Day 1 and You Are There

Day 1 started with the news that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was booed by her own delegation at the Florida breakfast. Not dissuaded, I tried to take SEPTA into Philadelphia, but because of the heat, there were long delays (beyond the already abbreviated schedule), and so I took my very first Uber ride. It was delightful.

Photo Jul 25, 10 53 12 AMThe logistics of the Philly convention are somewhat challenging. The morning starts for all of the delegates at 7 a.m. when they need to pick up their credentials for the day at their hotels, some of which are 30 miles from the city. For the rest of us needing daily credentials, the day starts at the Philadelphia Convention Center (PCC), where people are milling about and attending meetings, caucuses and training sessions.

Ralph Rodland, DNC delegate.

Ralph Rodland, DNC delegate.

The first person I met today was a Hillary delegate from North Carolina,  Ralph Rodland. We had a fantastic chat about House Bill 2, North Carolina’s infamous “bathroom bill,” requiring individuals to use public restrooms that correspond to the gender on their birth certificates. Rodland believes that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s days are numbered. Although he is thrilled to be here as a Hillary delegate, Rodland did ask whether it was always this hot in Philly, since it’s actually cooler and less humid back home in North Carolina right now.

Then it was time to get on the media bus and go down to scope out the arena. Although the city is much less closed off than it was when the pope visited last year, it was still a long walk from the drop-off point to the arena. For those not familiar with Philly, it’s less of an arena and more of a conglomeration of multiple sports facilities. If you know my knowledge of sports, you know I don’t know who plays what where, but I’m sure someone will tell me. Again.

One of the first things I scoped out was the part of the convention no one really shows you. Below are some pictures of where the work actually gets accomplished.

All food in the stadiums is owned and operated by Aramark. It’s a monopoly, which is how they charge $4.50 for a 16.9 ounce bottle of Aquafina tap water.

All food in the stadiums is owned and operated by Aramark. It’s a monopoly, which is how they charge $4.50 for a 16.9 ounce bottle of Aquafina tap water.

Okay, enough of that. Let’s go upstairs. Facebook has a nice lounge where it is possible to sit, tweet, and hey, post to Facebook. One of the nicest things is that the lounge is filled with charging stations, all of which have multiple options for various electronics. A few charging areas are also stationed around the arena, and all are brought to you courtesy of AT&T. Twitter has a table too. Both places have tons of swag.

I tweeted out pictures of the arena all decked out, and posted some to Facebook. The real excitement happened when the gavel came down. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake replaced Rep. Wasserman Schultz in presiding over the opening ceremonies, and was cheered when she came out — possibly because some people were surprised. She was poised and did a good job speaking, and then realized, she didn’t have the gavel. She got it, banged it, and the place went wild. Then, the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale gave the invocation, and the train came off the rails. Everything was okay until she said “…and we are here to select Hillary Clinton as our nominee for president of the United States.” The booing was louder than the yays. That was a theme for a while. Everything was fine until Clinton, or Clinton and Kaine, were cited as the nominees prior to names being entered into nomination or the vote being taken.

When Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) took over as head of the convention, she tolerated the booing for a while. And then, she let loose, chastising the audience. It was not our finest hour.

State Senator Andy Dinniman.

State Senator Andy Dinniman.

I decided to take a walk, and ran into my state senator, Andy Dinniman. There’s something really heartwarming about talking to your elected official who knows you — where you live, what you do — no need for an aide to hand him a file card. Andy is a great guy who fights tirelessly for “the right thing” for our community, and amongst the noise and the politics, it was fantastic to talk to someone who, day after day, does the work of government in a way that is decent and worthwhile.

Finally it was time to call it a day. The arena was getting overcrowded, on a day when the heat index hit 108. Walking across the security zone, I ran into John Fetterman, mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, and former candidate for U.S. Senate.  We talked about meeting at Netroots Nation back in 2009, his campaign this year, his former opponent Katie McGinty, and the work he is still doing every day in Braddock. Again, a public servant who, day in and day out, works tirelessly for his people.

John Fetterman, mayor of Braddock, PA. and former candidate for U.S. Senate.

