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Embattled Upper Dublin School Board Member Resigns

Controversial Upper Dublin School Board Member Tricia Ebarvia’s career didn’t last through a single board meeting.

Facing a backlash over her connection to materials many believe are antisemitic, Ebarvia, elected on Nov. 7, announced her resignation at Wednesday’s board finance committee meeting. She was just sworn in at the district office the day before, Ebarvia said.

Ebarvia came under fire after she posted a link to a webinar purporting to teach the history of Israel and the Palestinians, but is filled with inaccurate and antisemitic tropes. Among them are descriptions of Israel as a colonial power and references to “ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.”

Last week, parents and residents called for her resignation. More than 2,500 people signed an online petition asking the board to remove Ebarvia.

Some 75 people came to the board’s Dec. 6 reorganization meeting, many of them demanding Ebarvia’s ouster. Several residents told the board they were hurt and outraged that a board member would allegedly espouse antisemitic views after the violent and brutal Hamas terrorist attack on Oct. 7 that killed 1,200 Israeli citizens, most of them civilians.

“For the last five weeks since becoming the center of our current firestorm, I have been in deep reflection, introspection, and conversation with others who are also trying to best to navigate this moment,” Ebarvia said at Wednesday’s meeting. “First and foremost, there are people who are sincerely hurt by the pain my post caused. That pain is something I regret deeply, and I am sorry.

“One life skills lesson that we teach at my school is when we make a mistake, we do our best to make it right,” Ebarvia continued. “The challenge, of course, is discerning what ‘right’ is.

“For many, the only right path forward is for me to resign my seat,” said Ebarvia. “They have one story about me. They have searched and scrutinized my social media and elsewhere for evidence to support this single story of me, selectively highlighting details that make me ‘guilty by association.’”

“They have called my place of work, spoken to the press, and sent emails to universities where I’ve been invited to speak,” said Ebarvia. “All in an effort to discredit me or worse.”

Ebarvia claimed “many people” had asked her to remain on the board.

“It is clear to me that however willing I am to listen and learn and dialogue, I will not be able to serve in the capacity I had hoped,” she said. “The work the board has ahead is too great and important, and I do not want to derail from that work.

“Although the voices at the last two meetings have been largely one-sided, these are not the only voices in the community,” she said.  She had spoken to numerous people in the community, including those who are Jewish. Many asked her to continue as a board member, she said.

But some are against diversity, equity and inclusion, and a parent told her it was about “woke cancel culture.”

“My fear is there are those in the community who will use what’s happened to me to derail the very work of equity and inclusion that our community needs now more than ever for all kids,” Ebarvia said.

In a similar incident in the Colonial School District, a school board member also resigned last month after she posted to Facebook calling the Israeli Defense Force a terrorist group, sparking outrage in that community.

KENYATTA: It’s Quitting Time for Mayor Jim Kenney

As a lifelong Philadelphia resident, I know being mayor is hard.

In a city as big and diverse as Philadelphia, which is grappling with a gun violence crisis that hasn’t abated, a chronically underfunded school district, a dumping and trash nightmare, and staggering levels of deep poverty underpin it all. These issues make the job even more challenging. You will get no argument from me there.

But at this moment, this city and its 1.6 million residents deserve a mayor who hasn’t given up. We need a mayor who wants to lead and believes in this city’s future–not one counting his days until the clock tolls on his administration.

The worst-kept secret in politics is that Jim Kenney is tired of being mayor. At a recent presser following the shocking July 4th Parkway shooting, he said the quiet part out loud. “…I’ll be happy when I’m not mayor, so I can enjoy stuff.”

As I watched him and heard those remarks, I thought, “Why wait?” Mayor Jim Kenney should resign — now.

The city is reeling from yet another shooting – this time of two police officers, followed by a massive stampede after the shots rang out. The last thing we need is a Ben Simmons attitude in City Hall.

I say this with no personal animosity. I know behind that painted scowl, Jim Kenney is a good man. However, this city needs a real leader now, and we can’t afford to wait until the next election in sixteen months.

Philadelphia has some massive challenges. But to paraphrase a former president: there is nothing wrong with this city that can’t be fixed by what’s right with it.

For every tragic murder, an activist or an organization tries to stop the cycle of violence and help grieving families. For every pile of trash illegally dumped, there are folks like Terry Haigler and block captains hosting clean-ups and demanding change. For every school that must close early because there is no breathable air cool enough and free enough from lead, asbestos, and mold, there is a host of student leaders, parents, and “friends of” civic groups trying to make an impact.

We need a mayor who feels our pain but believes in our possibilities.  Because without that leadership, people are killed, children struggle and families give up on the city and move away.

Philadelphia is the city of big ideas–huge, history-shaping ideas. The experiment in democracy was debated, and our republic was born here at Independence Hall. We are home to our nation’s first hospital, university, zoo, public library, art museum, and volunteer fire company, among other achievements. We need a mayor who reminds us of those facts, who lifts us up with hope and encouragement. We need a mayor that inspires us to unleash our possibilities.

