POLS ON THE STREET: Wolf Wins Big Bucks From Philadelphia Unions, Progressives

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DEMOCRATIC gubernatorial candidates Tom Wolf and Mike Stack are all smiles at joint meeting of Metropolitan Regional Carpenters Council and Teamsters Local 107 at Carpenters HQ where they received $100,000 campaign contributions from each union. From left are International Brotherhood of Teamsters VP Al Mixon, Teamsters Local 107 President Bill Hamilton, Wolf, Carpenters’ Executive Secretary-Treasurer/Business Mgr. Local 8 Ed Coryell and State Sen. Mike Stack.

DEMOCRATIC gubernatorial candidates Tom Wolf and Mike Stack are all smiles at joint meeting of Metropolitan Regional Carpenters Council and Teamsters Local 107 at Carpenters HQ where they received $100,000 campaign contributions from each union. From left are International Brotherhood of Teamsters VP Al Mixon, Teamsters Local 107 President Bill Hamilton, Wolf, Carpenters’ Executive Secretary-Treasurer/Business Mgr. Local 8 Ed Coryell and State Sen. Mike Stack.

BY JOE SHAHEELI/ “Only the powers of incumbency and the Keystone State’s tradition of consistently giving the incumbent party eight years of control before shifting parties is keeping first-term Gov. Tom Corbett (R) at a ‘Leans Democratic’ rating,” claims Larry Sabato and his cohorts from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, which usually scores well with predictions on gubernatorial races. He continued, “That may be too generous to the incumbent. Corbett is in deep, deep danger of losing to Tom Wolf (D), a wealthy businessman and former state official.”

The theory behind Sabato’s prediction methods sees very few voters, across party lines, believing Corbett has performed well enough to deserve reelection. In addition, Wolf claims more Republicans than Corbett does Democrats.

Helping the leaning to Democratic Party control of the Commonwealth last week were heads of two of the Commonwealth’s major unions, the Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters and Local 107 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Carpenters’ Ed Coryell and Teamsters’ Bill Hamilton each presented Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wolf with $100,000 checks at a reception hosted by the Carpenters at their headquarters.

Present was an impressive crowd of leaders and rank and file from both organizations, applauding as their chiefs guaranteed support at the polls for the Democratic ticket of Wolf-Stack.

Both unions are engaged in a continuous protest at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, whose management team, SMG and Elliott-Lewis Convention Services, have barred both unions from working at the Center. After months of negotiations leading to a new tentative agreement, both unions were kicked out because of a one-day debate over the signing of agreements.

Both unions have not asked anyone to stop work or deliveries, though their continuous demonstrations outside the Convention Center show they have enough manpower on hand to easily and effectively do so.

On the same evening, Wolf headed out to Mount Airy and the huge homes lining Allen Street to attend a fundraiser hosted by Chestnut Hill developer and Trolley Car Diner owner Ken Weinstein.

HOST KEN WEINSTEIN, prominent Northwest developer, banker and restaurateur, brought out capacity crowd of Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill Democrats to his home on Allens Lane for reception for gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf. In photo are 9th Ward Leader Dan Muroff and Hal & Sue Rosenthal.

HOST KEN WEINSTEIN, prominent Northwest developer, banker and restaurateur, brought out capacity crowd of Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill Democrats to his home on Allens Lane for reception for gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf. In photo are 9th Ward Leader Dan Muroff and Hal & Sue Rosenthal.

Mount Airy is the home of many of this city’s progressive, liberal Democrats and they enthusiastically turned out by the scores to pack Ken Weinstein’s home, and to meet and donate dollars to Wolf.

At the end contributions neared $100,000, said Weinstein, who was pleased by the turnout. It was obvious he had done his homework and successfully reached out to his extensive network.

That added to the two checks Wolf received from Hamilton and Coryell, his visit to Philadelphia last week impressively boosted his treasury and pushed his campaign in a 24-hour span.

