Felling a diseased tree

Park service fells diseased tree

Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation project coordinator Curt Helm oversaw the felling and removal of three large diseased trees at the Allens Lane Art Center. The trees were in danger of falling onto the playing fields or the other way over power lines and onto McCallum Street which bears significant vehicular traffic. Helm, with direct experience in the field, complimented the adroitness of the park's subcontractors. As the final chainsaw cuts were made to the diseased oak tree, it began to tumble. A truck with a rope attached to the tree began to pull it forward in the direction the contractors wanted the tree to fall. A couple seconds later the top branches hit the ground with a resounding crash.  The two other trees to be taken down that day were ashes. Sadly, Helm reports, all the park's ash trees will eventually succumb to the emerald ash borer and, for safety reasons, will be taken down within the next five to ten years. Watch video here


Striking Verizon workers picket

Verizon workers picket

Unionized Verizon telephone company workers (Communication Workers of America - CWA) conducting an informational picket outside the Chestnut Hill Philadelphia central station, which houses thirty to forty thousand landline connections, explain why they are on strike. They object to high executive pay and unwillingness to sign a contract without concessions from workers giving the company the right to reassign them to locations 50 or even a couple hundred miles away, freeze their pensions at 30 years of service and outsource their jobs to workers in the Philippines or Mexico. Watch video interview here.


Ardently supporting Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump

Like Trump for his Billions, supporter says   Talk Bernie Sanders to Her

 Over lunch, I engaged David Komar of Phoenixville, Pa on why he's a loyal supporter of Republican candidate Donald Trump for President of the United States. "[He's] a successful man, knows a lot of people around the world. I think he's been a good sparring partner with the candidates he's had so far to date and I think that says it all." Komar went on to deflect criticism of the candidate and added that we shouldn't hate Trump because he's got billions of dollars. "Like him because maybe that would spread." Watch video here.

Bernie Sanders has his ardent supporters, too. An 88 year old supporters Bernie Sanders based on his free college plan and opposition to the Iraq war. Watch video here. And a young African American woman sings "Speak Dirty  Bernie to Me."  Watch video here.


Girls collect signatures for candidate but are under age

Girls collect ballot signatures but are not registered to vote

Two cheery, intelligent girls collect petition signatures in northwest Philadelphia to get college instructor, Democratic Party candidate Chris Rabb on the ballot for Pennsylvania State Representative in the April 26, 2016 primary election.

After they knocked at my door and solicited my signature, I asked if I might video interview them for my community news blog and handed them a business card because I was so impressed with what an important election task they had undertaken. In the video, one girl talks about her interest in politics and her experience as a signature collector.

Only after the girls had gone did it dawn on me that Pennsylvania law requires petition circulators to be registered voters (18 years old to vote in Pa) of the same party as the candidate and residing in the same district that the candidate seeks to represent. According to candidate Rabb, the girls are "legit" because they are "just assistant circulators".  That's probably what the girls' parents told them. I can only conclude that the girls' parents or some other campaign operative will sign the affidavit on the petition as the official "collectors." [You or I can examine these petitions at the local election board and find out.] Election fraud? A Philadelphia tradition. Having a child participate in a fraudulent election activity? Endangering a minor.

Furthermore, the petitions the teens have collected are invalid so the girls and their parents, unwittingly, may have disenfranchised the voters who wanted to see their candidate get on the ballot, not to mention shooting themselves and the candidate in the foot.

I have been reporting the matter to such agencies and organizations as the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, The Philadelphia City Commissioners who run elections, and the election watchdog group Committee of Seventy Perhaps teens should be able to collect signatures unaccompanied by an adult. A state representative could introduce legislation. But a prospective state legislator and his campaign team should respect the laws that are already on the books and not employ minors in circumventing them.

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This video is another in my playlist series, "They came knocking at my door" of people who come knocking at my door selling something, trying to get me to sign something, or trying to save my soul.