POLS ON THE STREET: D.C.C. Party Ballot Wins Big

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LABOR LEADER John J. Dougherty, Jr., 2nd from left, hosted Democratic primary winners to luncheon at Palm in Bellevue. With him here are Laborers' Ryan Boyer, judicial candidate Henry Lewandowski and Controller Alan Butkovitz.  Photo by Rory McGlasson

LABOR LEADER John J. Dougherty, Jr., 2nd from left, hosted Democratic primary winners to luncheon at Palm in Bellevue. With him here are Laborers’ Ryan Boyer, judicial candidate Henry Lewandowski and Controller Alan Butkovitz.
Photo by Rory McGlasson

BY JOE SHAHEELI/ Democratic City Committee Chairman and Congressman Bob Brady and his leadership team forged a ballot that met with the overwhelming approval of the majority of ward leaders and subsequently their dedicated voters.

Democratic voters they brought to the polls accounted for less than 10% of the eligible Democratic registered voters. Together with the Republican turnout, an historic low turnout of about 60,000 was recorded, less than 7% of the city’s eligible voters exercising their right to vote.

That worked well for the Democratic ballot, which scored an impressive win. It brought in four of its six endorsed candidates for the Court of Common Pleas, plus all three of its endorsed candidates for both Municipal Court and Traffic Court.

Philadelphia Co. ran second fiddle again to Allegheny Co. in voter turnout, kayoing Judge Joseph C. Waters’ efforts to win his Superior Court Democratic nomination, losing to Jack McVay, Jr. by about 30,000 votes. This continues a trend which has shown western Pennsylvania Democratic turnout is always much better than this county and its adjacent four suburban counties. McVay takes on Vic Stabile in November.

Ballot positions did have some weight, proving to be the lucky charm for popular Anne Marie Coyle, who, though a Republican, broke through the Democrats’ blockade with her number-one spot. She also won on the Republican ticket along with Judge Kenneth Powell, who couldn’t duplicate her feat in the D column. As a result, she should be sworn and seated on the Common Pleas bench shortly, since she is a guaranteed winner in November.

Democratic nominees for Common Pleas Court were, in order of their votes, Timika Lane, Joe Fernandes, Anne Marie Coyle, Dan McCaffery, Giovanni Campbell and Sierra Thomas Street. Republicans only field two: Coyle and Judge Powell.

To their credit, a higher turnout could have placed Tracy Roman and Vincent Giusini in the winning column, both running vigorous campaigns buoyed by a good ballot position.

JUMPING for joy, campaign team of Wynnefield attorney Timika Lane, center, celebrate news their candidate topped all others to win seat on Common Pleas Court.

JUMPING for joy, campaign team of Wynnefield attorney Timika Lane, center, celebrate news their candidate topped all others to win seat on Common Pleas Court.

Democratic nominees for Municipal Court are Martin Coleman, Henry Lewan­dowski and Fran Shields. No Republicans ran.

Endorsed Democrats for Traffic Court were easy winner Omar Sabir, followed by Donna DeRose, and Marnie Aument Loughrey. Warren Bloom’s number-one pick on the Dem ballot earned him just under 7% of the vote, followed by Lewis Harris, Jr. Sabir savored a rare double victory: A son was born to him the day after his election win.

Republicans nominated Chris Vogler and Ella Butcher.

Standard-bearers for the Offices of District Attorney and Controller in November will be Democrats Controller Alan Butkovitz and District Attorney R. Seth Williams against Republicans Terrence J. Tracy, Jr. for Controller, and Daniel Alvarez for DA. Look for Republican candidates to begin a long summer campaign to awaken voter interest. If so, they’ll need to be seen along the New Jersey shore.

IF PILEGGI GETS HIS WAY, WHAT THEN?

State Sen. Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware) is obsessed with pushing into law his SB 334 which will end the Philadelphia Traffic Court as we all know it — a court where one did not need to be a lawyer to sit on that bench. His bill, which is due to pass the House after a smooth passage through the Senate, amends Title 42.

We believe he knows, as we do, Administrative Judge Michael Sullivan will be vindicated when he takes his turn in Federal Court. He refused to plead guilty, despite intense federal pressure. And for good reason: His conduct in his role as a Traffic Court judge and then as Court administrator was marked by improvements under his initiative. The Court brought in more money; programs were initiated to help the poor who were fined and couldn’t pay the fines without a payment schedule.

This is considered a “party-line vote” with the majority GOP legislators voting in unison to pass the legislation … and unless our Democratic representatives in the House create havoc on the floor at the time of passage, it seems like a foregone conclusion those elected to Traffic Court will not have an office to occupy.

So here’s an idea. If the worst does happen, how about making those elected this primary serve as hearing officers?

