News & Brews May 18, 2023

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Philly mayor’s race ‘could offer model for how Dems talk about crime’

In the wake of ‘defund the police’ movements, Philly’s likely next mayor, Democrat Cherelle Parker, is “unapologetic” about her support for “a proactive law enforcement presence.” The AP reports that Parker “wants to hire hundreds of additional police officers to walk their beats and get to know residents.” She also “wants to devote resources to recruiting more police,” and she supports bringing back “stop-and-frisk.” Her pro-law enforcement platform put her at odds with progressives but won her the support of Democrat primary voters. The AP notes that heading into future elections, Parker’s messaging could be a “model” for other Democrats.

‘Progressive takeover’ in Allegheny County ‘shows no signs of slowing’

Even as Philly Democrat primary voters rejected a progressive candidate for mayor, Allegheny County voters gave progressives another round of wins. The Post-Gazette reports that progressive victories in the county “punctuated the leftward momentum in local Democratic politics that accelerated during Donald Trump’s presidency. And with no signs of slowing, many party insiders expect the progressive wing to keep notching wins for at least a few more years. Whether the trend persists longer could hinge on whether voters like what they see from progressives in elected office. Meanwhile, Republican Joe Rockey is campaigning as “a centrist who is focused on the middle” in his bid for county executive. He faces progressive Sara Innamorato.

Shapiro names new trustees for pension boards

Gov. Josh Shapiro has nominated four new trustees to the boards of Pa.’s pension systems. To the Pa. State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS), Shapiro named union leader Wendell Young IV, Budget Secretary Uri Monson, and former GOP State Sen. Bob Mensch. Shapiro named Richard Vague, a former Chase Manhattan Bank executive and current “investor, philanthropist, and political donor” to the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS). All now await Senate confirmation.

Op-Ed: Ranked-choice voting would breed ‘chaos’

There’s growing talk that Pennsylvania should embrace ranked-choice voting, or RCV. Put simply, RCV says that voters don’t simply vote for their top choice candidate. Instead, they “rank” candidates, voting for first choice, second choice, and so forth. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, elections officials start removing those at the bottom. These tallies are then added to the higher vote getters until someone gets 50%. Clear as mud, yes? Guy Ciarrocchi writes that far from increasing confidence in elections, RCV “encourages chaos and undermines democracy.” Instead, he writes, one solution would be run-off elections between the top two primary election vote-getters if no candidate wins a majority vote.

Op-Ed: Biden, Dems won’t deal with the debt

GOP U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, representing Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District in southwest PA., has an op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the debt ceiling debate. He writes that House Republicans “have already proven … that we have enough votes to raise the debt ceiling with savings and reductions in spending.” Meanwhile, he says, President Biden and Democrats have failed to offer a “counter proposal.”

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