POLS ON THE STREET: Show Us What’s in Your Kitty

Filed under: Featured News |

A NEW municipal campaign-finance reporting system was unveiled by the Board of Ethics and City Commission last week, just in time for the current reporting cycle, which concludes next Tuesday, Apr. 9. Although users will find it feels similar to the old system, this one lives in the Cloud, so its information cannot be lost as a result of PC breakdown. Demonstrating are Bryan McHale of the Board of Ethics, L, and Seth Bluestein of City Commission.

Insiders look forward to this point in every campaign season: the filings for the Cycle 1 campaign-finance reports. Filing began Apr. 2 and must be completed by next Tuesday, Apr. 9.

While the general public is sure to snooze through this deadline, campaign professionals and potential backers will pay close attention to the numbers posted by candidates. These numbers will tell potential workers how likely they are to get paid; they will tell endorsers how likely they are to pick a winner.

Some will carry on for a lightly funded candidate out of love or loyalty. But citywide elections in particular are expensive, even for those with passionate followings. Even in the age of social media, simply getting the word out to that base costs money. (Talk to us in the newspaper business!)

Cycle 2 deadline is May 10, 11 days before the primary. That may be about when the average primary voter wakes up, but it’s a little late for activists and consultants to get in the game, so Cycle 1 is an important determinant of how campaigns take off before those three crucial last weeks.

Today is too soon to get the final numbers for Cycle 1. But you can already explore City Commission’s website to read the reports of early filers. As a rule, well-resourced campaigns are apt to get their reports in earlier. For one thing, they can afford the staff to do the reporting; also, they want to brag. But the dust will not settle until Apr. 9.

DCC Begins Its Endorsement Path

CELEBRANTS came to a party at Sheet Metal Workers’ Hall on Columbus Boulevard last week to note the 1,000th issue of the Philadelphia Public Record.. A good time was had by all. Photo by Wendell Douglas

Democratic City Committee began its journey toward a slate of endorsements with the convening of a 13-member screening group last Monday. The full committee will vote on its recommendations tomorrow.

Most subcommittee work like this is respected by the general membership most of the time. That’s especially true when a candidate also happens to be a ward leader (i.e., member). But some observers speculate that the rush of millennials into many ward leaderships may inspire some of the young bucks to kick back at an endorsement or two.

The old hands were young bucks once and they may defer by moving to “no endorsement” on a race or two. In the end, though, dissenters are likelier to defect from the party ticket quietly as they plan to chart courses for unendorsed candidates they favor.

STATE SEN. Sharif Street threw himself a birthday party in the Divine Lorraine, which is itself undergoing a rebirth. Congressman Dwight Evans, State Sen. Sharif Street, State Reps. Jason Dawkins and Malcolm Kenyatta, and Mayor John Street celebrated. Photo by Wendell Douglas

Initially, the screeners backed all incumbents in all offices with the exception of Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez (D-7th District). Her primary opponent, State Rep. Angel Cruz (D-Kensington), is a veteran member of DCC.

In the 10th District, the incumbent is a long-established Republican, Brian O’Neill. Judy Moore, the lone Democrat to survive the petition process, is endorsed.

But after criticism Wednesday evening, the group, in an unusual move, rescinded its recommendation to endorse Sheriff Jewell Williams, a member of DCC but who is involved in lawsuits alleging harassment.

At-large councilmanic races and judicial races are more dynamic; it is certain that DCC will pick a full slate.

SUPPORTERS of councilmanic candidate Isaiah Thomas gathered at SOMO South in the Stadium District to boost his citywide campaign. Among them, L-R, were State Rep. Jason Dawkins, consultant Kevin Fassett, State Sen. Anthony Williams, Fred Williams and Anthony Fullard of Millennium 3. Photos by Wendell Douglas

With two incumbents, Blondell Reynolds Brown and Bill Greenlee, dropping out, DCC had two slots to fill. It chose Katherine Gilmore Richardson (13th ballot position) and Sandra Dungee-Glenn (25th position). Both will need a strong push to get to that fifth-highest vote; it’ll be a test for the party organization.

But they have track records. Gilmore Richardson was Reynolds Brown’s chief of staff. Dungee-Glenn chaired the School Reform Commission.

