Top 5 Live-WURD Wednesday July 1
1. Chris Christie announces 2016 presidential bid
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie formally jumped into the crowded Republican presidential field here on Tuesday, stressing his leadership of a blue state and blaming both parties for the gridlock in Washington.
“We need a government … that remembers you went there to work for us, not the other way around,” Christie told a crowd of about 700 people at a packed gymnasium at Livingston High School, his alma mater where he served as class president and catcher on the baseball team.
Christie’s message was aimed at a general election audience, not the highly partisan Republicans who populate early state contests. He focused on his stewardship of New Jersey, noting its density, ethnically diverse population, and Democrat-controlled state legislature.
2. South Carolina church fire: Mt. Zion AME burns in Greeleyville
A fire broke out at the Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina, on Tuesday. Up to 50 firefighters fought to extinguish the blaze, a fire official said.
As yet, authorities do not know what caused it, said Williamsburg County Fire Chief Randy Swinton.
The local sheriff, local police and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division have also responded to the fire at the traditionally black church.
The FBI and five agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also investigating, said ATF Special Agent Tom Mangan.
“Anytime there is a house of worship involved in a fire, ATF is automatically assigned to look into the cause,” he said.
3. Gov. Wolf vetoes Republican spending plan
Let the standoff begin.
The Republican majorities of the Pennsylvania House and Senate sent the governor a GOP-crafted budget, along with legislation to disband the state system of wine and liquor sales and end defined-benefit pensions for most future state and public school workers.
Shortly after 9 p.m., Gov. Tom Wolf undid their planning on the budget.
Wolf vetoed the full budget proposal, the first time in recent history that a governor has rejected a budget in its entirety.
“This budget is simply not balanced,” he said at a nighttime news conference. “I ran a business, and if I took a budget that looked anything like this to my bank, they would have thrown me out of the office.”
The governor said he would study the companion bills on liquor sales and pensions and respond to the GOP today.
4. SRC adopts budget, but questions remain
The SRC unanimously approved a $2.6 billion budget that could rise to $2.8 billion, depending how much money state lawmakers ultimately appropriate for Philadelphia schools.
Principals and central office staff, however, will have no authority to spend beyond this year’s austerity levels until a state budget deal is reached. That means that those hoping to hire new staff cannot yet do so.
SRC Chairwoman Marjorie Neff said she was “deeply troubled” by the budget situation.
“Our children deserve more than the limited resources we have year after year,” Neff said.
The $2.6 billion figure assumes $70 million in new money from the city – $45 million already promised, with $25 million more to come later if the district meets certain conditions – and $18 million in new cash from the state.
5. Pope’s stops in Philly: Prison, Independence Mall
While in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis will also make appearances at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Independence Mall and a city prison.
The Vatican on Tuesday released a schedule of the pontiff’s plans for the September trip, Francis’ first visit to the United States as pope.
In addition to events in Philadelphia, Pope Francis is also slated to speak in Washington, D.C., and New York City. He will visit Cuba before arriving in the United States.
The pope will be in Philadelphia Sept. 26 and Sept 27, for the conclusion of the World Meeting. He will attend the Saturday Festival of Families on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and celebrate Mass in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Sunday.
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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