POLS ON THE STREET: Assessing The Fallout From Fattah’s Woes

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BY JOE SHAHEELI/ It’s been a cruel summer for Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Phila.). The Congressman’s son was indicted earlier this month for defrauding the IRS and stealing from Philadelphia schools.

Now, his former Chief of Staff Gregory Naylor has pleaded guilty to several counts of campaign-finance fraud.

Based on news reports following Naylor’s guilty plea, the Congressman is heading into rough waters. But no matter how bad the press, odds still favor the reelection of Congressman Fattah. His district is almost 10-to-1 Democratic.

The only way he could lose his seat is if a federal indictment came down on him within the election deadline, which would then give the 2nd Congressional Democratic Caucus ward leaders the opportunity to pick a replacement. The Republicans have Armond James in place on the November ballot.

Republican City Committee Exec. Dir. Joe DeFelice was quick to outline the parameters of the funding network in which the Congressman is involved. He writes, “There are three main nonprofits attributed to Fattah: Education Advancement Alliance, American Cities Foundation and CORE Philly. EAA is the nonprofit linked to the recent corruption scandal of Gregory Naylor, whose firm, Sydney Lei & Associates, Inc., also employs Fattah’s daughter as a ‘Management Consultant’. EAA is also run by the spouse of a prior Fattah staffer.

“The second nonprofit, ACF, is run by a prior Fattah staffer: Sandra Dungee Glenn. Glenn was a former Commissioner of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission and later appointed to the Pennsylvania Board by Gov. Ed Rendell. It is also interesting to note that Fattah rents his District Office, 2401 N. 54th Street, out of a building this nonprofit owns.

“The final major nonprofit associated with Fattah is CORE Philly. This is another education/scholarship nonprofit linked to EAA in a Dept. of Justice audit in 2013.”

DeFelice concluded, “The pattern that is developing of Fattah and his nonprofit allies is disappointing as it appears they were tugging at the heartstrings of parents as education advocates while their main purpose may have been their personal benefit. This could end up being very painful if we find out that money was stolen from our education system and our children.”

Now, if Armond James had money, a lot of it, the scenario could be different, since it seems the major media have been keeping Fattah’s problems on the front burner. But he doesn’t, and won’t be getting any, since all Republican coffers are pouring into keeping the reelection hopes of Gov. Tom Corbett alive.

James styles himself “an educator for education reform.” For more information visit him at www.armondforcongress.com.

Rumors rife in the Democratic ranks place State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-W. Phila.) as the strongest contender for a vacancy if one should occur. His senatorial district occupies half of Congressman Fattah’s district. Then there are hundreds of potential candidates, all citizens of Philadelphia, all of whom are eligible since you don’t have to live in a congressional district to run for it. But who among this group has the money the Kennedy clan had in fostering the ambitions of their family members?

GARY MASINO, President/Business Manager of Sheet Metal, has Democratic candidate Tom Wolf applauding as Masino announces union’s support along with envelope he gives Wolf containing check for $50,000 at union headquarters.

GARY MASINO, President/Business Manager of Sheet Metal, has Democratic candidate Tom Wolf applauding as Masino announces union’s support along with envelope he gives Wolf containing check for $50,000 at union headquarters.

No matter the storm raging around Fattah, coming back into local political focus is the fact Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf continues to maintain a strong lead in the polls over Gov. Corbett.

What is interesting is Wolf understands the needs to rally union support. That’s why he was hosted by Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 and the Communication Workers in the city this week.

He’s looking for much of labor in the Southeast to make up for the opposition from coal and oil unions he will be facing in Northeast and North Central Pennsylvania.

Corbett is clinging to faith in info from BehaviorMatrix, “which collects and analyzes actual voter-turnout data from the past three gubernatorial off-year elections in Pennsylvania.” It predicts a much-closer race with a turnout of likely voters estimated at 3,920,229 voters with the Governor trailing Wolf by 7 points instead of 20.

Philadelphia is key, no matter what!

It’s Democrat Mike Driscoll favored in the old State Rep. Mike McGeehan’s 173rd Legislative Dist. over Republican candidate Mike Tomlinson.

JUDGE Danny McCaffery, State Rep. Michelle Brownlee and candidate Mike Driscoll were at ease at Phila.'s huge Labor Day parade. Photo by Maria Merlino

JUDGE Danny McCaffery, State Rep. Michelle Brownlee and candidate Mike Driscoll were at ease at Phila.’s huge Labor Day parade. Photo by Maria Merlino

Notwithstanding both candidates answer to “Mike”, they have different approaches to garnering the attention of voters.

Driscoll is working the divisions with his Democratic colleagues, reminding voters of the good service records of his predecessor. He also has his own history of service and contributions he has given to those voters. The Driscoll name is well recognized. Add to that, the district is heavily Democratic.

Working uphill, Tomlinson has discovered the Republican House Committee has come up with a voter-attraction gimmick to aid their candidates.

For every door knocked at, answered or not, Mike and his fellow candidates throughout the Commonwealth are able to have a postcard sent with a picture of the candidate in the neighborhood with voters. The card indicates the GOP legislative candidate thanked them for answering the door and reminding them to vote for him or noted, sorry he or she missed them, with a vote for them message.

Tomlinson has set a record among his peers, with over 12,500 cards sent to families on whose doors he’s knocked. The message suggests voters cross the street and “help make a change.”

Number two in that list is another Philadelphia Republican, Roxborough’s Bill Pounds, who is nearing a thousand on his outreach campaign.

The National Women’s Political Caucus has endorsed Megan Rath for Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional Dist. Rath is a health-care professional, who is a graduate of Penn State. She has worked nine years as an independent health-care sales consultant for Biomet, Inc.

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