November 4, 2013

Philly Election Information Goes On-line


By Bob Warner, Inquirer Staff Writer

Al Schmidt, one of the three officials who run Philadelphia elections, remembers calling up the Election Office soon after he moved here in 2005. He wanted to know the number of voters registered citywide.

“I’d seen something on the news and just wanted to find out how many voters there were,” Schmidt said. “I found a phone number on the Internet and called up, asked the question. The first response was, ‘Are you Democrat or Republican?’ And after that it was, ‘Why did I want to know?’ ”

At the time, Schmidt said, he was merely curious. But the more he got involved in local politics, first on the staff of the Republican City Committee, then as the GOP’s candidate for city controller, and, finally, in 2011, winning the Republican city commissioner’s seat, Schmidt said, his initial experience turned into a goal: to make the city’s election information “transparent for anyone, at any time, for any reason.”


Schmidt and his Democratic counterparts, Stephanie Singer and Anthony Clark, have largely made good on that goal with a new website,, that brings the office into the 21st century when it comes to informing the public.

Included on the website, developed with support from Soapbox Solutions L.L.C. under a $10,000 city contract:

Results of every city election since 2007, with returns broken down by each of the 1,687 voting divisions.

Tools that allow voters to type their addresses and find not only their polling places and names and contact information for their elected officials, but a list of election workers lined up to staff each polling place on election day.

Maps galore, showing boundaries for every ward and division, plus every City Council, legislative, and congressional district.

Detailed information about how to run for office, including how to comply with requirements such as campaign finance reports and personal financial disclosures.

A breakdown of the $9 million budget for the Commissioners’ Office, plus transcripts of the commissioners’ meetings.

A list of candidates and ballot numbers for the Nov. 5 general election, which features races for district attorney, city controller, and a slew of judgeships.

“It’s terrific, a very, very good start,” said Ellen Kaplan, deputy director of the nonpartisan election watchdog group the Committee of Seventy. “It’s something we’ve been calling on them to do for many, many years, and I’m glad to see it.”

Kaplan offered several suggestions for improvements, such as offering lists of the parties’ ward leaders and committee people, translations into more languages in addition to the English and Spanish versions now available, and a link to the state Election Code.

Still, she said, “it’s great to have it up there, much improved over anything they had online before.”

Singer, who along with Schmidt campaigned in 2011 for more election transparency and sharing of data with the public, said, “It’s not rocket science. This should have been done a decade ago.”

Singer, too, remembers a first brush with city election officials over information, or lack of it. In 2008, she created her own website to post past election results – which, at the time, weren’t easily available from the commissioners. She paid $195 to buy the data from the commissioners, and she had it up on her website within an hour of receiving it.

“If we want more people to be engaged in Philadelphia’s civic life,” Schmidt said, “we have to provide the information necessary to do it.”


October 8, 2013

2013 Blues Festival

If you weren’t able to make it to our event this year, take a look at what you missed!

September 11, 2013

Please help us spread the word to parents, families and communities:

Visit today!

This new website is designed to help families identify a safe route to school if they have children attending one of the Philadelphia School District’s Receiving Schools.

Town Watch Integrated Services (TWIS) is also recruiting community members interested in volunteering on a regular basis throughout the school year as Safe Corridor Volunteers – trustworthy adults willing to be outside in the early morning and after-school hours keeping an eye out for children traveling to and from school.  For more information and to sign up, please visit


September 11, 2013

National Action Network Coming to Philly!

If you are concerned about education and our young people join National Action Network as they partner with Education for a Better America for a Higher Education Awareness, Dropout Prevention, and Health Initiative THIS Saturday, September 14th, 2013 starting at 10:30 am at the Community College of Philadelphia.

The event is FREE and open to the public and will include a fashion and talent show, workshops on health and wellness, breaking down the affordable care act, college and career readiness workshops, and an education town hall with local leaders. We even have free lunch for all who attend! Registration starts at 9:30 AM! Join us at the Community College of Philadelphia- 1700 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA.

Confirmed participants and speakers include: National Action Network President & Founder, Reverend Al Sharpton, National Action Network Executive Director Janaye Ingram, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, National Action Network Philadelphia chapter President Paula Peebles, Congressman Chakah Fattah and Philadelphia School Superintendent Dr. William Hite.

