Lilac Philly

Monthly News: January

By Lilac Newsletter Team, Jan. 22, 2020
No war with Iran!
No war with Iran!

No war with Iran!

On January 3rd, 2020, the US assassinated ten Iraqi and Iranian officials on Iraqi soil including Major General Qassem Soleimani, the second most important person in Iran. Iran has been a target of U.S. imperialism for decades starting with the 1953 coup and following up with support for Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War. Recently the Trump administration has been deliberately tanking US-Iranian relations and the recent assassinations have taken us to the brink of war. Iraq has asked the United States withdraw its troops from the country but the State Department has refused.

On January 4th, Lilac co-hosted a rally against US imperialism and intervention in Iran, but the fight isn’t over yet! We’ll be hitting the streets again on January 25th.

Rent Control Canvasses

Lilac is working with Philadelphia Tenants Union to get signatures for a rent control bill that will be introduced to City Council later this year. Come on out to our next canvases!

Other Upcoming Events

Help Wanted (reach out here if interested)

  • Housing is looking for people to do data entry of their petition signers, and to help out with follow up emails.
  • Housing is also developing a flyer for our rent control canvasses. We’re looking for anyone who is experienced or interested in graphic design who can help out.

Working Group Updates

Housing Working Group

  • Rent Control: Along with the canvasses mentioned above, we will be meeting with the Rent Control Coalition on January 23rd.
  • Housing Coop: The next housing coop meeting will be on January 30th. For more information, contact Sam Schwartz at samueleschwartz@gmail.com.

Electoral Working Group

  • Bernie Delegate Training: We sponsored a training on how to run as a delegate to the Democratic Primary with Philly for Bernie. We’ll be organizing a petition signing event to ensure candidates have the smoothest possible process.
  • State Legislative Elections: We are currently drafting a candidate questionnaire for state legislative candidates.

Political Education Working Group

Local News Summaries and Links

  • Norris Square in Kensington, a mostly Puerto Rican neighborhood, is being aggressively gentrified because President Trump’s 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act allows developers who invest in “opportunity zones” in “distressed communities” to avoid federal taxes and delay capital gains taxes. As a result, developers are building upscale residences, while long-time residents deal with the environmental degradation caused by the construction.  
  • In the continuing saga of Philadelphia’s public schools, the McClure and Carnell Schools are still closed because of exposed asbestos [Lea en Español]. Six public schools have been closed for asbestos removal since September. State Senator Vincent Hughes has called on the state to use its $300 million “Rainy Day Fund” to fix up some of the buildings.
  • In other school district news, the mayor has begun the process of appointing a new school board to a four-year term, and this time the new City Council will have a say in the process. The school board is the body that handles administration, management, and operations of the school district.
  • Philadelphia workers made gains in 2019, but 2020 presents new challenges: Philadelphia International Airport’s lease agreements with airlines will expire and a new lease—that could include provisions that contractors pay higher wages and better benefits to the airport’s service workers—will be negotiated. Also, the Office of Labor, a resource for workers whose rights have been violated, may become permanent, and criminal justice advocates will struggle to be a part of negotiations for the next police contract.
  • As a result of Mayor Kenney’s (slow-as-molasses) Rebuild initiative to invest in our public recreation centers and parks, the Trust for Public Land has upgraded our city’s park's ranking to 19th best in the nation. Although not directly related to the park system, Philadelphia’s tree canopy has declined by 6% since 2008, and tree shade is one of the most effective ways to mitigate the heat island effect. Heat islands are strongly correlated with low neighborhood income and come with a number of negative effects like increased AC costs and aggravation of medical issues like asthma. The city government has plans to increase the city’s tree cover from 20% to 30% over the next ten years through its new Future of the Urban Forest program to be run by the Department of Parks and Recreation, but will it be enough and will it help the people who need it most?  
  • Nikil Saval, the author, long-time labor activist, and co-founder of Reclaim Philadelphia, has launched his bid to unseat State Senator Larry Farnese in Pennsylvania’s First State Senate District in the Democratic primary on April 28th, 2020. As part of his platform, he is calling for rent stabilization, a Green New Deal for the state, and a just economy for all.

Solidarity,

The Lilac Newsletter Group