BY JOE SHAHEELI/Â Once again, Committee of 70â€™s Executive Dir. Zachary Stalberg, well-meaning though his efforts are, continues to spread statistics and facts that reflect adversely on the efforts of the City Commissionersâ€™ Registration Division.
His most-recent criticism of the Registration Division, as reported in the Pennsylvania Independent internet blog by Eric Boehm, is, â€œThe City has not done enough to trim its voter rolls, to remove inactive voters, dead voters, and former voters who have moved out of the city. Bloated voting rolls increase the chance for fraud to take place, he said, and in a one-party town like the City of Brotherly Love that can be a particular concern.â€
The only thing Stalberg was correct about in the information he sent out on the web is, â€œThe numbers have been out of whack for some time now.â€
Stalberg told the Pennsylvania Independent, â€œIt just defies logic to think two out of every three people living in the city can be registered to vote.â€ So Pennsylvania Independent and other media go along believing our City Commissioners and especially its Registration head, Greg Irving, are not doing their work or living up to their responsibility.
Stalberg needs to spend some time at the Registration Commission offices where workers are pushing six and seven days a week with long hours, to make sure the rolls are as conclusively accurate as they can be. Heâ€™ll discover what is involved in ensuring the one 1,600,031 voters registered in this city as of last Monday, will be able to cast their votes.
He talks about purges … the last was in 1994. But purges are no longer allowed. Since then, federal and state regulations have ruled supreme, wreaking havoc in registration rolls.
Stalberg ignores the fact, under the Voter Removal Program, voters are entitled to remain on the registration rolls for years without voting, unless it is proven they have moved to another location, or someone comes in with a death certificate to show they canâ€™t physically vote.
Irving notes, â€œLong-time nonvoters can show up to vote, and will be allowed though their affidavit is marked â€˜inactiveâ€™.â€
Federal regulations are mainly responsible for keeping inactive and long-gone voters on the registration lists. The Feds say everyone registered can be considered eligible to vote unless they have missed two successive federal (presidential) elections. So unless address changes kick in, they can remain on the divisionâ€™s rolls for nine years.
Irving noted, â€œThis has kept our lists burdened with nonvoters. We do what we can and every summer we run our lists through a national change-of-address program. We also get notifications from PennDOT and the Post Office as to address changes. When we do, we send a letter to that household. If no confirmation comes back, then we can remove them. We also send another letter to their new address to see if they have moved to that address. If that letter is returned, we then send a second letter back to the old address to see if the voter still resides there. If there is no confirmation, we remove them.â€
To the credit of the author of the Pennsylvania Independent article, he writes, â€œBelieve it or not, even Philadelphiaâ€™s bloated voting rolls are better than what is found in many parts of the country. An analysis looked at voter registration and population data for more than a dozen states â€“ focusing on swing states in the coming national election â€“ and found residents of Colorado, Ohio and Missouri should be particularly concerned. If Philadelphiaâ€™s 95% ratio of registered voters to voting-age residents defies logic, then the counties in those states that have a ratio of more than 100% should be sure signs of fraud at some level. No counties in Pennsylvania surpass that threshold.â€
Research conducted by the Pew Center on the States reveals approximately 24 million voter registrations, or 1 in 8, are no longer valid. They also estimate more than 1.8 million dead people are still listed as voters and more than 2.75 million people are registered to vote in multiple states.
SINGER BLASTS PA. DEPT. OF STATE
City Commission Chair Stephanie Singer held a press conference to clear up confusion caused by the Dept. of State which continues to run voter-ID ads.
She charged they are wrong: â€œMy office has received hundreds of complaints about misleading web pages and TV ads, as well as downright false billboards in Spanish in Latino communities in Philadelphia. We ask all media to give one clear message to Pennsylvania voters: â€˜No ID Required for Nov. 6, 2012, except for first-time voters as usual.â€™
SID BOOKER PUSHES MAJOR VOTE RALLY
Sid Booker, Philadelphiaâ€™s famous Shrimp King, and former Undersheriff, will host, together with State Sen. Shirley Kitchen (D-N. Phila.), his annual get-out-the-vote rally in front of his famous eatery and night club Friday, Nov. 2. Not only will voters get a chance to hobnob with at least a dozen of the cityâ€™s top state and local elected officials, they will also get a chance to enjoy Sid Bookerâ€™s generous hospitality.
