by Joe Shaheeli
City Council President Darrell Clarke’s announcement, “It is my intention to seek the Democratic nomination to serve a fifth term as representative of Philadelphia’s 5th Councilmanic District in the May primary election,” has opened the door to a host of speculation as to who will be the next Mayor of Philadelphia.
Adding fuel to Butkovitz’ campaign strategists’ reconsideration was an article in the Sunday Inquirer by the controversial former dean of Temple University’s Law School Carl Singley. He saw race as the major factor deciding who would be the next candidate, citing Ed Rendell’s primary election as an example, when more than one African American was in that same primary.Will that spoiler to now-favored State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams (D-W. Phila.) come if former PGW marketing exec Douglas I. Oliver confirms he is in the Democratic primary for Mayor? PGW’s management team confirmed his resignation. Prior to that post, he was Mayor Michael Nutter’s press secretary from 2004 to 2007.
Clarke, who was considered a leading contender for the mayoral office, added to his announcement, “I have been honored and inspired by many conversations with neighborhood citizens, business, union and political leaders who asked me to consider running for Mayor, but being Mayor has never been my primary goal.
“During my years of public service, it has been my goal to secure opportunitiesfor every resident of the 5th District and the City of Philadelphia. While we have made significant gains, there remains much to be done. In City Council I will stay focused on the important work that stands before us.
“Our city has challenges as significant as its opportunities. We can and must strengthen educational opportunities for our children. We need to focus on making every neighborhood a neighborhood of choice. It’s our duty to invest in our infrastructure, creating jobs for today’s workers and tomorrow’s. We must continue to work toward ensuring affordable housing for everyone and making sure all our streets are safe.
“Serving on City Council, one of the most substantive and hardworking legislative bodies in our city’s history, is a sincere privilege. We passed legislation making significant investment in our schools. Working together on our income-inequality initiative, we lowered the wage tax, introduced paid sick leave, protected homeowners from exploding real-estate tax bills, and began the implementation of Council’s workforce housing initiative.”Also announcing for Mayor in a campaign kickoff at Tierra Colombiana Restaurant earlier today was Judge Nelson Diaz, equipped with a formidable résumé.
He was the youngest judge elected to the court and the first Latino judge in Pennsylvania history, serving as Judge for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, 1st Judicial Dist. of Pennsylvania, from 1981 through 1993.
Diaz was selected as a special assistant to VP Walter Mondale on a White House Fellowship in 1977. Former President Bill Clinton appointed him HUD General Counsel in 1993, and he held that position, under Secretary Henry Cisneros throughout Clinton’s first term.
From 2001 until 2004, Diaz served as Philadelphia City Solicitor in Mayor John Street’s administration.
Diaz earned a JD from Temple University and was the first Puerto Rican to graduate from its School of Law. He is currently a partner at Dilworth Paxson LLP law firm.
TASCO ELECTS NOT TO SEEK 8TH TERM
9th Dist. Councilwoman Marian Tasco has decided not to not seek reelection to the City Council of Philadelphia.
A leading replacement could be State Rep. Cherelle Parker (D-Northwest). Her 200th Legislative Dist. is within the 9th Councilmanic Dist. She is chair of the Philadelphia Caucus in the State House, but with Republicans holding a firm grip on the control of both chambers, she might be interested in picking up the challenges facing the 9th Dist. She has shared many moments with Tasco as her mentor.
Tasco’s reasons included, “It’s time to turn the reins over to new leadership in the district. One is State Rep. Cherelle Parker, who has been an able student. I have nurtured her growth and will support her as my replacement. It’s time to test if my training bears the good fruit I believe she will produce.”
Parker said, “I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with – and work for – Councilwoman Tasco. She has been a personal inspiration and a tireless advocate for Northwest and Northeast Philadelphia, as well as the city as a whole. Although her presence and leadership in the Council Chamber will be missed, her influence and impact on our communities will be felt for generations to come.
“Because of the Councilwoman’s hard work, our neighborhoods are safer; thousands of small businesses are thriving and growing; and countless women and children have better lives and more opportunities.
“To my Councilwoman, my mentor, and my friend, I want to say ‘thank you’ for all of your service to our community.”
Elected in 2005 as the youngest African American woman to serve in the Pennsylvania legislature, Parker has a well-earned reputation for being one of the go-to people to get things done in Harrisburg.Tasco is recognized as one of Philadelphia’s most-influential, politically savvy and proactive public officials. Elected to serve her seventh term as City Council Member in November 2011, the Councilwoman represents close to 155,000 residents in Philadelphia’s Northeast and Northwest sections.
Tasco’s consistent and dedicated approach has earned her the loyalty and respect of both her constituents and her peers. Having served in the past as both City Council Majority Leader and Majority Whip, her leadership over the years has been valued by her council colleagues and the administrations.
Historically, Tasco stands out as the first African Americans elected Philadelphia City Commissioner (1983-1987). In addition to serving as Councilwoman, she is the current ward leader for the renowned 50th Ward, and was unanimously elected by the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee to represent Pennsylvania on the Democratic National Committee.
