by Joe Shaheeli
7th Dist. Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez believes she won terms one and two to City Council on her own strength as a campaigner. Now she’s received a challenge to do it again on her own from the very councilmanic Democratic ward leaders’ caucus who, for the most part, were split for and against her in those earlier two rounds.
They met this week at Democratic City Committee headquarters and, to no one’s surprise, voted almost unanimously to field their challenger in the primary. Save for the abstention of 47th Ward leader Elaine Tomlin, those present unanimously rallied around Manny Morales, a committeeman from former City Commission Chair Margaret Tartaglione’s 62nd Ward.
Born and educated in Puerto Rico, Manny’s family of six live in Frankford. He’s proven to be a dedicated ombudsman, earning a stellar reputation as a block captain, and then as a committee person, especially under hard taskmaster Marge Tartaglione.
His endorsement erupted into a celebration which seemed more like an anointment to the office. Latino leaders State Reps. Leslie Acosta and Angel Cruz, and Ward Leaders Carlos Matos and Emilio Vasquez, were cheered by the endorsement response of about 100 constituents from the district.
The Councilwoman, though she may not have acknowledged it, has had one or more of those leaders on her side in her first two rounds. Now she has none and the district has changed by about 30%, now reaching from North Philadelphia, through parts of Kensington and into the Lower Northeast.
She came roaring back a day later with her own campaign kickoff at La Fortaleza at 3rd Street & Hunting Park Avenue before a packed audience of over 250 representing the myriad nationalities and races of the voters in her district, including six Dominican beauty queens.
Beside her were Mayor Michael Nutter; Council Majority Leader Curtis Jones; mayoral candidate State Sen. Tony Williams, who stirred up the audience with a fighting speech; and State Rep. Jason Dawkins. Mayor Nutter told the audience it took a tough Councilwoman and her strong Council colleagues “who picked your pockets to the tune of over $300 million in taxes to fund our schools and that wasn’t enough.”
Interestingly, Williams, who knows how to count votes, has decided to weigh in on her side, figuring she’ll carry him on her ticket, bringing in more votes for him than if he opted out of getting involved.
However, he needs to remember, the old political axiom “don’t take sides”.
Maria laid out a host of achievements as a two-term Council representation, adding she is familiar with over 290 community groups and organizations in her district, from corner to corner. Those make up “the voters who will produce the majority I will need in the primary.”
Veteran committeeman in the 23rd Ward and Norwood civic leader Aloysius E. Stuhl made the
most-telling endorsement, saying she had done everything he had asked of her for the past seven years.
Not all was harmony, with a group of picketers outside protesting her for honoring a Palestinian District Governor from Ramallah in Palestine.
The ward leaders voting against her in favor of Morales made it known her reputation “for achievements” came at the cost of her “ignoring requests for our committee people. They are the soul of this party.”
“The district has a multitude of needs, and the constituents are calling for solutions,” stated Leslie Acosta, the 197th Dist. State Representative. “The current council representation is not interested in working on solutions with the Democratic Party leadership in the district. Change is necessary to move the community forward.”
“Having the caucus’ vote of confidence and support provides a tremendous opportunity to continue building coalitions to support the residents of the 7th Councilmanic Dist.,” said Morales. “I am a ‘public servant’ and in that, I look forward to an opportunity to serve the residents, citizens, voters of the 7th Dist. and the great city of Philadelphia.”
It’s now legal for candidates to circulate petitions for nomination to respective parties for primary positions in which they plan to run.
There are two sets of petitions, one for city wide candidates and the others for judicial candidates in the various courts, local or statewide.
Voters signing petitions and those circulating those petitions need to realize the cardinal rule: “one signature for one petition for the same office”. In short, if a voter already signed a petition for one candidate seeking a particular office, the voter cannot later sign a petition for a rival candidate seeking that same office.
This could result in petitions being successfully challenged, particularly when candidates fail to truly bring up a large number of signatures over the minimum required. So you won’t be doing either candidate a favor.