GILCHRIST REJECTS LEGISLATIVE PENSION
With the overall hullabaloo generated over the State’s pension crisis, 4th Dist. State Senate Republican candidate Robin Gilchrist, RN, has announced he will reject the legislative pension to lead by example in Harrisburg. That is, if he wins enough terms to qualify.

Pennsylvania’s credit rating recently was downgraded by Moody’s due to outstanding pension obligations. Gilchrist said the pension crisis is a burden to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth and he refuses to be a hypocrite. That’s why he is rejecting the legislative pension if he is elected.

Gilchrist states, “How can I go to Harrisburg and fight for pension reform if I am directly benefiting from it?” Currently, public pensions are on track to consume 60 cents of every dollar in state spending if left unchanged. An estimated $45bBillion in unfunded pension liabilities that is expected to grow to $65 billion by 2018 is crippling our state. Gilchrist says the property-tax hikes that are happening across the state are a direct result of these unfunded liabilities.

Robin also explains that according to Article II, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania state constitution, “legislator pensions are unconstitutional.” Robin wants to make sure government is held accountable by stopping unconstitutional compensations. The law states, “The members of the General Assembly shall receive such salary and mileage for regular and special sessions as shall be fixed by law, and no other compensation whatsoever, whether for service upon committee or otherwise.

IT’S OFFICIAL! A LADY IN RACE FOR MAYOR
Here it is in Terry Gillen’s own words:

“I’d like to tell you a little about myself and why I believe the 2015 Philadelphia Mayor’s race will be so important for the future of our city. I know it may seem a little early to be talking about that campaign, but the primary election is now less than 10 months away and the stakes are high.

“Our city has made great progress since I went to work for then Mayor Rendell in 1992. My goal then, as it is now, was to try to make a positive difference in the lives of all Philadelphians. During the Rendell administration, I led the team tasked with transforming the Navy Yard into the thriving business center that it is today. Many believed it couldn’t be done, but that effort has since resulted in more than 10,000 well-paying jobs.

“After working to help elect Mayor Nutter, he chose me to lead the Redevelopment Authority — an agency that was being audited before I was appointed. My team made the RDA more streamlined and transparent, while rehabbing hundreds of houses and creating construction jobs in neighborhoods all across the city.

“We should be proud of the progress we’ve made together. But we also must work to keep that momentum going and make sure that Philadelphia is a thriving city where people want to live, raise families and start new businesses.

“That’s why I’m now laying the groundwork to run for Mayor of Philadelphia in 2015. I want to continue what I’ve been doing for more than two decades – working to make Philadelphia a city of opportunity for everyone.

“We need to attract and create better-quality, higher-paying jobs, and our children must have access to first-rate public education so they’ll be prepared to perform those jobs. Improving employment and education are the keys to increasing opportunity and quality of life for all Philadelphians.

“If you agree that now is the time to intensify our efforts in order to build upon the progress our city has made, I hope you will visit my website to learn more about me and consider supporting my campaign by making an online contribution.”

JENKINS WILL RUN FOR CITY COMMISSIONER
27th Ward Leader Carol Jenkins is aggressively exploring a race for City Commissioner in the May 2015 Democratic primary.

Considered a competent leader whose West Philadelphia ward presents difficult organizational challenges (many of its voters being university students), Jenkins believes she can unite two constituencies which are sometimes at odds: the traditional ward organization of Democratic City Committee and the citywide progressive community.

“City Commissioners have always been recruited from the ranks of ward leaders,” Jenkins said. “This makes sense because in practice ward leaders and City Commissioners must collaborate closely to conduct elections.” Her grassroots experience will enable her to address the concerns of ward leaders, she vowed.

Jenkins may have learned a few things about politics in other ways: She teaches political science at Temple University.