In the judicial races, the slate moving forward is, for Common Pleas Court, Joshua Roberts, currently at number-2 position; Sherman Toppin, at 11th; Cateria McCabe, at 12th; Anthony Kyriakakis at 20th; Henry Sias at 27th; and Carmella Jacquinto at 30th).

Everyone grieves that Vincent Melchiorre, who has been appointed judge many times but always drew bad ballot positions and lost that job, finally drew number-1 for Common Pleas – only to be booted from the ticket because his petitions had been bungled by Crews & Moseley, a firm he had hired to circulate them. Everyone in the know says that Melchiorre belongs on the bench.

For Municipal Court, only one seat was open. Dave Conroy, who drew 1st ballot position, was recommended. Number 2, Gary Silver, also had his petitions challenged. Numbers 3 through 6 – Betsy Wahl, Carmella Jacquinto, Christian DiCicco and Gregory Weyer – may still have a shot if they can build a loyal, high-turnout base.

Several challenges are still outstanding, mostly in the appeal process. So the final ballot won’t settle down for another week.

AFL-CIO Lays Down Its Primary Slate

Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO did not shilly-shally. It has endorsed the following slate:

27TH WARD Democratic Committee packed Clarkville in University City for its Candidates Night. In addition to a host of city office-seekers like Councilman Derek Green, its famous pizza was a draw. Photo by Marisa Piccarreto

In the mayor’s race, no endorsement.

For City Commission, incumbents Lisa Deeley and Al Schmidt, with Omar Sabir.

For sheriff, incumbent Jewell Williams.

For register of wills, incumbent Ron Donatucci.

For City Council at large, the labor group was more adventuresome. It picked three challengers, not two: Ethelind Baylor, Katherine Gilmore Richardson and Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas is an educator who has run many times before, usually coming close. He enjoys the backing of NUUHCE Local 1199C.

Baylor wound up with the last ballot position – which is not the best but is far from the worst. You can easily skip to the bottom of the list on your voting machine. Names in the middle are the hardest to find after you’ve closed the curtain and are staring at the screen.

“Of course, I’m honored to be endorsed by the AFL-CIO,” said Baylor, who is also VP of AFSCME DC 47. “But the fact it comes from my fellow union brothers and sisters makes it even more special.” Baylor has long been active in the Coalition of Labor Union Women.

But her own union organization declined to endorse her. DC 47 has the reputation of being a contentious leadership environment where it is hard to grow dynasties. In this white-collar union, there are always bosses who think they know more than the other boss does.

Almirón Racks up Progressive Cheers

Erika Almirón, who currently holds 14th position on the Democratic Council at-large ballot, is pushing for the progressive wave.

TWO YOUNGSTERS performed an old-fashioned civic rite on Mar. 20. Republican at-large councilmanic candidate Drew Murray, L, had his older daughter, Kendall, assist her younger sister, Alexandra, in drawing her father’s ballot position out of the fabled Horn & Hardart can.

Born here to Paraguayan immigrants, she has received endorsements from Reclaim Philadelphia, 215 People’s Alliance, Neighborhood Networks, Second Generation, Philadelphia’s 1st Ward, the Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration and the AFT CCP Professors & Teachers Union and Philadelphia’s 1st Ward Democratic Committee.

Her candidacy will be a test of how well millennials can organize behind single standard-bearers – shrewdly doing “bullet voting,” as the pros call it. That’s the way a minority constituency punches its way forward in a multi-candidate race: not by blowing kisses at everybody but by piling up votes behind, at most, one or two leaders.

Dissident Rumbles in the 4th District

Two women have vowed to continue their campaign against Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. (4th District), despite having been tossed off the official ballot by petition challenges.

Jeannette Geter announced that she intends to continue to run as a write-in candidate, believing that she has the necessary support.

Jeter tied her announcement to the start of Child Abuse Prevention Month because she was a foster-care worker and has advocated for change through work with the PA Auditor General’s office, The Field Center and the Covenant House.

Another challenger, Karla Cruel, has switched her registration to Independent so that she can go against Jones in the fall general election without dealing with the May primary. This gives her more time to organize a grass-roots campaign. And time is money to a grassroots challenger.

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