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Honkala to Greens: Democrats, not Russians, stole election in Pennsylvania’s poorest district

July 16, 2017

by Ann Garrison

Broadcast on the KPFA Evening News July 15, 2017

KPFA: The U.S. Green Party is holding its annual meeting in Newark, New Jersey, this weekend. Cheri Honkala, Philadelphia Green and founder of the Poor People’s Campaign for Economic Human Rights, addressed the gathering about election theft in Pennsylvania’s District 197, the poorest in the state.

She first told the crowd about the three times she has run for office as a Green:

Cheri Honkala: OK, so I’ve been asked to say something about my experience in the Green Party running as a candidate. I ran for sheriff in Philadelphia. I stole that entire idea based on African Americans in the South who ran to try and have impact on stopping the lynching.

I then had the honor of running for vice president on the Green Party ticket. People asked me, “What was that experience like?” I’m sure Ajamu will join me in saying it’s pretty much like getting hit by a Mack truck twice or three times, but it’s a hell of an experience.

Cheri Honkala, popular founder of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign and Green Party vice presidential candidate, would be a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from District 197, advocating mightily for the poor, if she’d run as a Democrat, she was told by the head of the local Democratic Party.

And then, most recently, I really went through a serious loss of innocence running in my own district for state representative in the 197.

KPFA: She described epidemic drug abuse in the bleak, post-industrial landscape of Pennsyvlania District 197:

CH: On the very block that I live in the poorest district in the state of Pennsylvania, in Kensington, where many recently saw on the news, with Dr. Oz coming, because there were 10,000 needles about 14 blocks from my house, where people shoot heroin in order to escape.

KPFA: She also described corruption in the District 197 election.

CH: I learned about what it means to really run for office in a frontline community that’s run by the Democratic Party, also known as the local mob, and it has not a damn thing to do with Russia. And as they’re talking about the Russians stealing the election, I’m watching the fact that they stole my election in the 197 district, and it’s not appearing on any of the progressive media. You’re not hearing about it on the radio shows.

As they’re talking about the Russians stealing the election, I’m watching the fact that they stole my election in the 197 district, and it’s not appearing on any of the progressive media.

My election should have been a slam dunk. I ran against the local parking authority guy that nobody had a damn idea who the hell he was.

And on election day, the joke was, “Cheri, you didn’t get the menu.” You know what the menu was? How much money it cost each ward leader in order to get you a certain percentage in each of the voting booths.

So, as we went around and saw brothers and sisters being paid in between the housing projects, as we saw them pass out stamps for the other opponent from the seat inside the election booths, as we produced video after video after video of election judges getting paid money to ensure that I was not elected on election day, we made a decision to raise the necessary $7,000, and we’re going to federal court.

KPFA: That was Cheri Honkala, Philadelphia Green and founder of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. The head of the local Democratic Party, she said, told her that she would be a state representative now if only she had become a Democrat.

She needs to raise $7,000 to take her case to federal court. Since she swore to do so, her tires have been slashed, her life threatened, and she and her family have been evicted from public housing.

She needs to raise $7,000 to take her case to federal court. Since she swore to do so, her tires have been slashed, her life threatened, and she and her family have been evicted from public housing.

In Berkeley, for Pacifica, KPFA Radio, I’m Ann Garrison.

Oakland writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Black Agenda Report, Black Star News, Counterpunch and her own website, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, KPFA Evening News, KPFA Flashpoints and for her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at anniegarrison@gmail.com. In March 2014 she was awarded the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for promoting peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa through her reporting.

 

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