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Scotus Blog: Reynolds v. United States

In the Reynolds vs. United States the issue was about sex offender registration an d notification Act (SORNA) which congress enacted in 2006. This law was designed to create a nationwide system to keep track of all different sex offenders that committed crimes in the past. When congress decided to do this they hoped to prevent a situation in which a sex offenders convicted in one location could then move to another state another state, where neither police nor his new neighbors would he aware of their history if they were registered sex offenders.

In 2001 Billy Joe Reynolds was convicted of a sex crime in Missouri and served four years in prison. Then when he was released, he registered as a sex offender in Missouri, but he didn't  do it with authorities in Pennsylvania when he moved there in 2007. A couple of months later Reynolds was charged with violating SORNA's requirements. When he went to go argue his case in the lower court they refused to even consider his challenge.  Now Reynolds is being held in violation of the federal constitution. The court was divided on that issue. The U.S. Solicitor General urged the Court to deny review of Reynolds' petition.

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Marriage Mobs


The most effective way to get this on the radar is randomly placed (but still awesome) flash mobs. I have several ideas for how to organize these flashmobs. All of them start with couples (girls with girls/boys with boys) dressed in grooms outfits and bride’s dresses.

1.     Couples waiting for bus stops and taking over the trains.

2.     Spontaneous fake marriage ceremonies in malls. Complete with music over the loud speakers.

3.     “Registering” for gifts in their costumes in stores.


Then we introduce shirts into the mix. We make shirts with sayings like “Here comes the bride…..and the other bride.” And other cool stuff. And I’ll distribute enough of them so they’re everywhere you look but not so many that they’ll be a mob of people wearing them.



1.     Gather willing participants

2.     Dress up said participants

3.     Partner them up

4.     Assign them areas

5.     Watch the fun

6.     End watching of fun

7.     Make shirts

8.     Assign shirts to much less people

9.     Watch confused people

10. Enjoy



Marriage Mobs

This will definitely be effective because for one thing, flash mobs have a way of getting around. It’s not that this will get support for gay marriage right away but it will get people thinking about it.

Everyone will want to know what its all about and that gets me in the door to explaining my cause.


Sexy Shirts

The shirts are just a fashion statement to keep the issue from losing publicity. Plus the money made from possible sales of the shirt can fund more lobbying of my issue. 

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Lobbying Post #3

There hasn't been much this year for my issue so there isn't really any status as of now. But in 2008, seven states were records to "consider proposals" that would lower the LEGAL drinking age from 21 to 18 years of age. 

In Kentucky, Wisconsin and South Carolina legislatures are working on for military personnel only. In Missouri, the citizens are working on a ballot to lower the age. A lawyer in South Dakota is working on a campaign for young adults (ages 19-20) to buy alcohol with a low level (3.2% and under). Minnesota citizens are trying to work on a bill that allows restaurants and bars to serve alcohol to people ages 18 and older but not liquor stores. 

Although I'm not sure who's working on this other than myself, I can figure out who is and try to work with them and collaborate on our issue. Not only myself, but we (anyone besides myself and I) can influence our community and district leaders to look into the issue more in depth for reason that can show evidence and good reasoning as to why the drinking age should be lowered. 

As of now, there aren't any meetings or committee hearings (presented to the public) but there may be more to come in the near future. 

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Lobbying post 4 Letter to representatives

   ​For the fourth part of this lobbying assignment I decided to contact, Council Woman Joan L. Krajewski. She is the one that represents my district, district 6. Council Woman Joan L. Krajewski is the Vice-chairwoman of the public safety committee,  "She sits on the Committees of Public Property and Public Works, Licenses and Inspections, Public Safety, Fiscal Stability, Legislative Oversight and Disabled and Handicapped. She was first elected councilwoman in 1979 and has since continued on  a similar path. She was the first woman in Philadelphia City Council history to hold the position of Majority Leader. I also found out that she grew up in the same neighborhood as me and I found that very interesting.  
Council Woman Joan L. Krajewski is one of the people that is directly responsible to me. I was hesitant in contacting her, for I was unsure of the method to use. I then decided on writing a letter, I came to the realization that it takes a long time for the letter to get through. In order to inquire regarding my topic I contacted her through phone, and email as well as the letter. I also forwarded the email out to the governor and our city's mayor; they have yet to reply to me. 
 In the letter I wrote, my reason for contacting them, along with links and a summery of my previous blog posts. In the letter I explained the safety in schools problem and how much education reform is needed, along with statistics on the high school drop out rates. And proposed several changes in order to better a students school life. I am still waiting for a reply from any or all of my representatives and am hoping for a positive response. 

The letter I wrote: 

Dear Representatives: 

My name is Elona Myftaraj, I a senior at Science Leadership Academy. I am working on a project, and lobbying for education reform is my main point. I am contacting you because you are my representative and I hope it wont take too much of your time to reply to me. I am contacting you in order to discuss, and make aware a few serious problems in our school system. "Across United States public schools, just 74.9 percent of students who were freshmen in the fall of 2004 graduated from high school on time in 2008, according to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics." There have been many school related incidents that I fear has many students feel that they are not in a safe environment. This is a link to a blog post I wrote on education reform, and suggestions for change.

A perfect example of my lobbying topic is the violence erupted at South Philadelphia high school where off-campus and lunchrooms attacks targeted about 50 Asian students, injuring 30, primarily by African-American students. The Asian students boycotted classes for more than a week after the attack, stating that they had endured relentless bullying by African-American students while school officials did nothing about their complaints. I want there to be a change in education and in schools because there are many kids that come from "The Hood" or bad neighborhoods, and I believe that schools should be a safe haven as much as a place of learning, kids need to have a place or person they trust and I believe that this is a part of a teachers job. 

I feel that it is incidents such as this that make students loose faith in schools and the school system. Therefore I am asking for your help to actively join me in taking action for education reform and an accurate schedule along with locations for public meetings regarding education reform.


