Bellevue Bulletin 08/30/2019
It’s Friday and that means it’s time for your weekly update from Bellevue Strategies!
News comes from the Keystone Research Center that Pennsylvania employment wages are going up, along with employment – but no everyone is benefitting. The Research Center finds that for black Pennsylvanians, the unemployment rate is more than twice that of their white counterparts, 8.4 percent compared to under 4 percent. University of Pittsburgh economist Chris Briem says of Pennsylvania that, “the labor force is strong, the unemployment rate is low, but that doesn’t mean everyone is benefiting”. Concluding the report’s findings, the Center recommends that the commonwealth raises the minimum wage and ensures overtime pay for all salaried workers. It also recommends increasing the minimum salary for teachers in Pennsylvania which is currently set at $18,500.
As local and federal campaigns ramp up prior to any elections, Democratic City Councilwoman Helen Gym endeared Working Families Party candidate Kendra Brooks on Monday. It’s launched a debate among Philadelphia Democrats about whether to “support progressives running for office without the party’s blessing”. According to the Inquirer, Brooks is a community organizer in Nicetown who has worked with Helen Gym on education issues and is one of several progressive third-party candidates seeking one of the two at-large Council seats that are reserved for candidates outside the dominant party and have long been held by Republicans. Gym’s decision to endorse Brooks means that she is encouraging her supporters to support outside party lines and forgo voting for one of her four Democratic colleagues also vying for at-large Council seats. To read more about the situation and Brooks’ campaign, go here.
Philadelphia residents could tell you a lot about the state of potholes on the streets – but what about the sidewalks? This past week, four people with disabilities and three advocacy groups filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in response to the poor conditions Philadelphia’s sidewalks are in. The city’s failure to create and maintain accessible paths of travel, the plaintiffs argue, violates a federal law that protects people with disabilities. The suit “contends that the city has allowed sidewalks to reach a dangerous state of disrepair, repaved streets without including Americans With Disability Act-compliant ramps, and has been indifferent to obstacles that a person in a wheelchair cannot get around”. The advocacy groups and individuals hope that the lawsuit will compel the city to evaluate the condition of its sidewalks, and hopefully develop a plan to make them functional for people with disabilities, especially those in wheelchairs.
A recent Inquirer investigation found that the Philadelphia Department of Prisons has been releasing nearly three-quarters of people from jail without their personal belongings, including IDs, cash, or phones. A person’s belongings are typically given to a Cashier’s Office while they are in jail and are kept there until their release. The problem, the Inquirer found, was that releases were happening after the close of facilities and that individuals had to wait hours, or sometimes days, to get their belongings back. The Philadelphia Department of Prisons has since announced that it will allow incarcerated people to be discharged earlier in the evening and with all of their belongings, as well as extending Cashier’s Office hours.
City Council returns on September 12th, so don’t forget to tune back in!
That’s all for this week, but remember to follow us @PhillyAdvocates on Twitter for more updates!