BY JOE SHAHEELI/ Lots of interesting tidbits came out of the State Parties gathering last week, the Democrats in Hershey and the Republican in Harrisburg.
â€œFree drink tickets, courtesy of Jim Burn and Allyson Schwartzâ€ read the card passed out among Democrats early Friday, igniting the rumor into near-reality the Philadelphia-Montgomery Congresslady was dipping her toes into the Democratic primary for Governor. She was a no-show, but the word is she is seriously giving it a consideration.
Her entry wouldÂ scare away other announced contenders. She has the support of Marcel Groen, who was quoted as saying, â€œSheâ€™s 80% of the way in.â€
Barring no other Democrat entry from Philly, sheâ€™ll have the support of Philadelphia Co. Democratic Chairman Congressman Bob Brady as well as Groen, who heads the Montgomery Co. end of her congressional district.
Other major factors promoting â€œSchwartz Powerâ€ is the fact she has an estimated $3.1 million in her campaign chest, along with a Democratic poll showing sheâ€™s way ahead of other potential candidates as well as eight points ahead of Corbett in the same poll.
No doubt Schwartz is a mover. Having recently been named the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committeeâ€™s Finance Chair, the move the quit Congress seemed less likely.
She could challenge US Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)Â in 2016. But he has nowhere the negatives of Corbett and can easily raise more campaign funds as an incumbent.
The two best political clubs in the country are the US Senators and the Governors.
Taking on Corbett could prove to be an easier ticket to the Governors’ Club. A Franklin & MarshallÂ poll shows only 26% of registered voters think Corbett is doing a good job: just 2% said heâ€™s doing an excellent job, 24% said good, 41% said heâ€™s doing only a fair job, and 26% said heâ€™s doing a poor job.
Only 41% of Republicans gave him positive marks. Still, thatâ€™s better than the 26% of independents and 16% of Democrats who appreciate his labors.
Increasing the possibility of Schwartzâ€™s race is she need not resign and the resulting publicity will make her next congressional run that much easier. Her competition for now could be Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord, State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery), former Congressman Joe Sestak, John Hanger from Rendellâ€™s cabinet, York businessman Tom Wolf, our own Tom Knox and Cumberland Co. pastor Max Myers. If the Schwartz Power officially announces, we see the others waving her flag.
State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Northeast), who shares her district, and has support for a gubernatorial run from here and elsewhere in the state, is also said to be considering. But promoting Schwartz up and out instead, makes him the most likely to succeed her in the then-vacant 13th Dist. spot.
STATE G.O.P., DEMS PICK JUDICIAL CANDIDATES
Good news for Philadelphia came with the report the Democratic State Committee overwhelmingly endorsed Common Pleas Judge Joe Waters for Superior Court. He beat out Allegheny Co. attorney Michael Wojcik on the first ballot, 199 to 62.
The Republican Party of Pennsylvania voted to endorse attorney Vic Stabile for Superior Court and reelected Rob Gleason as Committee Chairman. It was obvious the party is the Governorâ€™s most loyal fan club and that Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley was included.Â Cawley spoke before the Committee lauding the Governor’s job creation stats and his programs.
It was rumored Gleason was to have faced competition, but results were unanimous, after a motion by National Committeeman Bob Asher.
Attorney Vic Stabile, former Chair of the Cumberland Co. GOP, won the endorsement unanimously. Â On Feb. 7, Stabile received a rating of â€œrecommendedâ€ from the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
This Superior Court race is expected to draw voter attention locally.
Judge Waters, 59, was elected to the Municipal Court in 2009 after a 21-year career with the Philadelphia Police Dept., retiring with rank of Captain. Joeâ€™s twin sons are both police officers.
A South Philadelphian, he worked for the Newspaper & Magazine Employees Union at the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 1972 during the Vietnam War, Joe enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving until 1974 and receiving a citation for outstanding performance. After completion of his military service for which Joe received an Honorable Discharge, he returned home and applied to the Police Dept.
He joined as police officer on duty. In June 1991, Waters was promoted to Captain. In 1993, Waters was transferred to the Command Inspections Bureau where served the remainder of his career, retiring in 1998.
While in the Police Dept., Waters completed his Bachelor’s Degree magna cum laude from Temple University in 1989 and earned his law degree from Temple University School of Law in 1994. At graduation he was awarded the Kranzel Award and the Lena Hale Award, two of the Law Schoolâ€™s most prestigious awards, and was the class commencement speaker.
In 1993, Waters was awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholarship in Police Studies. He completed research at the University of Exeter and received an assignment with the London Metropolitan Police Dept. to assist in reviewing their use of force policies. He retired from the Philadelphia Police Dept. in 1998.