As a veteran legislator who understands the importance of holding elected officials accountable for their productivity, Tasco continues to be effective in her commitment to obtain goods and services that preserve and enhance the quality of life for her constituency.
She has been able to maintain an outstanding rapport with her electorate by introducing and securing the passage of a multitude of bills and resolutions that directly relate to improving general city services, protecting and enhancing the health and welfare of women, children, and families, and making Philadelphia neighborhoods and commercial corridors safe havens for all citizens. She will be missed!
Looking at the decision as an almost leveling of the playing field is GOP candidate for 9th Dist., Kevin Strickland, GOP Leader of the 10th Ward. An 11-year resident with his family of that ward, Strickland knows the uphill battle the oversized Democratic registration presents. But, he says, “They will now have a choice. If 9th Councilmanic Dist. voters are not satisfied with the way the city is going, I am their alternative. My campaign will be informative. From me they will get the facts.”
STACK TO RESIGN 5TH SENATE SEAT
State Sen. Michael Stack (D-Northeast) will resign his 5th Senatorial Dist. seat when he swears in as Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania Jan. 20.
“For several months I have been searching for a way to control the cost of government with preserving a voice in the Senate for the people of Northeast Philadelphia who have put their trust in me for so many years,” he said.
“I have decided there is no way to achieve a perfect balance without creating a distraction that could stifle the momentum toward a new direction for the people of Pennsylvania.
“I appreciate the effort of Sen. Costa and other Senate leaders who have arranged for a continuation of constituent services in my Philadelphia district offices until a successor is chosen.”
SPECIAL ELECTION SET MAR. 24 FOR 170TH DIST.
House Speaker Mike Turzai called for a Special Election to be held in 170th Legislative Dist. on Mar. 24. The local GOP has officially nominated 26-year-old financial advisor Martina White to fill the seat. This was a call made by the Public Record in earlier editions.
“Martina White is the type of person I will need to join me in the Majority Caucus in Harrisburg to advocate for Northeast Philadelphia,” stated Philly GOP Chairman and State Rep. John Taylor (R-Northeast). He added, “It is rare to find a candidate that has the combination of tenacity, creativity and intellect that Martina possesses.”
Philadelphia Republican Party Exec. Dir. Joe DeFelice further affirmed, “This race will be all about getting our people out to the polls. This seat was recently held by Republican George Kenney and new portions of this District were part of the former 169th Dist. formerly held by fellow Republican and Former House Speaker and current City Councilman Denny O’Brien. Republicans routinely do well in this section of the City and are tired of the higher taxes and poor services they have received. Martina will not allow this section of the City to continue to be forgotten.”
White, a longtime resident of Somerton, is a financial advisor who received her undergraduate degree from Elizabethtown College where she captained the Field Hockey team, was on the Dean’s List and received numerous Academic Awards and Honors. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter at VoteMartina2015 and via her website at www.votemartina.com.
The Democratic ward leaders are encouraging and waiting for John DelRicci to accept their nomination. He presently is employed by Turnpike Commission. He is noted for leading a crew to Boston to help it with its eight-foot snowstorm.
City and state candidates should know ballot positions will be pulled on Mar. 18.
PITTSBURGH HOSTS SC JUDGES FORUM
It feels like Allegheny-Westmoreland Counties plan to make it a race for the State’s top court’s three vacant seats. Best indication is the fact Pittsburgh’s14th Ward Democratic Committee has announced it is holding a forum for Supreme Court Judicial candidates who plan to file in the Democratic primary. That event is scheduled for January 25 at the Eddy Theatre on Chatham University’s campus.
Seven candidates have declared their intention to run. They include Superior Court Judge Christine Donohue, Philadelphia County Common Pleas Court Judge Kevin Dougherty, Jefferson County Common Pleas Court Judge John Foradora, Superior Court Judge Anne Lazarus, Superior Court Judge David Wecht, Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Dwayne Woodruff and Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer.
Cohn Jubelirer said she will seek it as a Republican but, like the rest, will cross-file so they will be running on both major party tickets.
This could be a turkey shoot … based on who has the biggest war chest, the strongest statewide endorsement, and, ballot position, which his time carries as much weight as the aforementioned two.
Most voters will go to the primary knowing less about Supreme Court judges than about their locally contested municipal offices. Which leads us to conjecture why so few have indicated an interest. By deadline, we presume a top ballot position would lure many more candidates.
JIM KENNEY TO SEEK AT-LARGE SEAT AGAIN
Democratic mayoral candidates are relieved to know Councilman at Large Jim Kenney will not be joining them in their bid for the city’s top seat. He is running a campaign reelection kickoff fundraiser at Center City Sheraton, Feb. 5. It should pack the Horizons Ballroom.
Host committee includes every major Republican player in town including many Democrats. Conributions are priced from $100, $500, and $1000. Checks should be made out to Citizens for David Oh.
Oh is seen as an outstanding favorite to win a Republican minority seat in the general due to his impressive record in creating business opportunities for minorities. He is well known for advancing the City’s fledging motion-picture industry.
