This exciting new lawsuit should help him get it done.

Posted in Miscellany

#PAGov: Tom Wolf Must Keep His Promise and Do Real Medicaid Expansion

We asked Wolf on Twitter, and he answered in the affirmative: “Yes, as #PAgov I’ll do real Medicaid expansion.” 

As health law professor Rob Field says, Wolf can’t exactly just snap his fingers, but he absolutely does have the power and the mandate to accept the real Medicaid expansion without a vote from the Republican legislature. This is one of the first things he should do in office, after introducing an early voting bill.

Antoinette Kraus of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, a consumer advocacy group that strongly supports a traditional expansion, says Wolf has the administrative authority to reverse Corbett’s plan once he’s in power. Transitioning from the private plans over to traditional Medicaid wouldn’t be too complicated she says.

“A lot of the structure that we are seeing is similar to a [traditional] medicaid expansion,” she said. “I think where the problems arise is that we’re drastically changing benefits for our current medicaid recipients.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have yet to give final approval to those benefits changes to current enrollees, according to Kraus, even as the state has sent out notices. She says reversing those changes, if they were to take effect as planned in January, is possible but would be more complicated, technically.

(via Elana Gordon)

Posted in Elections, Governor

Map: PA’s 108 Uncontested House Races

Chris Briem:

Of the 203 General Assembly seats, 108 of them were uncontested on Tuesday. Literally only one candidate.

Posted in Elections, State House

Election Day Recap, or, When Will the Bad News Stop Coming?

The national midterm results are so horribly bleak that I’m having a bit of psychological pain looking beyond the Pennsylvania news this morning.

But even within Pennsylvania, the Wolf win doesn’t even sugarcoat things enough, because Republicans actually added 3 state Senate seats and 8 House seats to their majorities.

Candidates who should have won easily in a race where the top of the ticket won by 10 points lost instead. John Kane, Josh Maxwell, Tim Solobay, Mark Aurand – what the hell!

I blame a few things.

Gerrymandering…I guess so. Republicans got to draw the state legislature maps, and that certainly made things more difficult.

But these are such low-dollar, unpredictable races, and wild deviations between the underlying partisan composition of these districts and actual election results are so common that this too-convenient excuse rings hollow to me.

I’m more inclined to blame the older white suburban men who were the important swing voters in the legislative races, and split their tickets between Wolf and legislative Republicans. I know guys like this, you know guys like this, and they’re the fucking worst.

Sorry, there’s nothing virtuous about ticket-splitting. It comes from a confused and immature misunderstanding of how legislative politics works, but these guys see it as a mark of chin-stroking, high-minded discernment. It’s disgusting.

The reality is that you can’t vote for two people who fundamentally disagree with each other on the level of values, and then expect them to govern well together. There’s no evidence from anywhere that actually works. It’s a fantasy completely untethered to reality. You’ve set things up for endless unproductive bickering, not compromise or moderation, because you’ve sent both sides a message that they have The True Support of the People.

The other thing to blame is the state Democratic party leadership. Really guys? 10-point margin – which none of the political consultants or campaign managers I talked to before Election Day imagined was possible – and you couldn’t get any pick-ups in either chamber?

I call bullshit. This proves we badly need a leadership change, and it’s gotta be new blood – we need to put people in charge who have up-to-date political organizing skills, know their way around data-driven campaigning, and can actually raise some goddamn money.

Heads have gotta roll.


Posted in Miscellany

Election Day Thread

Turnout in South Philly seems to be higher than expected for a midterm. What’re you seeing in your area?

Posted in Miscellany

Don’t Carve Philly Out of Uber Legalization

We got pretty close to legalizing Uber X and Lyft-type ride-sharing services this session, but the clock ran out and the fight has been pushed into next year.

That’s why it’s so important now that we kill this stupid idea of carving Philadelphia out of the statewide regulations.

If you live in or around Philly, sign This Old City’s petition to tell state lawmakers this is a voting issue for you, and you’re for kicking them out of office if they leave Philly behind in the 20th century while the rest of the state gets a taxi service upgrade.

Posted in Economy, Elections, Governor, Issues, State House, State Senate, Transportation

#PAGov: “Every Corner of the State”

That’s all, folks! Now make sure to get out there and vote, and drag about ten of your least-likely-to-vote friends out too.

Posted in Elections, Governor

Gerry Lenfest Won’t Let the Philly Inquirer Make the Most Obvious Endorsement in Pennsylvania History

For the past four years, Philadelphians have gotten an up close and personal look at what happens when a Governor and his party caucus govern like they fucking hate a city.

On education particularly, as well as economic development and the social safety net, the Pennsylvania Republican Party has indulged their political base’s feverish resentment of black people, of urbanity, and of cosmopolitan values generally. Apart from the new Comcast tower, which looks more like a $30 million political talking point than anything, it would be extremely difficult to name a single good thing the Republican administration has done for Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia hometown paper’s choice to endorse Democrat Tom Wolf would be the most obvious Gubernatorial endorsement in the history of newspaper endorsements.

And yet Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News owner Gerry Lenfest won’t let his papers advocate for their readers’ political interests, and make the most obvious Gubernatorial endorsement in history because Gerry Lenfest actually thinks that Tom Corbett should be Governor again, and Dave Davies reports that Lenfest gave Corbett $250,000 to make that happen:

This is the time of year when newspapers start to endorse candidates. Corbett got the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, no surprise given its conservative ownership. Wolf got the Harrisburg Patriot/Penn Live nod, which is prestigious because it’s the state capital’s daily.

The strange one is the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, which are owned by the same company and are not endorsing in the race. Owner and publisher H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest wrote in yesterday’s Inquirer that he’s decided the papers shouldn’t endorse a candidate, and has instead asked the editorial boards to “provide a summary of where the candidates stand on the critical issues facing the state, as well as the positions each paper has taken on those issues, and then let the voters decide who they think is most qualified.”

Missing from Lenfest’s piece: The fact that he gave Corbett a $250,000 campaign contribution. Bad show.

Posted in Elections, Governor