Daily Archive: May 27, 2011


Budget cuts could leave kids home alone

In Pennsylvania 26 percent of children in grades K-12 are responsible for taking care of themselves after school. These children spend an average of seven hours per week without adult supervision. In Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget, out-of-school programs in Allegheny County could lose up to $1.5 million due to reductions in childcare funding for school age children. At a forum hosted by Govern For Kids on May 20, Pennsylvania State Rep. Jake Wheatley met with non-profits and concerned citizens to discuss the possible ramifications of these cuts. GOVERN FOR KIDS—Jake Wheatley addresses the crowd with his daughter by his side. (Photo by J.L. Martello) “Kids need those programs. For a lot of parents (out-of-school programs) are their last hope,” Wheatley said. “If you look at it, teenage crime and teenage pregnancy, it happens between the hours of four and seven. (Out-of-school programs) offer a safe haven for our youth during those hours.”


Roberts, Wagner look to different futures

A week after the 2011 Democratic Primary Election for Allegheny County Controller, Pennsylvania State Rep. Chelsa Wagner, primary winner and democratic candidate for the 2011 general election for Controller, said she will continue to use the campaign strategy that she used in the primary to carry her through the Nov. 8 election. “(My) strategy is to build off the platform that was established in the primary and that is that the Controller must have a vision for the region and I believe the County Controller should be an advocate,” Wagner said. VALERIE MCDONALD ROBERTS Wagner beat democratic opponents Valerie McDonald Roberts, manager of the Allegheny County Department of Real Estate, and George Matta, director of business development and community relations for the Rivers Casino, by receiving 71 percent of the democratic vote. Matta received 14 percent and Roberts received 13 percent of the vote, according to the county’s Division of Election.


NAACP continues work in education

This year’s NAACP Human Rights Dinner fell one day after Pittsburgh civil rights activists suffered a harsh blow. On May 5, they learned three police officers involved in the alleged beating of CAPA High School graduate Jordan Miles would not be prosecuted. JOHN JACKSON “I have been with the Miles family from the beginning. We have to do something about this not just as individuals, but together. This was like a modern day lynching. And the officers have not been punished,” said NAACP President M. Gayle Moss. “Justice was wearing a blindfold. Somehow, some way, we must remain vigilant in our quest to make certain that these kinds of beatings stop in our neighborhoods. Yes, we may have lost this single battle, but we are not throwing in the towel. We will continue to monitor and wage war against similar and other signs of discrimination and poor practice.”



Self-made millionaires face off for county executive

The resounding wins by Rich Fitzgerald and D. Raja in their respective primary races for Allegheny County executive sets up a November battle between two self-made millionaires. Fitzgerald, whose polling indicated he trailed County Controller Mark Patrick Flaherty leading up to the primary, cruised to victory with 64,343 votes to Flaherty’s 50,265. RICH FITZGERALD Raja bested former County Councilman Chuck McCullogh 31,832 to 12,448. Though the turnout was especially light at 23 percent for democrats and 20 percent for republicans, the raw vote totals and the county’s 3-1 ratio of registered democrats to republicans would seem to give Fitzgerald a solid advantage. But he isn’t resting on his laurels.



Burgess: Voters want me to continue my work

In last week’s primary election, District 9 Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess faced opposition from Phyllis Copeland-Mitchell, the Allegheny Democratic Committee’s endorsed candidate; and Lucille Prater-Holliday, the president of non-profit activism group Action United. Following suit with his fellow incumbent council members, who were also passed over for the Democratic Committee’s endorsement, Burgess defeated his opponents, taking nearly 50 percent of the vote. REV. RICKY BURGESS “I believe the voters in my district have signaled by their vote, their desire for me to continue this work,” Burgess said. “I want to rebuild Homewood, Lincoln, Lemington and Larimer. Those are areas where there is desperate need of housing, stores and changing the fabric of that community.”


Harris survives close race

While candidates opposing Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s foes on city council were in most cases soundly defeated in the May 17 Primary, the woman who holds his former council seat barely retained it. With 1,496 votes, Council President Darlene Harris beat challenger Vince Pallus by less than 80 votes. “This wasn’t from the community, it was from down the hall,” she said. “I don’t think the community wants me to stop working as hard as I do for them. I want to thank them for putting me back in office.”


Miss Wisconsin surrenders crown

(NNPA)—Miss Wisconsin USA Shaletta Porterfield has surrendered her crown as she faces identify theft charges. The 26-year-old beauty queen allegedly forged signatures of three business representatives on advertising contracts at a marketing company where she worked last summer, according to various Wisconsin-based newspapers. The scheme was uncovered August 2010 when a former boss was asked to proof ads she hadn’t purchased, prompting her to alert authorities. She’s pleaded not guilty to misappropriating identity information to obtain money. Shaletta Porterfield


CNN anchor Don Lemon: ‘I was born gay’

NEW YORK (AP)—CNN anchor Don Lemon has come out as a gay man in his new book, a disclosure he knows comes at a risk. While Lemon’s memoir, titled “Transparent,” also covers his journalism career, he’s prepared for much of the reaction to focus on more personal matters, which include growing up without a father and his revelation that he was sexually abused as a child. In his book, the 45-year-old Lemon writes of having lived with “dark, ugly secrets” that took him years to bring into the light. Being Black made being gay feel even worse, he said in an interview Monday, “because of how the Black community perceives a gay person. An African-American male is taught that he has to be masculine. DON LEMON



Demonizing the poor for being poor

(NNPA)—In the 1960s, we had the War on Poverty. In 2011, we’re now seeing a War on People Who Live in Poverty. One of the most callous examples of this occurred on—you guessed it—Fox News. Charles Payne, in a business segment, acknowledged that anti-poverty programs, food stamps, and unemployment insurance were “good programs”, but then went on to attack recipients of those programs. “I think the real narrative here, though, is that people aren’t embarrassed by it,” Payne said. “People aren’t ashamed by it. In other words, there was a time when people were embarrassed to be on food stamps; there was a time when people were embarrassed to be on unemployment for six months, let alone demanding to be on for more than two years… No longer is the man being told to look in the mirror and cast down a judgment on himself; it’s someone else’s fault. So, food stamps, unemployment, all this stuff is something that they probably earned in some indirect way.”


Prisons profiting off youth

Over the last several decades, the nation’s prison population has tripled and annual prison spending increased by over $40 billion dollars. State and federal budgets are pushed to the limits as they work to fund existing prisons and jails. To further complicate matters, the high numbers of offenders who recidivate, or return to jail, burden an already crowded system. It seems that no one—inmates, prison officials—is “winning.” No one, that is, except for the private corporations that now run many of the country’s prisons.