ENERGETIC City Controller candidate Terry Tracy and Fran O’Brien shared confidence of Republican 55th Ward leader Chris Vogler at 21st Ward GOP fundraiser at Finnigan’s Wake. Photo by Bill Myers

ENERGETIC City Controller candidate Terry Tracy and Fran O’Brien shared confidence of Republican 55th Ward leader Chris Vogler at 21st Ward GOP fundraiser at Finnigan’s Wake. Photo by Bill Myers

CASTILLE IN CROSSHAIRS IN RETENTION VOTE

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille must be having dreams involving a former benchmate Justice Russell Nigro, who fell victim to a rare “no” vote when he came up for retention. That’s because a grassroots campaign has been organized by individuals who don’t want to raise money, won’t be taking out ads, but will be spending all their time on social media and the rest of the web calling for Castille’s ouster.

So the Supreme of Supremes has to campaign from now to get voters to say yes to him more than no in his retention election.

Working against him is the fact, if reelected to a 10-year term, he’d have to resign after a year, unless his colleagues get the legislature to do their dirty work and amend the law which terminates judicial service for judges reaching the age of 70. They are supposed to hear the validity of that effort by friends in a case before them, to which Attorney General Kathleen Kane has filed opposition.

Long service creates baggage even for the best-intended public servants. So be it with Justice Castille, a former Philly DA elected to the high court in 1993, retained in 2003 and head of the judiciary since 2008.

The grassroots group, Rock the Capital, has released 87 pages of reasons why Castille should not be retained. Author is Tim Potts, founder of Democracy Rising Pa. The report lists incidents in which it claims, Castille was “a co-conspirator in the political shenanigans” of the state.

COMMON PLEAS candidates, from left, Jim Crumlish, Giovanni Campbell, Timika Lane and Joe Fernandes were among many office-seekers who showed up to meet Ward 40A’s loyal Democrats who were crucial in this week’s primary election. Campbell, Lane and Fernandes won.

COMMON PLEAS candidates, from left, Jim Crumlish, Giovanni Campbell, Timika Lane and Joe Fernandes were among many office-seekers who showed up to meet Ward 40A’s loyal Democrats who were crucial in this week’s primary election. Campbell, Lane and Fernandes won.

‘SOCIAL WELFARE’ GROUPS ACTIVE IN PA. ELECTIONS

The PA Independent reports a group running ads critical of Gov. Tom Corbett’s education policies – which also ran ads against four Republican lawmakers during the last election cycle – has never filed a single campaign-finance disclosure document. Why? Because the group Pennsylvanians for Accountability is registered with the Dept. of State as a nonprofit “social-welfare” organization.

Public disclosure rules are not the same for “social-welfare” nonprofits funding political ads as for other politically motivated groups. Such organizations are not required by federal or state law to file campaign-finance disclosure documents. Which means no one knows from where cometh their money to run these political ads.

BRENDAN SEES FACEBOOK AS CAMPAIGN VEHICLE

State Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Northeast) has kicked off his campaign to win the Democrat Primary for 13th Congressional Dist. by indicating he “made a promise to run a campaign that is truly powered by people like you. Together, we can show everyone what a grassroots campaign looks like. So you can help me by Liking Us on Facebook. “It’s that easy, only takes a second and helps us to deliver a powerful message about the kind of support we have.

“Facebook is a great way to keep up to date with campaign events, the latest photos from the trail, and breaking news about our campaign for Congress. But, most of all, it shows that we have a people-powered campaign.

“P.S.: Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask! But we are accepting contributions to help fuel this people-powered campaign, so please give what you can to help jump start our campaign! Thank you for your support!”

MAY FAIR drew throngs to Clark Park in W. Phila., among them Democratic 27th Ward Leader Carol Jenkins, right, and ward-endorsed winner for Common Pleas Court Dan McCaffery, where they met Cedar Park Neighbors activists Michael Froehlich and Annalisa Yoder.

MAY FAIR drew throngs to Clark Park in W. Phila., among them Democratic 27th Ward Leader Carol Jenkins, right, and ward-endorsed winner for Common Pleas Court Dan McCaffery, where they met Cedar Park Neighbors activists Michael Froehlich and Annalisa Yoder.

ELECTION-DAY NOTES FOR THOSE WHO CARE

City Commission Chair Anthony Clark deserves our compliments for his innovative suggestion to put division maps in every place where more than one polling place was gathered. Due to federal handicap mandates, it has gotten tougher for the Commission to find acceptable places with easy entry for handicapped voters. So rec centers, school and church halls have become the norm with as many as four polling places in one location.

His division maps easily identify the voter to where they need to go to vote.

Shame on those guys who put together ballots in a hurry. We found several ballots which had the name of the candidate with a different ballot number. Then, again, on second thought, maybe it was done with a purpose…. But, maybe not, since the “NOT SO DUMB” voter really looks for the name and not the number.

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