Eliza Callard (left) draws portraits with colored pencil. Many of these are based on photos people have posted of themselves for others to draw on an app named "SKTCHY" She then uploads her artwork for her subjects to see. Some people post multiple photos of themselves on #SKTCHY, she says, and some people are drawn by many artists. Callard looks for something in the eyes, in the expression. This method yields a very diverse range of subjects whose facial expressions are emotive and often curious. “Every time I paint somebody from there. even if at the beginning I’m like ‘I don’t like this’, I always fall in love with the people. Every time. Just drawing them makes me fall in love with them.” Watch video interview of artist who uses SKTCHY app here.
Alexandra “Alex” Khalil is running for the U.S. Senate. In a crowded field of 14 Democratic primary candidates vying for outgoing Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s seat in the May 2022 primary, she says can’t get the political reporters for Philadelphia’s paper of record, the Inquirer, to mention her name.
Khalil is mounting a vigorous door to door campaign and one of those doors was your correspondent’s. She’s expounds a progressive agenda of Medicare for all and a living wage. But she’s not against nuclear power.
Her entree into politics came when her son told her to check out Barack Obama. Kahlil did more than that: she worked on his campaign and now holds elected office as a councilperison for the borough of Jenkintown, a small town just outside northwest Philadelphia. There she is fighting against privatization of public utilities such as the sewer service. Professionally, she works in IT for the pharmaceutical company Merck. Khalil has also practiced law.
As the daughter of Palestinian parents from the West Bank, Khalil is especially keen on the protection of human rights regardless of identity or any other criteria.
In our interview, Khalil was most animated when she spoke of the conversations she has had with people while canvassing widely around Philadelphia area and in Lebanon and Schuylkill counties: the 80 year old woman whose husband suffered a stroke, and now they can’t pay their property taxes. She’s spoken with many seniors who are in similar danger of losing their homes, perhaps faced with high medical bills. She’s touched by the families who have lost children to drugs. She lays these ills at the feet of the Republican Party for failing to adequately fund human needs, schools and infrastructure.
Khalil believes her string connection with people as both a councilperson and campaigner will set her above the crowded field in voters’ estimation. She’s received coverage in the Northeast Times, her race is covered in Spotlight Pa and elsewhere and she is hoping more major media outlets will give her a fair shake
In a closely contested election between “slate” candidate and “non-slate” candidate factions, 16 candidates vying for 9 board seats, the Chestnut Hill Community Association rejected 51 of 513 ballots cast as invalid, according to a report in the Chestnut Hill Local, August 5, 2021 edition. (Fifty-one votes account for about 10% of votes cast.) The report did not provide an explanation as to why the ballots had been rejected nor did the CHCA, owner of the Local, nor three current board members respond to a request for comment. However, John Derr, publisher of the Local, apparently taking on the role of spokesperson for the Association, stated that the 51 rejected ballots were from people who were not members of the Community Association and that some of those had lapsed memberships. He assured your correspondent that the election was fair without addressing your correspondent’s concern about election integrity relating to why so many people tried to vote in an election they weren’t eligible to vote in. Your correspondent has followed up with a letter to the Community Association's President, Kathi Clayton.
In a letter to your correspondent, Clayton responded that she was disappointed so many votes didn't get counted and that going forward the association will more often and broadly publish the requirement that to vote a member must be paid up as of the designated date, June 30, 2021 this year.