Top 5 Live-WURD Wednesday October 21
1. Ryan to seek speakership if unity candidate of House GOP
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan told GOP lawmakers late Tuesday that he will run for speaker, but only if they embrace him by week’s end as their consensus candidate – an ambitious bid to impose unity on a disordered and divided House.
Ryan spoke to the House GOP behind closed doors and said he will run only with the endorsement of the major caucuses in the House, including the hardline Freedom Caucus that chased out the current speaker and his No. 2.
“We as a conference should unify now,” Ryan told reporters later.
The 45-year-old Ryan gave his colleagues until Friday to express their support. The question will be whether he can win over the Freedom Caucus, which drove Speaker John Boehner to announce his resignation by threatening a floor vote on his speakership, and scared Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy into abruptly withdrawing from the race to replace him.
That left Ryan, the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, as the only figure in the House with the national profile, stature and broad popularity to unite a caucus divided against itself, at a moment of deep turmoil.
2. Black Virginia student bloodied during arrest files $3 million lawsuit
A black University of Virginia student bloodied during an arrest caught on video filed a $3 million civil lawsuit on Tuesday against the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Department and three agents who arrested him.
The suit filed by the student, Martese Johnson, 21, alleges false arrest, excessive use of force, civil rights violations and a failure to train or supervise the agents adequately. It seeks a jury trial.
“Agents of ABC have a history of aggressive, excessive and unjustified behavior in effectuating their duties,” the suit said.
The white agents arrested Johnson, a member of the school’s honor committee, outside a Charlottesville bar in March. They believed he was using a fake ID, which the suit said was incorrect. Johnson has said race was a factor in the incident.
A gash in Johnson’s head required 10 stitches. His defense attorney has said that just before handcuffing him, ABC agents took Johnson to the ground, striking his head on the pavement.
3. A plot to ‘charterize’ Philly schools? Kenney sees one
Students asked Philadelphia mayoral candidates Tuesday about playgrounds and guns, about jobs and drugs.
And one group of Philadelphia schoolchildren asked about charter schools.
Democratic nominee Jim Kenney wasn’t shy.
“I believe in my heart that there was an effort to make every school a charter school,” he said. It was a state effort, Kenney said, a plan
to deliberately make the Philadelphia School District fail, then replace it with charters.
Kenney, the presumptive next mayor in an overwhelmingly Democratic city, did not elaborate.
He and Republican nominee Melissa Murray Bailey spoke at a forum sponsored by the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement, attended by more than 100 fourth and fifth graders, and broadcast live to other students.
4. Wolf says he cannot advance money to strapped public schools
Gov. Wolf said Tuesday that his administration will not advance aid to public schools that appeal for assistance as the budget impasse threatens to drag into a fifth month.
During a stop in Pittsburgh, Wolf told reporters that while he understands school districts are struggling financially, he cannot authorize payments to them until a new spending plan is in place, said spokesman Jeff Sheridan. The state has been operating without a fiscal blueprint since July 1, holding up critical state aid to public schools, counties and non-profits that provide social services.
“We’d like to get them a final budget that fully invests in education,” Sheridan said Tuesday.
Wolf’s comments came a day after the Erie school district asked the governor’s office for a $47 million, no-interest advance so that it could keep its doors open without taking out bank loans.
5. First African Baptist Church fined $10K; city to brace dangerous wall
Municipal Court Judge David Shuter has fined First African Baptist Church $10,000 for failing to comply with a previous court order to brace an “imminently dangerous” parapet wall on the east side of the church building, at 16th and Christian streets in South Philadelphia.
At the same time, the City of Philadelphia agreed to do the necessary bracing work after lawyers for the Rev. Terrence Griffith, the church’s pastor, said the church doesn’t have the money to pay for repairs. The city will stabilize the parapet wall and do any other work it needs to resolve the “imminently dangerous” violation issued for the church by the Department of Licenses & Inspections. The cost of those repairs will be recouped through a tax lien against the property.
Joanna Klein, an attorney for the city, initially asked for a fine of $24,000. Judge Shuter settled on $10,000 instead.
Sharif Street and Darwin Beauvais, lawyers representing Griffith, also filed a motion for the Court of Common Pleas to vacate a Historical Commission decision from Oct. 9 placing the building on the city’s historic register. Judge Shuter said he doesn’t believe he has the authority to single handedly vacate that decision.
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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