POLS ON THE STREET: Seasoned DA Veterans Join Seth Challenge

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ADDRESSING the audience at the Media Center in Harrisburg and welcoming members is State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams as State Reps. Jordan Harris and Donna Bullock, State Sen. Art Haywood and Chris Rabb look on.

by Joe Shaheeli

Veteran Senior Deputy Attorney General and Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Michael Untermeyer has been persistent in his goal to attain the office of District Attorney.

He’s made it official: He’s now in the race for that office’s Democratic nomination.

He said, “It is time for the top law-enforcement official in Philadelphia to set the standard for innovation, integrity and sound management. The daily duties of the District Attorney’s Office have more impact on the lives of citizens of this city than virtually any other agency.”

He served Philadelphia DA Ed Rendell in 1984 as one of the lead attorneys spearheading a new Domestic Violence Unit to protect and serve victims of family violence. In the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, Michael headed up the Asset Forfeiture & Money Laundering Section of the Philadelphia Regional Office of the Drug Law Division, where he conducted and supervised financial investigations and prosecutions of major narcotics dealers and organizations for 11 years.

Among his business holdings is a co-ownership in Famous 4th Street Cookie Co. Who knows? He might win votes by handing out samples with his picture on the package.

Joe Khan, a former federal prosecutor, was an early entry, but odds are not great he will have much support from Democratic Party organization ward leaders, unless he comes in with a big campaign war chest.

Rich Negrin, former managing director who handled that position well, has yet to win the hearts of Latino Democratic leaders.

Judge Teresa Carr Deni, who understands what is involved in battling in a Democratic primary, is already making the rounds of ward and similar events and is picking up support in that process.

It is believed Judge Leon Tucker will jump into the traffic as well. If he does, he may be contesting with Public Defender chief Keir Bradford-Grey, who has yet to announce, for a portion of the African American vote which has been solidly behind incumbent Seth Williams.

The GOP has their nominee in place. It’s Beth Grossman, former 21-year veteran of the District Attorney’s office. She made it official yesterday afternoon at 3149 Kensington Avenue. She said, “The District Attorney must hold him or herself to the highest of ethical standards and integrity when enforcing our laws. Seth Williams has failed to do so. It is a tragic irony that Philadelphia’s chief law-enforcement officer is himself the target of a law enforcement investigation. Not only is it tragic, but it is absolutely unacceptable.”

A fourth-generation Philadelphian, Grossman chose this site to make her announcement “because the storefront behind me was my parents’ candy store while I was growing up. I worked here during school breaks. I bought my prom dress on the Avenue. I have seen how crime and drugs can deteriorate a neighborhood.”

Her campaign office is located at 7056 Germantown Avenue, Suite 301. The telephone number is (267) 516-6740.

Grossman believes there are more than enough people in this city ready to cross party lines to bring integrity back to the District Attorney’s office.

STYLE-CONSCIOUS Philadelphians turned out for 4th Dist. Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr.’s annual winter BlackOut Party. Among this smart set were, L-R, State Rep. Jason Dawkins, Latina advisor Luz Colon, host Jones, communications pro Teresa Lundy and State Rep. Morgan Cephas. (For complete photo coverage, visit the “Philly Record” Facebook page.) Photo by Wendell Douglas

Old Faces, New Faces in Senate Leadership

With a veto-proof majority in November’s General Election handed to the Republicans in the State Senate, little time has been lost by the GOP in naming leadership posts.

Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) has announced the majority of the 2017-18 assignments are the same as they were for the 2015-16 session, with the following changes.

State Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) will head the chamber’s Finance Committee, replacing State Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair). Hutchinson previously served as chair of the Local Government Committee. Eichelberger will move to the Education Committee, replacing former State Sen. Lloyd Smucker, who was elected to represent Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional Dist. in November.