Thank you in advance


~ Elona Myftaraj



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Screen Shot 2011-12-21 at 9.27.30 AM
In this step, the national movement to organize support for Amtrak was arranged. The primary method of support was going to be a one-day event wherein supporters travelled to Washington, DC via Amtrak. Then, all participants would walk across the street to discuss the issues with their representatives. However, this option was much too costly and not feasible with the available resources. In lieu of such a movement, the lobbying campaign is in the process of creating a twitter campaign wherein persons will use the hashtag #fundamtk to demonstrate their support. To save money, this hashtag will be distributed at Amtrak train stations such as 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. As involvement and engagement with the hashtag grows, the press secretaries of the representatives and senators would be contacted to see the visibility and support for this otherwise dying movement. While I would've liked to have already demonstrated the effectiveness of this process, the ideal time to start this movement will be directly before the holidays when rail travel is at its peak. This blog post will be updated further after the happenings of such an event.
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SCOTUS Case: Martel vs. Clair - Ian McClendon

Review of Case: This Supreme Court Case Michael Martel vs. Kenneth Clair is presented the question of whether a condemned prisoner of capital federal habeas corpus can change his court appointed counsel because he was dissatisfied with his first counsels investigations. But the replacement for a new counsel if protected by habeas corpus should expresses dissatisfactory but also should be in the "interest of justice." 

Facts of the Case: In Kenneth Clairs defense being under protection of a federal habeas corpus for 10 years should not influence the decision to be able to be appointed a new court counsel since Kenneth was dissatisfied with his previous counsel. During the state court case the judge expressed that the counsel was doing a proper job for his client but it was not said that Clair was entitled to a new counsel. Clair filed for a petition of his federal habeas corpus and for a new counsel. The judge denied his request and then the day after he retired. Right after Clair talked to his counsel and came to a legit conclusion that the "attorney-client relationship had broken" and a appeal for a new counsel would be appropriate. So with the approval of a new counsel, Clair tried for a habeas corpus petition and the substitution for the new counsel before the district court was even ready for ruling.  

In Michael Martel argument he expresses that after the decision made by the Ninth District Court Clair was distort about the verdict and shortly after he explained that he wasn't content with his counsel and wanted a new counsel. The districts court response was that "no conflict of interest or inadequacy of counsel is shown". So therefor they denied the petition for release of federal habeas corpus. Clair appealed and was appointed a new lawyer to revise his statement to expressing "dissatisfaction" which calls for no further dispute of getting a new counsel for that would be unconstitutional. The Amendment that is controversial is the 6th which states, "In all criminal prosecutions, ... and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense." 

Summary of Arguments Before Case: When Clair was appointed his new counsel he also independently hired a private investigator in August 2005, C.J. Ford, whom took over the case. In March 2005, Clair sent a letter to the District Court saying that he did not want to be represented by a Federal Public Defender, stating that his old counsel, "displayed a degree of messiness." Also that the counsel was trying to save his life rather than trying to prove his innocence and get him out of prison. The State's retaliation to the letter was Clair had "shown no cause to dismiss counsel"and that "Clair had meet with the Federal Public Defender and he agreed that the counsel should continue to represent him but still have the right to take action later. To clarify Clair's argument he summed it all up in a second letter. He asked for his counsel to be renewed and an addition of a complaint. During C.J. Ford's inspection recovered new evidence from the original crime scene and was unable to locate a witness which both of which Clair complains his normal counsel did not look hard enough for. But the key factor here is that back in 1984 at the time of the Linda Rogers murder the detectives didn't have nearly enough technology that would've helped find crucial evidence for the case in favor of Kenneth Clair. When the Petitioner and counsel asked to review the recovered evidence the police department claimed that the evidence was lost or destroyed but in May 2005 Ford dug deeper into the problem and recovered the evidence. With further analysis it was determined that no biological evidence of Kenneth Clair was found at the scene of the crime. Although was sparked more controversy was that much of this investigation was done independently and not mentioned to the district court, counsel, or lawyer. A few months later the case was retired of habeas corpus and reassigned with repeating claims of being dissatisfied with his old counsel and that the evidence should be used in trial supporting Clair. Many stipulations occur again and again with appeals and request of relief of habeas corpus and improper use of collecting evidence. 

Outcome of Case: From listening and reading the transcript I believe that the Court would favor for Clair. Because at the beginning of the issue the Federal Public Defense did not conduct their litigations properly to justify Clair in the first place. The denial of Clairs appointment to new counsel was unconstitutional and there shouldn't have been such friction of Clairs request but for his innocence of connecting him to the murder of Linda Rogers. In the end the degree of messiness overturned the case in favor of Clair. 

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Fracking: Blog #4

For this step of my lobbying project, I collaborated with Alaya to create a larger organization to protest fracking. We've broken our protest plan into multiple steps: 1) Petition, 2) Fund-Raising and 3) Protest. We've written a petition urging Governor Corbett to work with the EPA to understand the risks of Hydraulic Fracturing but, more importantly, not to frack in State Parks. We'll are in the process of getting 100 signatures and will send it to Corbett soon. We also want to make buttons protesting fracking to sell to people in school or in our neighborhoods. With this money, we can organize a Protest in Harrisburg that will include politician and activist guest speakers. With these steps, we will create a large group of supporters. Once a large group is formed, we can create an Occupy movement or an official lobbying party that speaks at Council meetings.  
While these steps are effective together, I believe that if we did them individually, Corbett wouldn't be effected by them. The petition is the least effective because it's simply signatures on a page and unless there are millions of signatures, it won't make much of an impression. However, the next steps are effective because large crowds of people create media attention that Corbett cannot deny or ignore.  
The issues with our plans are similar to the benefits: large crowds create media attention. If people are rowdy and unable to articulate why they are here, then it reflects poorly on the group and our mission. Like the Occupy movement, it will be essential to have slips of paper with simple phrases to say to reporters.
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Prometheus vs. Mayo Scotus Post

​Ali Ahmed



Prometheus vs Mayo is a case whose controversy stems from the limits of patent laws that have been debated for over the last 10 years. Prometheus is a company that produces metabolic blood tests. Prometheus believed that they could patent correlations between results from their type of blood test and how doctors could diagnos of the tests to give make judgement on prescripcion dosages.. Mayo is a company that also produces blood tests. Prometheus saw that doctors were using other blood tests to make these same correlations and instead of going after the doctors attacked the blood test they patented their the correlation. The state of California didn't allow the patent to stand becuase they believed it was not patentable. Soon after the patents was allowed again under the Federal Circuit. 

