Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Slow news Tuesday (fits well with more illness enjoyment)

  • In what appears to have been a surprise move, Gov. Rendell has enacted a moratorium on riverfront development, which calls for a more strategic assessment of how state-owned land (including rights to extend projects out into the river) should be used and coordinated. Hard to disagree with a call for comprehensive planning, but a bit of a surprise that this is coming from the state rather than the city level -- is that just the latest salvo in an ongoing turf war, a symptom of perceived local corruption (or at least powerful interests), or something else? State Sen. (and local Big Dog) Fumo appears to support the move.

  • Sure to be giving a lot of people the shakes: convicted Councilman Rick Mariano is now cooperating with federal investigators on current cases and offering information on "unrelated matters." I guess that with only his own sentence to think about, he may be deciding it's time to cut some of his former friends loose, which could mean some uncomfortable times for miscellaneous pals and petty crooks...

  • The Inquirer editorial page appears a bit doubtful that politicians are completely unaffected by free perks from lobbyists et al. (Or, at least, I think that's what they're getting at here.)

  • Lots more rumblings about the Dougherty-Nutter shoot-out of yesterday, but mainly because there doesn't seem to be any fresher news, heh. First blood in the mayoral race to be drawn/decided in courts? blah blah.
Hope to have more interesting bits (and less view of my livingroom) tomorrow!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a nice op-ed from State Rep Babette Josephs in the local section of the Philadelphia Inquirer today:


Posted on Tue, Apr. 18, 2006

Marriage amendment would only hurt state
The measure would pose an economic threat to Phila. and advance inequality.
By Babette Josephs

Even though there are many issues we should be addressing in Harrisburg, a proposed constitutional amendment on marriage is currently pending before the state House of Representatives. This amendment would enshrine in our state constitution a definition of marriage and bar recognition of civil unions.

The proposed amendment reflects not only a misplaced desire to treat lesbian and gay people as second-class citizens, but also a flawed appreciation of constitutional history. In addition, it represents a real economic threat to the Philadelphia area.

As the Democratic chairwoman of the House State Government Committee, I believe it is important that I and my fellow representatives make our decisions based on a healthy respect for our great constitutional heritage and a greater understanding of the potential consequences of this amendment's passage.

As one of my colleagues, Rep. Dave Steil (R., Bucks), eloquently noted, the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions define the relationship between the government and the governed. Both constitutions describe the limits of what government may do. Those documents demonstrate our principled commitment to freedom and equality.

Over the years, the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions have been amended to meet the changing times. The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, what we call the Bill of Rights, were adopted to protect the people from an overreaching government. Amendments were adopted to expand freedom and liberty and to remedy injustices enshrined in the original documents. Constitutional amendments abolished slavery and guaranteed the right to equal protection of the law. In 1971, the Pennsylvania Constitution was amended to include an equal rights amendment for women.

These amendments have made our constitutions better documents. In the nation and in the state, amendments have not been used to advance inequality and injustice.

Now, along comes the "Marriage Protection Amendment." I firmly believe that this amendment will not make our state constitution a better document. This proposal does not advance the civil rights of our fellow citizens. Instead, it explicitly writes discrimination into our state constitution.

The Marriage Protection Amendment would interfere in the relations among the people. Because it does not deal with the relationship between the governed and the government, it would fundamentally change the nature of our constitution.

I have heard from thousands of constituents who oppose this amendment for the reasons stated. And I have heard from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham, who are concerned about the possibility of this amendment undermining our domestic-violence laws. Under this amendment, some courts have ruled that they could not intervene if the victim was not married to her or his abuser.

Children's advocates are troubled by the potential harms that this amendment could cause children and their families, and labor unions fear that this amendment would make it harder to bargain for domestic-partner benefits.

Business leaders have told me they worry about the impact this amendment would have on our regional economy. Policymakers from this area understand the importance of our image as an open and tolerant place to live, work and visit; the City of Philadelphia has successfully marketed itself to gay and lesbian tourists. More and more young people are choosing to come to and stay in Philadelphia because they see Philadelphia as an exciting and dynamic place.

Many of my colleagues from Southeastern Pennsylvania and I realize how this amendment threatens this very image. If this amendment were to pass, Pennsylvania would stand apart from neighboring states. Potential employers, workers and visitors would not view the Philadelphia region as the kind of place to which they want to come.

I believe that Pennsylvania can do a lot to strengthen our communities and our families and make the lives of all adults and children healthier and better. We can do so by welcoming and valuing all people. We do not help anyone with this constitutional amendment. If it is adopted, we would only end up hurting Pennsylvania.

State Rep. Babette Josephs (www.babette.org) is a Democrat from Philadelphia.

8:16 PM  
Blogger ACM said...

thanks, I missed that one.

9:07 AM  

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