The rally kicks off at LaPointe, 4600 N. Broad Street, at the intersection of Belfield Avenue at 5:30 and will run until 7:30 p.m.
Expected to put in appearances, in addition to the hosts, are State Sen. LeAnna Washington; State Reps. Rosita Youngblood, Michelle Brownlee, Cherelle Parker and Ronald Waters; Council Members Marian Tasco, Cindy Bass and Curtis Jones; and candidates for the State House J. P. Miranda and Stephen Kinsey. Mayor Michael Nutter and Congressman Chaka Fattah will attend.
DUNBAR PRESSES JOHN TAYLOR
Long time 177th Dist. incumbent State Rep. John Taylor (R-Kensington) is the cityâ€™s go-to guy in Harrisburg with the power that comes with years of service. He is the only surviving Republican legislator and is the cityâ€™s best conduit for pushing necessary legislation in a Republican-controlled General Assembly.
He faces this time a Democrat challenger, William Dunbar, who is young, hungry and doesnâ€™t know when to quit. Dunbar, 28, has revisited homes in the District as many as three times and believes President Obamaâ€™s coattails will carry him, along with the traction he has developed, to victory.
He has pressed Taylor to debate with him, and expected the incumbent to attend a candidate night sponsored by the Northwood Civic Association which was to feature both of them. Taylor was a no-show, with one of his staff attending in his place. He was reportedly in Harrisburg, though Dunbar differs.
So with two weeks left in the election, their real debate will be decided by the voters. We must note Taylor has included in his campaign material an article written in the Public Record extolling his career and his power position benefiting this city.
CONTROLLER TO FACE 2, 3 OR MORE
Mark R. Zecca, Esq., senior attorney in the Cityâ€™s Law Dept., will make it official the end of this month. Heâ€™ll be declaring for a primary challenge to Controller Alan Butkovitz. That makes him the second to enter the race, behind perennial challenger Brett Mandel.
His announcement will add fuel to a smoldering fire among politicos in the Black community, where they see an opportunity to split the Democrat vote and bring in a member of Philadelphiaâ€™s African American leaders as the next Controller. Surfacing among black leadership for now is Michael Williams, Esq., former head of cityâ€™s Minority Program, and a former member of Cityâ€™s Law Dept.
AÂ BELIEVER IN MIRACLES
Mark Person, 55, long-time South Philadelphian living in the 30th and 36th Ward, is one of those rare species, a Republican. Even rarer, he is running against endorsed Democrat Jordan Harris in the general election.
Heâ€™s doing so as a write-in candidate, knows the odds are 10,000 to one against him, but remains optimistic and a believer in miracles.
â€œI know Harris has it locked up. But you never know. People are fed up. They are beginning to realize that leadership picks and anoints whom they want without regard for the concerns of the people. My only problem,â€ he admits, â€œis teaching them how to vote a write-in.â€
To help educate them, Person has been distributing mailers that describe how to write in a vote. He also has a website: markperson.vpweb.com.
â€œIâ€™m pushing and the website is getting a lot of bites, but I know Iâ€™m climbing a slippery slope. But it needs to be done.â€
Person did win a write-in vote. He wrote himself in as Republican Committeeman in the 30th Ward, 4th Div.
For 15 years, Person worked on ships at the Naval Base. He has also been a producer and co-host on the famous â€œMornings With Mary Masonâ€ radio show. In between, he has been a band and artist manager. A graduate from South Philadelphia HS, Person is a well-known figure in the area … and â€œthat will help me to some extent,â€ he says.
GUV TAPS HENON, GRABOYES
Gov. Tom Corbett seems to be loosening up a bit by making a few more Philadelphia appointees than has been his record. Philadelphians named include two political activists: Bob Henon and Terry Graboyes.
Councilman Henon was appointed to serve on the Uniform Construction Code Review & Advisory Council. Glass-company executive Terry Graboyes was named to the State Apprenticeship & Training Council. Another Philadelphian, Michael A. Schurr, was reappointed.
Jefferey Runge was appointed to the Pennsylvania Drug, Device & Cosmetic Board and Linda Kerns was appointed to State Board of Nursing. Cristina Cavalieri made it to the State Transportation Commission.