Democrat and Republican voters living in the major parts of the 58th and 66th Wards should understand they are being called upon at great public expense to vote in a special election to fill the 170th Legislative Dist. seat left vacant by the election to Congress in the 13th Dist. of former State Rep. Brendan Boyle, who is now in Congress.
Voters eligible to vote from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Mar. 24 live in the 58th’s Divisions 1st through 8th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 20th through 25th, 27th, 29th through 44th. Voters awakening on that day in the 66th are eligible if they live in Divisions 1, 3-6, 8-10, 12-16, l8, 20, 22-23, 31, 33-34, 38-41.
Only one division is considered fully accessible to people with disabilities. Those affected need go to 9896 Bustleton Avenue, also known as Paul’s Run.
Respective ward leaders with bragging or excuse-making rights are on the D side: 58th-Lt. Gov. Michael Stack, (215) 281-2539; and 66th-Shawn Dillon (A), (610) 378-4399 and Mike McAleer (B), 215-632-7944.; On R side: 58th-Marc Collazzo, 215-816-5942, and 66th- Eddie Stine, 267-586-6905.
This vote for either Democrat Sarah DelRicci or Republican Martina White, both activists in their communities will seat the winner the next Monday in Harrisburg as the new Legislator from the 170th District. Both are already busy knocking at doors. Del Ricci will have more union support than will White.
This election was scheduled by State House GOP not to coincide with the May primary election. Republican leadership hopes to level the voting field, since more Dems than Republicans turn out for primary voting. Limiting this vote to the District’s constituency may entice old-time GOP turnovers to return to the fold. An interesting concept, with both sides totally involved.
On DelRicci’s side, however, is the fact the very-powerful Sheet Metal Workers Local 19, guided by its President & Business Mgr. Gary Masino, is solidly behind her. This week Sheet Metal Hall hosted a major breakfast rally for her, attended by Congressman Bob Brady, Carpenters and other members of the building trades.
With six announced and one more due, if Milton Street formally enters the mayoral race, race will no longer be a factor according to data published by City Commissioner Al Schmidt.
It’s in the numbers; and from what he reports we can nominate a Democratic candidate for Mayor with about 100,000 votes. Based on voting for the past 70 years, that should be enough to get a Democratic Mayor elected again.
John Street pulled it off in 1999 with 101,000 and Michael Nutter in 2007 with 107,000.
The Dem mayoral hopefuls should spend a great deal of time in the Northwest territory of this city, encompassing Wards 9, 10 and 50. Maybe including eating many breakfasts at the Oak Lane Diner might help.
Education will be one of key platforms every Democratic candidate must field. State Sen. Anthony Williams, though opposed by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, has support from four different education privatization PACs, including his main standby the Susquehanna International Group.
Judge Nelson Díaz was quick to embrace proposed ethics reforms released by the Committee of Seventy as “a good place to start the conversation and a positive first step towards a more ethical city government.” At the same time, Judge Díaz commented at least two of his opponents – former Councilman Jim Kenney and State Sen. Anthony Williams – are currently falling well short of the Committee of Seventy’s standards.
He said, “Recent events have driven home the urgency of ethics reform. In this campaign, we’ve seen Sen. Williams find new and creative ways to flout our campaign-finance laws. Meanwhile, Councilman Kenney holds a second job working for a company doing big business with the city, the details of which he refuses to reveal – all while taking city and state pensions to fund his run for office that will potentially allow him to ‘double-dip’ if elected. That kind of self-serving politics isn’t worthy of Philadelphia, but it is unfortunately business as usual for these career politicians,” Díaz concluded.
Councilman at Large David Oh has raised $68,961, bringing his cash on hand to $80,865, the largest amount out of those running in the Republican at-large City Council race. Runner up to Oh is Dan Tinney, who has about a little more than half of what Oh raised. With the help of the unions, Tinney raised $41,844.
Councilman at Large Dennis O’ Brien raised $61,365 but only has available $11,648. The rest of the GOP candidates have filed less than $15,000.
