BY JOE SHAHEELI/ The minimum 14-hour stint facing election board members will feel a bit easier with the news City Commissioners have approved a modest pay increase for election-board training. This will be the first pay increase for election-board workers in more than 15 years.
Commissioners Anthony Clark and Al Schmidt proposed the increase (which was unanimously approved) and intend it to be a first step toward better compensation for election-board workers. The compensation for attending election-board training seminars will increase from $20 to $25 beginning this coming election.
Vice Chair Schmidt said, â€œThis increase, while modest, is long overdue. Although our departmentâ€™s budget hasnâ€™t increased, we took an important first step towards better election-board compensation by incentivizing training. I am hopeful we will be able make additional increases in coming elections. Recent attempts at this in 2012 had failed, so I think an incremental approach will be more likely to succeed.â€
Commission Chair Anthony Clark said, â€œWe will continue to present our case before City Council to gain authorization for a pay increase for the election-board members of every division in the city. That effort has been an unceasing one, since we know how tough it has become to recruit new members where needed.â€
State Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Northeast) told attendees at a coffee klatch hosted by Barbara and Lisa Deeley he is urging Montgomery Co. voters, if they arenâ€™t voting for him, to support any one of the other three competitors in the 13th Congressional Dist. Democratic primary.
That way, he comes away as a nice guy and the other three â€” Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery), Dr. Valerie Arkoosh and Marjorie Margolies â€” canâ€™t find much fault with him.
But when it comes to Northeast Philadelphia voters in that district, he touts the fact he is the only Philadelphian in the race â€¦ and itâ€™s best to vote for a â€œhome boyâ€.
Itâ€™s an obvious and smart strategy. Brendan figures he needs a minor percentage of Montco Democrats to vote for him in the primary. His poll numbers show him way ahead among voters in Philadelphia.
But that strategy could change a bit with the announcement by State Rep. John Sabatina, Jr. he is endorsing Margolies. His 174th Legislative Dist. sits within the 13th Congressional Dist.
Political insiders were wondering when this shoe would drop. Now with the fact State Rep. Ed Neilson (D-Northeast) is no longer challenging Sabatina for the same district seat, but instead will face GOPer Matt Wolfe in a primary special election for theÂ vacant at-Large Council seat once held by now SRC Chairman Bill Green, Sabatina is not only dropping the shoe, heâ€™s Â flinging it Â with vehemence at Brendan.
That was a given way back when the Supreme Court approved the revised redistricting map for this city. Boyle was blamed for the fact Neilson was losing his 169th Dist. seat, which was being relocated elsewhere in the Commonwealth, forcing him to do battle with Sabatina, Vice-ÂChair ofÂ the PhiladelphiaÂ House Delegation.
That battle would have been a bloody mess, had not the powers within the party, led by Chairman and Congressman Bob Brady, developed the scenario mentioned above.
Sabatina didnâ€™t mention that reason, though his ward leader father did quite often. Junior merely said, â€œEarly on inÂ this campaign,Â MarjorieÂ approachedÂ meÂ forÂ myÂ Â support. ItoldÂ herÂ sheÂ needed toÂ runÂ anÂ aggressivegrassrootsÂ campaigninÂ Â NortheastPhiladelphia andÂ proveÂ to my constituents she would look out for their interests in Washington. Over the pasteight months she has done just that.Â MarjorieÂ hasearned theendorsement ofÂ fourÂ of the largestÂ Northeast ward leaders in theÂ 13th, including that ofÂ myÂ fatherÂ inÂ the 56th andÂ MikeÂ McAleer, chairÂ ofÂ theÂ Northeast Ward Leaders. InÂ addition, sheÂ hasÂ earned theendorsement of twoÂ Philadelphia StateSenatorsÂ andÂ all fiveÂ women membersÂ onÂ Philadelphiaâ€™sÂ CityÂ Council.Â I am proud to add my name to that list.â€
Margolies has received theÂ following PhiladelphiaÂ endorsementstoÂ date: fromState Sens. Shirley Kitchen and LeAnnaÂ Washington, State Rep. Sabatina, CityCouncilwomenCindyÂ Bass, JannieÂ Blackwell, BlondellÂ Reynolds Brown,Â MariaÂ QuiÃ±ones SÃ¡nchez and MarianTasco. Others endorsing her included former City Controller Jonathan Saidel as well as Ward Leaders Mike McAleer, John Sabatina, Sr., JaniceÂ Sulman, Elaine Tomlin and Bill Dolbow.
