Pols On The Street: Chaka Vows To Run

Filed under: Politics,Pols on the Street |

by Joe Shaheeli

CHAKA FATTAH … born to run.

CHAKA FATTAH … born to run.

“I’m running, period. No possibility of any other decision. I’m all in,” stated 2nd Dist. Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Phila.) in his response to our Philadelphia Public Record article last week stating he could be considering withdrawing from Democratic Apr. 26 primary.

He also pointed out his campaign had filed 3,219 signatures and that he “has over 23 ward endorsements.”

He added he has the following endorsements: ”District Council 33 and SEIU along with 1199C Hospital Workers and Steelworkers of Local 434. Endorsed by Congressman Bob Brady (D-Phila.); State Sens. Vincent Hughes and Anthony Williams; Council Members Curtis Jones, Cindy Bass, Jannie Blackwell, David Oh, and Blondell Reynolds Brown; and State Reps. Rosita Youngblood, Curtis Thomas and Joanna McClinton.”

With that statement, Congressman Fattah has made those ward leaders attending tomorrow’s 2nd Congressional Caucus endorsement he is in the race to stay. That leaves many of them, the majority, guided by the principle of endorsing all incumbents. He is favored to win the Democratic Party endorsement.

However, he will not have all the wards in his favor, especially heavy voter-turnout wards such as the 9th, 10th and 50th. Those are expected to lean heavily toward State Rep. Dwight Evans (D-N. Phila.), who leads all other challengers in the amount of money raised by his congressional campaign.

Chaka will not be able to count on Montgomery County voters as they now have a choice of one of their own, Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon. In our story on petition filings, we did not include the fact Gordon did file his petitions, many and on time. Our source came from an earlier report from the Dept. of State on what petitions were filed. His petitions were filed in timely fashion.

Cartoon-839 copyGordon, an attorney, is expected to garner some labor support as well, since he earned labor stripes as a labor lawyer in Seattle where he worked for the Machinist Union and Building Trades Union. He returned to Philadelphia in 1987 and worked on major civil rights cases.

In 2005 Brian was elected by almost a three-to-one majority as Lower Merion Township Commissioner, beating a 22-year Republican incumbent.

9th Ward leader Dan Muroff is expected to pick up several wards Friday as his yearlong campaign continues to draw money and support.

Whether Fattah can hold up to the main media and television reports, appearing more frequently concerning federal charges he will soon face in court, is his most-serious concern.

Congressman Bob Brady Rescues Mummers Again

Without Congressman Bob Brady, where would the String Band division of the Mummers Parade be?

His efforts last week secured a shortfall of $8,000 which enabled the Manayunk Development Corp. to promote his second annual Mardi Gras Parade.

Whatever the cause, sponsorships seem to be going downhill when the String Bands are featured. We believe they need to rethink their New Year’s Day parade route, which has seen them abandoning their South Philly roots.

Brady came to their rescue and that of the entire Mummers Parade in the past. But even the loss of support from their South Philly rooters and his voters may find him having to care for other parading groups before the String Bands.

John Taylor Resigns As GOP Chair

GOV. TOM WOLF and Lt. Gov. Mike Stack led Phila. port supporters in welcoming SeaLand ocean carrier bringing Atlantico Service from Mexico’s Veracruz and Altamira ports. With them are, from left, Councilman Mark Squilla, State Sens. John Sabatina and Larry Farnese, Wolf, Stack, Carlos I. Giralt-Cabrales of Mexican Consulate, and State Rep. Bill Keller.

GOV. TOM WOLF and Lt. Gov. Mike Stack led Phila. port supporters in welcoming SeaLand ocean carrier bringing Atlantico Service from Mexico’s Veracruz and Altamira ports. With them are, from left, Councilman Mark Squilla, State Sens. John Sabatina and Larry Farnese, Wolf, Stack, Carlos I. Giralt-Cabrales of Mexican Consulate, and State Rep. Bill Keller.

Busy as only a majority leader can be and as key man for Philadelphia’s interests, State Rep. John Taylor (R-Northeast) will end his additional chore as chairman of the City’s Republican Party. In making that move, he has urged the Party’s ward leaders to replace him with City Committee’s Executive Director, attorney Joseph DeFelice.

DeFelice has been handling the nuts-and-bolts concerns of the Republican Party in this city since being named to his present post after leadership changed following a reform-movement victory.

GOP Target McGinty’s Environmental History

McGinty’s environmental résumé was one of her key strengths, leading the League of Conservation Voters to endorse her as she struggles to pull votes away from US Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). But now it is creating some problems for her.

McGinty was an Al Gore staffer who helped push a clean-water bill through a GOP-controlled Congress in the 1990s, and she supported alternative energy in Pennsylvania as the State Environmental Secretary. All well and good; but GOP campaign forces are pointing to the fact she has served on boards of big energy companies. Some progressive Democrats are criticizing her for being too friendly toward fracking.

Toomey’s campaign has a web video on McGinty for working for “notorious D.C. law firms” and “corporate special interests that receive millions in taxpayer benefits.”

