BY JOE SHAHEELI/ Former Gov. Ed Rendell told an audience in South Philadelphia he could have been on the plane that crashed and killed his friend, Philanthropist Lewis Katz and six others on Saturday night.
Rendell, speaking at the historic Philadelphia Little Shul, 2015 S. 4th Street on Sunday, broke down in tears after telling gathering he had been asked by close friend Katz if he would fly with him to Massachusetts.
Katz, 72, and six others perished when their private jet crashed at a Massachusetts airfield on Saturday evening.
Rendell, who had been scheduled to speak at the tiny South Philadelphia rowhome synagogue, broke the news to the small group inside Little Shul on Sunday.
Rendell explained he had been invited to go with his friend Lew Katz has asked him if he would attend a charity affair in Massachusetts over the weekend. But, he told the congregation, he didnâ€™t want to break his promise to Little Shul.
When Rendell told the audience about the Katz plane, someone called out the Yiddish word, â€œBesherchtâ€ â€“ which means, â€œIt was to be.â€
Talking about his long-term friendship with Katz, Rendell broke down and cried in front of the congregation.
â€œThough I have heard Ed speak on many occasions, and he is a fine speaker, his remarks at the Little Shul were less a speech and more personal observations, and opinions on many topics from his heart, mind and experiences,â€ said Hal Rosenthal, who was inside the synagogue.
â€œIt was one of those occasions you wish you had taped to remember all that Ed said.â€
Rosenthal, an avid photographer, made some images of Rendell speaking at the podium.
Sixty-five-year-old Philadelphia Judge of Election Dianah Gregory never thought she would be serving 15 months of probation for a voting-machine violation.
But she is doing that now as the result of that sentence given her by Judge Michael Erdos. She was charged with an election-code violation of tampering with a voting machine. She was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, and perform 15 hours of community service.
On election day Nov. 5, 2013, Gregory hand-wrote her name as a write -in candidate for Judge of Elections on both voting machines at the polling place for the 28th Ward, 1st Division, located at 3100 Lehigh Avenue.
Gregoryâ€™s actions caused a delay in voting for over an hour. Voting could not resume until Officials from the County Board of Elections were able to clean the voting machines.
After a lengthy investigation by the District Attorneyâ€™s Special Investigations Unit, Gregory was arrested on Nov. 20. She entered on open guilty plea to the misdemeanor charge of Tampering with a Voting Machine on May 27, 2014.
City Commissioner Stephanie Singer is today hosting a public hearing in Room 446 in City Hall. It will start at 10 a.m.
Her office said, â€œThe purpose of this hearing is to collect as many eyewitness stories as possible from voters, candidates, poll worker and others gathered Primary Day as a step toward making voting in Philadelphia a better experience for everyone.â€ The Commissioner has begun a media campaign asking citizens, â€œWere you cheated? Come voice your complaint!â€
GOP 45th Ward Leader Kevin Pasquay has announced the death of Tim Collins, who served as Chairman of the 45th Ward and was a former GOP Candidate. Collins was only 36 years old. His Funeral Mass was held at 10:30 this morning at St John Cantius Church in Bridesburg.
Look for State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Northeast) to be joined by a fan club, much as the Phillies, Eagles, etc. His campaign as the Democratic Nominee for Lieutenant Governor finds the popular, personable candidate being followed by a crowd from Philly who have made reservations to attend his General Campaign Kick Off in Pittsburgh, the evening of Jun. 12.
Democratic 30th Ward Leader Marcia Wilcof reports she had â€œa huge victory on election day.â€ Several of her 17 divisions had been contested, but her committee people earned repeat terms. Marcia was elected to serve out the remaining two years of Ward Leader Terri Gillen, who resigned to serve in the administration of Mayor Michael Nutter. She was subsequently elected to her first full term four years ago.
Long considered â€œMr. Republicanâ€ in South Philadelphia, 26th Ward GOP Leader Jimmy Dintino reports ward reorganization meetings will take place for the 48th Ward at 6 p.m. and the 26th Ward at 7 p.m. in South Philadelphia Republican headquarters, 1713 Wolf Street.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf is being polled with a 20-point lead over incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett. That is the results of a Rasmussen Report which shows 51% of likely voters will support Wolf, while 31% said theyâ€™d vote for Corbett. Undecided add up to 14%.
Wolfâ€™s support shows 83% of Democrats like him, while only 59% of Republicans favor Corbett. Wolf pulls away 25% of Pennsylvania Republicans and holds a 10-point lead among independents.
The Democrat even holds the lead on questions like taxes and government spending.
However, one needs to be wary how Corbett maneuvers his campaign. If he emphasizes Pennsylvaniaâ€™s low unemployment figures, and hustles in the stateâ€™s coal regions, those unfavorable numbers of his could switch almost in a weekâ€™s time.