Mayo didn't believe this patent was legitimate and brought it to the Supreme Court. They were challenging the court ruling that the Federal Circuit passed. Mayo believed that the patent didn't fall under of the catagories required under a patent, "any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof". This problem also arose earlier in the decade when computer algorithms were trying to be patented. Does a correlation fall under a patentes requirements? 

The supreme seems to be siding on the side that it doesn't. From the proceedings in december, it was evident that patent was way too broad. In opposed to patenting actual correlations in dosage number, which the Supreme court said would have passed, they patented the idea that their is a correlation. The problem is that it is just an idea. If the Supreme court makes a definitive decision on what a patent actual is, it will eliminate cases like this. I think the Supreme court will probably vote against the patent. I also hope they make specifics as to how their patents would have actually qualified I hate seeing cases where the ideas so general are patented so that a company can exclude competitors. 

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Blog Post #4

My plan is to essentially dominate an area or something. I have teamed up with Julia and Alaya in the anti-fracking movement. On my own however I feel as though I want to start somewhat smaller and make a commercial about fracking. Since my English class is focused right now on advertisements I can invest this time into making a very effective commercial to display. Hopefully I can then get it out to the public and make people think what they want to. This is my way of doing some small things well, however this is something that can get the attention of people.
        I feel as though letters to congress wouldn’t work because I’m pretty sure that is what most people who care about this thing are doing, especially those it effects. I figured if something is to be done then we need to make noise and be heard. If one person in class is talking that is disruptive, but if everyone is yelling for changes that is chaos and calamity.  I figure a series of commercials released every so often could bring more people together on this subject. Especially if it’s a regular thing, like new information posted and stuff.
        So far I’ve made the outlines for the first commercial and I plan to release it over Christmas break. Basically I want to use ethos and pathos for the commercial which is essentially appealing to the consumers emotions and I want to use stats with it. I will use some of the commercial tools that I have been learning in Ms Rami’s class. The commercial set up will start off viewing the lands of Pennsylvania then switch to drilling in the earth. Then I want to see if I can have some powerful background music and with that some speech being made by a government official. From there I have many idea’s that would be too much to convey.
I hope to one day meet the guy who made gas lands and see if I can get him involved, because that would be great.  As far as the anti-fracking rally is going I need to collaborate more with Alaya White and Julia Boyer
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Minneci vs. Pollard (SCOTUS Court Case Summary)

Minneci vs. Pollard

According to this case is about whether the inmates of a federal crime can sue the employees of a private prison company if they violate the Constitution. This case asks: if an employee of a private prison system violated anything that is stated in the Constitution, which harmed or violated the prisoner, would the inmate be able to sue the employee? 

According to basically what happened was a prisoner (Richard Pollard, serving 20 years for drug trafficking and gun crimes) at a federal prison in California was working in the prison's butcher shop and he tripped and fell over a cart landing on his elbows, which both broke. He claimed, in his lawsuit, that prison guards made him do painful, physical work after they refused to provide him with splints after a doctor had even suggested he has them. The prison guards put him back to work before his injuries were better. His lawsuit was a Bivens claim for damages. His lawsuit claimed to have violated his 8th Amendment Rights. His lawsuit is to be decided within the next year.

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Williams Vs Illinois

The case of Williams vs Illinois has to do with the confrontation clause which is part of the 6th amendment.  The confrontation clause makes it so that a person must be confrontation by their accusers in court.  

In this case there was forensic evidence that was tested by a lab but the expert witness that testified in court had no association with the original lab that did the test.  The Williams' defense claimed that because the original lab that did the test did not testify that the confrontation clause was violated.  They also claimed that the expert witness could not know if the lab test of the evidence was conducted correctly.  
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Lobbying Post #4 - Communicating with Blondell Reynolds Brown

For communication, I chose to write a letter. Why? Because I honestly was scared to call. I had three ways I wanted to communicate: phone call, visit, or letter. I figured with a letter, I can just put everything down on one paper and I won't feel so scared anymore. This is my letter that I sent out:

Dear Ms. Brown,

            My name is Briana Stroman. I am a Senior that attends Science Leadership Academy high school on 22nd & Arch. I am writing you for my history project.

            In my American Government class, each student had to choose a topic to lobby about. We write blog post on our school website about the topic research, how we feel about it, and actively taking an approach to it. The topic I chose to write about is curfew. I read in a document about curfew that you’re one of the council members that are in charge of it (if I’m correct). Why am I lobbying about curfew? It’s probably a question you are wondering as you read this letter.

            It’s not that I disagree with minor curfew. I understand the reason why it was set in the first place. I also agree that teens need to understand the danger they put citizens into by causing “Flashmobs”. The problem I do have is that how are officers going to tell who’s a flashmobber and who isn’t?

            For example, I wouldn’t want to be accused of being a flashmobber type person, when really I’m just a teenager rushing to get home from work. In my situation, my mother doesn’t have a car right now so I would have to take Septa basically anywhere I have to go. Or if I’m doing a digital video project somewhere and it ends at a late time.

            What I’m wondering is, do they want a note? Would they like some type of proof? I just think that the city government were fast about setting the curfew law, without having thought of the outcomes of teens having fines because of accusation of being a flashmobber, the reactions of parents becoming super angry because they have to pay for something they know isn’t true. I’m only taking it in from how my mother would react because she knows I do positive activities.

            So, I was wondering if I can meet with you one day to discuss more of this, or if you have the time, you can write back. I would love to have a response from you. Thank you for taking the time out to at least read this letter.