The candidate insists voters will see her time at several environmental and energy firms in the private sector as an asset, not a drawback.

Lynne Abraham For Morganelli

CHINESE Freemasons of Phila. celebrated “Year of the Monkey” at merry gala, joined by dignitaries from across city, among them, Councilwoman Helen Gym, center front, who was community organizer in Chinatown earlier in her career.

CHINESE Freemasons of Phila. celebrated “Year of the Monkey” at merry gala, joined by dignitaries from across city, among them, Councilwoman Helen Gym, center front, who was community organizer in Chinatown earlier in her career.

Legendary Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham is touting Northampton County seven-term District Attorney John Morganelli as her choice for State Attorney General. She did the same when Morganelli ran for AG in 2000.

Abraham said, “As Philadelphia’s District Attorney for almost 19 years, I worked closely with John protecting the public from the ravages of crime and violence everywhere in our Commonwealth. John is a tested, proven leader, who will bring his vast prosecutorial experience and leadership skills to the Office of Attorney General while serving all citizens of Pennsylvania with distinction and honor.”

Morganelli is running against Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, who last week picked up Gov. Tom Wolf’s endorsement, and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala in the Democratic primary.

Alexandra Is Looking To Interview Leaders

We received the following communiqué of interest to Republicans:

“My name is Alexandra Rheinhardt and I am a Management PhD student at Penn State. I am currently working on a research study that looks at the 2016 presidential election from a leader/follower perspective and am conducting interviews with politically active Democrats and Republicans across Pennsylvania. I have started locally by interviewing Penn State undergraduate students in the College Democratic and Republican clubs as well as individuals affiliated with the Centre County Democratic and Republican committees.

“I would like to include the perspective of individuals living in more urban areas and inasmuch was wondering if, at all possible, you could help me locate potential interviewees connected to the Philadelphia Republicans? Specifically, are there volunteers or committee members that would be willing to provide an interview?

“All interviewees will remain anonymous. Interviews should take approximately 30-45 minutes and can be conducted over the phone and at the interviewees’ convenience. Contact me at alr357@psu.edu or (607) 267-9752.”

NEA & PSEA Endorse Santarsiero For Congress

State Rep. Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks) announced he has the backing of local and national teachers organizations the National Education Association and Pennsylvania State Education Association for his Congressional run in Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional Dist.

Santarsiero is the son of a teacher. Following the attacks of Sep. 11, Santarsiero left his law practice to follow in his father’s footsteps and teach social studies at Bensalem HS.

“As a former teacher, I couldn’t be prouder to have the support of Pennsylvania teachers and the education community,” said Santarsiero. “In Congress I will continue the fight for early childhood education, fully funded classrooms and affordable higher education for every student who dreams of attending college.”

Gaming Commission On A High Roll: AG

CHATHAM University’s Penna. Center for Women & Politics held training sessions. Speakers included, from left, Aubrey Montgomery of Rittenhouse Political Partners; Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown; Eleanor Dezzi of Dezzi Group; State Rep. Margo Davidson; and congressional candidate Mary Ellen Balchunis. Renee Amoore of Amoore Group participated by Skype. Photo by Bonnie Squires

CHATHAM University’s Penna. Center for Women & Politics held training sessions. Speakers included, from left, Aubrey Montgomery of Rittenhouse Political Partners; Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown; Eleanor Dezzi of Dezzi Group; State Rep. Margo Davidson; and congressional candidate Mary Ellen Balchunis. Renee Amoore of Amoore Group participated by Skype. Photo by Bonnie Squires

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale finds Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board members are enjoying the high-roller life style.

In an audit he found Commissioners are spending excessive amounts of money on meals and per diems and treating themselves differently than the rest of the agency’s staff.

His audit, which reviewed expenses between Jul. 1, 2013 and Sep. 30, 2015, found the board has improved its operations since the last audit done in 2010. The audit states, “Board members (and certain staff) who were required to travel for PGCB-related business purposes could charge up to 2.5 times the standard per diem rate applicable to Commonwealth employees who were traveling on Commonwealth business. Worse still, these enhanced per diems were reimbursable without receipts, which provided no transparency as to the reasonableness of the expenses.”

“This issue is about more than just dollars and cents; it is about the perception of a highly paid board — who are statutorily charged with protecting the public’s interest — being allowed preferential treatment,” DePasquale said, noting board members are already paid a $145,000 salary for, essentially, part-time work. “To add insult to injury, these members can then tack on generous meals for their part-time service. The issue is bad public policy plain and simple — not just for the gaming control board, but anywhere such exemptions are permitted,” said DePasquale.

Cortés: Online Registration To Hit 100,000

Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés announced the State’s online voter-registration site has logged nearly 100,000 applications since its launch.

Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary Cortés announced the launch Aug. 27, 2015, as the application site went live at register.votesPA.com.

To date, more than 97,800 Pennsylvanians have taken advantage of the new technology. Approximately 60 percent of users have been eligible citizens registering for the first time, while the remaining 40 percent were voters making updates to their registration, such as a change of name, address or party affiliation.