John Fetterman, mayor of Braddock, PA. and former candidate for U.S. Senate.

There’s a lot of fun in politics, a lot of intrigue, a lot that’s sexy. But people like John and Andy understand that politics is poetry and governance is prose. It’s not just getting elected; it’s working for the good of one’s constituency.

Tomorrow, I’ll be downtown all day attending various seminars, lectures and meet-and-greets. I’ll be tweeting and Facebooking all day, and will have a wrap-up in the evening.

#DNC Second Night Program Tuesday, 7/26


President Bill Clinton. Photo: Timothy K. Hamilton.

People on the program for Tuesday night include President Bill Clinton,  Actress Meryl Streep, and performer Alicia Keys. Earlier in the evening House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer are among the many speakers.

Twitter and CBSN are partnering to provide live streaming of the DNC over the Internet. Our reporters from the Philadelphia Jewish Voice will be on Twitter at @pjvoice. Other networks are on Facebook. PBS will also provide full coverage. The major networks will have special DNC reports from 10 PM to 11 PM each evening of the Convention.

The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) announced the program for the second day of the Democratic National Convention being held in Philadelphia from July 25 to July 28.

In Philadelphia, Democrats are laying out the clear stakes in this election – a choice between building walls and tearing people down or an optimistic unifying vision where everyone has a role to play in building our future.

Bill Clinton at DNC

Bill Clinton at DNC:”Hillary is the best darn change maker…”

On Tuesday night, Democrats will highlight Hillary Clinton’s lifetime of fighting for children and families. No matter the odds, Hillary has spent her life fighting for children, families and those who have been forgotten and left behind. And she has a long record of getting things done and delivering results. She’s a change maker, who looks for ways to make a difference in people’s lives every day.

The program is listed below:

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM (EDT)

Call to Order
U.S. Representative and Convention Chair Marcia Fudge

Dr. Ima Sherman Jackson

Presentation of Colors
Colonel Charles Young
American Legion Post 682

Pledge of Allegiance
Mallory Weggemann

National Anthem
Timmy Kelly
Timmy Kelly is from Pennsylvania and sang the National Anthem at the campaign launch in New York.

Former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin
Senator Harkin will speak on the 26th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law he wrote and helped pass.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes

5:00 – 7:00 PM (EDT)

Nominating Speeches and Roll Call Vote

Governor Terry McAuliffe

7:00 – 10:00 PM (EDT)

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Women of the House

Remarks introducing Video Message
Former State Senator Jason Carter

Video Message from President Jimmy Carter

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer

Host for the evening: Actress Elizabeth Banks


Thaddeus Desmond
Thaddeus is a child advocate social worker in Philadelphia

Dynah Haubert
Dynah is a lawyer who works for a disability rights organization

Kate Burdick
Kate is a staff attorney at the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia

Anton Moore
Anton founded and runs a non-profit community group that strives to bring awareness and educate youth on gun violence

Dustin Parsons
Dustin is a 5th grade teacher in Arkansas

Daniele Mellott
Daniele and Mark Mellott’s adoption of their son was made possible through the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act that Hillary championed as First Lady.

Jelani Freeman
Jelani grew up in foster care and is a former intern in Hillary Clinton’s Senate office. Since receiving his law degree, he has worked to bring opportunity to kids at risk.

Democratic National Committee Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation Donna Brazile

Eagle Academy Principal and Students
As a senator, Hillary Clinton supported the creation of the Eagle Academy to educate at-risk youth in New York City.


Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Pittsburgh Chief of Police Cameron McLay

Actor Tony Goldwyn

Mothers of the Movement
Sybrina Fulton, Geneva Reed-Veal, Lucy McBath, Gwen Carr, Cleopatra Pendelton, Maria Hamilton, Lezley McSpadden, and Wanda Johnson

Andra Day


President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund Cecile Richards

Actresses America Fererra and Lena Dunham

Mayor of Columbia (SC) Steve Benjamin

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

Introduction by Actress Debra Messing

Joe Sweeney
Joe was a detective with the NYPD on September 11, 2001. When the towers were hit, he rushed down to the World Trade Center and began digging through the rubble for survivors.

