City Controller Alan Butkovitz has lost no time in criticizing Brett Mandelâ€™s Bulldog Budget website, released with fanfare recently.
Butkovitz charges Mandel with publishing inaccuracies which have forced Mandel to withdraw some of the material from that website. Butkovitz blasted the Bulldog Budget website as inaccurate without waiting for the kickoff of his reelection campaign at the Center City Sheraton Monday, at 11 a.m.
Based on RSVPs received, aÂ veritable Whoâ€™s Who will be present, including some Republicans.
He noted Mandelâ€™s site had hoped to detail how every penny of the Cityâ€™s $3.5 million budget is spent. Mayor Nutterâ€™s administration has been working on such an effort for some time now.
Explaining why Mandel beat the Mayor to the punch with just Right to Know requests and a tech savvy friend, Adel Ebeid, the Nutterâ€™s chief innovation officer, was reported in the major media as saying, â€œWe thought it was more important to make sure weâ€™re publishing accurate data than just releasing an app and getting a headline.â€
Butkovitz agreed. â€œIt is inaccurate. The first thing that I did was look myself up and his site said that my salary was $128,000.â€ Butkovitz said that he had frozen his salary a few years ago, along with the Mayor and other city officials, and actually makes much less than what Mandel reports.
A search of the site revealed that the â€œBudget Bulldogâ€ misreported those officialsâ€™ salaries as well.
Mandel had originally refuted the charges of inaccuracy in the UPenn student paper. But today, Butkovitz stated, if you go to his site to look up salaries, they are all gone, including his Butkovitz, Nutter, and all city employees.
This quiet removal of one of the hallmarks of his budget app is an early stumble by Mandel. The Controllerâ€™s office is in charge of auditing every department of city government and publishing what the public trusts are accurate results. Butkovitz added, once you raise questions about the accuracy of the information being released, then you start to question the source. He concluded, â€œThe Controllerâ€™s audits cannot be a source that the public does not trust. Looks like the Nutter Administration got it right in erring on the side of releasing accurate information rather than rushing to grab a headline.â€
WILL HOPE SURVIVE JUDICIAL PRIMARY?
Mayfair native Christine Hope has thrown her hat into the Democrat primary for judge. She will face an estimated 20-plus fellow contenders, from the reports coming in from ward leaders and campaign consultants. Vacancies to be filled may go up to nine or more.
She started her legal career with the Defenders Association, serving from 1989 to 1994. She established Beloff & Hope PC over 15 years ago, handling a wide range of cases spanning the gamut of marital cases.
Like we played with her name in headline above, the former wife of the late Judge Adam Beloff is using it as well. Her motto: â€œTime for Hope … for Judgeâ€.
WILL THIS EARLY BIRD GET THE WORM?
Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski, a Democrat, has announced he will be a candidate for Lieutenant Governor. The platform of his campaign will be to help Pennsylvaniaâ€™s municipalities make their own decisions without being dictated to by the Governor and the State Legislature … thatâ€™s one long haul.
Koplinski, an attorney, has been a Harrisburg City Councilman for the last five years. Campaign-savvy, he was statewide political director for US Sen. Arlen Specterâ€™s 2010 Senate effort, Central Pennsylvania political director for Sen. Hillary Clinton in her 2008 presidential campaign and controller for the 2008 Obama-Biden Pennsylvania campaign.
BLACK G.O.P. COUNCIL ELECTS LEADERSHIP
The Philadelphia Black Republican Council held its reorganization meeting and elected the following officers for the next two years: Calvin R. Tucker, chairman; Ronald Currie, secretary; Ronald Holt, treasurer; Lamont Foreman, financial secretary; Rev. Todd Johnson, chaplain; Joseph Thomas, assistant secretary; and Joseph Samuel, sergeant at arms.
According to Tucker, PBRC was formed to further engaged the African American community in a dialog which will result in a better understanding of the Philadelphia Republican Party, elect African American Republicans to one or more positions in the city, state and/or federal government, raise funds to support Republican candidates, and help all Republican candidates navigate the â€œsometimes stormy waters of the African American communityâ€ and to create business opportunities and jobs for African Americans. The city hasnâ€™t had a strong African American Republican since Dr. Ethel Allen served on City Council at Large in the â€™80s.
STATE UNIONS TO SUE IF PENSIONS GET CUT
The two largest public-sector unions in Pennsylvania will sue the state if their membersâ€™ pension benefits are changed. That includes AFSCME and the Pennsylvania AFT. They say any changes would amount to a breach of contract, deemed unconstitutional in past state court cases.
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati has said heâ€™s wary of any pension-reform plan that results in a legal battle.
SIMS OPENS OFFICE, USES BABETTE’S NUMBER
State Rep. Brian Sims (D-S. Phila.) held an open house for residents of the 182nd Legislative Dist. last week at his district office, 21 S. 12th Street, Suite 182. â€œI look forward to meeting more of the people I am honored to represent. This is a chance for you to see the new office, meet my staff and learn about some of the state services and programs we can help you with,â€ Sims said.
The 182nd Dist. includes Rittenhouse, Fitler and Logan Squares, the Gayborhood and parts of Washington Square West, Bella Vista, Graduate Hospital and Grays Ferry. Regular hours for Simsâ€™ office will begin Thursday. The office will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on state holidays.
The office phone number is (215) 246-1501, the same as former State Rep. Babette Josephsâ€™ office.
TRACEY GORDON TAPPED FOR JANE SHEPP HONOR
City Commission staffer Tracey Gordon was tapped as one of 2013 African women receiving the Joan Shepp award. Her picture will appear in Sheppâ€™s womenâ€™s boutique salon window at 1616 Walnut Street.
GUV HAS STRONG CAMPAIGN FUNDS
Since money talks in election campaigns, the over $3.5 million Gov. Tom Corbett has in his campaign treasury is enough to guarantee only an insane Republican challenger will take him on. It all serves notice to those calling him a â€œone-termerâ€, that his ability to raise even more will put him among the other high rollers who ran for Governor and succeeded.
He has been waging a media blitz and his exposure with this budget message should earn him more Republican support from the rank and file.
UNITED DEM WARD LEADERS OF COLOR HOST COCKTAIL GALA
Look for a major turnout of judicial and other candidates to appear at a cocktail gathering at 3801 Market Street hosted by United Democratic Ward Leaders of Color.
The event kicks off at 6:30 and ends at 8:30. Tickets are $100, $1,000 per table of 10. Those interested in attending should send non-corporate checks made out to C & D PAC, 5409 Addison Street, Philadelphia, PA 19143.
The majority of this cityâ€™s Black ward leaders support this group. Popular activist Jeffrey Felder is treasurer. For further info call (267) 809-2626.
REPUBLICAN LEADER HAVEY POSTS ON CRAIG’S LIST
Republican Ward Leader Annie Havey has posted information on Craigâ€™s List for those interested in signing up to run for Republican positions of judge and inspector of election coming up this primary. Her efforts brought in 300 Republicans for minority clerk last election.
NEW Black Republican leadership officers are, top row, Secretary Ronald Currie, Treasurer Ron Holt, Sergeant at Arms Joseph Samuels; bottom row, Chaplain Rev. Todd Johnson, Chairman Calvin Tucker and Financial Secretary Lamont Foreman.