Briana Stroman

I won't sit and say that I knew what I was going to write, because I had to think. Because I usually write things down, it doesn't always come out in order. So I had to write how I wanted it to come out (in order), so it could be clear to Ms. Brown. I tried to set a certain tone for this letter also. I wanted to show that I'm a nice high school student, and at the same time I wanted to show how serious I am to figure out this information. 

I tried to provide examples on situations that could happen to me, or any other teenager. I already sent it out but I realized that I should have added more to this letter. While I was in poetry club we were talking about different topics, so I brought up what I was lobbying about. And one of my club mates asked me, "why are the police trying to be the teenager's parents?" It was such an interesting question. I felt that I could've added an extra paragraph on that topic, also go more in depth about why parents get angry when someone tells them they're not doing their job right.

I did not get a response yet, but I look forward to one very soon. If not, I can always contact someone else. I also want to ask the extra thoughts I was thinking about. I thank my clubvmates, because without them I wouldn't have thought to want to ask more questions about my topic.
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Lobbying Post #4 Sick Leave (Communication)

       I have decided that I would write a letter for the communication choice. In the letter I explained who I was and why I was writing to them and for what purpose. I have decided to write to mayor Michael Nutter who vetoed the bill in June 2011. In the letter I expressed to him how I am a supporter of the sick leave bill and that people who have to take care of a sick family member for a few days or take a day off for maybe people who has lost someone recently, these people should be payed.    I explained that I think in the work place of businesses people forget that outside of work the people who work for them have lives outside of the office, they have children and husbands and families that they need to attend to sometimes and I think that people lose the humane part of themselves while working and worrying about money.

        The first step in writing the letter was to figure out who i could write to that could make a difference, when I did research one people who could make a difference that I could get into easy contact with and the first person I thought of when I decided was Mayor Nutter he is the Mayor of Philadelphia and he has also vetoed a bill for it so that made it even more easy I knew that in writing to him about the issue that he would care because he was already involved with the situation. The next step in making contact with the the mayor. 

        The second step is sending out the letter and hoping that it gets to the right person at the right time. The whole point in trying to make contact with someone directly in the system is to get some sort of result on the issue that you found interesting or hopefully someone can contact me back letting me know specifics on what is to come with the sick leave bill in the future so that I can be more updated on my topic.
        What I hope will come from m contacting the mayor is for him to know that there are people that are outside of legislation who do pay attention to what is happening in our congress and our government and there are people who know the importance of the future things that are going to take place today for tomorrow. I hope that when he gets this letter he responses with positive feedback and is more then impressed with the project that we have been working on for the past months.
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I.               Intro


a.     Sexual Orientation

                                               i.     What is Sexual Orientation


                                              ii.      What is a Homosexual 


                                            iii.     What is a heterosexual



b.    Thesis

The environment that one grows up in has an affect on one’s    sexual orientation.


Tie in: Sexual orientation is how one identifies themselves sexually. Homosexuality also known as gay is a sexual orientation in which one has a sexual and/or romantic attraction/behavior to members of the same sex or gender. Heterosexuality also known as straight is a sexual orientation in which one has a romantic and/or sexual attraction/behavior to members of the opposite sex or gender. This ties into my topic by giving information of what my thesis is about.


II.             Sexuality


a.     Puberty                                                                                                              source:

b.    Gay or Strait Source:

c.     Signs at a youngage 



d.    Coming out


Tie in: Puberty is the process in which a child's body begins to mature. In this process the body goes through physical changes which allows the body to go through sexual reproduction. After puberty from the acts of the child and others around them should be able to tell their sexual orientation. This ties into my topic by giving information on the identification of sexual orientation at a you age when it is usually determined. 


III.           Nurture vs. Illness

a.     Choice

b.    Source:


c.     Environment

                                              i.     Family                                                                                                   source

                                            ii.     The Physical Abuse 

                                          iii.     Sexual Abuse

                                           iv.     Neglect


d.    Mental Disorder



e.     Genetics


Tie In: This section in about the causes of sexual orientation. It goes                                       through information of child abuse and neglect and its effect on the                                         child's growth. It also goes through statistics tying family's sexual                                           orientation to the outcome of a child's sexual orientation.  


IV.           Conclusion





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Philadelphia and It's Dire Need of Legislation on Clean-Up. It's About That Time.

I’ve decided to come into contact with Ms. Maria Quiñones-Sáncez for this particular assignment. She is my district council member and felt that since she is connected to me in that since I should be comfortable enough to go to her. As well as being my council member for the 7th district, (The district I reside in) she is the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Streets & Services, which goes hand in hand with my lobbying topic.

My plan for communication, initially was to send a letter to her office, but then I realized that a faster way of tackling my issues and concerns with sending my letter through a personal e-mail. I’ve pieced together the information and data that I have came across my past blog posts and made more sense out of it. I wanted to let Ms. Quiñones-Sánchez that I am up on my research as to what is going on and ask her for her help hands on. I noticed that for one, where the city council meetings are posted there isn’t an updated calendar for the year of 2012. Which concerns me, I want to know when I am able to stop by and one on one meet her and have the pleasure to talk things out to help the Philadelphia community.

Within the letter, I wrote about how the city of Philadelphia, according to resources is the second dirtiest city and the third most unattractive city. Which is not at all good. I figured that we should come to an agreement on that. So what I am proposing to Ms. Maria Quiñones-Sánchez is that we come up with some legislature to prevent this statistic to happen again.

I’m honestly not sure how the reply from her is going to be but I am sure that it will be good. I believe that what is said in the letter is fairly reasonable and manageable to do. Even if helping our community requires us to go out of our own pockets I feel like it should get done. Simply because. Finding the courage to even get my thoughts and opinions out to an authority figure/representative was a bit intimidating but I figure that not saying how I feel won’t help the situation that we are currently in with the trash accumulation in Philadelphia.


