Using Philadelphia as an example, this graphic compares the cost, both financial and societal, of education and incarceration. Designed by Jason Killinger for Maskar Design.
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Two Republican Pennsylvania state legislators said on Monday their proposals to declare English the official language of state government would be a unifying move that says “this is who we are.”
The proposal by Representative Scott Perry would declare that state government and municipal and school district business be conducted in English, and a similar bill introduced by Representative RoseMarie Swanger would apply only to state government.
The House State Government Committee held hearings last week, and the next step would likely be a committee vote on whether to send the bills to the full House. Both the House and Senate are controlled by Republicans.
“It’s a unifying action,” said Perry of York County in southeastern Pennsylvania. “The one thing that brings us together is our language.”
Swanger said she is concerned about the money spent printing government pamphlets and brochures in various languages and would prefer to see the money spent on teaching English courses.
She said her constituents originally raised the issue. “They just think we should make a statement,” she said. “This is who we are. This is what we speak.”
“I think we have been catering to outsiders very much,” she said.
Raul Gonzalez, legislative director of the National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy group, said: “These bills are a solution to a problem that does not exist.”
He said more than 90 percent of people in the United States speak English, including immigrants.
He called the measures “a political coal-mine canary,” saying if legislators can get such legislation passed, it would clear the way for anti-immigration measures.
“If you can’t pass this, then you can’t pass something (that) is more anti-immigrant,” he said.
(Reporting by Dave Warner; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton)
This is not going to be an unifying action. This will only divide us. Our lawmakers shouldn’t even be bothered with this. A waste of taxpayers money. Just because a person does not speak english does not mean they are not an American.
Members of Philly Riders Against Gender Exclusion (RAGE) descended upon 1234 Market Street Thursday morning to give SEPTA a little talking to. See, it’s been two years, they say, since SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey told them the problem of “Male” and “Female” identification stickers on weekly and monthly transpasses would soon be solved. And, well, not so much.
So, around 11am, five members of the group brought a cardboard cut-out of a SEPTA bus reading “Rage” and “Phillyrage.org” to SEPTA headquarters, to confront the Authority.
“Two years ago, they said SEPTA is not going to remove the gender stickers until SEPTA comes out with new technology,” RAGE member Max Ray told PW. “And he said it would take a year. And we said, ‘Are you saying within a year the gender stickers will be off our passes and we’ll all have the same one?’ And he said ‘yes.’”
To say that hasn’t yet materialized would be an understatement.
“Now it’s two years down the road and we’re hearing that it’ll be, if we’re lucky, three years before the new technology comes into play,” Ray said.
SEPTA began putting “Male” and “Female” stickers on its transpasses back in the 80s to eliminate fraud, mostly amongst families. It was found that men would take the train into the city for work using the pass, then hand it to their wives, who’d trek to Philly for weekend shopping. “It was to cut that down,” said Director of Public Affairs Richard Maloney, also at the protest. “Are we eliminating fraud all together? No. But we know we’ve cut back on it.”
Ray offered the story of a member citing an incident on the RAGE’s Facebook page, in which a transgender individual attempted to use a female pass. “But the driver thought I was too masculine to use my female pass,” said Ray, re-enacting the message. “And in the process of trying to use my female pass, everyone on the bus started looking at me and I could tell people were staring at my chest trying to figure out, ‘What are they? What are they?’”
And it’s not any driver’s fault, said Ray. That’s just SEPTA policy. It’s enforced by General Manager Joe Casey (whom they’ve somewhat passive-aggressively invited to become a member of RAGE) and voted upon by the Authority’s Board.
In an attempt to quiet RAGE’s rage, SEPTA established a hotline for Philadelphians to call if they feel discriminated against while on public transportation. “We haven’t had any calls,” said Maloney. “So, if we have individual issues, we will deal with that. We will not tolerate discrimination of any sort. We will follow up and investigate it. But that hasn’t been the case.”
But RAGE refuses to back down any time soon. The group plans a trip to have their voices heard in Harrisburg in mid-October and already have the support of Pennsylvania Rep. Babette Josephs and Senator Larry Farnese.
“Any time you’re saying there’s a group of Philadelphians whose safety is not important to us, that’s a discrimination issue,” said Ray. “SEPTA is being discriminatory to us and we’re going to continue to make this a front burner issue.”
Sheetz a fake and nasty WaWa
Submitted by Anonymous.