July 14, 2023

We begin this week by saying thank you to all the brave Harrisburg FD first responders who fought the tragic blaze at the city’s Broad Street Market early Monday morning. If ya have a little extra coin lying around, maybe send some to the Go Fund Me effort for all the displaced vendors and employees.

In very short order, it looks as though the nation’s screen actors, writers and UPS employees will all be on strike. This means that you should start looking at all of those shows you’ve been meaning to binge watch and cue them up. And stop ordering things online, which is otherwise known as descending into HELL. Maybe go outside this summer instead. #solidaritysummer

Speaking of actors, guess who is ready to make his return to the political ring in Pennsylvania? That’s right! Screen Actors Guild member, former state senator and Lt. Gov. Cadillac Mike Stack!

This week, Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tiebreaking vote in the Senate for a record 31st time.  We said this back in January: The Democrats’ margin in the Senate is measured from the top of Kamala’s head to the bottom of her trendy Adidas sneakers.

Does Pennsylvania have a budget or not? Yes. And no. Yes, the $45 billion spending plan was passed by both chambers, but no, it has not yet made it to the governor’s desk, because the two chambers of the General Assembly cannot agree on the operating manual that accompanies the budget (the code bills, to the cool kids.) At the heart of the disagreement sits a school voucher plan that is currently acting like a big stick someone stuck in your bicycle spokes when you were a kid (we will NEVER forgive Timmy Jenkins for that crap.) And so… we sit.

If you would like to know what that process sounded like to the ears of our perpetual jukebox, Mike Manzo, go here.

Pennsylvania pols often like to spend time pointing out everything that Philly does wrong (like they care.) So, it is only fair to illuminate this piece on how that city’s innovative landlord/tenant efforts have kept Philly’s eviction rates strikingly low. Good on ya, Philly. Like you care what we think.

Foot traffic in Philly’s Center City has also rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, with storefronts turning into actual stores again. The doom and gloom about the future of cities may have been a tad overblown.

And before we leave that Brotherly Love town, we give a shameless client plug to Rivers Casino, which is planning a new boutique hotel in Fishtown, one of the best neighborhood names in Pennsylvania behind only Squirrel Hill.

Forbes Magazine has named Pennsylvania one of the top places in the country for college graduates to land their first job. But we have been told this state is a hellscape for young adults, and they are leaving in droves. What gives? We want our hellscape back.

One problem on the horizon may just threaten that lofty ranking, sadly. The General Assembly failed to pass the state appropriations for Penn State, Pitt, Temple, and Lincoln before decamping Harrisburg, leaving thousands of students potentially holding a much larger tuition bag than they had hoped. We hope the spirit of bipartisan cooperation prevails.

Speaking of bipartisan cooperation, and because Triad is a bipartisan public affairs firm, each week (or biweekly, or whenever the mood strikes) we will attempt to bring to your attention an example of bipartisan cooperation, lest you believe it does not exist. First up, we have an editorial from Democrat Jared Solomon and Republican Marla Brown, urging their colleagues to open Pennsylvania’s primary elections to independent voters. This also happens to be a shameless client plug for our friends at BallotPA, which is nice too.

As if our state’s teacher shortage were not bad enough, we learned this week that our school principals are bolting from their jobs at an alarming rate, too. No matter what you may remember about your own principal, these folks have very tough jobs. And sending a little hellion to the principal’s office that has no principal in it isn’t gonna be much of a deterrent.

The legislature is very close to passing comprehensive probation reform, which is long overdue. We remain one of the few states where you can be sent back to prison repeatedly for things that are not against the law, which makes less than zero sense. Of course, before it becomes law, we will need to dispense with the usual voices screaming, “it doesn’t go far enough!” The perfect is always the enemy of the good.

Pennsylvania is about to bank a cool $1 billion from Uncle Sugar to help close the digital divide, which in this state is quite large. Plans are being made to deploy those dollars now, so get in line people.

With 2023 speeding by, it is never too early to give you a rundown on who might be running for the state’s Top Cop job, just in case you cared or were planning on committing a crime or something.  Anyway, here ya go, from our friends at City & State PA.

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to lovely Santa Cruz, where a particularly aggressive sea otter is stealing and eating surf boards. Theft and destruction of property aside, isn’t she freaking adorable?? We are kinda rooting for her! We have named her Samantha.

That’s what passes for news around here in sultry Harrisburg, where you can actually TASTE the air. Be back here next week or else! From all of us at Team Triad, have a great weekend!