Hard-working Democratic committee people in the city have been faithfully distributing a glitzy 11â€ x 14â€ brochure from the Philadelphia Democratic City Committeeâ€™s endorsed gubernatorial candidate, former Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz.
Itâ€™s heavy on her achievements, which are many. Opened up, the inside details some of them. Fortunately, the back panel reiterates those in larger type and more succinctly. Smart thinking, since the inside reported her achievements in a type size small enough to give most people a headache if they tried to read the messages, sending interested seniors scurrying for their reading glasses.
Now she is backing up the brochure with a television commercial that speaks of her laudable achievements. Unfortunately, she comes across with both messages as a professional politician no different from the other Democrats in the gubernatorial race, save for Tom Wolf, whose poll numbers are staggering, making him the lone wolf way out ahead of the pack. His television blitz is making it harder for Philadelphia Democrats to deliver her the numbers she needs to take the Democratic gubernatorial primary May 20.
The brochure also failed to mention what every other challengerâ€™s message has been carrying: that her pitch should have mentioned Democratic voters needed to go to the polls on May 20. Lucky for her, all was not lost, since some committee people have written across the cover â€œVote May 20â€.
Her campaign strategistâ€™s early decision to go with her sterling record is being lost in the shuffle. A couple of full-page ads in the Public Record would energize her Philadelphia base and would be thousands of dollars cheaper.
A new set of polling data released by Public Policy Polling and commissioned by MoveOn.org Political Action shows Gov. Tom Corbett trailing a generic Democratic candidate 34%-56%. The poll indicates the Governorâ€™s failure to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania could hurt him, and other Pennsylvania Republicans, electorally in 2014.
â€œAround the country, and in every state, voters strongly support expanding Medicaid to millions of people currently without access to affordable health care,â€ said Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action.
The survey, conducted Apr. 1-3, found 59% of Pennsylvania voters think the State should accept federal Medicaid expansion dollars, and 46% of voters said they were less likely to vote for Gov. Corbett as a result of his position on Medicaid expansion.
Once again the Stack campaign is showing why State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Northeast) is the best candidate for Dems to choose in the primary. He has proven he is an effective fundraiser who can help raise needed capital for the fall campaign, with $775,000 collected to date.
He filed 10,000 nominating petition signatures, significantly more than any of his rivals, demonstrating he has an organization on the ground to help drive voter turnout on Election Day.
With 18 yearsâ€™ experience in state government, 13 years serving in the Pennsylvania Senate and five years as an attorney in the Casey administration, Stack has more experience in Pennsylvania state government than any of his opponents, strengthening the credentials of the Democratic ticket.
As a Captain in the Pennsylvania National Guard, Stack is the only candidate for Lieutenant Governor or Governor in the Democratic primary with any military background in a state that highly values service to country.
City GOP Exec. Dir. Joe DeFelice has been biting back at the long unchallenged rule of the Democratic Party in this city. Heâ€™s doing so by releasing what can be used as fodder when the mayoral race comes up again.
For instance, he reports 29th Ward Leader Adam Lang doesnâ€™t understand the administrationâ€™s logic when it allows an employee with a $27,000 salary to earn up to $86,000 with overtime. Lang said they could have saved money in the budget and pension by employing another Philadelphian. Overtime in the past five years has cost the City $890 million.
In all fairness, some of that overtime is inescapable as with police.
He then wonders why City Controller Alan Butkovitz boasts about his office uncovering $2,500 in scrap-metal theft by a school employee over a three-year period. DeFelice asks why the Controller is spending auditing money on something that could be better handled by the Inspector General.
The City Committee of the Green Party of Philadelphia has endorsed the May Day Rally and Family Celebration which will be held at the Elmwood Park Labor Monument in Southwest Philadelphia on the afternoon of Saturday, May 3. GPOP has traditionally endorsed and actively participated in this celebration since it began in 2007.
Originally, May Day (also known as International Workersâ€™ Day) was a commemoration of the Haymarket Massacre in 1886 in Chicago. In the 1950s, celebrations on the first day of May were suppressed, especially because of May Dayâ€™s international Communist appeal.
But once again the GPOP will find it hasnâ€™t gained Green Party registrants, based on previous turnouts.