AL STEWART CONVALESCING AFTER SHORT HOSPITAL STAY
A flood of visitors inundated the visitors’ desk at Pennsylvania Hospital last week signing in to visit 11th Democratic Ward Leader Al Stewart who was treated there for a few days. He’s said to say thanks to all visitors and to remind them to join him at Lou & Choo’s, 21st & Hunting Park, Sep. 19 for his popular Fish Fry sponsored by V. Tutie Edwards.

GREEN PARTY’S GLENN DAVIS FILES FOR 190TH DIST.
Green Party candidate Glenn Davis filed nomination papers to be the Green Party of Pennsylvania’s candidate in Pennsylvania House District 190.

Davis is the chair of the Green Party of Philadelphia from Haddington in West Philadelphia.

After filing with the Secretary of State, Davis said, “I am tired of the present-day political system that does nothing for our community. It is time for a change. A vote for Glenn Davis will be a vote against mass incarceration. I will work to redirect funding out of the prison system and into public education. I will also work for a minimum wage of $15.00/hour and a 40 hour workweek throughout our Commonwealth.”

Glenn Davis is a 44-year-old father of three, born and raised in West Philadelphia. He is a veteran of the US Army and has served as the vice president of Shepard Recreation Advisory Council.

His opponent, State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, has weathered stronger opposition.

DEMOCRATIC congressional candidate Brendan Boyle speaks to supporters during fundraiser at home of Michelle Hockman in Glenside. Among guests were former opponents Valerie Arkoosh and Daylin Leach, Joe Sestak, and Montgomery Co. Prothonotary Mark Levy.

DEMOCRATIC congressional candidate Brendan Boyle speaks to supporters during fundraiser at home of Michelle Hockman in Glenside. Among guests were former opponents Valerie Arkoosh and Daylin Leach, Joe Sestak, and Montgomery Co. Prothonotary Mark Levy.

WHY AREN’T YOUNG PROFESSIONALS VOTING?
According to slate.com, a new poll from the Institute of Politics at Harvard stated only 23% of 18 to 29 year olds surveyed said they will definitely vote in this year’s midterm elections. Even though past elections have proven the youth vote can be impactful, in recent years, youth turnout in elections has been low compared to older voters. The polling reports disengagement among young voters is even worse in midterm years, mainly because college students or young professionals aren’t informed about the candidates, or aren’t sure if they will remain local, so they don’t make the effort to vote.

PUT YOUR MONEY ON SESTAK VS. TOOMEY
State Democrats appear to be leaning in more numbers to Admiral Joe Sestak as the candidate most likely to beat Republican US Sen. Pat Toomey. Their last go-around in 2010 was a cliff-hanger. If Sestak makes it through the primary, he will be at less of a disadvantage cashwise than any other Democratic contender. Nevertheless, other potential candidates are forewarned by us to not even think of entering the primary against Sestak.

Sestak will clash with Toomey again in 2016 when Sestak makes it through the primary. The Jul. 15 campaign finance reports indicate Toomey would start with a large cash advantage this time around. Sestak is reported as having $1.2 million, not bad for a challenger this early. Winning the primary will send more money pouring into Sestak’s campaign.

TWU 234 TAPS RONGIONE IN 163RD
Two more transportation unions endorsed Vince Rongione for State Representative: Transport Workers Local 234 and the Pennsylvania Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen. They joined the United Transportation Union which endorsed Rongione in the spring.

“Vince is the best choice for infrastructure jobs, public transportation and clearly the best choice for middle class families,” said Willie Brown, President of TWU Local 234. “We are confident he will fight for good jobs, fair pay, and will always look to grow and improve the infrastructure and public transportation serving Delaware Co. and the 163rd.”

TWU Local 234 has 5,589 active members, including SEPTA transportation workers as well as sanitation workers in Upper Darby Township. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen is North America’s oldest rail labor union. He also carries the endorsement of the statewide AFL-CIO and the statewide AFL-CIO Building Trades Council. Rongione has established himself as the clear choice for middle-class families in the race for the 163rd.

