BY JOE SHAHEELI/ Feds keep losing, but still keep trying, with unlimited funds drawn from taxpayers, to do in Philadelphia’s political family – and in particular to disgrace its court system. We can only believe sparking and nagging them on are the countless groups unhappy over the fact justices and judges of the Pennsylvania judiciary are elected by the voters and not selected by high-powered, attorney-laden committees.
They couldn’t convince juries to hand down a guilty verdict on a number of known local mob figures with two protracted trials. After aiding and abetting Chief Justice Ron Castille’s declared war on Traffic Court and his drive in the legislature to kill that court forever, the federal trial of members of that court failed to find any of them guilty on conspiracy, mail-fraud and wire-fraud counts.
So that court is gone. It drew hosts of candidates, since one did not need to have an attorney’s license.
Now we wait for the other shoe to drop. With clouds over their head are popular jurists, all proving themselves since their elections as being well qualified. Having records subpoenaed last year were Judges Joe Waters, Joe O’Neill, Dawn A. Segal, Craig M. Washington and Angeles Roca.
Most of them were unaware the Feds wanted their campaign-finance records. The Feds also deny there is an investigation, thereby sending up a cloud of suspicion over the heads of these jurists.
As the drug lords expand their rule over more and more territory in this city, as more and more are killed on our city streets, as more and more nonprofits are proven to have criminally handled federal, state, and city grants, the Feds turn a blind eye. They consider jurists to be their priority target.
CONGRATS TO ST. HILL FAMILY
Timothy St. Hill, whose family has earned itself a reputable notch over the years on the local political scene, will be guest of honor as Tommy and attorney wife Jennifer St. Hill celebrate his graduation from Lower Merion HS. They welcome friends to event Saturday, Aug. 16, starting at 4 p.m. at their home, 217 Indian Creek Road, Wynnewood, Pa. For info call Jennifer at (610) 618-6433.
POLLSTERS STILL IN RUT ON GUBERNATORIAL RACE
The national polls and media continue to place Gov. Tom Corbett at the top of the most-vulnerable list. A couple of weeks ago, the Washington Post named him the most likely to lose for the 13th month in a row. That newspaper posts a list of the most likely to lose each month and Corbett reigns supreme.
Working to make that happen is State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Northeast), who last Monday blasted Gov.
Corbett for what he called “a stunning lack of leadership.”
During a speech at the monthly Pennsylvania press club luncheon, Stack, who is running for Lieutenant Governor on the Democratic ticket alongside Tom Wolf, the party’s gubernatorial candidate, accused Corbett of “mismanagement” and showing “a lack of vision” during his tenure as Governor.
Stack listed a litany of policy changes he and Wolf plan to push if elected. They include a graduated income tax to ease the burden on lower-income families and ending the so-called Delaware loophole, which allows businesses to avoid state taxes by registering in Delaware. He also said he wants a severance tax on natural-gas drilling in the state, adding, “It’s baffling this hasn’t been done already.”
So look for Stack to spend much time energizing Philadelphia voters, who as of now appear to be ignoring, apathetic, and carrying a “who cares” attitude when it comes to the gubernatorial race.
The magic number, based on previous similar campaigns, requires Philadelphia deliver 350,000 votes to the Democratic standard-bearers if they are to win the Hill.
The Democratic City Committee, chaired by Congressman Bob Brady, has often met the challenge successfully. But this smells like it will be a tougher chore than previous challenges.
REMEMBERING CONGRESSMAN, MINISTER WILLIAM GRAY
The US House of Representatives has approved legislation to name Amtrak’s 30th Street Station after the late C. William H. Gray III. He was a six-term member of the House from 1979 to 1991, serving as a member of the House Appropriations Committee and chair of the House Committee on the Budget. Recognizing the importance of transit in job creation and economic development, among the priorities he successfully pursued was funding for the national passenger rail system. Gray died on Jul. 1, 2013.
BOYLE TAGGED FAVORITE IN 13TH DIST. RACE
Democratic Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz left her position in Congress to run for Governor, but the Rothenberg Political Report believes the seat will remain in the hands of the Democrats.