Lauren Manning
Lauren spent more than 6 months in the hospital after 9/11 recovering from severe burns. As senator, Hillary Clinton helped Lauren get the care she needed.Remarks
U.S. Representative Joseph CrowleyFIGHTS OF HER LIFE: HEALTH CAREIntroduction of Speaker
Actress Erika AlexanderRemarks
Ryan Moore
Ryan has spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia dwarfism and has known Hillary Clinton since 1994 when they met during the fight for health care reform. Ryan has stayed in contact with Hillary ever since.Remarks
Former Governor of Vermont Howard DeanFIGHTS OF HER LIFE: SECRETARY OF STATE

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar

Ima Matul
Sex Trafficking Survivor & Advocate

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

10:00 – 11:00 PM (EDT)

President Bill Clinton

Introduction of Film
Actress Meryl Streep

Alicia Keys


Live Blog: The Democratic National Convention Begins

The Philadelphia Jewish Voice is on site this week at the Democratic National Convention. Publisher Dan Loeb, President Bonnie Squires, Vice President Ken Myers and writer Jessica Weingarten will be providing reports, photos and updates. Follow below from most recent to earliest.

Please refresh this page frequently or follow our twitter feed for updated content.
[Read more…]

Commute to the #DNC by Bike and Bus

bike-to-work-bicycle-coalition-900vpThe Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia urges Regional Rail riders to utilize bicycles in combination with available public transit to get to their destinations. This will be especially true during the Philadelphia Democratic National Convention, since SEPTA forecasts that repairs of defective regional rail cars will be ongoing, resulting in crowding and delays. [Read more…]

Lessons for Democrats from the RNC

RNC 2016The most important takeaway is that the GOP is now Donald Trump’s party. This may seem minor, but it’s critical to understanding what will be necessary for the upcoming general election cycle: the rules are different.

You may have noticed that the mainstream media referred to the Republican National Convention as “Donald Trump’s Convention” instead of “The Republican Convention” or “The RNC Convention.” Next week is not “Hillary Clinton’s Convention” — it is “The Democratic National Convention.” No convention has ever before been personalized this way. The importance relates to how the cycle will be covered, and intimates that Donald will continue to be covered differently from anyone ever.

Note that the first night of the convention, while the mother of a soldier lost in Benghazi was speaking, Donald called into Fox, and they preempted her speech to speak with him.

Zachary Taylor, People's Candidate for President and Millard Fillmore, Whig Candidate for Vice-President (N. Currier, June 1848)

Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore, Whig Candidates for for President and Vice President, respectively. (N. Currier, June 1848)

A cautionary tale for the party comes from more than 150 years ago. Read about Zachary Taylor. Seriously, read the link. Read it now. It’s really important.

Welcome back. Now you know the future.

Plagiarism is not a big deal to the Trump campaign.

I don’t blame Melania. She read off a teleprompter. She’s likely done very little, if any, public speaking and thus the speechwriters had nothing to work from relative to inclusions or tone.

But they could have Googled the speech, line by line, to check it. Plagiarism will get you tossed out of school: it’s a big deal. Intellectual property still matters.

The campaign is too green, too unprofessional to know any better. Then they spent 38 hours being unable to answer properly to the problem. Finally, they blamed an employee of the Trump organization.

If she was the one who wrote the speech, and she did it on company time, that’s an FEC violation. Campaigns cannot commingle monies or paid personnel between a company and the campaign, nor political offices and the campaign.

Speaking of breaking laws…

New Hampshire State Representative Al Baldasaro said in an interview that Hillary Clinton “should be put on the firing line and shot for treason.” The Secret Service is investigating. Baldasaro is a veterans’ adviser to Donald, who in no way distanced himself from the quote.

There was a lot of Hillary bashing at the RNC, and very little “Donald-is-good-because-XYZ” (except from his kids!!!) or “I support Donald because he stands for ABC.” The crowd in the arena, who are his voters, loved it.  Going forward, this means they’re for him, not his positions, nor his actions. It doesn’t matter to them, which makes our job that much harder.