Although some candidates come from wealthy backgrounds, they seem to be unwilling to commit their resources to their campaigns. With much talk about unseating both Oh and O’Brien, it’s difficult to take anyone seriously who cannot even raise more than $250.
Judge Kevin Dougherty, the Administrative Judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas – Trial Division, has formally declared his candidacy for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The Dougherty campaign released a brief announcement video in which Democratic Judge Dougherty, discusses his passion for the law and the depth of his judicial experience. Former Philadelphia Dept. of Human Services Commissioner Alba Martínez and current Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, both of whom worked closely with Dougherty over the years, also appear in the video, praising Kevin Dougherty for Supreme Court.
Prior to his serving as the Administrative Judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas – Trial Division, where he oversees all aspects of Pennsylvania’s largest civil and criminal trial court system, Dougherty served since 2001 as a judge on the Court of Common Pleas. He previously served as Administrative Judge of Philadelphia Family Court for nearly a decade, where he implemented major reforms to improve the lives of Philadelphia’s most vulnerable and at-risk children and families.
As one of the longest-serving Administrative Judges in the history of Philadelphia Family Court, Dougherty implemented many significant juvenile-justice reforms that have been models for the rest of Pennsylvania. “I want the black robe I wear to be viewed by those who come before me as a beacon of hope, rather than a symbol of fear,” Dougherty has often said.
Dougherty is already making campaign launch events around the state.
Barbara Capozzi, who came within 45 votes of winning her battle for 2nd Dist. Council against Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, has returned to the Council races. She will enter as an at-large Council candidate. A well known Realtor and South Philadelphia business leader, she will draw from a citywide base of voters and business people who respect her leadership qualities.
Former Gov. Ed Rendell is knowing for calling it as he sees it. He has earned a reputation for calling close shots well.
This past week he is quoted saying, “Sen. Pat Toomey has done a good job politically. I think he strengthened his position in the Philadelphia suburbs with his leadership on the gun issue.”
Republican Toomey continues to look a favorite in what has obviously become a Democratic state. A Quinnipiac University poll found Toomey (R-Pa.) leading Democratic opponent and former Congressman Joe Sestak by a double-digit margin, 45-35%. In addition, the Senator’s approval rating with Pennsylvanians stands at 43%.
Last week’s Quinnipiac poll held more bad news for Democrats, as 58% of Pennsylvanians surveyed expressed a desire for the next President to change direction rather than continue with President Barack Obama’s policies.
Philadelphia voters overwhelmingly approved creation of the board in the November 2012 election. Council President Darrell L. Clarke proposed the independent authority after the Water Dept. sought a 28.5 percent rate increase earlier that year. Under the previous law, water rates were determined unilaterally by the Water Commissioner.
“Our City currently has a very well-run Water Dept. and an extremely capable Water Commissioner in Howard Neukrug. The purpose of an independent board is to have a check against future Water Commissioners,” Clarke said.
“The Water, Sewer & Storm Water Rate Board will insert balance into the process of rate-setting and add protections for consumers. Every member of this board is highly qualified and, most importantly, cares deeply about Philadelphians,” the Council President continued.
The Water, Sewer & Storm Water Rate Board members confirmed by City Council are Bernard Brunwasser, Mike Chapman, Nancy Winkler, Lee Huang and Sonny Popowsky.
Ill for several months, Lawrence Farnese, the dad of State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-S. Phila.), has died. The Senator nurtured his dad through his illness. The Democratic community extends its sympathies.
Sen. Hughes On Obamacare Ext.
A key deadline for signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) is has been extended to Sunday, Feb. 22 is the alert sent out by State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-W. Phila.) He said, “This is your chance to get high quality, low-cost coverage for you and your family. Enroll by visiting Healthcare.gov and find out your options for insurance.
“Need help? You can call my office at (215) 879-7777 to schedule an appointment for either Thursday (Feb. 19) or Friday (Feb. 20) to get assistance from an expert health navigator.
“If you need health insurance for you or your family, the time has come to join the more than 5 million people who have signed up. Check out the information below and visit Healthcare.gov for more information.”