Top 5 Live-WURD Friday October 16
1. DNC to Philly: Cash in on our convention
The Democratic National Convention wants to partner with local businesses.
The convention, which will officially nominate the Democratic candidates for president and vice president, will take place July 25-28 at the Wells Fargo Center. The event is expected to draw 35,000 to 50,000 people.
The executive committee will spend about $50 million on items such as stage equipment, lights, and catering, and hopes to purchase locally and regionally, said DNC CEO Rev. Leah Daughtry. Mayor Michael Nutter added that the overall economic impact was expected to be about $350 million.
Jude Arijaje, owner of Minuteman Press on South Broad Street, successfully won a bid to do printing work for the committee. The DNC has so far ordered about $10,000 worth of materials, with more to come.
“[The print shop] is just one of what will be many … local businesses that employ local residents and serve needs in our community,” Nutter said.
Convention organizers will be holding informational sessions on how businesses can apply for work with the committee. The first session will be a webinar Oct. 27 and the second will be a town-hall meeting Nov. 16. (Details at Demconvention.com.)
2. Who will fill Ramsey’s shoes? Signs point to his No. 2
A Philadelphia native with support from inside and outside the police department is likely to be the city’s next top cop.
First Deputy Commissioner Richard J. Ross Jr., a 26-year veteran of the force and the current No. 2 man in blue, was the leading pick whispered to succeed Charles H. Ramsey after the popular commissioner announced that he is retiring Jan 7.
Eight years ago, Ross was an internal frontrunner for commissioner before Mayor Nutter looked nationally and found Ramsey, former chief of police in Washington, D.C. Since becoming his top deputy, Ross, 51, has frequently taken the helm when Ramsey is called away.
In an Inquirer interview hours after announcing his retirement, Ramsey did more than whisper: “You’re not going to get any better than Rick Ross. If I were mayor, he’d be my choice.”
Other potential candidates to lead the 6,500-person department include Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel, a charismatic reformer on the juvenile justice front who has led community policing efforts.
3. Family seeks answers, justice in prison suicide
The Oct. 23, 2013 suicide of Tiombe Kimana Carlos, a native of Antigua and Barbuda, who was 14 when first diagnosed with chronic schizophrenia and 34 when she died, threw a spotlight on a dark corner of the immigration system, which critics say lacks the ability to safely incarcerate the mentally ill. York County prison, where Carlos died, had no articulated mental health treatment plan for Carlos.
Yesterday, her family filed a wrongful death suit, alleging that York County, its prison guards and medical subcontractor, PrimeCare Medical, of Harrisburg, were “negligent” and “deliberately indifferent” in failing to protect Carlos from self harm, even after she previously tried to kill herself in their custody.
The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages and any other relief the court deems appropriate.
“Somebody has to be accountable for what happened to my child,” said Carlos’ mother, Angela Carlos, of Bensalem.
“She didn’t intentionally kill herself. She was so messed up, with what they had her on, or didn’t have her on.”
The suit alleges that Carlos did not have the proper amount of the prescribed anti-psychotic drug Haldol in her system. Apparently for administrative reasons, guards nonetheless transferred her to a “non-suicide resistant” cell, the suit claims
4. Baltimore City Hall sit-in follows decades of festering ills
Young, black residents of Baltimore hoped a public act of civil disobedience in the heart of local government would force their troubled city to deal with the decades-old problems of police misconduct, housing inequality and systemic disenfranchisement.
All they got from their overnight sit-in at City Hall were arrests and trespassing charges.
Many on Thursday said they were frustrated and felt increasingly marginalized and under siege.
“The politicians, they failed us today,” said Kwame Rose, a 21-year-old activist who was one of the protest’s organizers.
More than 30 activists disrupted a meeting Wednesday night where city officials were recommending the permanent hiring of interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. They demanded a voice in the process. Since the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a critical spinal injury in police custody, the police department and its leaders have taken the brunt of criticism for decades of government failures to address the city’s woes.
5. Protesters at SRC meeting angrily call for dramatic changes
Yesterday at a School Reform Commission meeting and at a union rally, teachers, parents, and community members expressed anger at the district’s planned conversion of three schools into charters, privatization of substitute-teachings services, nurse staffing levels, and overcrowding.
“Are you deliberately trying to destroy public education in Philadelphia, or are you just grossly incompetent?” retired teacher and librarian Deborah Grill asked leaders.
“You continue to mismanage our district with dishonesty and incompetence,” Peg Devine, the nurse at Lincoln High, charged.
“Our children are not cattle,” said an emotional Renita Brown, whose child attends Cooke Elementary, one of the schools slated to be converted into a charter.
Much of the anger came over a plan School Superintendent William Hite recently announced that would affect 15,000 students. The plan calls for three charter conversions, two school closures, grade changes in other buildings, and opening two new schools.
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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon