Monthly Archives: May 2014

May 21st | Posted In Policy

Lessons for Philly, Piled a Mile High

RK a mile high

The author, a mile high

The views and opinions expressed in this article of those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Young Involved Philadelphia. Young Involved Philadelphia is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information provided by the author of this article.

The satirical news blog, the Daily Currant, ran a piece back in January with the headline, “Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalization.” The article painted a picture of a city in chaos, with medical facilities overloaded with hapless pot abusers. ,As I’ve come to sadly expect, a number of readers didn’t realize the site was satirical, leading to – on my Facebook feed anyway – the usual hand-wringing paired with smug I-told-you-so’s.

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May 19th | Posted In Philadelphia

Why We Need to Vote


Philadelphia is in trouble. Buildings are collapsing, our education system is failing and we are the poorest big city in the United States. People are scrambling to find solutions and are quick to demand reform through our city’s literal and figurative infrastructure. As the public narrative goes, the solutions to these problems are completely out of the hands of the average citizen. We point the finger at the powers that be, our elected officials, union members and whatever demographic is different than our own, whether it is based on socioeconomic status, race or age.

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May 19th | Posted In Policy

#YoungPHLVotes – A Guide to the Ballot Questions – Question #2

Tuesday, May 20th is primary day, the day to pick your party’s candidates for the general election in November and elect smaller party positions, like committee person. There are also 3 ballot questions this year, and a special election to fill former Councilman Bill Green’s seat.  To help you make an informed decision, YIP is providing the pros and cons on the three ballot questions. For more information on the ballot questions, read The Inquirer’s coverage here.  The following review of Ballot Question #3 was written by YIP Board Member Mike Kaiser.

Ballot question #2: Do you think city subcontractors should receive a “living wage”?

Currently, the City of Philadelphia has a set standard that requires companies with city contracts must pay their workers 150 percent of the federal minimum wage. This comes out to $10.88 per hour.

However, if one of those companies with a city contract then hires a subcontractor, then they are not required to pay them the same $10.88 rate. Instead, they can pay them minimum wage.

Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. is the sponsor of this ballot that would extend the same wage standard to subcontractors.

Further reading:

May 19th | Posted In Policy

#YoungPHLVotes – A Guide to the Ballot Questions – Question #3

Tuesday, May 20th is primary day, the day to pick your party’s candidates for the general election in November and elect smaller party positions, like committee person. There are also 3 ballot questions this year, and a special election to fill former Councilman Bill Green’s seat.  To help you make an informed decision, YIP is providing the pros and cons on the three ballot questions. For more information on the ballot questions, read The Inquirer’s coverage here.  The following review of Ballot Question #3 was written by YIP Advocacy Committee member Nikki Allen.

Ballot Question #3 asks whether the Home Rule Charter should be amended to give City Council the authority to approve contracts for one year or less, worth $100,000 or more that involve the legal representation of Philadelphians who cannot afford an attorney in certain proceedings.

Background: One of the most commonly known legal rights are your Miranda rights – you know: “you have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.” To provide legal representation for Philadelphians who cannot afford an attorney, the City contracts with the Defender Association of Philadelphia, Community Legal Services and the Support for Child Advocates to provide such representation. However, if one of these organizations is already representing the opposing party in the case, the City must appoint an “outside” attorney.

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May 13th | Posted In Policy

You need to read tapped out

I don’t have much to say about the amazing series The Daily News is publishing this week, other than this: you absolutely need to read it.

Read it. Right now.

I’ve read enough psychology to know that humans are instinctually tribal. We constantly and subconsciously assess the world around us and place people into one of two buckets – like me or not like me. This distinction can fall along cultural, racial, political, gender, religion and socio-economic lines. But with some effort and understanding, we can overwhelm our inherent biases, these evolutionary leftovers from when human life was nasty, brutish and short. Today, many of us can see past race, religion, gender and ethnicity and see a “like me”.

But life is still nasty, brutish and short for those in abject poverty. When we see someone struggling – if we see them at all – most of us see a “not like me.” And when we make someone into the Other, they become easier to blame for the misfortunes that behalf them. And so what are misfortunes to us are consequences with them – bad luck becomes deserved results.

Understanding is the first step towards empathy.Reading this series can be a first step to overcoming this lingering bias.

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May 9th | Posted In Politics

Young Candidate Spotlight: Matthew Olesh

One in an occasional series highlighting young Philadelphians who are running for office.  Young Involved Philadelphia does not endorse any candidate for any office, and this post should not be considered an endorsement of or opposition to any candidate. But we do encourage all young Philadelphians to get more involved civically and politically in their city. To that end, we will occasionally profile young candidates and ask them how and why they decided to get involved.  

Name: Matthew Olesh

Running for: Democratic Committee Person for the 30th Ward, 14th Division (Graduate Hospital)

Why Philly?  I came here for law school and fell in love with the city. After living my life thinking I would begin my career in New York, I realized that Philadelphia was the perfect city for me. I met my wife at Penn and we decided to settle down here. We are very committed to city living and never want to leave. Philadelphia is a manageable city that offers so much in terms of culture, food, history…I could go on and on.