Ted Cruz isn’t coming around.

Ted Cruz spoke, didn’t endorse, and was booed. More importantly, Ken Cuccinelli had to walk Heidi Cruz off the floor because she was in danger of being physically assaulted. Shows you what kind of people are Trump supporters.

Only 23 people were arrested.

There are 5,500 law enforcement types around the convention, but only 23 people were arrested. This compares to the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia where over 300 people were arrested. This is probably due to the huge security area around the arena keeping people far away from cameras.

What does this all mean?

First, the Democrats are not running against the Republicans; they are running against Zachary Taylor, and that didn’t work well for the good guys. (Except Millard Fillmore, who was a terrible president, but great in many other regards.)

It means every Jill Stein defection is a vote for Donald Trump.

It means they need to campaign differently up and down the ballot.

It means “I’m too busy” is not a valid excuse this September, October and November.

It means someone with no interest in running the country will end up running the country after having campaigned on no platform other than banning Muslims and building a wall.

Rep. Mark Cohen: Looking Toward the Democratic Convention

Rep. Mark Cohen

Rep. Mark Cohen

Looking ahead to the Democratic National Convention (DNC) next week in Philadelphia, we interviewed Rep. Mark Cohen, a delegate and a high political official. Cohen is a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from District 202 in Philadelphia. Having served in the House for 43 years, he holds the record for longest-serving state House member in Pennsylvania history. He also holds important positions, including chair of the vital House State Government Committee. [Read more…]

The Politics of Transportation for the #DNC

PhiladelphiaWelcome to Philadelphia. We actually threw snowballs at Santa Claus. We’re the fifth rudest city in America. Our foods are cheesesteaks and soft pretzels. It’s Philly. But we worked hard to get the DNC here, and we should be trying to put our best foot forward. But, as I said, it’s Philly. [Read more…]

What You Need to Know for the #DNC

If you haven’t seen it yet, also check out Things To Do During DNC (Even if You aren’t Credentialed).

The information below was provided by the Philadelphia Host Committee of the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC).

The DNC Host Committee wants to ensure that the public has as much information as possible about all the fun things to do around town during the DNC, as well as logistical information on what to expect during Convention Week. Here’s what you need to know:

Photo by Bruce Benjamin

Photo by Bruce Benjamin


When is the convention? When do we expect convention attendees to arrive and leave?
The Democratic National Convention begins Monday, July 25, and ends Thursday evening, July 28. Attendees will arrive as soon as Friday, July 22, and leave by Friday, July 29.

Where does the convention take place?
The convention takes place at the Wells Fargo Center in the evening hours, typically from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. There will be smaller caucus and council meetings during work hours at the Pennsylvania Convention Center as well.

How many people are coming to Philadelphia for the convention?
The city expects approximately 50,000 convention participants, including delegates, media and other attendees.

During the DNC, are there any changes to trash and recycling pickup, court hours, jury duty, city employee work schedules or any municipal services?
At this time, all city services are expected to operate as scheduled. If that changes, the information will be available on the city’s DNC webpage.

Will police and fire services be affected due to re-assignment of first responders?
Philadelphia Police, Philadelphia Fire and EMS services will not be impacted by the DNC.

Will highways or streets be closed during the DNC?
There will be traffic restrictions around the sports complex. At this time, we do not anticipate extended road or highway closures in Center City and other areas outside of the Stadium District. There may be rolling closures due to dignitary movements or protests. Before you leave the house, we encourage you to check the the city’s convention webpage and to check @PhiladelphiaGov for any traffic news.

How can the public be aware if large demonstrations are going to affect them?
Planned permitted demonstrations that impact traffic or require road closures will be included on the city website road closure page, and updates provided via social media. For more information, visit the city’s convention webpage and also follow @PhiladelphiaGov. Demonstrations that deviate from the planned route or do not have a permit will be updated via social media. Follow @PhillyPolice and @PhiladelphiaGov.

