Philadelphia

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Online Petition Drive - Support the Winchester Tenants

I'm working with the Philly Socialists Solidarity Network in West Philadelphia and a group of tenants of the Winchester apartment building to put pressure on the landlord to follow the law, uphold Quaker values, and to treat the tenants as equal human beings who deserve quality affordable housing.

Please sign the petition. Please forward it to any Quakers whom you might know.

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Philly Socialists - Solidarity Network Fights for Fair Housing

I'm a member of the four person organizing committee for the West Philly Socialists.

We have two projects. One is a free GED tutoring program that we're running at a local library on 52nd. The goal is to demonstrate our support for quality public education and to provide a direct remedy to shortcomings in the underfunded public school system (while we also take other actions - like joining a recent protest of the School Reform Commission's decision to cancel the teacher's contract).

The project that I'm most involved is the Solidarity Network. It is based on the Seattle Solidarity Network.

Currently we're on our second fight. We're fighting for a tenant who wants adequate heat, proper maintenance (hole in their ceiling fixed), pest control (flies and bed bugs), and respect for their trans gender identity.

Mapping Philadelphia House Prices

I made a map of Philadelphia housing prices using the 2014 property assessment data. I use value per square foot as the best indicator of housing quality and demand. If you use total property value - you get large differences that are due to property size. For instance, single family properties vary from 600 sq feet to 3000+.



Mapping Homestead Exemption Applications in Philly and Working Towards Socialism

An estimated 30% of Philadelphia residents have not applied for the homestead exemption which exempts the first $30,000 of a homeowner's property value from taxation. This can save you $402/year if you get the full exemption. The city created this program to take some of the bite out of the property re-assessment (Actual Value Initiative) which increased residential taxes and decreased taxes for the large commercial properties.

Justice Map - West Philadelphia

A map of percent black in West Philadelphia from JusticeMap.org.
Block level resolution.



(Larger)

Philadelphia Gentrification Relief for Who?

Philadelphia's proposed $20 million/year of gentrification property tax relief fails to target the most deserving low-income residents and may even increase the regressiveness of the local tax system.

Privatizing Philadelphia Gas Works: Pros and Cons

Mayor Nutter wants to privatize Philadelphia Gas Works - the city's gas utility. Probably not because he cares about public/private ownership, but he is out for the quick buck for civic revenue.

Now there are some fairly obvious reasons to oppose this as it is an attack on labor, the public sector, and may lead to significant increases in gas prices.

However what most progressive people aren't considering is that the city shouldn't be in the business of providing gas. We shouldn't be profiting from environmental destruction - we should be transitioning to a gas-free future.

Saving the Philadelphia Public Schools - Brainstorm

Here is a brainstorm of ambitious ideas for saving the Philadelphia public schools. As this is a brainstorm some of the ideas are very stupid (see the toxic dumps), and many of them wouldn't stand up in our unjust courts -- but the goal is to provoke better ideas.

1. Protest in Lower Merion Township or another school district that spends 80-100% more per student than Philadelphia.

2. Nutter and city council should publicly support a drive to unionize the charter schools.

3. Refuse every request by charter schools for zoning variances.

Philadelphia AVI - Crosstown Coalition of Taxpayers Report

The Crosstown Coalition of Taxpayers has released a report finding that the Actual Valuation is a flawed initiative.

As a result of the efforts of the Coalition and the Controller's Office the city council has decided to audit the AVI for accuracy.

The findings of the Coalition's report are mostly similar to that of the Controller's office - which isn't surprising as they used the same data.

Philadelphia Property Tax - Two Different Stories

There are currently two very different views regarding what is going on with the Philadelphia property tax reform Actual Value Initiative (AVI). At stake is the largest tax reform in recent Philadelphia history and hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Office of Property Assessment and local real-estate expert Kevin Gillen argue that the new assessments are more accurate and more progressive than the old ones.

The Controller's Office argues that new assessments are less accurate and less progressive than the old ones.

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