Though he expects to be challenged in the primary, Oh’s support is seen very strong among the city’s GOP.
LONG-TIME GOP’ER SEEKS MAYOR SEAT
Long time Republican activist Elmer Money believes he can bring communities and neighborhoods together if elected to the post of mayor. With that as a platform, he is asking GOP ward leaders for their support should he ent3er the race for Mayor.
He did meet with his Ward Leader Eddie Stine (66th) and RCC Exec. Dir. Joe DeFelice to discuss this primary campaign as well as labor leaders.
He believes he will do better than the last two GOP candidates for Mayor.
Money believes his campaign as the Republican nominee for Mayor will help set up a possible win for that seat by the Republicans in 2019l. “My goal is to maintain an idealist approach where the possibility of winning should not be the true measure of success,” he vowed.
GREEN PARTY HOLDS NOMINATION MEETING
The Green Party of Philadelphia will hold a nomination meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 28 at Calvary Community Center, 815 S. 48th Street on Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia. City residents who are interested in running for local office or for the Green Party leadership are invited to attend. The meeting will be open to the public with no admission fee. For more information, please contact (215) 243-7103 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
HAS PA. HOUSE BRIBE INVESTIGATION ENDED?
According to PLS Reporter, the “much-rumored internal House investigation into alleged ethics violations by members receiving cash bribes appears to have stalled out. According to House Rule 47, the existence or non-existence of ethics investigations is to be kept in strict secrecy and confidentiality.”
It was able to piece out House moves that showed an investigation did exist, starting last May. Money for an independent counsel to be retained for investigatory purposes was pledged by the leadership of both parties – once the House Ethics Committee determined a formal investigation should take place. The House paid Fox Rothschild around $86,000 for acting on the contract. Last payment was in November.
Since the General Assembly dissolves once every two years, most recently on Nov. 30, 2014, so does all ongoing action by subordinates, including investigations by the Ethics Committee. Also telling is the fact a new contract has not been issued.
Another clue this House investigation ended was DA Seth Williams publicly thanking the Ethics Committee for agreeing “with our request that the grand-jury investigation proceed before the Committee takes further action, in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort and preclude any potential conflicts.”EARLY BIRD COULD WIN 8TH CONGRESSIONAL
After watching the Twin Towers collapse in 2001 from his office window, Santarsiero left his job at a prominent law firm to become a high-school teacher in the Bensalem Township School District. He inspired his students to get involved in their community and led by example through organizing residents to stop the Matrix development, a proposed big-box shopping center in his home town of Lower Makefield.
That experience led him to run for Township Supervisor in 2003. He won with 55% of the vote, beating a long-time incumbent and becoming the first Democrat to serve on the Lower Makefield Board in 18 years and only the second in recent memory. He later helped secure the first-ever Democratic majority on the Board and became its chairman.
In 2008, Santarsiero won an open seat in the Pennsylvania State House that had been held by a Republican since it was created in 1992. Former Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, who, like Santarsiero, served in the state legislature before running for Congress, said, “Steve Santarsiero’s entry into the race is great news for the 8th Dist. and for our Democratic Party. His broad support among Republicans, Democrats, and independent voters will make him a formidable candidate.”
SHOULD LEGISLATORS TAKE TEACHER’S SCREENING TEST?
State Rep. John Lawrence (R-Chester) is planning to reintroduce a bill that would requiring drug screenings for candidates For State Representative, State Senator, Lieutenant Governor, elected row offices and judges on the Superior, Commonwealth and State Supreme Court.
The idea came to him last year after the House passed a bill requiring prospective schoolteachers and workers to take a drug test. Lawrence said he is still refining the language of the bill, but his past proposal called for candidates to file and affidavit stating they had undergone testing for controlled substances within 30 days and that they had not used drugs without a doctor’s prescription.
OH RAISING FUNDS FOR WILD BILL STATUE
Councilman at Large David Oh has joined with the Guarnere family to host a beef-and-beer fundraiser for the Wild Bill Guarnere Memorial Statue that is planned. Host committee includes members of Council and General Assembly.
Event is scheduled for Feb. 6 from 7 to 11 p.m. at Cannstatter. Tickets are $50. Live music, food, beer, sodas. RSVP (215) 686-3452.
REDISTRICTING FORCED 201ST OFFICE RELOCATION
Due to the state’s redistricting process, State Rep. Stephen Kinsey’s (D-N. Phila.) new constituent-service office has had to be relocated. His legislative assistant Marcia D. Willis said the 201st Dist. office will now operate out of 5952-54 Germantown Avenue in Germantown. Phone numbers and fax numbers will be the same: Phone: (215) 849-6896 and (215) 849-6592.
CITY COMMISSIONERS’ RACE DRAWING MANY
Look for a host of announcements for candidates seeking either of the two Democratic primary seats or the one Republican seat. We’re reminded of an old song lyric, “Close the doors, they are coming in the windows.”
Latest to announce is long-time Democratic activist Mike Reed, being promoted by Robert Dickerson, himself retired from the Sanitation Dept. Look for at least three other announcements shortly.