DAILY GRINDER: Anti-Prison Protesters Arrested in MontCo
Members of Decarcerate PA—an anti-prison coalition with roots in Philadelphia—began protesting early this morning at SCI Graterford, in Skippack, Montgomery County, where two new prisons are being built. According to the group’s Live Feed and a statement, at least seven members were arrested after they sat at the prison’s entrance, in desks, holding hands in front of a large “Fund Schools not Prison” mock-school house. They’ve already released a statement on the action, noting in part: “[Protesters] engaged in this action at the construction site to increase pressure on Governor Corbett and to shine a spotlight on his irresponsible and destructive expansion of Pennsylvania’s prison system.” They will hold another action and press conference at 4 p.m. today, 15th and JFK, outside the Municipal Services Building
At the last minute, six groups actually submitted casino license applications—Bart Blatstein and Steve Wynn both put in proposals; then the Goldenberg group wants a casino in Center City; Penn National Gathering wants one of two plots in South Philly; and PHL Local Gaming has a plan near the water in South Philly.
The news is still on this “People are writing and signing petitions to secede from the U.S. Because Obama” thing, and here is another article on it (though, entertainingly, it is mostly about why the idea would not work). To bring you up to speed: the White House’s website allows people to write in petitions, which, if they hit a certain signature benchmark, the White House will look at. It’s like Kickstarter for do-gooders and do-badders. Since the election, people have begun putting petitions on the White House website calling for their state to secede from the Union, a la what started the War of Northern Aggression. And the petition based out of Texas, not surprisingly, is in the lead with 100,000 signatures. But more than 40 states have them. There’s a Pennsylvania one, too.
Councilman Mark Squilla has resurrected the “wall-wrap” billboard fight at the Electric Factory Building, which was begun by his successor, Councilman Frank DiCicco, and opposed by anti-blight activists and groups. Squilla’s plan for the billboard would see 20 percent of ad revenue going toward schools and, perhaps, community groups.
Mayor Nutter hopes to complete a 1.1 mile bicycle and walking trail through Bartram’s Garden (which would be called “Bartram’s Mile,”) before the end of his second term. The mayor says greening and cleaning the place will “increase economic vitality.” (Help! If you’re on this Philly.com link for too long and accidentally roll over the video toward the bottom, a Dr. Phil commercial, with audio, begins playing!)
The Urban Affairs Coalition, a nonprofit with ties to Rep. Dwight Evans, has had its funds frozen over mismanagement of state grants since 2006. According to a state audit obtained by the Inquirer, a Philadelphia pastor and aide on payroll were paid “$365,000 for work that auditors said they could not verify.”
Gay couples can legally marry in nine U.S. states, though we Pennsylvanians have a “long way to go” before we legalize the act.
The Freedom From Religion atheist group is making inroads in Pennsylvania (which seems necessary after 2012’s “Year of the Bible” weirdness—which it still is, you know; it is still the Year of the Bible.) The group now claims 673 members in Pennsylvania and sent 20 letters of complaint to our state through 2011.
Pennsylvania’s jobless rate went from 8.2 in September to 8.1 in October, which is pretty good and all, but remember when we were consistently below the federal rate?