If you are concerned about safe and productive schools for the city of Philadelphia, want more information on the entire college admissions process and career development, health and wellness, Join us on Saturday, September 14th, 2013 and let your voices be heard! For more information and to pre- register, visit


Here is the link to the article about the upcoming event in Philadelphia:

Education for a Better America Initiative Seeks to Bolster Philadelphia Students During School Funding Crisis

The public education crisis in the city of Philadelphia is reaching a crescendo as the scheduled opening of the 2013-2014 school year on September 9 nears. Due to the school district’s 304 million dollar deficit, the School Reform Commission in Pennsylvania voted in March to close 23 schools in Philadelphia. Additionally, nearly 4,000 district employees including guidance counselors, teachers, assistant principals and other school based staff were given layoff notices. Adding insult to injury, the U.S. House of Representatives slashed $961 million from the education budget this Spring.

School District of Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite initially asked for the state for $60 million, the city for $120 million, and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers for $133 million in the form of various concessions in order to fill the $304 million shortfall. After months of intense negotiations and battles over the deficit, the city of Philadelphia recently announced that it would borrow an additional $50 million just to be able to open the schools at a bare minimum level of operation.

The situation amounts to the starvation of the Philadelphia School District to the severe detriment of children who had nothing to do with creating the problem. Aaron Kase asserted in a recent Salon piece that “the needs of children are secondary, however, to a right-wing governor in Tom Corbett who remains fixated on breaking the district in order to crush the teachers union and divert money to unproven experiments like vouchers and privately run charters. If the city’s children are left uneducated and impoverished among the smoldering wreckage of a broken school system, so be it.”

Philadelphia is ground zero for the battle over the funding of public education in the United States. A full funding plan for public education in the state of Pennsylvania is needed from the state’s government particularly for the city of Philadelphia. An emergency bailout plan for the Philadelphia School District is needed because the current race to the bottom is no longer acceptable. The state’s “cut your way to success” strategy is not tenable. The pie must be significantly expanded first at the state level through legislative action. The city, school district, and unions can then negotiate how to divide a pie that can adequately cover all of the Philadelphia’s education needs instead of the city’s children being forced to survive on crumbs.

The school district should not have to go to drastic measures just to meet bare minimum needs but the focus should be on closing the achievement gap, graduating college and career ready students, and attacking the city’s dropout crisis. Recent studies show that graduation rates in the city of Philadelphia have hovered between 50 and 60 percent over the past decade. The economic ripple effects of this dropout crisis are significant. The unemployment rate among individuals without a high school diploma is double the rate of those with a diploma and each dropout represents a $260,000 burden in lost earnings, taxes, and productivity according to the Alliance for Excellent Education.

In response to the city’s educational crisis, Education for a Better America (EBA) and National Action Network (NAN) will partner with the City of Philadelphia and Community College of Philadelphia to host a Higher Education Awareness, Dropout Prevention, and Health Initiative on September 14 from 10:30am to 4:00pm. The event will be held in the Great Hall on the campus of the Community College of Philadelphia. The day will feature workshops on college and career readiness, health and wellness, and breaking down the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as well as remarks from National Action Network President Reverend Al Sharpton, U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, and School District of Superintendent Dr. William Hite among others. There will also be a talent showcase and fashion show hosted by Sharpton Entertainment.

EBA Board President Dominique Sharpton stated that “the event is part of a nationwide endeavor to increase the pursuit of post-secondary education, increase civic engagement, prevent school dropouts, and promote health and wellness across the country. We want to help bring the community together to deal with the current education crisis. The city has great programs like ‘Get Healthy Philly’ and ‘Philly Goes to College’ that need to be maximized at a time like this.”

The event is especially critical in Philadelphia given that many schools will likely open on September 9 with no guidance counselors or staff to support dropout prevention or the college admissions and financial aid process. This is troubling given that a high school dropout out is twice as likely to be unemployed and the majority of new jobs that will be created over the next decade will require some type of post-secondary education. EBA’s Higher Education, Dropout Prevention, and Health Initiative, which will go to Compton, California onSeptember 28, serves as an opportunity to rise above politics and bolster the connection between communities, schools systems, and colleges in order to help close the opportunity gap in the United States.

September 11, 2013

‘Rhythm & Blues Festival’ gives back to community

steve and david







David Birts, left, of DB Productions with Steven Williams, Executive Director of The Partnership CDC

The Partnership CDC presents it Annual Rhythm & Blues Festival, taking place Sunday, Sept. 15, from 12 – 5 p.m. at the intersection of 40th and Market streets. The free event will benefit the ongoing programs of The Partnership CDC.

