After so many days of truly stunning opinions and analyses of what happened in Charlottesville – and the ramifications of both the chaos of the weekend and the broken moral compass in the White House – there isn’t much call for another op-ed at this point.
Instead, let’s focus on how some of the biggest losers of the past week are long dead. The statues of Confederate leaders have become the flashpoints and rallying cries their commissioners always intended them to be – but with the unintended consequences of uniting both those that these proto-Nazis would subjugate and those that can eradicate these symbols of defeat and division.
Where that leaves another deceased loser in the Charlottesville aftermath is still very much open to debate. Former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo, who continues to polarize decades after his death, is now Topic A in Philadelphia for which monuments should be toppled next. Although the Rizzo statue in front of the Municipal Services Building – and opposite City Hall – has been protested before, this time feels different, especially given the relative openness of Mayor Kenney’s administration to discuss the issue. There are substantive, compelling arguments to be made for moving the statue; but defacing it with graffiti only weakens them.
Public school students and teachers: It’s not enough to make up for the fact that they’ll be going back to school in two weeks, but Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement that the PA Department of Education will be reducing the amount of time spent on the PSSAs – the standardized tests that have cannibalized classroom time from actual learning for years – is welcome news.
Josh Shapiro: Continuing in the good academic news vein, the AG proposed a $6.7 million settlement with the defunct investment firm holding the educational debt of for-profit colleges like the notorious Corinthian Colleges. If agreed upon, it would free some 1,200 Pennsylvania residents from their debts incurred by enrolling in those institutions.
Teresa Miller: The commonwealth’s insurance commissioner was named acting Human Services secretary, putting her in charge of a 17,000-employee department with a budget in the tens of billions and in the crosshairs of numerous planned reductions by the Trump administration.
Daryl Metcalfe: In the aftermath of President Trump’s equivocation on condemning white supremacists, the Republican head of the PA House State Government Committee found himself under renewed fire for his 2015 decision to have Robert Vandervoort, a white supremacist, speak to the committee – and his subsequent defense of both his decision and Vandervoort’s beliefs.
Ed Pawlowski: Allentown’s embattled mayor got some more bad news this week when City Council passed a resolution to search for a lawyer to help expedite his ouster following his indictment on federal corruption charges.
John Maher: The state Rep. from Upper St. Clair waived his right to a preliminary hearing for his DUI arrest near the capital in July. He’s scheduled for formal arraignment in October.