We need a mayor who wants the damn job.

For the sake of our city and our people, Jim Kenney should clock out and let someone who cares finish his term. In 2023, the people of Philadelphia must find the leader we need from a field of candidates that will be as diverse and talented as our city.

Dear Future Mayor — we need you.

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Kenney’s Complaints About Job, Second Amendment Spark Backlash

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney wants to live in an America without the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In fact, he even has a name for this place. “Canada.”

Kenney made his comments to reporters on July 4th after two police officers were struck by gunfire at the Wawa Welcome America Concert on the Parkway.

“It was a chilled-back day, beautiful weather. But we live in America where we have the Second Amendment, and we have the Supreme Court of the United States telling everybody they can carry a gun wherever they want,” the mayor said. “I was in Canada two weeks ago and never thought about a gun. The only people I knew who had guns in Canada were police officers.”

Kenney added, “If I had the ability to take care of guns, I would. But the legislature won’t let us. Congress won’t let us. The governor does the best he can. The attorney general does the best he can. But this is a gun country.”

In the same conversation, Kenney also complained about his job and said he will be “happy” when he is no longer mayor

“There’s not an event or a day where I don’t lay on my back and look at the ceiling and worry about stuff,” he said. “So everything we have in the city for the last seven years, I worry about. I don’t enjoy the 4th of July. I don’t enjoy the Democratic National Convention. I didn’t enjoy the NFL draft. I’m waiting for something bad to happen all the time. So I’ll be happy when I’m not here, when I’m not mayor and I can enjoy some stuff.”

Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, called on Kenney to “immediately resign.”

“Mayor Kenney should resign from office. Kenney’s comments about how he will be happy when he is no longer mayor further indicate he has given up on Philadelphia. John Fetterman, Larry Krasner, and Jim Kenney all support the failed policies that coddle criminals, provide sanctuary to dangerous illegal aliens and put dangerous criminals back out on the street. These radical far-left policies have led to record-breaking homicides and unprecedented rates of violent crime in Philadelphia and across the commonwealth. Worse still, Fetterman would go further by releasing one-third of all criminals and reducing sentences for murderers. We need to restore safety and security to Philadelphia and all of Pennsylvania–it begins by getting rid of Kenney, Krasner, and Fetterman.”

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is the Democratic candidate for the Senate. He did not directly address Kenney’s remarks or Oz’s rebuke. Instead, he railed against “gun violence” on Twitter and called for an end to the Senate filibuster.

“There is a sad irony in experiencing multiple mass shootings on a day meant to celebrate our freedom. We wish the law enforcement officers injured in the Philly shooting a safe + quick recovery,” Fetterman tweeted.

“We cannot become numb to ever-increasing gun violence. Washington needs to act + take on the NRA by prosecuting gun dealers whose weapons routinely wind up at crime scenes. And Democrats in the Senate need to scrap the filibuster + immediately pass common-sense reform,” said Fetterman.

Kenney’s attack on the Second Amendment drew responses from residents of the Delaware Valley.

“I saw a movie about a country where only the police and military had guns. It was called ‘Schindler’s List,’” said Wayne resident and firearms instructor Frank Tait.

“His failure to put competent leadership in the Philly Police Department. And to have a progressive DA only exasperated this crime problem,” said a Radnor resident who collects antique firearms. “Revolving door justice and letting repeat offenders of serious crimes out on no bail is a joke. Only when the Feds stepped into the car carjacking crimes have strong sentences been imposed. But Philly people get what they vote for. When you have an 18 percent turnout in a primary (in the DA’s race), that speaks volumes. Maybe he’d be better off in Canada?”

Kim Stolfer, president of Firearm Owners Against Crime,  was unimpressed by Kenney’s comments. “Well, thankfully, it isn’t up to him. And thankfully, he owns all the violence that’s in Philadelphia.

“The fact is, this is part of the broad brush that is being used by Democrats to paint 100 million gun owners in this country for a dozen mass murders,” Stolfer added.

The Republican nominee for Congress in the 4th District, Christian Nascimento, also called on Kenney to resign.

“Jim Kenney has given up on stopping crime. He has given up on Philadelphia. He has given up on police and their families. Today I call on Mayor Kenney to resign his seat as Philadelphia mayor. And if Congresswoman (Madeleine) Dean has a shred of integrity and even the smallest amount of concern and support for police and for the safety of district families, she will join me in calling for Kenney’s immediate resignation today.”

Attorney General  Josh Shapiro, the Democrat running for governor, said he would protect Second Amendment rights.

“I’ll be a strong defender of Second Amendment rights and a strong defender of making sure law-abiding citizens have the ability to bear arms. But we must make sure that those who are criminals — those who shouldn’t have access to guns — can’t get them,” Shapiro told 6 News.

By Tuesday afternoon, Kenney had apologized for his comments about no longer wanting to be mayor. “I apologize for being frustrated, but I do take my job personally and I take the problems we face personally,” he said. “And I apologize for wearing my emotions on my sleeve.”

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