BY JOE SHAHEELI/ No prophet seems to be popular in his own camp nationally and this is true of maverick Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who does not motivate hardcore Republicans in a possible presidential primary. However, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, “Christie’s continuing popularity among independents and Democrats makes him one of the nation’s best-liked politicians even.”
Christie was rated at 53.1 degrees, the “hottest” of all the people polled. Hillary Clinton, one degree behind, was the only other politician to score above 50. Although Christie scored a healthy 59.8% among GOP voters, that figure put him eighth out of 12 Republicans in the poll, behind Congressman Paul Ryan (Wis.), Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.)
A second Monday-morning poll from Monmouth University also found Christie is viewed favorably among all political groups, but generates less excitement among the GOP base than other prominent Republicans.
In the Quinnipiac survey, the House and Senate’s top politicians came in dead last: Nancy Pelosi at 38.4, Mitch McConnell at 37.5, John Boehner at 36.7 and Harry Reid at 33.8.
Republican pollster Whit Ayres finds GOP voters back immigration reform. Two-thirds will support a path to citizenship as long as the conditions are strict and rigorous. One-third won’t in any case.
HILLARY PUMPS THE NUMBERS ON PUBLIC RECORD WEBSITE
Less scientific, but still noteworthy, is the online “polling” of Philadelphia Public Record readers. Since the beginning of summer, the single article in this newspaper most often read online was “Hillary At Bryn Mawr! Telling Women To Lead” by Bonnie Squires, a report on the former Secretary of State’s visit to the area to address at the Women in Public Service Project.
If this finding is any measure, Hillary Clinton can lay claim to a firm based of support in the Philadelphia region should she choose to run for President in 2016.
KENYATTA SHOULD CHECK WITH BASE ON VACANT LOTS
When you strike a busy bee minding its business and stop it from making honey for the hive, it could sting you back.
That is the possibility facing 2nd Dist. Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, who swatted away at Point Breeze developer Ori Feibush’s plans to bring upgraded new housing stock to the area. Feibush made headlines last year when he cleaned and manicured a trash-filled city property, earning an official reprimand for his pains. That hasn’t stopped Feibush, who is becoming the go-to guy for clearing up neighborhood problems in the 36th Ward.
Johnson is all over the 2nd Council Dist., seen at many community gatherings and protest meetings. But meetings don’t make friends for Council folks. It’s the little things that count for voters, who normally don’t go to such meetings. Problem facing Kenyatta is he needs to follow up on numerous complaints received about such vacant lots and homes in his District.
Feibush claims he has cleaned over 40 lots, possibly earning the respect of those neighbors. It is reported voters in the District are pushing him to challenge Johnson in the next Council primary.
Johnson’s office says the Councilman’s team has been vigorous in dealing with vacant-lot complaints. Kenyatta staffer Steve Cobb was quoted as saying Johnson’s team is continually forwarding complaints to the City’s Community Life Improvement Program, as well as organizing volunteer cleanups, working with residents to convert vacant space into parkland and moved to sell some lots.
Maybe it’s time for Johnson to give Feibush a hand in building on many of those problem vacant sites. It could solve both an economic and a political problem.
G.O.P. CONTENDER WARNS CITY’S ON COSTLY PATH
Terry Tracy, Republican challenger to City Controller Alan Butkovitz, says the City has suffered from “countless policy and financial decisions made in the name of progress over the last several decades that have had disastrous outcomes for our city and the people who call it home. The failure to properly fund and monitor our school district and employee pensions are the most prominent and pressing. So I have to ask, have we had enough?
“As a city, we find ourselves in trying times to say the least with single party control of City Hall. A lack of political and intellectual competition has wreaked havoc on our neighborhoods. We must put an end to knee-jerk tax hikes. We can no longer afford to reel from crisis to crisis. Accountability is key to effective, responsive government.”
VOTER PHOTO I.D. NOT NEEDED IN THIS GENERAL
State lawyers agreed to delay implementation of Pennsylvania’s controversial new voter-ID law, currently being scrutinized in Commonwealth Court, until after the November election.
The law was enacted in 2012, but Judge Robert Simpson granted an injunction ahead of the November general-election day to ensure time for proper implementation. The legislation brought out higher numbers of Democratic voters than had been expected.
Regardless of whether the law is upheld in Commonwealth Court, the law will not be in effect for any November 2013 elections taking place. The State’s Attorney General’s Office agreed to allow a temporary injunction against the law to stand for the remainder of the current election cycle.
