Top 5 Live-WURD Wednesday October 28
1. Nutter: Dissolve the School Reform Commission
Mayor Nutter on Tuesday recommended replacing the School Reform Commission, which has governed the Philadelphia schools for the last 15 years.
In a major policy speech, Nutter advocated creation of a Board of Education that would be composed of five people picked by the mayor and four selected from City Council nominees.
He suggested this change be put in place by September, 2018, “Returning to local control means the voters of this city know who to hold accountable for educational outcomes: the mayor,” said Nutter, whose eight-year term ends Jan. 4.
He said the current system “leaves future generations of Philadelphians woefully unprepared” for the 21st century global economy and “has cost our city a highly productive, well-educated and skilled workforce.”
2. Sources: Kane’s office obtained judge’s private emails
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office gained access to the private emails of a state judge – without his permission or knowledge – and offered to provide them to the media, The Inquirer has learned.
Kane’s representatives obtained copies of Judge Barry Feudale’s 2013 email exchanges with Inquirer reporters and his personal lawyers after she successfully pushed for his removal as the judge in charge of a key investigative grand jury, according to three people familiar with the matter.
It was not clear how the emails were obtained.
Kane’s spokesman, Chuck Ardo, said, “I know of no involvement of anyone from the Attorney General’s office in obtaining or distributing” Feudale’s emails.
Ardo did say that news organizations had recently contacted Kane’s office, saying they had copies of the judge’s emails. But he insisted that neither Kane nor anyone in her office had any role in providing them to the media – or acquiring them in the first place.
At the same time, he said, Kane’s office “may have provided” some of Feudale’s emails to judicial regulators and disciplinary agencies.
3. Democrats call for ouster of Pennsylvania high court justice
A top Pennsylvania Senate Democrat says he and his Democratic colleagues want to remove from the state Supreme Court a justice who allegedly exchanged explicit or offensive emails from a private account.
Senate Minority Whip Anthony Williams said Tuesday that the emails either received or sent by Justice Michael Eakin should force him from the bench.
Eakin, a Republican, has apologized for what he called “insensitive” content in his private email account.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane says she turned over more than 1,000 of Eakin’s emails to the court and various state ethics agencies four weeks ago and suggested the content violates judicial conduct rules.
The Judicial Conduct Board says it’s investigating, and the court hired a Pittsburgh law firm headed by a former judge to look into the matter.
4. Halle Berry, Olivier Martinez to divorce
Halle Berry and husband Olivier Martinez announced on Tuesday that they have split.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have come to the decision to divorce,” the actors said in a joint statement. “We move forward with love and respect for one another and the shared focus of what is best for our son.”
The couple, both 49, married in July 2013 in a private ceremony in France. Berry announced in April of that year that she was expecting a baby with Martinez. Their son, Maceo, was born in October.
It was the third marriage for Berry, who had previously been wed to baseball player David Justice and singer Eric Benet. It was the first for Martinez.
The French actor was by Berry’s side during her bitter custody battle with ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry, the Canadian model who fathered her 7-year-old daughter Nahla. Amid the contentiousness, Martinez and Aubry had a fistfight in Berry’s driveway.
A former boxer and model, Martinez is best known for his role in the film “Unfaithful.”
5. Feds probing videotaped arrest of student
The Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation Tuesday after a deputy flipped a student in her desk and tossed her across the floor for refusing to leave her math class.
Federal help was sought by Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, who called what happened at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina, “very disturbing” and placed Deputy Ben Fields on leave.
The confrontation, which students said began when the girl refused her teacher’s request to hand over her cellphone, was recorded and shared online.
During the moments posted online, Fields warns the girl to stand up or be forcibly removed. The officer then wraps a forearm around her neck, flips her and the desk backward onto the floor, and tosses her toward the front of the classroom, where he handcuffs her.
A second student was arrested for objecting to the girl’s treatment. Both girls were charged with disturbing schools and released to their parents. Their names were not officially released.
The second student, Niya Kenny, told WLTX-TV that she had to say something. Doris Kenny said she’s proud her daughter was “brave enough to speak out against what was going on.”
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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