STATE SEN. ANDY DINNIMAN was the guest of honor at a fundraiser at the Chester Co. Center for Arts and Culture. The overflow crowd consisted of Democrats and Republicans. Dinniman represents one of the wealthiest districts in the state yet breaks the pattern of such areas being represented by a Republican. Dinniman was accompanied by his lovely wife MARGOT and their oversized, well-groomed poodle HENRY. Henry is also well-known in the Chester Co. District.
Two potential civil wars loom on the horizon. The first and most likely is that of a primary challenge to incumbent STATE SEN. TINA TARTAGLIONE from former City COUNCILMAN DAN SAVAGE. Savage is rumored to have the staunch support of powerful union head JOHN DOUGHERTY. But many labor leaders still support Tartaglione. It will be interesting to see how that battle plays out. Doc has always been a powerful independent, but will he risk the almost-unanimous consternation of the other labor leaders? And does Dougherty want a two-front war?
The other looming battle is between incumbent STATE REP. JOHN SABATINA, JR. and newly elected STATE REP. EDDIE NEILSON. Both representatives serve Northeast Philadelphia but their districts are being merged. WARD LEADER JOHN SABATINA, SR. and Doc have had up-and-down relations over the years but have been mostly positive. Neilson won the former seat of now-City COUNCILMAN DENNY O’BRIEN. Many insiders think his “new” stature should mean he steps aside. But word on the street is an all-out battle between Sabatina and Neilson is looming. This is just another example of how success among Democrats usually leads to monumental failure. Democrats always end up fighting with each other and that presents opportunities to Republicans.
Fighting is not a new phenomenon in City Council and the opening council session featured a battle for public schools. COUNCILMAN WILSON GOODE introduced several bills to scale back the city’s 10-year property-tax abatements for new homes and use the savings for the schools. This idea will generate a lot of debate among Council Members, developers, the chambers of commerce, and labor leaders whose members have benefited from the development spurred by the tax abatements. Look for this fight to continue well into the fall council session.