Former State Rep. Babette Josephs knew she was in trouble early on in her belated announcement she would challenge State Rep. Brian Sims (D-S. Phila.) in an effort to regain her 182nd Legislative Dist. seat.
She had lost valuable time visiting her daughter and family on the West Coast, trusting her nomination petitions to friends. She came in and did some herself. By then, Sims had scooped up a host of endorsements, many of which once belonged to her. Looking at her scant numbers, Sims & Co. did the obvious: challenge her signatures. They were successful.
But was it a wise move? Had they not challenged Babette and she remained a primary foe, his campaign treasurer would have found, raising bigger bucks would have been easier â€¦ not that he needs any.
Long-time Latino pol Oscar Rosario is inviting Democratic primary candidates in the 180th and 197th Legislative Dists. and the 2nd Senatorial Dist. to appear without charge on WTTM, 1680 AM On the â€œA Karzon Quitaâ€™oâ€ show that airs every Thursday morning from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. He can be reached at email@example.com or through Franklin Medrano, program director, at (215) 758-7841.
State Representative candidate Jeffrey Voice survived a challenge by State Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-Northeast) to his nominating petitions in his bid for the 172nd Legislative Dist., claiming â€œit was an affront to military veterans that a politician would try to take a veteran off the ballot on technicalities.â€
We caution Voice and other veteran candidates that doesnâ€™t hold water. Rules are rules and when you want to lay in the major leagues, you need to play by those rules. When at war, we, including this author, learned how to shoot well. If we didnâ€™t, odds were against us returning home with sound limbs, if at all.
Please, candidate Voice, that excuse doesnâ€™t hold water for the majority of voters.
Long-time incumbents are learning they canâ€™t depend on long-time supporters forever. Take, for instance, support from the very active PASNAP nursesâ€™ union.
Long a supporter of many of Philadelphiaâ€™s seasoned legislative incumbents, its political director Emily Rodriguez has decided now is the time to claim a legislative seat for their own: the 181st, held by State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas (D-N. Phila.).
If successful, Rodriguez would be the first woman ever elected to serve the 181st Dist. â€œCurrently, less than 18% of Pennsylvania legislators are women, which falls in the bottom quarter of the country,â€ said Rodriguez. â€œThis becomes very evident when you look at the legislative priorities currently being debated in Harrisburg. We are missing female voices at the table.â€
But odds still favor the North Philadelphia incumbent. Thomas is endorsed by Democratic City Committee, has the support of his ward leaders â€“ and as an added gift, enjoys three opponents who will split up the â€œantiâ€ vote. He is anti-charter and pro-public school, views to which a majority of his constituents subscribe.
Â The Republican National Committee is urging Pennsylvania Republican Party committee people to connect with their neighbors this Saturday, calling it â€œOur First National Day of Action with Next Republicans across the countryâ€.
Nick Trainer, field director for PAGOP, has been furnishing volunteers with a â€œwalk packetâ€, which includes registrations.
A Zogby Analytics nationwide poll shows just how bumpy the road might be for the Republicans. The new poll, conducted online on Mar. 28-29, shows former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton beating three top GOP contenders by 18-23 points. In each case, Clinton tops 50%.
None of the figures tested, including Clinton, has actually declared for their party’s nomination, but all are prominently mentioned as putative contenders.
Â Clinton also is ahead among Catholics (47%-34%) and Protestants (47%-39%), including receiving 36% support among Born Again/Evangelical voters. She wins among voters in union households (65%-23%), married voters (48%-37%) and single voters (56%-26%); social networkers (61%-27%), Investor Class (56%-32%), the Creative Class (57%-28%), and Weekly Wal-Mart Shoppers (54%-33%). She holds a 3-point lead among white voters (43%-40%), and wallops Jeb Bush among both Hispanics (67%-17%) and African Americans (84%-9%).
Clinton fares even better against both Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (53%-32%) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (52%-29%). Sub-group support is about the same as her race against Bush, except Paul appears to be doing better among younger voters, a group he is targeting for support. Clinton leads Paul 49% to 32%, while her lead against Bush among these voters is 54%-30%.
Following exposure of unreported cash contributions to legislators, the State House and next week the State Senate are working to ban cash gifts.
Still allowed: Lawmakers can accept money orders, prepaid debit or credit cards, gift cards or certificates.
The proposed Senate rule and bill would ban straight cash and will define â€œcash giftsâ€ to include US and foreign currency, money orders, checks, gift cards and certificates, and prepaid debit and credit cards.