(Letter that was actually Sent to Council Member of the 7th District, Ms. Maria Quiñones-Sánchez)

Dear Councilwoman Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez.


            My name is Johniera McClain, and I attend Science Leadership Academy. I am writing you today because I am aware of you being the Vice-Chair of the Committee of Streets & Services, and also you are my Council member for my district. I feel like I am more personally attached to you because of that. However, I am very concerned about the trash that is produced in Philadelphia and I honestly need your help. Would you be willing? Within the next few business days I will be coming into contact with you also about the scheduling of the city council meetings, where you may attend so that we could be in the pleasure of meeting one another. Actually, can you post that to being updated for the year 2012? You see I am an active lobbyist, although I am active it will be of great help that you join me. I know that you care about what is going on in the city of Philadelphia but there is always room for more improvement. As you may or may not know, according to sources, Philadelphia is the second dirtiest city in America, and as well as the third least attractive city in America. (

And )

I am on a great strive to change that. There are too many people who reside in Philadelphia for us to live and continue on like this. Making a different approach on clean up days and actually getting more parts of the city to be active on changing their bad habits will indeed be hard, yes I know. However, excluding the fact that I am young and only of the age of eighteen I still want to be the one who helps out and turn this situation around. I suggest that we get legislature passed that will enhance growth in this weakened area. I do know about the programs that go on such as “Philly Spring Clean Up” and etc, but there should in my opinion be more forced and authorized versions of this.

For example, in the city of Minneapolis there are monthly fees for solid waste and recycling for the people who reside there. ( That actually sounds like a great idea. If Philadelphians were actually to pay for their trash, there may be a huge reduction of the trashed that is produced here. Which will positively benefit our city in ways more than one. I know personally a friend that has started a non-profit organization that was generated and runs on these goals to help the Philadelphia community. These very important goals are: Community Development, Community Clean-Up, and Community Empowerment. My fellow peer whom only is in the senior class, as I am of Science Leadership is the co-owner of a business. That definitely proves that as he is capable of helping out the Philadelphia community by setting up a whole organization, you in particular are capable of helping out the Philadelphia community in a legal view stance.

I want to thank you so much for taking the time to actually sit and read about my concerns and thoughts on the Philadelphia community in a perspective pertaining to trash. I encourage you to get back to me. It will be greatly appreciated.

THANK YOU.                        



Sincerely, Johniera McClain.

**Updates will be posted on subject. 

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Ryan Francis Lobbying Post #3!

1. What is the status of your issue at the legislature? Is this a "good" year?

This year is a good year for the legislation because in August of 2011, Ms. Blondell Brown proposed that a Curfew law pass in Philadelphia, Nutter signed an order temporarily moving the curfew to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for everyone under the age of 18.They are in Center City, the downtown area, and University City, the West Philadelphia neighborhood where the University of Pennsylvania is located. Throughout the rest of the city, the curfew will remain 10 p.m. for those under the age of 13 and those for minors under the age of 18.

The Law states:

"Minors who are caught breaking curfew will be sent home, brought home or transported to a police station where their parents will be contacted. Minors may be issued a citation with a $100 to $300 fine for a first offense," the city said in a press release." - CNN coverage 

The 3 people on the City Council who would be for my cause are:

Blondell Reynolds Brown


Councilwoman Blondell  is an educator, community activist, political leader and concerned parent, her focus and commitment to help others defined her work prior to her election to Philadelphia City Council. Councilwoman Reynolds Brown devotes her programmatic and legislative efforts toward improving the quality of life for our city’s most vulnerable citizens, children.

Maria D. Quinones-Sanchez

Councilwoman Sanchez serves as Chair of the Committee of Licenses and Inspections, Vice Chair of the Streets and Services and also serves on Appropriations; Labor and Civil Service; Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs; Commerce and Economic Development; Public Health and Human Services; Education; Housing, Neighborhood Development and the Homeless and the Disabled and the Handicapped.
Donna Miller
Council President Anna C. Verna - 2nd District
A lifelong resident of Germantown, Councilwoman Miller has dedicated more than thirty years of public service as a professional or volunteer. Councilwoman Miller currently serves on City Council’s “Committee of the Whole, Appropriations, Housing and Homeless, Streets and Services, Ethics, Environment, Rules and Public Property.

2. Who is essential to the outcome?

Of course I would need to contact Mayor Nutter somehow, because he would be the deciding factor in all of this. But to start small, I could get in touch with Ms. Blackwell again and talk to her about whom I should be contacting to get the information I need on my lobbying topic.

3. Who else is working on this? Can you coordinate?

Blondell Brown is currently helping Mayor Nutter clean up the streets of Philadelphia with recreation, educational offers, and different laws to keep not only our citizens safe, but our youth. She has also is known for revising “childcare” definitions through legislation, authorizing childcare facilities to operate and function within commercial districts and neighborhood shopping centers, equipped police officers with a new and stronger curfew law, and introduced legislation that amended the City Charter to create a Youth Commission for young people in Philadelphia. She's the person I really need to get in contact with.

4. Who can you influence?

Most likely Ms. Blondell. She has a strong background of being involved in keeping our city streets safe. At all the ward meetings and council gatherings she's always had ideas that became actions to help our youth stay out of trouble. Some of those acts included the curfew laws, and a lot of fundraising for some of the schools who needed books and supplies. Recently on December 12th, she and Mayor Nutter passed the Equal Benefits bill which requires certain city service contractors to offer the same benefits to the life partners of their employees as are offered to the spouses of married employees. Councilwoman Blondell: “For 13 years, City employees have been eligible to receive benefits for their life partners. The Equal Benefits Bill is a natural extension of that recognition,” said Mayor Nutter. “The City of Philadelphia is an ally to the LGBT community and will continue to show support against issues of inequality.” - Blondell's reason for wanting the law. This action shows me how active she is in the community, and how much influence on change she has in Philadelphia.

a. Whom I can get in touch with?

