Metro: Babette Josephs down on ‘Secure Communities’ initiaitve

A city-state-federal policing partnership criticized as threatening the civil rights of immigrant populations in Philadelphia was the focus of a short brief I had in today’s Metro, following a brief interview with state. Rep. Babette Josephs following a press conference in City Hall.

Read it here.

I wrote a fairly large profile of Josephs for the Inquirer last summer. Fair or not, a group of self-labeled reformers in Harrisburg called Josephs a mythological three-headed dog.

I was unable to include a brief interview I had with City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez on the matter, portions of which you can see after the jump, in addition to quotes from Josephs that were cut, more from the Nutter administration, other sources and one interesting concept of the story that didn’t make it into the piece.

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Reader response for Inquirer story on Harrisburg reformers

Last week, I shared some reader response I received after a recent story on state Rep. Babette Josephs ran on the cover of the Inquirer’s Local Section.

So it comes as no surprise that getting a story on the cover the newspaper – one about the Harrisburg reform movement yesterday – got some response, too.

A man who – jokes aside – I think was intoxicated and was either complimenting or insulting my coverage of “citizens” – I sincerely couldn’t tell. No name, no number, but he called back and left a second message in which he said the following:

Oh, I forgot. My primary concern is helping and reliquifying [sic] the American middle class, and until, well, that is the basis of everthing, until that happens, this country isn’t going anywheres [sic] and you can quote me on it.”

I don’t know who he is or how to contact him or why I would want to quote him – but I sure will.

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Reader Response for Babette Josephs story

THERE IS SOMETHING THRILLING ABOUT READER INTERACTION. In my short experience with professional journalism, readers rarely contact reporters about their story without a strong reaction – either an article is of great importance or is trash.

Getting a big story above the fold on the cover of Inquirer local section, like my story on state Rep. Babette Josephs was on Wednesday, will bring in some phone calls. It’s refreshing to see old forms of reader interaction still can work, and unsurprising the calls ranged from complimentary to insulting.

On the good end, one woman – whom I can only picture with hair curlers and face cream on a stoop of a Passyunk Square block that hadn’t yet been flipped – referred to my article as “excellent.” She talked to Babette until she “was blue in the face.” The sentiment this woman, and a couple other calls gave was that over the representative’s incumbency since 1984 – Josephs is the General Assembly’s longest-serving female member – she had lost her mission. “She’s a disaster now,” the woman told me.

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Legislator beset by reform movement (Philadelphia Inquirer: 7/22/08)

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell signs legislation on reforming state laws on lobbying and gaming, as Rep. Babette Josephs D-Philadelphia, looks on in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2006. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

By Christopher Wink | July 22, 2008 | Philadelphia Inquirer

HARRISBURG – State Rep. Babette Josephs came to the Capitol in 1985 vowing to be a voice for “people who have no voice.” For years, the Center City liberal waged a lonely fight against the pervading conservatism in the General Assembly.

In 2007, after Democrats took control of the House, Josephs ascended to a powerful new role: chairwoman of the State Government Committee, the panel charged with considering legislation related to government operations.

But Josephs, 67, now finds herself the scourge of the newly energized reform movement.

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Inquirer: Babette Josephs criticized by “reformers”

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell signs legislation on reforming state laws on lobbying and gaming, as Rep. Babette Josephs D-Philadelphia, looks on in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2006. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

This ran today for the Philadelphia Inquirer. The coverage is part of a post-graduate internship with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association (PLCA).

HARRISBURG – State Rep. Babette Josephs came to the Capitol in 1985 vowing to be a voice for “people who have no voice.” For years, the Center City liberal waged a lonely fight against the pervading conservatism in the General Assembly.

In 2007, after Democrats took control of the House, Josephs ascended to a powerful new role: chairwoman of the State Government Committee, the panel charged with considering legislation related to government operations.

But Josephs, 67, now finds herself the scourge of the newly energized reform movement.

Read the rest on Philly.com.

Photo from Daylife.

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Greek mythology and state government; no, it’s funny, I swear

Sometimes you have more color from a story than you can fit. Yesterday, for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I covered a press conference held by a coalition of citizen groups calling for legislative reform on the third anniversary of the pay-raise controversy.

Interesting read, but I simply couldn’t get the following in the story:

Matt Brouillette of The Commonwealth Foundation, called state Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Philadelphia, a “minion” of House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese, D-Fayette.

Under DeWeese’s control, the chairwoman of the House State Government committee stalls reform legislation, Brouillette said.

“She is Cerberus, guarding the River Styx,” he said, referring to the fierce three-headed dog that is said to patrol the banks of the boundary between the Earth and the underworld in the Greek mythology.

What power I have, to keep this from readers.

Photo courtesy of Margaret Schaut.

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