Will any SEPTA routes change during the DNC?
Additional service along the Broad Street Line (BSL) will be added during the convention. Travelers should expect crowds on public transit similar to sporting events when convention programming begins and ends. While the convention’s full schedule has not yet been released, historically sessions have begun at 5 p.m. and concluded at 11 p.m.

Transit riders can sign up for SEPTA alerts regarding system delays and service disruptions through the city’s mass notification system, ReadyPhiladelphia. SEPTA also offers information through its website and on Twitter.

Will there be special parking or towing restrictions?
There will be some parking or towing restrictions, though we do not expect them to be nearly as extensive as they were during last year’s papal visit. Before the weekend of July 23, and throughout the week of the DNC, please be sure to check the street signs near where you normally park each day to ensure there are no temporary parking restrictions.

Will the city allow camping?
Because of the resources needed to manage the convention, no permits will be issued for camping.

Will it be difficult to go out during the convention? Will restaurants have available seating?
Because the convention historically takes place from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. each evening, Center City and other area dining destinations should have open tables, especially during dinner hours, should you want to take advantage of them.

Can I get into the Wells Fargo Center if I am not a credentialed media member or delegate? Can anyone attend the convention?
Only those who are credentialed have access inside the Wells Fargo Center, which include media, delegates, politicians and volunteers. However, the smaller councils and caucus meetings which take place during the day at the Pennsylvania Convention Center are open to the public.

How can I participate in the DNC?
There are a number of fun convention-related events happening around town for the public, even if you’re not interested in politics. For more information and a list of events, go to the 2016 Philadelphia Host Committee website.

What if I have questions that aren’t answered here?
We encourage you to first go to the city’s DNC webpage . If your questions aren’t answered there, you can always call 311 for non-emergencies. The week of the convention, 311 will have extended hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

You Don’t Want to Miss the Fun Events Open to the Public During the DNC!
In an effort to encourage residents to stay in town and enjoy all that the convention has to offer, the Host Committee has organized a number of fun events open to the public, including:

  • Donkeys Around Town
    July 1 – September 9
    Philadelphia is showcasing 57 fiberglass donkeys throughout the city in publicly accessible locations. Each donkey is uniquely painted by a local artist to represent a Democratic delegation. Participate in the free app-based scavenger hunt from July 21 – 28 to win prizes, including a two-night stay in Philadelphia. Learn more about “Donkeys Around Town” at the Host Committee website. Share your experiences and follow the donkeys at #DonkeysAroundTown.
  • PoliticalFest
    July 22 – 27, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily
    A one-of-a-kind festival for all ages celebrating political history, government and the road to the White House. Check out PoliticalFest for more details and to purchase tickets. (#PoliticalFest)
  • DNC Deals Program
    July 25 – 28
    Local restaurants, bars and stores across the area will offer deals on food, beverages and clothing for all to take advantage of during Convention Week. Search #DNCDeals for updates on all participating deals.
  • Philly Feast: United We Eat
    July 25, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., 3rd and Arch Streets
    Visit Old City for a diverse line-up of locally based food trucks, live music and retail vendors. Philly Feast will bring together convention guests, volunteers and Philadelphia residents on the first day of the convention. For more information, go to Philly Feast or search #PhillyFeast.
  • Center City Sips
    July 27, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., various locations
    Philly’s biggest ever citywide happy hour. Begin your Sips experience at Dilworth Plaza, Comcast Plaza, or Commerce Square at 5 p.m., and continue your evening at other locations throughout the city. Learn more about City Sips and also check for updates by searching #CCDSips or #DNCDontMissThis.
  • Watch Parties
    Local bars, restaurants and venues with TVs throughout the city will hold watch parties as the Democratic candidate for president formally accepts the nomination. For where to watch and for any specials, visit the Host Committee website and also search #DNCDontMissThis.

Stay Up-to-Date on What’s Going on in Philadelphia During the Convention
For updates on all of the Host Committee’s activities, be sure to follow us on social media and use our hashtags:

Twitter: @PHLDNC2016
Facebook: Philadelphia 2016
Instagram: @phldnc2016
Blog: Philly DNC blog