One of my mom's friends Lynn Hogben has access to each Ward Meeting that takes place around Philadelphia. In earlier months, she's helped me interview Jannie Blackwell, and sit in on the election meeting. My plan is to call Mrs. Hogben, and ask her to let me tag along with her to meet Ms. Blondell Brown, and discuss with her her plan of action to cure Philadelphia's streets, and to help Children further lives without getting caught up in drugs and lose them to the streets

5. What is the time frame?

The time frame will be from after the Holidays until February 14th

6. When are key dates - meetings, committee hearings, deadlines, etc.

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Blog Post #4: Curfrews

Since I am working with the curfew scene in Philadelphia, I needed something or someone that would help me with lobbying this problem. Overall the main point is to try and get the law switched for 17 year olds to be out later then ten at night. To have this happen I need to get the council members of Philadelphia to join me and this lobbying quest. I will be doing various things to try and get this done, for example I will be sending the council members emails about different facts on why the age restriction should be brought down to 17 and older. Then I can also sign up for a membership with NYRA who also will help me promote my case on curfews.

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After I am done with those emails to the council I plan on getting teenagers who are 17 and work to sing a potation that shows that they work. This can help in a lot of ways because if get enough people to sing this potation maybe something will be changed in the law. I also plan on getting a rally of Philadelphia residents to come out and protest against this law since the money can be going to something else, such as after school programs. Also if you want to be a member and fight for your rights sign up here.

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Blog Post #4 - Still Very Much in Support of the Curfew

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Curfew area.

Unlike some others, I am standing behind my issue: that is, the Philadelphia curfew that is widely popular among those in charge and astoundingly unpopular among so many other people.  I don't entirely agree with the curfew (mostly that it pretty much forces police to judge people based on appearance), but it's still better than nothing - in my decided opinion, at least.  The interesting thing about the curfew is there is no actual organization in support of it, just a few against it and curfews in general who are far too adamant and far too large to be convinced otherwise (amusingly, everybody else lobbying against the curfew here is turning to this site for support).  As fun as it would be to start my own organization to show support of the curfew, I have neither the time nor the resources to go about doing this.  Furthermore, I'll be leaving Philadelphia behind me hopefully forever in under a year, and passing the nonexistent torch to another person that early in the game would not be unlike Kim Jong-un anticlimactically succumbing to diabetes three minutes into his rule as the new Dear Leader.

The NYRA is, naturally, opposed to curfews because it infringes upon, well, the rights of youths.

Before I horrendously derailed the topic train, I was talking about the curfew being pretty popular among the Philadelphia government (despite its potential unconstitutionality, as shown by other cities trying the same thing).  It makes my job that much easier: if they're already in support, there is far less work to do than if I had to convince a bunch of people to see things my way.  Some of the district representatives have made their opinion clear.  Unfortunately, Darrell Clarke is not one of them.  His position on the curfew is ambiguous (though, since he was not singled out as someone against it, I will assume he is either in favor or neutral).  That said, it's a fantastic idea to send him an email to find out his stance on it, if he would be so kind as to respond.  Upon receiving a response, I can decide on the appropriate next steps, whether it is convincing him to rethink his position or supporting him all the way.

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A flash mob.  Yup!

The problem with most methods of influencing important people is that these methods tend to be highly situational: you need to be in favor of something people actually like.  Lots of people are opposed to the curfew, so rallying and petitions would likely go over about as well as growing most crops in the middle of the Sahara.  That wouldn't go over very well, by the way.  Social media is a new and exciting way to raise awareness and gain support.  Unfortunately, most avid users of these sorts of sites definitely would not think what I think.  As I said in a previous blog post, the mayor is my most powerful ally here.  He was recently reelected, which means the curfew is likely here and here to stay.  At least, it'll be here until I'm gone.  And that's great.  I only need to find out Clarke's stance.

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Councilman Clarke.

That said, my plan is obtaining a response from Darrell Clarke and then seeing how I should respond after that.  I'll be able to find out a few things, like if he supports the curfew and, if possible, which parts of the curfew he supports and which parts he does not.  I will then choose my course of action based on his opinion.  If he is opposed to the curfew, I will need to convince him that he should support it.  If he supports the curfew in its entirety, I will stand by that.  If he supports the curfew but opposes stopping people based on how old cops think* they look, then I will support him on that.  I'm not too picky, just so long as the curfew is a thing that continues to exist.

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Lobbying Assignment #4 - Biello

Gaining the attention of Congressman Chaka Fattah 

Quick Overview of Mr. Fattah: 
-Represents 2nd District of Philadelphia
-Democratic Party 
-Represented Philly since 1995. 

Quick Overview of What I'm Lobbying For:
-More gov't funding for Stem-Cell Research
-More overall support for SCR 
-Less gov't restrictions for SCR 
-Overall advancement of SCR for medical purposes

So, how does a high-school student get the attention of a famous Congressman, that's usually bombarded with work and many faces throughout the day. You take the necessary steps, doing/making things that he will see. Such as; letters, emails, petitions, and personal visits. (Too name a few). 

Now it is safe to say that Chaka Fattah, is on-board with stem cell research because he has voted with 6 different Stem-Cell Research Acts: 
-Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (2005)
-Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005
-The Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act (2006)
-Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 (voting in 2006 to overturn Bush's veto against stem cell research)
-Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007
-Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 (once more before Bush vetoed against again) 
Data from :

But, how can we get him more involved and lead him to become more of an advocator towards gaining almost total support for SCR. Well, on his site there shows two ways of getting in contact with him, which I suggested: 
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You can have a personal meeting with him, or email him. 

Now, once you finally do get a personal meeting with him, what's the plan? 

Let Chaka Fattah know that you are highly impressed with his work throughout the entirety of his career, show him that you know a little about him. Also, one of the most important points is to show that you have knowledge of his votes in-favor for SCR throughout the years and that you highly respect and agree with his votes. Then, you can discuss how SCR will benefit many humans in the near-future. After you bring to light all the pro's to SCR, let him know that you want more people to know the pro's and see the beauty behind it. This is one of the main roles of Congressman, to be a voice of and TO the people. Then, you can work with Fattah on starting a campaign of advertisements towards widespread approval of SCR. Brainstorming with a powerful figure such as Fattah, can get things done. Since, he agrees with what you agree with, and you already know that for a fact; you can go into the meeting confident that you can seal the deal. 