NO GREEN PARTY GUV CANDIDATE
Paul Glover, who had hoped to get enough signatures to get on the ballot as the Green Party candidate for Governor, announced last week he fell short of the required number. Though he did well in Philadelphia, garnering 10,000 of the 17,000 required, he fell short in Allegheny, York and Harrisburg and the rest of the states, lacking about 3,000 signatures.

The report is in the Libertarian Party’s Ken Krawchuk will not be on the gubernatorial ballot as well.

FOP CHIEF John McNesby plugged Senatorial candidate and fellow unionist John Kane at N.E. Ward Leaders’ meeting at Ashburner Inn. McNesby was pleased to have steered more police support to Democratic tickets. From left are Ward Leader Tommy Johnson, McNesby, and Ward Leaders Mike McAleer and Bernice Hill.

FOP CHIEF John McNesby plugged Senatorial candidate and fellow unionist John Kane at N.E. Ward Leaders’ meeting at Ashburner Inn. McNesby was pleased to have steered more police support to Democratic tickets. From left are Ward Leader Tommy Johnson, McNesby, and Ward Leaders Mike McAleer and Bernice Hill.

WHAT HAPPENED TO STATE’S SHARE OF LOCAL GAMING?
The big question on the political internet is where did the promised property-tax relief from expanded legal gambling go?

Gov. Ed Rendell and many state lawmakers pushed the idea of expanding legalized gambling and the creation of state slots casinos. They promised a new era of property-tax relief from the billions that were to be made by allowing such gaming options in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania now ranks second to Las Vegas in gambling revenue.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports, “Lawmakers promised homeowners an average of $300 a year in property-tax relief when they passed the law legalizing 14 casinos statewide on Jul. 4, 2004. The average turned out to be about $180, according to State Dept. of Education data.” During the past 10 years, property taxes have increased for the average homeowner by more than $1,000, and in Philadelphia by substantially more.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported on its website that July gross revenue from slot machine play at the 12 casinos was $201,416,899, generating $107,535,711 of tax revenue for the Commonwealth.

That amount was 1.7% lower than revenue generated from slot machines in July 2013 when revenue was $204,909,480.

The average number of operating slot machines throughout Pennsylvania at the 12 casinos was 26,400 in July 2014 compared to 26,593 in July 2013.

Where’s our cut?

JIM DINTINO PENS HORSEMEN’S COLUMN
If you timed the gait of a thoroughbred and the milestones of racing in the calendar year to the prose of a column called “The Saratoga Coaster” written for the Saratoga Springs Special, you get a sense of what it feels like to be in the winner’s circle at horse races. It was penned by Republican 26th Ward Leader Jim Dintino, who has experienced the thrills and heartaches of owning and running thoroughbreds. He’s Philly’s top tout, calling most of the winners of this season’s major horseraces. Our congrats for a piece well done.

ASSEMBLY SEEN ABOARD CIGARETTE-TAX PACKAGE
Busloads of protestors to Harrisburg demanding a passage of the cigarette tax may have paid off.

Two school advocacy groups — the Philadelphia School Partnership and PennCAN — confirmed this in a statement this week saying, “It has been a long, hard summer for Philadelphia schools. Now is the time to support Gov. Corbett, the General Assembly — Republicans and Democrats — and city and School District leaders as they work together to ensure schools open on time and ready to teach.

“Both houses of the Assembly have already passed the cigarette tax with bipartisan support, and Gov. Corbett has signaled he will sign a reconciled bill when it gets to his desk. Appropriations Chairman State Rep. William Adolph, rarely eager to support new taxes, has been steadfast in recognizing that in Philadelphia’s case the cigarette tax is the best available option to address a critical need.

“Nobody likes that the final cigarette vote is delayed until next month. But safe passage in September is better than coming up a few votes shy in August. The bulk of revenue from the smoking tax was always going to come in the second half of the fiscal year. Many leaders have worked hard all summer long, doing their best to overcome the constraints of their particular roles, to get this done. We support and acknowledge their efforts and will continue to help in any way we can.”

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