POLS ON THE STREET: N.E. Philadelphia Leaders Switch To Boyle For State Senate

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by Joe Shaheeli

SEEKING Democratic nomination for US Senate, Braddock, Pa. Mayor John Fetterman attended one of many fundraisers being held for him around state, this one Monday evening in Phila. With him are sponsor George Leader, son of former Gov. George Leader; Dante Zappala; and Gerry Kaufman.

SEEKING Democratic nomination for US Senate, Braddock, Pa. Mayor John Fetterman attended one of many fundraisers being held for him around state, this one Monday evening in Phila. With him are sponsor George Leader, son of former Gov. George Leader; Dante Zappala; and Gerry Kaufman.

Would you believe a caucus endorsement, so vital in organization politics, when once made was considered poured in cement? That was true in the annals of the Democratic Party until last Thursday. It is now in flux in the battle of the 5th Senatorial Dist.

The nine ward leaders, making up that Northeast Senate seat, who happened all to be at State Rep. Mike Driscoll’s (D-Northeast) St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser celebration at the FOP Hall, also held a meeting in another room.

That’s when wounds created over a past primary candidate selection and the surly attitude of one them toward another caucus member finally erupted with the end result, a 5-4 decision calling for rescinding their earlier endorsement of State Sen. John Sabatina, Jr. (D-Northeast), followed by a vote endorsing State Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-Northeast) for that vote.

Efforts, as we went to press, to ask the full Democratic City Committee, made up of every ward leader in the city, to approve a request for a contest-committee resolution by Northeast Ward Chair Mike McAleer had not yet been decided. There is nothing in DCC by laws addressing such a situation.

McAleer, whose own ward leadership spans over three decades, said, “This was an unprecedented move and it just didn’t make sense.”

Insiders commented, “They just opened a can of worms.”

In similar splits in the past, if ward leaders didn’t like their district caucus results they made it known on election day by dropping the endorsed candidate’s name off the ballots in their ward and adding the name of their choice. Those ballots were then handed to voters outside the polls.
No matter what comes down, contest committee or not, the district is split and the winner of this primary contest will have truly earned the senatorial seat that had been filled by Sabatina when, then-State Sen. Mike Stack became the State’s Lieutenant Governor.

Bettor’s choice now has it 6-5 in favor of Boyle, who has FOP’s John McNesby on his side and a lot of police and FOP retirees voting and following his lead in that district.

Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association unanimously endorsed Sabatina, joining endorsements from Lt. Gov. Stack, Sheriff Jewell Williams, former Philadelphia DA Lynne Abraham, Carpenters Northeast Regional Council, AFSCME Local 88, Sheet Metal Workers Local 19, UFCW Local 1776, Pennsylvania State Troopers Local 37, Operating Engineers Local 542, Roofers & Waterproofers Local 30, Teamsters Regional Council, the International Longshoremen Local 1291, and the International Union of Painters & Allied Trades District Council 21.

Savage, Cook-Artis Join Win Special Elections

It was a shoo-in as expected, the endorsed Democratic candidates to fill seats in the vacant 192nd and 200th Legislative Dists. won easily. They were aided and abetted by damp, drizzly weather that keeps voter turnout down, except where veteran committee people know what has to be done and do it. Both district turnouts were dismal, just under 10% in the 200th and just over 7% in the 192nd.

US SEN. Bob Casey chats with Shira Goodman, CeaseFire PA executive director, at event attended by leaders of anti-gun groups in Phila. Photo by Wendell Douglas.

US SEN. Bob Casey chats with Shira Goodman, CeaseFire PA executive director, at event attended by leaders of anti-gun groups in Phila. Photo by Wendell Douglas.

Party Chairman Congressman Bob Brady (D-Phila.) proved his pick, Committeeman Lynwood Savage, deserved the support of the voters and easily moved aside two challengers. He pulled in 2439 votes for a total of 76.48% of the turnout.

Tonyelle Cook-Artis, former chief of staff for then-State Representative and now 9th Dist. Councilwoman Cherelle Parker, was also an easy winner, garnering 79.78% of the voter turnout with 3,777 votes.

Both will be sworn in as soon as the vote totals are certified by the City Commissioners. They will have to run in the Apr. 26 primary, where both face substantial opposition. If they leap that hurdle, they must run in the general election in November for a full term.