They are confident State Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Northeast) will overtake Republican Dee Adcock in the 13th Dist., asserting Boyle “will win the seat in November.”
Although we are still over three months away from election day, the Rothenberg Political Report has identified other frontrunners in the three key congressional races in Pennsylvania.
It sees Republican Ryan Costello as the “clear favorite” against Dr. Manan Trivedi in the 6th Dist. Both are fighting for the seat vacated by Republican Jim Gerlach.
“Clearly a political junkie, Costello comes across as personable and astute,” writes Rothenberg. “He can discuss campaigns and policy with equal ease, and could become someone of influence within the House GOP. If elected, Costello will likely be a mainstream, pragmatic conservative Republican — definitely not a Tea Party Caucus guy.”
In the 8th Dist., incumbent Republican Mike Fitzpatrick is currently looking “very strong” in his race against Democrat Kevin Strouse thanks to a competitive primary challenge from Shaughnessy Naughton. They rate the seat as “Republican favored” as opposed to PA-6’s “Lean Republican” status.
TAYLOR INTRODUCES HIS MAYFAIR COORDINATOR
State Rep. John Taylor (R-Northeast), chairman of Republican City Committee, knows well all politics is local. With that in mind, he has announced the hiring of a new legislative-outreach specialist in his office who will focus on the community of Mayfair.
She is Mia Hylan, a Mayfair resident since 2001 and a member the Friends of Mayfair Memorial Playground committee of the Mayfair Civic Association. She is also the media contact for the Mayfair Business Association.
“Mia Hylan will be a major asset to my office and for the people of Mayfair,” Taylor said. “Her expertise will play a valuable role as the 177th Dist. moves into the Mayfair community at the end of the year.”
Hylan also serves on various committees like the Mayfair Holmesburg Thanksgiving Parade, is the current coordinator of the Mayfair Farmers Market and Mayfair Third Thursdays events, and is helping assist with the formation of a Mayfair Dog Park. She also had a part-time position as the executive director of the Mayfair Community Development Corp.
Hylan helped the MCDC receive a $20,000 grant from the Dept. of Commerce to explore the creation of a Business Improvement District.
Hylan is located in Taylor’s Bridesburg office at 4725 Richmond Street. She can be reached at (215) 744-2600.
WE TOLD YOU SO: POPE TO VISIT HERE
Archbishop Charles Chaput has finally made it known Pope Francis will attend the World Meeting in Philadelphia.
We told you so in late winter and must now reiterate: credit for that successful effort to bring the Pope here belongs to Brian Tierney and a couple of members of the lay community whose names escape us.
ROSITA MOURNS LOSS OF BETH HALIBURTON-PENDER
State Rep. Rosita Youngblood (D-Northwest) has announced the loss of Marguerite Elizabeth (Beth) Haliburton-Pender. She was the wife of Mike Pender, committee person in the 13th Ward, 22nd Division and a major supporter of the 13th Ward Democratic Executive Committee.
Rosita is being barraged with calls from the backers of the four remaining contestants seeking the City’s second casino license, for which she is responsible for saving despite opposition by SugarHouse casino execs.
BY THE WAY, 3RD PARTIES ARE PUSHING FOR BALLOT SPOTS
Third-party candidates – the nominees of smaller political parties as well as independent candidates running outside any party organization – are reportedly successful in getting enough of the thousands of names required on their nominating petitions to get on the gubernatorial and Lieutenant Governor ballot.
Libertarian Party candidate Ken Krawchuk, a technology consultant from the Philadelphia suburbs, will be making his third gubernatorial bid, as will Green Party nominee Paul Glover, a longtime activist and political organizer in Philadelphia.
They had five months to collect the signatures of at least 16,638 voters to get on the general-election ballot. Major-party candidates need only 2,000 signatures to get on the statewide primary ballot.
No third-party candidate for Governor has qualified for the ballot in more than a decade.
F.O.P., CITY OFFERED REWARDS FOR KILLERS
Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby offered a $10,000 reward for the arrest of the males wanted for the carjacking and fatal accident that occurred at Germantown & Allegheny Avenues. The city followed his lead, tagging on another $100,000. A tip from a passerby who found a cell phone near the scene has led to their arrest.