Bellevue Bulletin 10/11/19
Welcome back to your weekly update from Bellevue!
First up this week from the state is a new survey of Pennsylvania’s voters on a controversial issue: gerrymandering. Franklin and Marshall College’s Center for Opinion Research, in partnership with Fair Districts PA, conducted a study on how they feel about state legislative district determinations. The results? Pennsylvania voters want changes. Two-thirds (67%) of the registered voters said they want an independent commission to be in charge of the redistricting process, and just over half of voters (51%) agreed with the statement that the current process, in which the legislature and the state Supreme Court draw new lines, “allows party leaders to put party interests ahead of voters’ interests.” Read the full survey topline here. Redistricting reform is a top goal for many in Pennsylvania and nationally. And another article, with charts.
Nearly 1,000 students will not go back to class at Benjamin Franklin High School and Science Leadership Academy, until October 14th – or possibly even later. The school is closed indefinitely for construction after damaged asbestos was found inside the North Broad Street building, and now the city is scrambling to find somewhere for all of the students to learn. Officials have since acknowledged that the building will probably not reopen for students until January at the earliest and had planned to redirect the students to two other district high schools, but the idea was rebuffed by parents. Monday marked eight days since the kids from Ben Franklin-SLA have been to school.
On Thursday, Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution that had initially been defeated back in May. Councilmember Oh’s resolution creates a special committee to examine cases of child separations by the city Department of Human Services (DHS). A controversial proposal, most councilmembers see their role in the DHS child removal process as limited, but ultimately say that the issue is worth examining, as Philadelphia has the highest rate of child removal of any large city in the country. Read more here about what led to the bill. Council also introduced on Thursday a bill that would require hospital owners in Philadelphia to provide written notice to city officials at least 180 days before they intend to close all or most of their departments – this is in an effort to avoid another situation like the one with Hahnemann University Hospital, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June and is working through a fast closure. The legislation would “make sure we will never again be left out of critical decisions that impact the lives of our neediest residents,” Councilmember Helen Gym, main sponsor of the bill, said during Thursday’s council session in City Hall.
Other things that happened in Council: Councilmember Taubenberger introduced a resolution calling on the Committee on Streets and Services to hold a hearing regarding the reconstruction work on I-95, and the Revive I-95 plan. Councilmember Blackwell lead a presentation honoring and recognizing The Palmer Foundation for all the work they’ve done to bring recognition to African American stories and fight racism in America. Councilmember Blackwell also lead a presentation honoring Christian Dunbar on his appointment as the City Treasurer.
That’s all for this week! Tune in on Twitter @PhillyAdvocates for more updates.