State Supreme Court Reputation Is A Mess

The resignation of one of Pennsylvania’s embattled Supreme Court justices this week does not mean the “case is closed,” said State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams (D-W. Phila.), who led the charge to expose the pornographic, racist and misogynistic emails of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin. He said, “Judicial Conduct Board Chief Counsel Robert Graci and others have used their influence to undermine our justices and our courts. Plaintiffs and defendants have not had a fair day in court because the Eakin saga has proven that justice, at least for some, is not blind.”

Williams first called for Justice Eakin’s resignation during an Oct. 27, 2015, Capitol press conference. In November, he called for the removal of First Deputy Attorney General Bruce Beemer, Judicial Conduct Board Chief Counsel Robert Graci and Supreme Court Special Counsel Robert Byer for their roles in the coverup. The Judicial Conduct Board announced formal charges against Eakin Dec. 8.

Presently those sitting and those recently elected to the high court are serving under a cloud of suspicion by the electorate.

Judicial Age Ballot Question Confusing?

There will be a question on the Apr. 26 primary election ballot about raising the state’s mandatory retirement age for many of the Commonwealth’s judges. However, it is reported the State Senate’s Republican Caucus leadership has raised concerns about the ballot question State elections officials wrote, something the Senate GOP argues could impact how voters react to the proposal to increase the retirement age from 70 to 75.

BROTHERS Boyle, Congressman Brendan and Rep. Kevin, appeared at local grade school in conjunction with efforts to increase joy of reading.

BROTHERS Boyle, Congressman Brendan and Rep. Kevin, appeared at local grade school in conjunction with efforts to increase joy of reading.

Here’s the question as it will appear on the ballot: “Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices of the Supreme Court, judges and justices of the peace (known as magisterial district judges) be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years, instead of the current requirement that they be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 70?”

The Senate GOP would prefer: “Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices, judges and justices of the peace be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years?”

Democrats Closing Gap On Toomey?

The three Democratic candidates vying for the US Senate nomination have begun making enough fuss to draw the attention of voters as they near the Apr. 26 primary. That has closed the gap between them and US GOP Senate incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey.

Former U.S. Congressman (and Toomey’s 2010 opponent) Joe Sestak does the best against Toomey – losing 47% to 41%. Toomey’s numbers have not changed, while Sestak has picked up 4 points.

Katie McGinty is having trouble with name-recognition, with 40% unsure of how they feel about her, though she is picking up support in Philadelphia. John Fetterman is also facing the same challenge, with 57% of those polled unsure of who the Braddock Mayor is. That said, Fetterman still does well in his match-up with Toomey, losing 36% to 47%, with 16% of voters undecided. He has been extending his image in Philadelphia with a series of small fundraisers.

Dem National Convention Picks Women Event Group

The Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention has picked LeapStarr Productions, a regional, woman- and minority-owned event design, fabrication and production company, as the official event producer for PoliticalFest.

LeapStarr will be required to provide event design, production and management services for PoliticalFest, a one-of-a-kind, multi-day festival celebrating political history, government and the road to the White House. The event will be open to the public.
Kevin Washo, executive director of the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee, said, “LeapStarr will help the Host Committee fulfill its goal of working with regional businesses while making this the most diverse Convention yet, and we look forward to putting on PoliticalFest with them.”

Auditor General To Report School Problems Over Budget

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale noted the growing financial impact the State budget impasse is having on the education of students across the state merits an extensive report. “While our school districts received half-year funding through Dec. 31, 2015, many are once again spending more time figuring out how to pay the bills and less time focusing on student learning.

“As we saw last fall, many school districts are faced with making tough decisions to keep classrooms open. That is simply not acceptable.

“I have directed my staff, once again, to conduct a review of financial conditions of our schools since payments from the state ended in February. Based on media reports, schools are considering borrowing, increasing real estate tax, cutting academic or extracurricular activities, and making staff reductions. I plan to make the report public in late April.
TWU 234 Endorses Challenger Sekela Coles

MEMBERS of St. Patrick Observance Association welcomed Mayor Jim Kenney and his declaration of St. Patrick’s Month in Phila. in kickoff ceremony at City Hall. Seen are Shelia Hess; Tom Keenan; Chris Phillips, president; Judge Edward Bradley; Judge James Murray Lynn;  Hon. Ron O’Donatucci, Register of Wills; Cathy Orr, Fox News weathercaster; and Tom Bradley. Seated are Mary Frances Fogg, incoming president; Kathy McGee Burns; and Austin McGreal, Esq.  Photo by Joe Stivala

