City Hall Sam: Judge DeFino, RIP

Filed under: Columns,Latest News |

JUDGE ANTHONY DeFINO was laid to rest last week. Both the viewing and funeral mass at St. Monica’s in South Philly had overflow crowds of mourners. The events were a celebration of a great man. The number of VIPs who attended are too many to name in their entirety. However, countless neighbors, friends and leaders waited in line on a crowded street of South Philadelphia and enjoy the cold for a chance to pay their respects.

Among them were CONGRESSMAN BOB BRADY and STATE REP. BILL KELLER. JUDGE WEB KEOGH attended. JURY COMMISSIONER DAN RENDINE was accompanied by his father. JUDGE BILL MANFREDI chatted with COUNCILMAN JIM KENNEY. STATE SEN. MIKE STACK was accompanied by his mom, Municipal Court JUDGE FELICE STACK. JUDGE SCOTT O’KEEFE was accompanied by his lovely daughter.

The state legislature passed three separate bills that will help the City of Philadelphia to collect taxes from delinquents. But the big question is: Will MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER and Council implement the legislation in an effective way? There are some Members of Council that feel such legislation is punitive to the poor. But everybody agrees there are hundreds of millions in uncollected taxes every year. And those shortfalls lead to unfairness toward those who pay their taxes on time. Let’s see what COUNCIL PRESIDENT DARRELL CLARKE chooses to do.

In the meantime, Clarke is receiving bad publicity for his mistreatment of MARIA QUIÑONES SÁNCHEZ. Previously she was seen as a close ally of Clarke’s but recently they have been at odds. The reason for the problems is her Land Bank bill. There are many properties that could be sold throughout the city. But because there is no effective way of tracking the properties and assessing their values, they remain dilapidated and unsellable. Quiñones Sánchez’s bill would help solve this problem by busting through red tape and quickly selling the properties. But Clarke is in control of the process and has edged her out. He wants to give Council Members veto power over any sales. He sees it as a way to control development.

One of Quiñones Sánchez’s old chums, COUNCILMAN BILL GREEN, may be on his way out of Council. He is still in the running for chairman of the School Reform Commission. He would be an odd choice as a Democrat from Philadelphia, but apparently has the same vision for schools as GOV. TOM CORBETT. Corbett’s poll numbers continue to be dismal but the Democrats are currently involved in free-for-all which threatens to become a circus. No Democrat has emerged at as the clear frontrunner and a protracted primary can only lead to negative effects on a future Democratic nominee. Corbett is hoping for a Democrat who emerges from the field battered and weakened – and perhaps too liberal for Pennsylvania’s mainstream voters.

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