In closing arguments, the State nevertheless argued the plaintiff had not sufficiently proved the unconstitutionality of Pennsylvania’s voter-ID law. Attorneys for the Commonwealth said it had spent $5 million to educate the public about the law.
AUG. 4 WAS PARTY TIME FOR SCHWARTZ
Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-Phila.) found her August 4 fundraising night may have been key in her efforts to win the Democratic nomination for Governor. Her campaign team has set up house parties around the Commonwealth. Held in 15 counties, all had big turn outs with many local politicos in attendance.
The 15 counties included Allegheny, Bucks, Cambria, Carbon, Columbia, Dauphin, Erie, Lackawanna, Lycoming, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Tioga, and Warren. Councilwoman Cindy Bass is listed among her campaign surrogates.
Schwartz’s opponents for the Democratic nomination include State Treasurer Rob McCord, former Secretary of the Department of Revenue Tom Wolf, former Secretaries of the Dept. of Environmental Protection John Hanger and Katie McGinty.
SEN. WILLIAMS CALLS COOPER INCIDENT AN ‘OPPORTUNITY’
State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams (D-W. Phila.), reacting to Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper’s controversial racial remark, said, “The set of circumstances surrounding Riley Cooper is disrespectful and hurtful to the community from which I come: African Americans and people of color who have suffered a legacy of discrimination in these words.
“But it also presents an opportunity for the larger community to understand, beyond Riley Cooper individually, that we have levels of responsibility.
“I’m particularly struck by the fact that on this team that has Michael Vick – a guy who has had his own set of circumstances – he has forgiven Riley Cooper.
“For those who thought Vick should have been run out of town, I would expect they would have a similar disdain for the comments made by Riley Cooper and vocalize those. But, equally as compelling, I would expect the African American community, the people-of-color community, and progressive community that thought Michael Vick should have a second chance should also consider Riley Cooper in that same vein.”
SENS. CASEY, TOOMEY APPLAUD McHUGH-SMITH NOMINATIONS
Following the announcement that President Barack Obama has nominated Gerald McHugh, Jr. and Edward Smith to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, US Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) issued a statement supporting their nominations.
McHugh is currently a partner at Raynes McCarty in Philadelphia, where he has worked since 2004 in civil litigation including medical malpractice, unsafe products, aviation disasters, civil rights, and workplace accidents. Before joining the firm, he was a shareholder at Litvin, Blumberg, Matusow & Young from 1981 until 2004. He served as a law clerk to United States District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania Judge Alfred L. Luongo from 1979 to 1981.
Since 2002, Smith has served as a presiding judge for the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton Co. Smith has served as a Captain in the United States Navy, Judge Advocate General’s Corps since 1984. He has also been a partner at DeRaymond & Smith from 1990 to 2001 and served as a solicitor to the Northampton Co. Industrial Development Authority and Upper Nazareth Township.
TIM O’BRIEN LAUNCHES REPUBLICAN WEBSITE
Former Bail Commissioner Tim O’Brien has launched a new Republican website called “RowhouseRepublican.Com”. Those who have seen it say it’s a creative asset to the efforts now underway by the newly reorganized Republican City Committee. O’Brien believes it gives formerly disenfranchised Republicans by City Hall and the national GOP a chance to voice their opinions and suggestions.
O’Brien’s website is oriented toward blue-collar Philadelphians and is socially tolerant and pro-union.
FUMO REPORTED ON THE MENU AT SHORE DINNER
South and Southeast Philadelphia Democratic ward leaders were invited to a dinner this evening at Margate’s Lombardi bayshore restaurant. According to a staffer there, the topic will be Fumo. What consensus will be achieved in how to handle his potential impact into the political arena here may not be available to us.
Fumo, like Ward Leader Carlos Matos, will have to clear all federal hurdles in order to become an official player in city and tate politics. The 19th Ward voted for Matos to replace retiring 19th Ward Leader Leslie Lopez as soon as Matos’ probation ended. It could easily be the way for Vince, should he elected to seek the leadership of 39A, to return to a power base. Willing to vacate would be his close ally Ward Leader Roseanne Pauciello.
KOPLINSKI TO SEEK DEMS’ LT. GUV SLOT
This could be the only mention appearing in the Public Record unless Brad Koplinski, shows up at our office to tell us why the Harrisburg City Councilman thinks he has a shot at becoming the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor. Is it because Brad has campaigned in 50 of this state’s 67 counties or met Sarah Boyer, newly crowned Miss Union County West End Fair and participated in tomahawk throwing contest? Maybe he thinks his name will get all the Polish and Slovak voters to come out for him.