The six were among 80 picked from around the state. He continues to ignore Philadelphians who would excel in the various commissions.
HOUSE DEMS ASK FEDS LOOK AT CORBETT
State House Democrats have asked for a federal review of then-state Attorney General Tom Corbettâ€™s investigation of Jerry Sandusky.
Democratic leaders sent a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder asking for a special counsel. â€œIt is clear this case is crying out for an independent eye to carefully review the investigation of Mr. Sandusky by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General,â€ said Minority Leader Frank Dermody.
CASEY ENDORSE KATHY BOOCKVAR
Senator Bob Casey endorsed Kathy Boockvar for Congress in Pennsylvaniaâ€™s Eighth Congressional District.
â€œKathy Boockvar will be a leader and voice for middle-class families across Bucks and Montgomery Cos. and thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m endorsing her for Congress,â€ said Casey. â€œThe 113th Congress has its work cut out for itself if itâ€™s to strengthen the middle class, grow the economy, create good jobs and reduce our deficit. Thatâ€™s why we need people like Kathy in Washington. She will work with members of both parties to do whatâ€™s right for the people of Pennsylvania and America.â€
HOW ABOUT $3 – DONATED TO US?
In this hard-pressed era in the history of journalism in America, a period that has seen dailies fall, weeklies go out of business and national magazines forced to cease printing and being pushed to go digital, there is a need to keep print media alive … for the good of the country, the state, the city and local communities.
We have been deluged over this campaign period, for at least the last six months, from both camps in the presidential and US senatorial campaigns, with appeals to contribute just $3 and in some cases $5 to the candidates. It seems to be working for them. We might just try that ourselves.
If one of our staffers asks you to donate $3 to the Public Record, please respond. You know we will put it to good use.
AFL-CIO SENDS 100K MAILERS
The AFL-CIO has shipped 100,000 mailers to Pennsylvania union members, informing them that unless they are newly registered or have moved their registration to a new polling location, they do not need photo ID to vote in the upcoming election. Voters who have been sent this mailer will also receive a robo-call before it arrives and then another after, to reinforce the message.
â€œThe ad campaign being run by the State does a poor job of explaining you donâ€™t need a photo ID to vote,â€ said AFL-CIO State Dir. David Driscoll-Knight. â€œCountering the confusion in Pennsylvania has been a top priority of the AFL-CIO and is an important part of our get-out-the-vote program.â€
WE’VE BEEN HINTING AT THIS F.B.I. STING….
Look for the other shoe to drop shortly on some of our elected officials.
The FBI is billboarding a partnership with the United States Attorneyâ€™s Office, the City of Philadelphia Inspector General, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Inspector General, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Attorney Generalâ€™s Office, and the Philadelphia Police Dept. to announce a new initiative aimed at combating fraud and corruption. Thatâ€™s unlike them to broadcast their intent.
The joint initiative includes the launch of a new, toll-free tip line number, 1-855-FBI-TIPS (1-855-324-8477), and a billboard campaign. It will run for about five months and focus first on Philadelphia Co. targeting fraud and corruption in federal, state and local government agencies.
Local Special Agent in Charge George Venizelos commented, â€œThe FBIâ€™S number-one criminal priority is to address public corruption at all levels of government. Every elected official and public servant has a fiduciary duty to provide honorable service to the American public. The public is one of the most effective tools in the battle against public corruption. Anyone who has information regarding ongoing or historic acts of corruption by public officials is strongly encouraged to contact this newly established hotline (1-855-FBI TIPS) to provide their information in a secure, confidential, and anonymous manner.â€
Seems organized crime, drug dealers, etc., can breathe a sigh of relief during this campaign.
WILL GREENIES OUT-VOTE LIBS?
The third parties could make a difference in some states, Ã la Ralph Nader, in the presidential election, tilting away needed votes from either presidential candidate.
The Green Party, with Dr. Jill Stein and local icon Cheri Honkala have made the most noise and gotten the most press of the two parties. They claim they are polling over 3% of the vote, which could impact on President Barack Obamaâ€™s votes in close states.
Both Dr. Jill Stein and Gov. Gary Johnson debated with Larry King hosting this past week, but ironically only those watching Al Jazeera and Russia Today were able to view them, since the major cable networks in the US blacked them out.