BY JOE SHAHEELI/ If you consider yourself a pro at handicapping future elections, you should easily come up with the answer to the question headlining this column.
Working and praying and hoping and knocking at doors to make sure Lieutenant Governor candidate State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Northeast) gets elected along with gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf are … State Rep. John Sabatina, Jr., and 66AWard Leader Shawn Dillon.
Dillon already made his intentions known when he distributed “Made in America” baseball caps on which was written “Dillon For Senate”. Not making any announcement, but with his proud papa, 56th Ward Leader John Sabatina, Sr., the State Rep was dropping guarded hints he is also in a strong position to seek the 5th Senatorial Dist. when Mike gets the silver ring.
Since the Democratic nomination to fill the special-election vacancy is done by the Senatorial District ward leaders of both parties, odds would favor Dillon getting the nomination, especially with 66B Ward Leader Mike McAleer, chair of the Northeast Ward Leaders, who has watched Shawn grow up under guidance of his close buddy and comrade in past political wars, Shawn’s daddy Frank Dillon.
We believe the ward leaders in the 5th Senatorial will be wooed to a host of dinners, beginning the day after election, Nov. 6.
CITY COMMISSIONER CANDIDATES LINE UP
City Commissioner Stephanie Singer has seen the writing on the wall, which is why she is beating the hustings to grow a grassroots support among progressive and liberal ward leaders and community activists for her return trip to the 2015 primary race for City Commissioner.
Missing will be the obvious support she had from Ward Leader John Dougherty and several other ward leaders who followed the main media propaganda aimed at ousting legendary Commissioner Chair Lady Marge Tartaglione.
Also reading the same writing, which indicates she is vulnerable, is a growing list of candidates for that office, some announcing, others being drafted.
In that group are Lisa Deeley, of Bob Henon’s staff; retired Judge Ed Summers; and Traffic Court candidate Donna DeRose. We know we missed a couple, so don’t holler when you call to remind us to post your name next.MORE NAMES FOR MAYOR’S RACE!!
Another may be Rev. Kevin R. Johnson, new to the city, who earned the ire of Bright Hope Baptist Church Board when he announced he would run for Mayor. Since then he got himself into hot water and they boiled him off. Though he may lose some votes from those parishioners, he could become another Arlen Specter or Ed Rendell type; both were imports. Interestingly, his wife Kimy is a labor and employment attorney at the law firm of Cozen O’Connor.
MEEHAN VS. BALCHUNIS IN PA 7TH DIST. RACE
Pat Meehan’s (R-Delaware) Southeastern Pennsylvania seat is not listed as a seat with serious contention. One good reason is his campaign treasury has over $1.7 million ready to put down any serious opposition. Such opposition could come from Democratic nominee Mary Ellen Balchunis, but though talented and able to hit the ground running, this politically well-grounded candidate knows more people than coins in her campaign chest, with about $10,000 available.
Without serious dollars, which don’t look to be coming her way, Mary Ellen is not being considered a serious threat.
Over the past three and half years, state agencies report having completed 275 initiatives worth a combined $690 million in cost savings and productivity gains.
More than $50 million in savings came by reducing the state vehicle fleet, preventing more than $100 million in unemployment compensation payments to prisoners ( a story in itself), and $27 million in savings by replacing the state’s phone system with voice over Internet protocol or VoIP.
Gov. Tom Corbett is taking the credit. He said, “Every dollar that we can save is a dollar less that we have to ask from hard-working Pennsylvanians.”
Not good news for Corbett is announcement credit-rating agency Moody’s downgrading of Pennsylvania’s general-obligation bond rating from Aa2 to Aa3, citing the state’s use of one-time budgetary stop-gap measures and the continued underfunding of public pensions. This marks the third credit downgrade from ratings agencies in as many years.
“This downgrade isn’t surprising — it’s what we’ve been warning about for years,” said Nathan Benefield, VP of policy analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation. “While Pennsylvania has managed to balance its budget without new taxes, we’ve yet to close the structural deficit, continue to spend more than revenue for the seventh consecutive year, and haven’t addressed the growing pension crisis.
“Moody’s has issued a clear warning that until we address the long-term cost-drivers in the budget, ratings agencies — and more importantly, investors and businesses, will look at Pennsylvania warily.”MEET THE GOVERNOR’S MAN TO WIN BLACK PHILLY VOTES
“As part of the GOP’s effort to build a permanent ground operation, the PA GOP will work in partnership with the Republican National Committee to ensure a year-round presence in African-American communities,” Gleason stated.
“Today marks an important milestone in our efforts to share the Republican message of individual freedom and economic opportunity with members of the African American community,” Gleason said. “Ryan brings his experience as a successful community leader to our Party, and will work to build important relationships and grassroots networks throughout the Commonwealth. I am proud to welcome Ryan to the team, and I look forward watching him work to grow our party in the future.
According to unhappy Black Republicans in the 36th Ward, Ryan was a recent switchover from Democrat to Republican. His grassroots community leadership in Harrisburg gave him the nod over a candidate the local GOP group felt knew the city better than anyone the Governor could appoint. So it seems Philly Blacks won’t see much of him, since he is entrusted with creating a Republican presence in Black communities throughout the Commonwealth.
A Philadelphia native, Ryan has worked on multiple local campaigns and serves as the VP of Economic Development for the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Pennsylvania. Ryan has an extensive background working in private industry for the past 10 years in business development for a Fortune 50 company. He is a graduate of Eastern University in St. Davids, Pa., where he majored in organizational management, and serves on the Board of Trustees for Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church. He currently resides in Harrisburg.
N.E. WARD LEADERS MEETING JUL. 31
Northeast Democratic Ward Leaders are scheduled to meet the last day of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Ashburner Inn, 8400 Torresdale Ave. Invited are Democratic nominees Tom Wolf and Mike Stack, State Rep. John Sabatina, Jr., State Sen. Tina Tartaglione (D-Kensington), both Boyle brothers and State Rep. nominee Mike Driscoll.
Beside their full plates of food, the ward leaders will also be mulling over which of the active Democrats coming from their jurisdiction will be seeking nomination for City Commissioner, Mayor, and other offices. One could be Controller Alan Butkovitz, who is eyeing the Mayor’s office, but not announcing yet. Should he go, looking to take his seat is Sharif Street, Esq., who reportedly has backers raising a campaign fund for him.
POLITICIANS ARE BECOMING EASY INVESTIGATIVE TARGETS
Since politicians are an easy target nowadays with forever-changing ethics rules, it might be wise for some to consider changing counties. In 2013, 30,000 suspected criminals whose charges included sex crimes, assaults and murder were not fingerprinted by Pennsylvania police, according to state records.
State law requires that suspected offenders be fingerprinted within 48 hours of arrest.
Luzerne, McKean, Lawrence and Northumberland Cos. are the four worst when it comes to fingerprinting, with police failing to fingerprint roughly 40% of the people they arrest.
The counties with the state’s two biggest cities, Allegheny Co. and Philadelphia Co., top the list for doing well. Philadelphia has a 100% record, Allegheny Co. 91%.