The afternoon will feature live music performances by Abstract Truth, Firestorm, DJ Kool B, Danielle “Sunny” Bryant, Black Collar Biz, Brianna Cash, Anna Moore, Jerome and Mr. Will. There will also be food, a classic car show, a Kid’s Carnival, a fashion show, “resources tables,” giveaways, health screenings, games, vendors and more.

“It’s like a give-back to the community,” said Steven Williams, executive director, The Partnership CDC. “We want to actually let people know what’s going on in the community — the different programs that we’ve been promoting over the life of our organization, and some of the new things we’re doing, from the housing development, from first-time homebuyer’s club, to financial literacy programs that we have. The ‘green’ programs, from aquaponic farming, to green roof installation — those [are the] type of services that we provide to get the information out to the community. And not only what we’re doing, but what other organizations are doing. We provide an opportunity for them to put resource tables to get information out.

“The Partnership CDC, we really try to partner with the community and other organizations. We don’t do everything. We can’t do everything. So the things we don’t do, we try to bring other partners in.”

Williams maintains that Rhythm & Blues is a popular vehicle for spreading their message and bringing out the community.

“It’s something that we inherited as an organization,” he said. “The board has always had a big love of jazz and R&B. It’s a genre of music that at one point, people thought was dying — that rap music was going to be it. But as we know, rap music has just incorporated those genres into it, and it still lives. It’s like when you’re making a gumbo. It’s one of the base things you have to have — Rhythm & Blues. And there’s a lot of local artists that come out of Philadelphia that we’d also like to give some airtime to.”

As a chief organizer and consultant for the “family-oriented” Rhythm & Blues Festival, David Birts encourages patrons citywide to come out, bring a chair and enjoy the festivities.

“I want the people to come out and support this organization, because they do a lot of valuable things in the community that no one knows about,” Birts said in conclusion. “So it’s very important that people come out and support it, and call them up and get involved in their programs in Southwest Philadelphia.”

For information on the event, including sponsorship, vendors and donations, call The Partnership CDC at (215) 662-1612.

September 4, 2013

After School Programs

Have you included After School Program registration on your back-to-school To Do list?

Sign up now for one of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s 80 After School Program sites city-wide,

and your child will enjoy structured activities ranging from fitness/sports training to art lessons to outdoor play and more!

after school program

August 28, 2013

Additional Funding for LIHEAP Recipients

The State Department of Welfare yesterday announced extra

funds will be doled out to eligible Pennsylvanians to help

with next winters’s heating cost. Each household that was

deemed eligible to receive a LIHEAP grant will also receive

a $200 supplemental cash payment in early September.

Consumers will this week receive letters informing them

of the extra funds

August 15, 2013

2013 Rhythm & Blues Festival

This year The Partnership CDC will celebrate their 21st anniversary at their Annual Rhythm & Blues Festival. This great event will kick off Sunday, September 15, 2013 from 12:00pm- 5:00pm on the 4000 block of Market Street.  The Rhythm & Blues FESTIVAL will consist of many spectacular activities for your entertainment pleasure.

The festival will feature live music highlighting some of Philadelphia’s premiere local talent, with bands such as, Firestorm, Abstract Truth, Anna Moore, Black Collar Biz, Brianna Cash, Jerome and Nira.  There will be a classic car and truck show by West Philly’s own, Billy Young & Gasoline Alley.  The Partnership CDC is also collaborating  with the Lupus Foundation to try to raise awareness for lupus, a widespread but misunderstood disease that has had a direct impact on this community.   The Purple Ribbon Fashion Show, being coordinated by Vonyale Williams, has a goal to raise $1,500 to donate towards research for the cure, in memory of her aunt (Gayle) and best friend (Kresslee).  You can donate directly to the Lupus Foundation by clicking on the following link :  

Children activities, community information, health screenings, vendors and much more will round out this years event.  This event is free to the public.





August 15, 2013

Philly Recycle Tour

REcycle Flyer for sept 7

August 12, 2013

2013 “National Night Out”


015Left to right:

Julia Chinn, Haddington Block Captain SAsso. President, Abdul Salaam, President, 60th Street West Market Street Business Association Oscar Young, Vice-President, 60th Street West Market Street Business Association, Tami Hansbury, Economic Development Coordinator for 60th Street, TPCDC, Don Cave, Director of Community Outreach for Senator Anthony H. Williams and Kazar, Neighborhood Volunteer


Paulette Adams, Director of Community Development for Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell Office, Nancy Winder, Community Resident and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell 






Rev Andre Stanton,  Revelations COGIC, Dwayne Drummond, Partnership CDC/NAS Advisory Board Member and Mantua Civil Asso. President