ICYMI, election edition.
The most important Tuesday (until next election)
Is it just me, or has this election season seemed longer than usual? Either way, the big day is almost upon us. Here’s the latest coverage you need to make an informed decision.
Newsworks takes a look at Republican incumbent Pat Toomey and Democratic challenger Katie McGinty, and checks in with an under-represented constituency: the working poor.
Here’s the big question of the 2016 election: is the system rigged? Yes, but not in the way you think. We visited some of the most gerrymandered districts in the state — and have a little refresher on the term, in case Civics wasn’t your best class in high school.
The Pennsylvania GOP is one of those entities worried about election rigging. They wanted poll watchers to be allowed to cross county lines, saying there aren’t enough Republicans to keep an eye on Philadelphia. This week, the state Supreme Court struck down that request.
The lack of Republicans in Philadelphia may have a lot to do with political self-segregation. The New York Times Upshot blog found that your “ideal community” has as much to do with your political views as it does with other factors. Just one example of this sorting can be found at a food pantry in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia, where voters are “aghast” at Donald Trump.
The owners of Yuengling, the Pennsylvania-based brewery, are anything but aghast with the Republican nominee. But the company’s endorsement of the candidate has shown why politics and business don’t mix as well as a Yuengling and a shot.
According to a poll from Franklin and Marshall University, Donald Trump is lagging behind Hillary Clinton by 11 points. The Keystone State doesn’t have early voting, but many absentee ballots have already been sent in.
Can you change your mind once you’ve sent in your absentee ballot? Yes, but you’ll have to come to your polling place in person. Which would make you a non-absentee.
Fun with funding
Pennsylvania will soon be getting millions of dollars to fight blight, thanks to a a new $15 deed and mortgage recording fee.
The Reading Viaduct project, in Philadelphia, is finally underway. Funding for the linear rail park renovation was held up by the legislative budget impasse last year, but now that money is flowing, the community-supported park will get the attention many Philadelphians think it deserves.
For low-income Pennsylvanians who struggle to pay heating bills over the winter, there is relief in the form of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The application period opened this week.
The Scranton School District is starting to work with businesses and local groups to raise money and provide opportunities for the students. We’ve created a tool that lets you see how enrollment and per-pupil funding has changed for districts, like the Scranton School District, over the years.
Leaders in lead
As we’ve reported, Pennsylvania has long struggled with high levels of lead poisoning, particularly in cities. That’s mostly due to lead paint in older homes. But lead pipes can also be a cause of toxicity, as we saw this summer in Flint, Michigan.
Philadelphia is under fire after a Philly.com report revealed the city ignored thousands of children suffering from lead poisoning.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency has decided to upgrade it’s rules about protecting lead pipes from corrosion. It’ll be a long process, with no changes expected before 2017, but could help anticipate and prevent future water contamination.
Grapple is back!
The return of Grapple has been as eagerly anticipated as a World Series win by the Chicago Cubs. This week, you get both!
This week on Grapple, we go to the Hazlewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh. It’s physically isolated from the city and has struggled over the years. But now there’s development, revitalization and urban improvement on the horizon. Look back at what the neighborhood once was, and what it could one day be.
And then we talk gentrification with Jackelyn Hwang, a sociologist studying at Princeton University.
What a week, gentrification and gerrymandering all at once!