What do you do?  I am a commercial litigator at Fox Rothschild LLP. I handle a wide array of cases, including general business disputes, class actions, and white collar compliance and defense, to name a few. I am fortunate to have a diverse client base that includes some really great local businesses.

In addition, I helped to found and serve as an advisory director for the Friends of Chester Arthur, a non-profit organization that supports Chester A. Arthur School in Graduate Hospital.  We basically exist to support the school in any way we can, with the goal of helping strengthen it as a high-quality neighborhood public school for all kids in the catchment.

Why did you decide to run?  My wife and I have lived in our house since 2007.  Since that time, we have seen such wonderful progress in the neighborhood on so many fronts.  I want to help make sure that the positive momentum in the neighborhood continues.

Any advice for other young people considering a run for office?  I always like the saying that you should be the change you wish to see.  If you are dissatisfied with something or want to help make something better, don’t wait around for someone else to do it – get involved.

What kind of challenges have you faced?  Getting on the ballot itself is not a huge challenge, although there are certain rules you need to follow to ensure you do it correctly.  Right now, the biggest challenge is trying to connect with as many people in my division as possible.  I’d like to know what they think can be better and, if elected, I’d like to do whatever I can do improve upon those things.

What is it like being a young person in Philly politics?  So far, so good.  Ask me again in a few weeks if I win my race!

May 8th | Posted In Philadelphia

I Love Your Park and You Should Too


Have you ever taken a super cool picture of Boathouse Row at night, or gone for a jog along the Schuylkill Banks? Does your pup thoroughly enjoy romping around with the rest of the pack at Pretzel Park? Have you taken the long way home just to walk through one of the squares? Do you live the Secret Life of Fairmount Park? (We wont tell). You’ve gotten the gang together to for a game at Edgeley Field, haven’t you?

You probably said “yes” to at least one, if not all of those. (And if you didn’t, I’m terrible sorry about your tragic medical condition.)

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May 8th | Posted In Philadelphia, Politics

One infographic, all of the election issues

Check out this awesome info graphic from Jon Kostesich, a talented (at least we think so) graphic designer in Philly. Unless you are blind or illiterate, you now have no excuse to not know where the candidates stand.  If you ARE blind or illiterate, how the heck are you reading this right now?   governor

Check out Jon’s website

May 7th | Posted In Philadelphia, YIP

Check out YIP’s New Citizen’s Guide!



In case you haven’t heard, Young Involved Philadelphia is all about promoting an engaged, active citizenry. Like “Call me Maybe” circa Summer 2012, it’s totally our jam.

That’s why we’ve made this brand spanking new Citizen’s Guide. Check it out under our Resources tab. YIP’s Citizen Guide is a detailed compendium of online resources related to political and civic engagement in Philadelphia – use it to learn who your elected representatives are, who your local neighborhood associations are, how to join a Young Friends group or where to get your news. Basically, if you want to get more involved but aren’t sure how, it’ll point you in the right direction.

The Citizen’s Guide is brought to you by YIP’s Advocacy Committee – special thanks go to Samantha Pearson, Mike Thomas and Dave Laegen for putting together pretty much all of it. Kyron Banks and Curtis Blessing also deserve kudos.

Remember – this is a work in constant progress, so let us know if we missed something or have something wrong. Please keep in mind we can’t post everything up there – your local cornhole league ain’t gonna make the cut, bro – but we will try to respond to every legit request.

May 6th | Posted In Education

Philadelphia’s schools still need fixing

About a year ago, the board of Young Involved Philadelphia resolved to take a stand on the state of Philadelphia’s schools. We wrote this op-ed in the Inquirer. Last year, the budget deficit was $304 million. This year, Superintendent Hite is asking for $440 million.

If you want to understand how Philadelphia found itself in this God awful Groundhog’s Day scenario, our Public Education resource page has a presentation by Dr. Claire Robertson-Craft and Danielle Wolfe of PhillyCORE Leaders that does a wonderful job of explaining it all.

Millennials and a growing percentage of baby boomers prefer cities to the suburbs. Unlike our older siblings, who left Philadelphia for the Main Line when they had kids, millennials are more likely to find a different city with decent schools. Philadelphia’s failing schools don’t just threaten the city’s recent growth – it threatens to harm the entire region.

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May 6th | Posted In Trivia

Trivia Tuesday!

Isn’t quizzo the greatest?  Whether you are a New Deck purist who spells it with just one ‘z’, or prefer to win “adult” toys at a round of Kinky Quizzo, you can’t help but to love the thrill of being the only person at your table who knows who made that statue of William Penn on top of City Hall‡.

To celebrate my love of quizzo (which is one of the reasons #whyilovephilly), I give you a Philly-focused trivia question every Tuesday.  Answers after the jump.

This week’s trivia question: Today, I was talking with some YIPsters about somethings we’d change about Philly if we magically could. One of those things is our famously negative attitude – we really are a town constantly looking for something to fault. Perhaps no one suffers directly from this phenomena more than our pro athletes. For this week’s question, name the athlete who said this: “If you’re associated with the Philadelphia media or town, you look for negatives. I don’t know if there’s something about their upbringing or they have too many hoagies, or too much cream cheese.” And this: “Philadelphia is the only city where you can experience the thrill of victory and the agony of reading about it the next day.”

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