Reason, according to campaign insiders, is President Barack Obamaâ€™s environmental agenda is taking a big hit in Pennsylvania coal and its minors, more of them Democrats than Republicans.
Pennsylvania gets more than 40% of its electricity from coal. The newly issued, more stringent regulations on fossil emissions hits hard at this stateâ€™s coal miners and in the pockets of those paying for electricity generated by coal in the Commonwealth. Corbett is reported readying a campaign that shows Wolf linked to Obama closely in this area.
A news report indicates the Philadelphia Board of Ethics has asked City Commissioners to seize a computer operated by Deputy Tracey Gordon in her office.
That report was seized on as an opportunity by Joe DeFelice, executive director of the Philadelphia Republican Party, to hammer the Democratic majority on City Commission. He had been heavily critical of the Commissionersâ€™ Office under the previous reign of Marge Tartaglione.
ART HAYWOOD MAY BE VIOLATING ELECTION CODE
Democrat 4th Senatorial Candidate Art Haywood, who capitalized on State Sen. LeAnna Washingtonâ€™s (D-Northwest) indictment, could be feeling the heat as he now is the target of charges levied at him by Republican nominee Robin Gilchrist. Haywood, according to Gilchrist, has failed to File Statement of financial Interest with the State Ethics Commission as required by law and misses on average, 15% of Township Meetings.
Gilchrist is reported as having spoken with Brian D. Jacisin, director of investigations, after confirming the alleged violation with clerical staff. Robin Gilchrist requested to speak with Robert P. Caruso, executive director, who was out of the office. As per state law, a Statement of Financial Interest must be filed with both the State Ethics Commission and a copy submitted with a Candidates Petition to the Board of Elections. Gilchrist made three attempts to contact the Board of Elections but was met with resistance. A person who didnâ€™t identify herself claimed that statements have to be verified before accepting a petition. So why wasnâ€™t a Statement filed with the Ethics Commission? He asks. Gilchrist was told that the matter will be given their fullest attention.
Gilchrist, a registered nurse, said, â€œWhat is Haywood hiding?â€ According to Cheltenham Townshipâ€™s website, Haywood has missed on average 15% of meetings. Some of them were addressing important issues of flooding, public works and economic development, Gilchrist charged.He states,â€ My work ethic is to give 110% 100% of the time; thatâ€™s how things get done.â€
A recent Pew Report finds Keystone State pays its lawmakers the second-highest salary in the nation, behind just California and one spot ahead of New York. Legislators draw a base salary of $84,012 and can collect a per diem of $157 on session days.
While those salaries might not change anytime soon, there is hope for some savings. State Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster) wants to resurrect legislation that would trim the number of state lawmakers.
The House late last year passed legislation sponsored by House Speaker Sam Smith (R-Jefferson) to reduce the General Assemblyâ€™s ranks by about 25%, but it fell into hibernation when it reached the Senate.
Smucker said itâ€™s time for revive the effort to cut one of the most-expensive legislatures in the country. The Senate State Government Committee, which Smucker chairs, will consider proposals to reduce the number of lawmakers, he said.
Reducing the size of the legislature would require that an amendment to the state constitution be approved by lawmakers and then by voters in a public referendum. Any proposed change would have to be advertised 90 days before the Nov. 4 General Election, meaning lawmakers have until early August to act. There are 18 scheduled session days in June before lawmakers break for the summer.
Even if the two chambers agree this year, the proposal would still have to be approved by both bodies in the next legislative session and then again by voters.
This is the second straight session the speaker has put forth the idea, though his previous effort dissolved in the state Senate after clearing the House.
There are 4,091,088 registered Democrats as of the primary in Pennsylvania. Republicans number 3,031,267.
Looking at these numbers, we infer gubernatorial Democratic candidate Tom Wolf is a 49.8% to 36.9% favored to win the general if none of the party faithful cross to the other side.
This picture gets a bit cloudy if one figures in 44,900 registered Libertarians and 1,0556,428 unaffiliated voters, who come in at 12.8%.
The question each of the managers of the two major campaign must decide is should they spend resources going after the Libertarians and unaffiliated.
Dee Adcock, 62, a Montgomery Co. businessman, is telling voters, â€œIf you send me to Washington, I will donate my entire after-tax paycheck to local charitable organizations in Northeast Philly and Montgomery County.â€
An Abington resident, Adcock is president of W.W. Adcock, a Huntingdon Valley distributor of swimming pools. The Republican nominee said his salary will go to charities in Northeast Philadelphia and Eastern Montgomery Co.
An expensive move, but it has gotten Adcock some press at a time when people arenâ€™t paying much attention.