Victor â€œVicâ€ Stabile is an attorney and the managing partner of Dilworth Paxsonâ€™s Harrisburg law office, with more than 30 years of experience in commercial and civil law practicing before trial and appellate courts at the state and federal level. Vic has previously served as a Deputy Attorney General for the Pennsylvania Attorney Generalâ€™s office and on the nominating committee for federal judicial candidates in Pennsylvania.
Both Vic Stabile and Judge Joe Waters were recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association for the Superior Court.
Vic resides in Carlisle, Cumberland Co. with his wife, Victoria, and their two daughters.
Democrats seeking the Lieutenant Governorâ€™s nomination included Harrisburg Councilman Brad Koplinski and State Rep. Brandon Neuman (D-Washington).
GREEN PUSHES MORE CAMPAIGN TRANSPARENCY
Councilman Bill Green has introduced legislation he believes will enhance Philadelphiaâ€™s disclosure rules to make sure Philadelphia voters have all the information they can get about whoâ€™s trying to influence elections in the City.
The Councilmanâ€™s proposed legislation requires any â€œperson or political committeeâ€ that makes an expenditure or contribution for the dissemination of material that includes a candidateâ€™s name or likeness will have to file a disclosure statement with the City Board of Ethics with the names and amounts of contributions of all those who have contributed ($100 or more) to the person or committee within the previous 12 months.â€
Green said,Â â€œThe issue is how outside expenditures affect the race as a whole â€“ not whether or not it is â€˜coordinatedâ€™ with a particular candidate or committee.Â The original intent of our campaign-finance laws was to identify the source of money spent to influence elections in Philadelphia. We cannot allow that to be superseded by individuals or committees spending vast quantities of money from hidden donors and special interests.â€
POLITICSPA NAMES TOP COUNTY CHAIRS
Polling its readers many of them politicos and elected officials, the web political daily news letter named to the top four as â€œbestâ€ Democrats: Marcel Groen, Montgomery Co.; Bob Brady, Philadelphia Co.; Bill Cole, Erie Co.; and Bob Kefauver, York Co. Republicans: Best Chair Emeritus: Ann Wilson, Cambria Co.; Val DiGiorgio, Chester Co.; Robert Kerr, Northampton Co.; and Pat Poprik, Bucks Co.
FARNESE DEBATES METCALFE ON P.C.N.
State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-S. Phila.) debated State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) on PCN Public Affairs Television this week about the need for common sense gun legislation in Pennsylvania.Â The live program brought together two of the Commonwealthâ€™s most-passionate, pro and con, gun-legislation advocates for the first time.
Farnese has talked to law enforcement and prosecutors from across the Commonwealth about how they want and need commonsense gun laws so they can stay safe, fight violence and lock up law-breaking gun owners.
Farnese advocated for law enforcement and discussed his legislation which would implement mandatory sentencing for unlawfully carrying a firearm, require the reporting of lost and stolen firearms, ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and require mandatory background checks.
FRANK DiCICCO LAUNCHES ‘ASSOCIATES’
Former Councilman Frank DiCicco has opened DiCicco Associates, a consulting firm that will work with a variety of companies in their marketing, government-relations and public-affairs efforts.
â€œThe common thread that ties my past and my current professional relationships is my desire to see Philadelphia as a leader in modern technology and innovation and my passion for environmental issues and economic development,â€ said the former four-term Councilman.
â€œIâ€™m pleased to say Carl Engelke of Eagle Eye Solutions will be joining forces with us to provide our current and future clients with a team that offers a wide variety of skills and know-how,â€ said DiCicco.
Chris Mallios, a former Chief in the 32-member District Attorneyâ€™s Family Violence & Sexual Assault Division, has added his name in the primary race for Judge in Court of Common Pleas. Heâ€™s expected to run on both slates.
He is currently an adjunct professor at University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice. His campaign office is at 423 Vine Street.
PILEGGI BEGINS LONG HAUL TOWARD ELIMINATING T.C.
There will be a primary and general election for candidates seeking to become judges in the Philadelphia Traffic Court.
The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously reported out State Sen. Domenic Pileggiâ€™s (R-Delaware) bills designed to eliminate Philadelphiaâ€™s Traffic Court. Nine elected judges and three other individualsÂ were charged on Jan. 31 by the federal government for ticket-fixing within that court. The Senate Majority Leader argues this is undeniable evidence the court should be abolished. Philadelphia is the only county in Pennsylvania to have its own separate traffic court.
State Sen. Anthony Williams (D-W. Phila.), inclined to support Pileggiâ€™s bills, has suggested, without being specific, there are other counties with â€œfavoritismâ€ problems similar to those exposed in the Philadelphia Traffic Court situation. â€œThis is a conversation that should start with Philly, but a lot more needs to be done,â€ said Williams.