State Sen. Scott Wagner (R-York) will now serve as chair of Local Government. Wagner previously served as chair of Urban Affairs & Housing, where he will be replaced by State Sen. Tom McGarrigle (R-Delaware), who formerly served as chair of the Intergovernmental Operations Committee. State Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington) will now serve as chair of the Intergovernmental Operations Committee, replacing McGarrigle.

State Sen. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe) will switch from chair of the Game & Fisheries Committee to chair of the Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee, where he will replace State Sen. Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland). Scavello will be replaced by State Sen. Pat Stefano (R-Fayette). Ward will now head the Labor & Industry Committee, having replaced State Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne); and Baker will move to the Health & Human Services Committee, replacing State Sen. Patricia Vance, who retired.

The three other legislative caucuses have not yet released their committee chair assignments. All were voted in this Tuesday.


City Republicans Host Inaugural Gala

The Philadelphia Republican Party and the New South Philly GOP will host the only official Trump Inaugural gala in Philadelphia on Saturday, Jan. 11, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Toll Man Joe’s, 26 E. Oregon Avenue.

Those wishing to attend have been advised they need to RSVP their intention to attend Vince Minniti, 6th Ward leader, (215) 827-9292 or emailvminniti16@gmail.com.

Cost is $35 a person. Roast beef, roast pork, pasta sides, draft beer and wine. Sorry, no champagne for this one, but some top Republicans, citywide and statewide, are expected to attend.


Councilwoman Helen Gym Claims Solid Achievements

Freshman Councilwoman at Large Helen Gym can tack onto her next campaign brochure some achievements. She played an important role in the fight to restore essential resources back to schools, including full-time nurses and counselors in every school, and helped get a package of Council bills addressing lead poisoning and water safety in schools and child-care centers.

Look for her to continue her efforts to better educational services in this city.

HENRY NICHOLAS, president of the dominant health-care labor union NUHHCE Local 199C, traditionally welcomes in the New Year at his N. Central home, which is known for its massive collection of art. Among the host of attendees this year were, L-R, Phila. Chief Defender Keir Bradford-Grey, Judge Carolyn Nichols, Nicholas, Councilwoman Cindy Bass and S. Phila. activist Jim Jenkins. (For complete photo coverage, visit the “Philly Record” Facebook page.) Photo by Wendell Douglas

Courts Continue to Rule on Various Election Laws

The courts continue to rule on cases before them involving state election laws.

The latest was in a Northern Mariana Islands case and comes on the heels of a Supreme Court injunction in a similar lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch in Hawaii. Both cases involve blatantly unconstitutional practices that violate the 15th Amendment’s prohibition against racial discrimination in voting and the 14th Amendment’s requirement of equal protection, as Judicial Watch sees it.

In the Mariana Islands suit, a citizen, John Davis, challenged a Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands law restricting voting in certain elections to individuals of “Northern Marianas descent” as unconstitutional.

The US commonwealth defines this as persons who are at least one-quarter indigenous, either Chamorro or Carolinian, or a combination of both. Davis is a resident and taxpayer but doesn’t count as “native” so he wasn’t allowed to vote. He had to hire an attorney because the Dept. of Justice, which is responsible for enforcing voter rights, refused to get involved.

Will Trump Reduce Presidential Expenses?

Incoming President Donald Trump was noted for boarding his own jet to a number of campaign stops in one day. So we wonder if he will continue to do so, or if safety regulations insist he travel on Air Force One.

In any event, presidential usage of Airforce One and the accompanying entourage of Secret Service personnel found President Barack Obama’s travel expenses over his eight-year term came to $96,938,882.51. The reports contain information regarding Obama’s Earth Day trip to the Florida Everglades, a political fundraising trip to San Diego, Michelle Obama’s annual Aspen ski trip, her trip to Morocco, a family vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, as well as Hillary’s ride with Obama on Air Force One to North Carolina.

Will Trump change the way presidential travel incurs using taxpayers’ monies? That would endear him to many more.


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