CITY HALL SAM: Taney Dragons Bring Joyous End To Philly’s Summer

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MO'NE DAVIS captured hearts of all America ... but her home town most of all.

MO’NE DAVIS captured hearts of all America … but her home town most of all.

The Boys of Summer on Broad Street may be struggling to reach .500, but the Boys and Girls of Summer known as the Taney Dragons riveted our city and our nation without outstanding baseball games. The Taney Dragons are the feel-good story of the summer and were honored at a ceremony in Love Park on Sunday. A large, enthusiastic crowd greeted the Mid-Atlantic Little League Champions to congratulate and thank them for their inspiring play and great achievements. MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER led the ceremony honoring the Philadelphia youngsters.

Love Park was just the first stop on the Taney Dragons’ victory lap. They were interviewed on the “Today” show on Monday, Wednesday afternoon the city held a parade to honor their achievements, and Wednesday night they were honored at the Philadelphia Phillies game. Star pitcher MO’NE DAVIS was the first Little Leaguer to grace the cover of the iconic Sports Illustrated magazine. While the team fell short on the field of winning a World Championship, they won the hearts of this city and nation. City Hall Sam thinks that’s a bigger and better prize for these students. Plus it gives them a great thing to tell their teachers and classmates when they are asked what they did over the summer….

One thing that didn’t get taken care of this summer is final passage of a cigarette-tax bill to help fund Philadelphia Schools. Unlike the inspiring Taney Dragons, Harrisburg Republicans decided to sit on the bench instead of playing ball. It has been seven weeks since the State Senate passed a cigarette-tax bill and sent it to the House of Representatives for a concurrence vote. The House inaction on HB1177 costs $1.6 million per week in lost tax revenue for the city schools. That means the city has now lost $11.2 million that could be used to fund city schools. This legislative paralysis, coupled with GOV. TOM CORBETT’S $1 billion in education-funding cuts and stubborn refusal to support a natural-gas extraction tax is harming our kids. It will be interesting to see how this epic failure of leadership plays at the polls in November. Voters tend to oppose candidates who ignore the needs of kids and students.

Two weeks ago, City COUNCILMAN ED NEILSON was sworn into office to serve as an at-Large City Councilman. Neilson won the seat overwhelmingly in the May primary. He is a Far Northeast resident who will bring energy and a passion for good schools and neighborhoods to City Council.

Neilson is a former State Representative, a veteran of city politics, and a top lieutenant to Local 98 Business Manager and political powerhouse JOHN DOUGHERTY. His swearing-in was attended by City COUNCIL PRESIDENT DARRELL CLARKE, COUNCILWOMAN JANNIE BLACKWELL, and COUNCILMEN BILL GREENLEE, JIM KENNEY and MARK SQUILLA. Neilson’s lovely wife DORIS and his three sons held the Bible while the Councilman took the oath of office. New JUDGE MIKE FANNING led the ceremony. Fanning was confirmed by the State Senate to serve as a Common Pleas Court Judge in June.

Shortly after the ceremony, Neilson was questioned if he would run for the at-Large Council seat in 2015 or set his sights on the 5th State Senate seat currently held by MIKE STACK. Stack is the Democratic Lieutenant Governor candidate and is running with TOM WOLF to beat incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett and LT. GOV. JIM CAWLEY. Neilson said his focus was on being the best Councilman he could be for the citizens of Philadelphia. STATE REP. JOHN SABATINA, JR. and FOP PRESIDENT JOHN McNESBY have also confirmed their interest in running for the 5th Senate Dist. seat should Stack and Wolf prevail in November. 66A WARD LEADER SHAWN DILLON has also been rumored as a candidate for 5th Senate Dist. seat as well.

All of these candidates could shake up the winter doldrums in Northeast Philadelphia this January. Sabatina and Neilson briefly squared off for the 174th House Dist. seat this past winter.

The Ward Leaders of the 5th Senate Dist. will pick the Democratic nominee for a special election. Rep. Sabatina’s father is the ward leader of the powerful 56th Ward, and Shawn Dillon is a ward leader. How will ward leaders choose between them and Neilson? Perhaps one candidate is picked for the 5th Senate Dist. seat, another is chosen for the 174th House of Representatives seat, and one is tapped to run for the 10th Councilmanic Seat currently held by Republican Councilman Brian O’Neill. It’s hard to say how it turns out, but it will all depend on the November election. Stay tuned for updates….

Many of the aforementioned politicos will be heading to the shore for the weekend and then back to the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall on S. Columbus Boulevard for Monday’s Philadelphia Labor Day Parade. They will work the parade to earn labor support for their future political campaigns. McNesby would have to be the favorite of organized labor for whatever political office he pursues. He has led the Fraternal Order of Police for many years and has thrived. McNesby led the building of a new FOP headquarters on Caroline Road in the Far Northeast and, more importantly, he skillfully negotiated two labor contracts with Mayor Nutter during difficult financial times.

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