Cortés reminded Pennsylvanians Mar. 28 is the deadline to register or update their record before the Apr. 26 primary election. He urged eligible citizens to make use of the online voter registration site.

5 More GOPers File Under The Wire

Late on Tuesday, Feb. 16 – but not too late – five Republican congressional and General Assembly candidates from Philadelphia filed nominating petitions in Harrisburg.

State Rep. Pamela DeLissio (D-Northwest) faces competition from Sean Patrick Stevens in the 194th. The winner will be opposed by Republican Billy Pounds in his second go-around for this seat.

Stephen Kinsey held campaign kickoff at Treasures ballroom in Germantown. Petitions were being signed for Delegates for upcomimg National Convention. On hand were Councilwoman Cindy Bass, Bilal Qayyum and other civic and community leaders and supporters. Photo by Leona Dixon

Stephen Kinsey held campaign kickoff at Treasures ballroom in Germantown. Petitions were being signed for Delegates for upcomimg National Convention. On hand were Councilwoman Cindy Bass, Bilal Qayyum and other civic and community leaders and supporters. Photo by Leona Dixon

The 200th, left vacant by State Rep. Cherelle Parker (D-Northwest), now a member of City Council, has a primary fight. The winner of this contest will be challenged by Republican Latryse McDowell.

Republicans filed in each of the three congressional districts. In the 1st, Dr. Debbie Williams, a minister, will tackle Congressman Bob Brady. In the 2nd, businessman James Jones will challenge the winner of the Democratic primary. In the 13th, GOP educator Armond James will make his second try for a ticket to Washington.

All three Republicans are unopposed in the spring primary.

Sen. Joe Scarnati Launches His Reelection Campaign

State Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) has launched his reelection campaign.

Scarnati said, “For the past 15 years, during my tenure, I have been fortunate enough to rise through the ranks to be entrusted by my peers to serve as Senate President Pro Tempore where I have led efforts to reform government and protect taxpayers from the out-of-control spending desires of extreme liberal politicians.”

Davidson Campaign Pushes Reelection For 164th
State Rep. Margo Davidson (D-Delaware) announced at the close of petition circulation that she and her supporters filed nearly 700 signatures more than her opponent.

Campaign spokesperson Kristen Stoner said, “It’s very easy to have a secret back-room endorsement meeting with 21 of your hand-selected party insiders, many fooled by lies and innuendoes, but it’s much harder to fool voters with whom you have no credibility. That kind of political shenanigans may make good headlines but they do not make good government.”

Davidson, elected three consecutive times to represent the 164th Dist., is the first African American, the first Democrat, and the first woman to represent the district. She represents Yeadon, East Lansdowne, Millbourne, Lansdowne and Upper Darby.

Can Sanders Volunteers Build Voter Support Here?
Shortly after Bernie Sanders’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary, local campaign volunteers have begun bringing his message of political revolution to Philadelphia. #Movement4Bernie, a coalition of socialists and unions this Saturday, Feb. 27, at noon.

Amanda McIllmurray, an organizer with #MovementForBernie, reports, “We have the momentum and we are going to bring 5000 people to City Hall.”

STATE REP. Jordan Harris drew host of supporters to his reelection campaign opener for 186th Legislative Dist. seat. In this VIP photo are colleague Donna Bullock, Council President Darrell Clarke, Jordan, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, and colleagues Joanna McClinton and Jason Dawkins. Photo by Wendell Douglas

STATE REP. Jordan Harris drew host of supporters to his reelection campaign opener for 186th Legislative Dist. seat. In this VIP photo are colleague Donna Bullock, Council President Darrell Clarke, Jordan, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, and colleagues Joanna McClinton and Jason Dawkins. Photo by Wendell Douglas

Noting Philadelphia is the poorest major city in the US, Justin Harrison, a member of CWA Local 13000, speculates, “Bernie’s platform of a $15/hr. minimum wage, free college tuition, and single payer health care has a lot of appeal in a city like ours.”

Melissa Robbins, a political consultant and organizer, outlined the challenges of reaching Philadelphia’s communities of color. “We are going up against the establishment’s candidate, Hillary Clinton, in a city where nearly half the population is Black. When I talk to other people of color, many suggest they support Hillary. Bernie was marching in support of Dr. Martin Luther King and getting arrested for civil rights demonstrations, while Hillary was starting her career in politics as a Goldwater Girl.”

Creating a problem for Sanders is the fact this week Mayor Jim Kenney endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Apr. 26 primary.

In endorsing Clinton, Kenney said, “Hillary Clinton has the heart, strength and depth of knowledge and experience to unite our nation and lead us during these troubled times. She will build on the accomplishments of President Obama and continue the economic growth and expansion he successfully initiated.

“I share Secretary Clinton’s progressive vision for America and her quest to tear down barriers that deny opportunity and exclude so many Americans from access to the American Dream. I trust Hillary Clinton with our nation’s future.”

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