MEMBERS of St. Patrick Observance Association welcomed Mayor Jim Kenney and his declaration of St. Patrick’s Month in Phila. in kickoff ceremony at City Hall. Seen are Shelia Hess; Tom Keenan; Chris Phillips, president; Judge Edward Bradley; Judge James Murray Lynn; Hon. Ron O’Donatucci, Register of Wills; Cathy Orr, Fox News weathercaster; and Tom Bradley. Seated are Mary Frances Fogg, incoming president; Kathy McGee Burns; and Austin McGreal, Esq. Photo by Joe Stivala

Upper Darby Councilwoman Sekela Coles was endorsed in her bid for the 164th Legislative Dist. by the Transportation Workers’ Union Local 234. Local 234 is the union that represents SEPTA workers. This is seen as a boost to Councilwoman Coles’ campaign and another blow for incumbent State Rep. Margo Davidson’s (D-Delaware) campaign (who previously received the Transportations Workers’ Union endorsed in 2014).

“I am proud to have the endorsement of TWU Local 234. This endorsement underscores my commitment to the working families of the 164th Legislative Dist. 69th Street is run by TWU workers who ensure thousands of residents of the 164th can go to work and their daily activities safely. Today I am humbled by their endorsement and will proudly go to Harrisburg to stand up and fight on their behalf,” said Coles.

Councilwoman Sekela Coles has represented the 7th Dist. in Upper Darby since 2013. Dr. Coles holds a PhD from Walden University and is an adjunct business professor at Harcum College and Delaware County Community. Both of Dr. Coles’ children attend public school. She has been served on Bywood Elementary’s Parent Advisory Council, Governor Wolf’s Transition Committee on Drugs and Alcohol Prevention, and the Advisory Board of Delaware County Community College’s branch campuses.

Senate Candidate Says No Budget, No Pay
A smart candidate would say what Jon Ritchie said last week: Legislators should not get paid until they pass a State budget by the constitutionally mandated deadline.

“In the real world, if you don’t do your job, you get fired! In Harrisburg, you still collect a paycheck, and that is wrong,” Ritchie said. “Every day I am talking to voters who are fed up with their government in Harrisburg, particularly as it relates to the budget.”

Ritchie, a former Eagles fullback, is running for the 31st Senatorial Dist. in the Republican primary.

Will he still feel that way if he becomes a member of the General Assembly?

FOP Endorses Shapiro For AG

Democratic AG candidate Josh Shapiro has picked up another valuable endorsement – this time from the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police – as he tries to turn his party-favorite status into a primary victory.

COUNCILMAN Derek Green held jam-packed fish fry on N. Broad Street. Attendees had to wait outside for others to leave. Here he enjoys a moment with aides Office Mgr. Sharon Vaughn, Rochelle Cameron and Debbie Howell. Photo by Sharon Vaughn

COUNCILMAN Derek Green held jam-packed fish fry on N. Broad Street. Attendees had to wait outside for others to leave. Here he enjoys a moment with aides Office Mgr. Sharon Vaughn, Rochelle Cameron and Debbie Howell. Photo by Sharon Vaughn

President of the Philadelphia FOP John McNesby said Shapiro has the “integrity, leadership and vision to protect all Pennsylvanians” and called the former State Representative “the partner we in law enforcement need as our next Attorney General.”

Shapiro has a huge cash advantage over Allegheny County DA Stephen Zappala and Northampton County DA John Morganelli, and his endorsement list continues to grow – with support from Govs. Tom Wolf and Ed Rendell, as well as former opponent-for-a-week Jack Stollsteimer and the PSEA.

With beleaguered AG Kathleen Kane now out of the race, the door is wide open for Shapiro, Zappala and Morganelli in the April 26th Democratic primary. The nominee will face the winner of the GOP contest between State Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery) and former Kane press secretary Joe Peters in November.

Shapiro has continued to pick up financial support, with impressive campaign funding now showing him easily dominating the field.

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One Response to POLS ON THE STREET: N.E. Philadelphia Leaders Switch To Boyle For State Senate

  1. Thank you guys for all the hard work you’ve done on bringing an awareness to your readers and the city at large. I will keep this paper in my prayers.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Young (Johnny Young’s wife. )
    God bless you all!!!

    Kim Young
    March 25, 2016 at 9:13 am

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