Unfortunately, I didn't have a meeting with Fattah, but I was able to express most of this plan through a email using his website. (
Response is still pending, but I believe this is a very solid plan. Since he already supports SCR, I'm sure he would be on board with helping to make other people support it simply by showing them the light to the benefits of SCR. Also, how embryos that were going to be thrown away could solely be used; without wasting human life, which is a huge reason why people don't support SCR. If you start an ad-campaign with Fattah, showing people that you're technically saving human life from the trash-can now to save human lives in the future, then there will be more widespread approval towards SCR, which is a huge step in the whole rolling ball of SCR. 

In my opinion, this is a pretty good plan, and I can't wait to see how it turns out. It would be nice to work with Congressman Chaka Fattah to bring something to light that we both have in common, the support for SCR. Results are pending, I'm both excited and confident. 

More on Fattah here: &
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Lobbying Post 4

In the real world, I am trying to lobby for the empowerment of young people through various means. Because this is a broad statement and goal, I've narrowed my approach to this through a single system. ​Future Leaders Advancing Self Help is an initiative I've helped reinstitute in Philadelphia with OIC of America. It was created in 1989 by OIC, and through their collaboration with my organization Phresh Philadelphia, we've brought it back. The goal of FLASH is to bring civic and service based organizations together under an umbrella of community engagement and true empowerment for Philadelphia.

With strength in numbers, my thoughts are that the more organizations that seem to be unified in their approach serving youth, the louder their collective voices will be in encouraging this movement. The two components to FLASH, the initiative and the program, are simple.

FLASH Description

We are ENTREPRENEURS who understand the value of community advancement as a necessity for the future of the people in our neighborhoods, our city, our nation and our world.

We are ACTIVISTS, standing, walking, and running for righteousness, equality, and justice under a united front that we build together through peace and love.

We are STUDENTS who know how important and equitable true education is, and that learning should stretch beyond the classroom.

We are PARENTS, showing our children virtue, morality, respect, and love through the construction of the mind, body, and spirit.

We are CITIZENS, consciously taking interest in our environments, ensuring universal safety, just legislation, and equity for all.

We are EDUCATORS, teaching the importance of history, HERstory, YOURstory and MYstory so that THEstory is less of a mystery.

We are HUMAN BEINGS and we treat each other as such.


FLASH Initiative

The FLASH Initiative will gather more proactivity among youth, influence service, make community engagement easy and rewarding, and provide more productive citizens to the city.

  • Get organizations to pledge to be to be Future Leaders Advancing Self Help
  • Create online database for citizens to get involved to civic and service based organizations in their city
  • Empower people young people through making resource connection easy
  • Become a nationwide movement

FLASH Program

The FLASH Program will instill leadership, collaboration and early community creation, citizen development and early involvement, and educate outside of the classroom.

  • Educate kids on local, national, and international past and current events
  • Allow kids to generate conversation and research information
  • Challenge kids to make a difference through creating projects, business ventures, bringing awareness, etc.
  • Have kids pitch their ideas as a group to Philadelphia officials, public figures, and organizations to gather support for their cause.

As of now, FLASH is only a few organizations short and a website away from reaching the mayors office. This is important because through gathering the support of the city's mayor, reaching to other organizations, the Philadelphia school district, and the many departments of the city won't be too much of an issue. The goal is that through the support of the city's officials, FLASH can gather Philadelphia's public figures, celebrities, greatest influences, and more to be supporters. The hardest part of this process will be to gather youth involvement, but if we can successfully gather the support of public figures, that shouldn't be an issue.

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Fracking: Blog #4

For this step of my lobbying project, I collaborated with Alaya to create a larger organization to protest fracking. We've broken our protest plan into multiple steps: 1) Petition, 2) Fund-Raising and 3) Protest. We've written a petition urging Governor Corbett to work with the EPA to understand the risks of Hydraulic Fracturing but, more importantly, not to frack in State Parks. We'll are in the process of getting 100 signatures and will send it to Corbett soon. We also want to make buttons protesting fracking to sell to people in school or in our neighborhoods. With this money, we can organize a Protest in Harrisburg that will include politician and activist guest speakers. With these steps, we will create a large group of supporters. Once a large group is formed, we can create an Occupy movement or an official lobbying party that speaks at Council meetings.  
While these steps are effective together, I believe that if we did them individually, Corbett wouldn't be effected by them. The petition is the least effective because it's simply signatures on a page and unless there are millions of signatures, it won't make much of an impression. However, the next steps are effective because large crowds of people create media attention that Corbett cannot deny or ignore.  
The issues with our plans are similar to the benefits: large crowds create media attention. If people are rowdy and unable to articulate why they are here, then it reflects poorly on the group and our mission. Like the Occupy movement, it will be essential to have slips of paper with simple phrases to say to reporters.
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Lobbying Blog Post #4: Funding for After School Programs

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Natalie Sanchez

To communicate my lobbying action to the decision makers concerning after school programs in Philadelphia, I decided to call the two women in charge after school programs in Philadelphia and e-mail the president of the After school Activities Partnerships (ASAP), Marciene Mattleman. In my e-mail to Marciene Mattleman, I let her know my purpose for contacting her and asked her a few questions about how after school programs worked: 1.) Where do funds for after school programs come from in these times where a lot of the money dedicated to school programs are being cut? 2.) What does it take to run/establish an after school program? 3.) What can I do to support or help out the after school programs that already exist in Philadelphia? No only did I e-mail Ms. Marciene Mattleman, but I also took an extra step and called the one of the two women that are in charge of the after school programs in Philadelphia, Ms. Iris Howard. I found her information on the Philadelphia City Council’s website. She did not respond my phone call yet, but I left her a message with a short summary of my purpose for calling and gave her my contact information for follow up. I am still waiting for a response from both of these contacts. 

