9th Ward Democrats endorse McCord

Rob McCord, Pennsylvania State Treasurer, now in his second term, won the endorsement of the 9th Ward Democratic Committee on Tuesday night. McCord bested two other candidates: Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, former leader of the 9th Ward and Tom Wolf, the businessman from York who kicked off his campaign in January with a blitz of T.V. commercials. McCord won 17 votes to Schwartz’s 7 and Wolf’s 3.

The 9th Ward, which consists of 17 Divisions that cover a part of Mt. Airy and all of Chestnut Hill, vets all Democratic candidates for public office and typically, all candidates make personal appearances before the Ward. For the Democrats, this is an important primary election because the incumbent Governor, Tom Corbett, is seen as very vulnerable.

All of the Democratic candidates for Governor appeared before the committee seeking the endorsement of this Ward, which has the second highest voter turnout in the City of Philadelphia. Tom Wolf appeared on Tuesday night, the first time most of the committee persons had ever had a chance to hear from him in person. The fourth candidate, Katie McGinty, visited on March 26th.

Tuesday night’s endorsement followed a lively discussion, as is the usual course for the 9th Ward, which is composed of committee people who have strong opinions on political matters. It is the committee people’s task to review the candidates and to get the vote out on Election Day. The discussion on endorsements is open, and sometimes heated; you may hear a candidate referred to as a “policy wonk,” a “panderer” or simply unethical. The 9th Ward is also well-known for the letters its committee people write to their constituents advising them of the endorsements and their positions on ballot questions.

As one Committee person said on Tuesday night, “the important question in this election is who can beat Tom Corbett,” a comment which was echoed by the Ward Leader, John O’Connell, who added that the endorsement should also be about picking the strongest candidate. McCord had been touted as a proven vote getter, the only candidate to have won a state-wide election twice, and a candidate who has been endorsed by numerous labor unions, mayors and public officials across the Commonwealth.

The 9th Ward, in endorsing McCord, joined Center City’s 8thWard, which has the highest voter turnout in Philadelphia, who also endorsed McCord. These endorsements could have a significant impact on a race with so many undecided voters.

Mike Stack, received the ward’s endorsement for Lieutenant Governor; incumbent Chaka Fatah for U.S. Congress, Brian Gralnick for the Pennsylvania State Senate and Cherelle Parker, incumbent Representative to the State Assembly.

Marilyn Monaco

Committeewoman, 14th Division


Poor air quality in Philadelphia

Last week, Philadelphia received an ‘F’ from the American Lung Association’s “State of the Air 2014” report. Another alarming statistic: Toxic air caused 127 deaths and almost 1,800 asthma attacks in Philadelphia in 2010, according to a Clean Air Task Force study.

Our family has first-hand experience with asthma. And we’ve been long concerned about climate change, especially since it will exacerbate asthma and other diseases.

Pennsylvania’s air could get worse if we don’t get serious about one particular pollutant: methane. Methane leakage associated with natural gas drilling is hurting air quality, and left unregulated, could have disastrous impacts for climate stability. Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas that is up to 50 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. On a short-term basis, methane could be much worse.

Pennsylvania should require mandatory rules of the road for natural gas drillers – to improve air quality and protect our kids and their kids. Pennsylvania is ground zero for natural gas development, and we’re already seeing its effects in lax regulation.

Pennsylvania should be leading the charge and directly regulating methane and other toxic pollutants before it’s too late.

Rev. Linda Noonan

Sonja and Sarah Noonan-Ngwane