City Council candidate MATT WOLFE and congressional candidate MEGAN RATH attended the Super Talk Debate between conservative pundits DOM GIORDANO, CHRIS STIGAL, GARY Râ€™NEL, RICH ZEOLI and DICK MORRIS at Xfinity Live near the ball parks. Wolfe is running for City Council at large in May to fill the seat vacated by BILL GREEN. Rath is the Republican candidate for US Congress (1st Dist.) against incumbent Democrat BOB BRADY. The debaters recognized Rath as an outstanding candidate and the future of the Republican Party.
Wednesday night there was a local West Philadelphia fundraiser for Wolfe at the Mill Creek Tavern which was well attended. The crowd included a number of local (shush!) Democrats who came out in support of Wolfe for his many years of involvement in local nonpartisan civic affairs. He will be having a fundraiser next Tuesday at the Racquet Club which will be pricier and more partisan. The honorary host committee includes our current Republican City COUNCILMEN DENNY Oâ€™BRIEN, DAVID OH and BRIAN Oâ€™NEILL as well as STATE REP. JOHN TAYLOR and most importantly US SEN. PAT TOOMEY.
Saturday Night â€œrightâ€ met “left” at a reception at the Dupree Studios in Mantua. The City of Philadelphia has condemned property owned by renowned artist JAMES DUPREE in order to allow a developer put up a grocery store and a parking lot. Dupree bought the then-dilapidated 8,600-square-foot property in 2005 and spent well over six figures renovating the space into an art studio and school. He believes his property, which he describes as a pillar in the community, is worth $2.2 million. The City of Philadelphia has offered him $600,000.
What has made this case all the more interesting is the conservative Institute for Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union are on the same page on this issue. Both believe that taking Dupreeâ€™s property is an abuse of eminent domain.
The Institute for Justice is well known for its stands on what it refers to as â€œeconomic liberty, property rights, political and commercial speech and school choice.â€ They have taken five cases to the US Supreme Court and the only case they lost relates to eminent domain (Kelo v. New London). If they had prevailed, the City would not have been able to take Dupreeâ€™s property.
The case was over the issue of the use of eminent domain for commercial projects. (Few dispute the use of eminent domain for municipal and state use such as schools or highways.) Should the government be involved the success of private-sector entities?
Upon the Institute of Justice loss, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania tightened its eminent-domain laws four days after the City condemned Dupreeâ€™s properties.Â Had the State acted earlier or the City had been tardy, we may not be having this conversation.
MELINDA HARING of the Institute of Justice and PETER GOLDBERGER, the president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the ACLU, addressed the crowd. Goldberger was a professor at Villanova Law School for many years.
This elephant has a few questions for the City. Why this property, in light of its unique social and artistic use? Given the number of blighted properties that are owned by the City (through tax liens, etc…), are there no other properties that could be used for a grocery store and a parking lot?