I was originally just going to contact my local recreation building, as they offer after school programs for the neighborhood children, to lobby my cause, but I then decided to speak with the people who have more power over the decisions made about the school programs in our city. This way, I would get my point across in a more direct, personal, and stronger way. If I were to have contacted my local recreation center, I would have only spoken with one of the many heads of after school programs in Philadelphia; I would have only covered one out of the ten districts of Philadelphia. This would have gotten me only a fraction of the way into what I want to accomplish-more funding towards after school programs of Philadelphia. 

In order to follow up with my two contacts, I will wait for them to respond to my phone calls and emails. I have already taken the first step of speaking with them and introducing myself to them, now I just have to present my case to them. I will do this by finding other groups of people, possibly Philadelphia towns people, including children and parents who also want funding for after school programs in our city. I might take my lobbying a step further by actually visiting city council with other people with similar goals to mine, and actually speaking directly with Ms. Iris Howard and Anne Marie Dunne about funding for after school programs. I will have my lobbying partners present their personal experiences and reasons why they need these services, and will then present my reason for why it is beneficial to fund these programs. If this does not work, then I will need  a stronger voice to represent my cause and might have to contact my district council member, Mr. Frank DiCicco. If I can communicate my lobbying cause to him, he will have more of a chance of getting word to the other council members, and there might be more funding for after school programs. 

I feel that speaking to strong decision makers concerning lobbying topics is the most direct and strongest way to make progress. I feel however, that since we are high school students and since there are so many other different situations going on in city council, congress, and the supreme court that our lobbying causes are going to be overlooked. We would have a better chance of being heard if we join a group of people who have a similar cause as us or if we can get someone with a lot of power in government to represent us. Otherwise, we are all just numbers without a voice or representation. 

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Blog Post #4: Curfew

I focused on one website that allows me to fight back against my city's curfew. The main point I am trying to do is make sure that society knows about the curfew law. I am trying to convince my council members in my area that curfews does cause an effect towards teens. The website I decided to work off of is basically a site that allows kids/teens to fight back against curfews laws. It also allows those who are fighting against to recognize and take more notice on the overall constitutional issues. I decided to apply to this membership in order to take action of curfew laws.

First I applied for membership and now have my own profile which, helps me promote my lobbying case on curfews. 

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Next the site provides different forums and discussion from kids all over who disagree with the curfew law as well in their city. From this I will be able to spread out to kids how we can help convince council members in our community I will be able to post and create my own forums where I will be able to add people in and I will be able to promote it on Twitter or Facebook any social networking site that teens use. I will be able to become apart of the issues and join different forums and discussion.

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I plan to create a forum and allow all to join and allow them to share their opinions on curfews. I will be ​asking their support to assist me in this overall lobbying topic about curfew and having them help me write a letter to my representative about our overall opinions of curfew. We will be trying to convince them about all the positives on the curfew law. How much of an impact it has on us and what it is we are willing to give. I will introduce them to the forum so they will be able to see the overall thoughts of kids from all over. I will send them the post over email in order to get their attention.
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Mar Adentro - Una Vida Con No Digna

              La película “Mar Adentrose trata de la vida de Ramón Sanpedro, un tetrapléigico que vive en la región gallega en España en su cama por 28 años. Ramón vivia con la familia, y la familia ayudar Ramón todos los años el earn un tetrapléigico. Ramón tuvo un accidente en el mar cuando era joven, y esa es la razón que el es un tetrapléjico. Después de el accidente, Ramón tiene una relación mala con su hermano, y no puede hacer muchas cosas. Ramón piensa que la vida de un tetrapléjico no es una vida digna. Ramón quiere quitarse la vida por su propia voluntad, El no quiere vivir una vida no digna porque el no pueden mueven y hacer cosas. Ramón tiene una abogada, que se llama Julia, una amiga que se llama Rosa, y una amiga Gené quien trabaja para una organización que apoya la eutanasia. Gené y Julia quiere hacer la eutanasia legal, porque ellos piensan que personas tienen el derecho a escoger cuando ellos quiere quitarse su vida. Los juezes eran muy polémicos para Ramón, ellos  juzgan la eutanasia, y están en contra de Ramón, y por eso Ramón no puede quitarse su vida legal, con la eutanasia. Al final de película, Ramón tiene muchos amigos quien apoya el, y ellos ayudan Ramón a quitarse la vida de el.

 Para mi, la eutanasia no es un crimen. Como yo lo entiendo, en España, la eutanasia no es legal o es legal pero necesito los jueces a aprobar. Es ridículo que los jueces creen que los personas que están sufrieran necesitan a vivir. No es justo por los jueces a imponer sus creencias a Ramón Sampedro. Ramón esta lucido y el entiendo que para quitarse la vida, es necesario por otros personas a ayudar Ramón. Ramón tiene el derecho a tomar la decisión y es los mas importante a respetar el deseo de Ramón.   

Yo estoy de acuerdo con Ramón, pienso que una persona tiene el derecho a escoger que pasa con su vida, y cuando piensa que no es digna, puede quitarse la vida. Yo pienso que sí fuera un tetrapléjico, me quitaría mi vida también, porque no pienso que es una vida digna, porque no puedes hacer nada. Yo pienso que la muerte es una cosa que la persona puede escoger, es la vida de la persona, y no de los otros.

En mi opinion, Mar Adentro era una película buena. Era marvilloso, deprimente, y controvertido. El reparto son muy bueno, ellos tienen mucho emoción todo la pelicula. Mi mejor actor lation era, Alejandro Amenábar y el es fantástico en la película. El no están un tetrapléjico pero el jugar el parte de un tetrapléjico muy bueno. Los actiones de al y el tono de la voz de el son muy emotionale. La actuación del reparto para mi, era muy bueno porque los personas tienen mucho emotionales en los actiones y las palabras ellos dicen. Me convencieron de los emotionales y yo llorar un poquito.


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