Vol. I No. 151
Keeping You Posted With The Politics Of Philadelphia
January 31, 2011
On The Ball
RECEIVING LINE for Saturday night’s Academy of Music anniversary concert and ball included, from left, David and Sandy Marshall, ball co-chair, and Joanna McNeil Lewis, the “Century Sponsor” of event and president and CEO of Academy of Music, with Mike Mills. (Photo by Bonnie Squires)
Dems Strike Back Over Proposed GOP House Rules
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Pennsylvania Democrats plan a statewide effort to counter GOP’s proposed rules change in the State House the measure this weekend. Democrats will take their case to voters in 18 Districts across the state in a paid media campaign to be launched tomorrow. According to multiple sources in the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, the campaign to pressure potentially vulnerable Republican State Reps over the issue has already begun in the form of a targeted email campaign. “We’re doing a program within the next 72 hours to make sure people in several targeted districts around the state are aware of the question in front of the legislature. And a call to action to hold them accountable to the campaign promises they made just a few months ago,” explained a Democrat operative. Earlier last week, Republicans proposed rules changes that would allow them to send amendments back to committee without tabling the associated bill. Additionally, Democrats would lose a seat on each House committees. A vote on the proposed changes is rumored to be on the agenda for Monday, though there have already been signs the GOP may back down. THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD
Democrats charge a vote for the change would violate Republicans’ campaign promises for open and transparent government. They plan to challenge potentially vulnerable Republicans around the state.
Josephs: Republicans Blocking Reform Because Of Homophobia State Rep. Babette Josephs (D-S. Phila.) said she thinks she knows why House Republican leaders abruptly ended session this week and set plans into motion to penalize House Democrats: bigotry. On Wednesday, House members were on the floor, ready to vote on several government-reform bills, including several amendments that would address domestic partners of public officials and public employees under the State ethics and lobbyist-disclosure laws, when House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (RAllegheny) abruptly ended session. He then called an impromptu meeting of the Rules Committee to reduce the number of Democrats in House standing committees by 10% and allow the Majority Leader to table any amendment to legislation arbitrarily for the rest of the 2011-12 session. Josephs said she believes the Republicans are trying to keep from having to bring up any issues that run counter to their agenda and that is what caused these strong-arm tactics. 1 JANUARY, 2011
“”Upon reflection, I believe of all the amendments we put up for consideration, only one or two really got stuck in the Republicans’ craw,” Josephs said. “Those had to do with extending prohibitions and disclosure requirements to domestic partners of lobbyists and state elected and appointed officials. Some extreme right-wing Republicans were in a quandary. If they voted against the amendments, they would be saying a State Representative, for example, could use his or her office to direct a contract toward a domestic partner and get away with it. That is hardly reform. If they voted for the domestic partnership amendments they would be legitimizing intimate sexual relationships other than marriage, and might, in words of one extremist, ‘advance the homosexual agenda.’ “In order to protect their right-wing members from having to cast a hard vote, Republican leaders attempted to shut down the entire democratic process. “It’s incredible to think business in the House chamber may have been brought to a halt by a few amendments that related to domestic partners. I never knew that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered citizens had that much power.” Josephs said the amendment process has been set up in the House so that the rank-and-file members had more input on legislation. In fact, her Republican counterpart in the House State Government Committee, Chairman Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), refused to consider amendments to these reform bills when they were reviewed in the committee, and told Josephs Democrats would have the opportunity to offer them on the floor. “We were denied that opportunity to amend bills on the floor Wednesday,” she said. “And now, if the Rules change is adopted Monday, representation of our constituents in the legislative process will be limited and our ideas and proposals will be withheld from consideration. And we’re the ones being called ob31 JANUARY, 2011
Corbett Looks To Eliminate Boards And Commissions The State’s fiscal problems are pushing a new wave of proposals to downsize State government. A potential State deficit in the $4 billion to $5 billion range for fiscal 2011-12 is the catalyst for the effort. Gov. Tom Corbett is planning to name a task force to review whether to continue almost 400 State boards and commissions in operation or sunset them. The task force will be given one year to complete its work and issue a report. “We are going to be looking at these boards and commissions to see what they are doing,” Corbett said.
In New Job, Sen. Casey Reports On 4th Quarter GDP US Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chairman-designate of the US Congress Joint Economic Committee, released the following statement after the announcement that GDP increased 3.2% in the fourth quarter of 2010. “Today’s GDP number shows the recovery which began in the third quarter of 2009 is continuing. Increases in net exports and consumer spending helped to boost growth in the fourth quarter. For all of 2010, GDP grew at 2.9%, compared to a decrease of 2.6% in 2009,” Casey stated. “The economy has now experienced six consecutive quarters of positive GDP growth. It’s clear we’ve come a long way in the past 18 months and the economy is on much sounder footing than it was in mid2009.” Personal consumption increased 4.4% in the fourth quarter, up from a 2.4% increase in the third quarter. Exports of goods and services grew 8.5% in the fourth quarter, compared to a 6.8% increase in the third quarter. Real imports of goods and services decreased by 13.6% in the quarter, after increasing by 16.8% in the third quarter.
THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD
“But even with this progress, the labor market has been slow to recover,” the Senator noted. “The national unemployment rate in December was 9.4% and almost 14.5 million Americans, including more than half a million in Pennsylvania, remain out of work. “We need to foster job creation and help people build new skills and get back to work. Investments in workers, our children and the nation’s infrastructure are vital to our future and long-term economic health. With the fiscal challenges facing the country, it’s imperative these investments be cost-effective, delivering significant returns. “The growth in GDP can be linked to an increase in exports of American-made products and an increase in Americans buying Americanmade products. As Chair of the JEC, I will focus on examining policies that will continue to promote American manufacturing.”
Pa. Republicans, Democrats Join in Bipartisan Super Bowl Bet With Wisconsin Counterparts Pennsylvania’s Democrats and Republicans are putting aside partisan differences to back the Steelers and make a Super Bowl wager with their bipartisan Wisconsin counterparts. 4|
“As a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I am pleased to join my Democrat counterpart Jim Burn and support Steeler Nation as we take on the Green Bay Packers for our seventh Lombardi Trophy,” republicanState Committee Chairman Rob Gleason said. “Though Chairman Burn and I differ on many issues, we both bleed Black and Gold. I look forward to participating in this friendly bipartisan wager, offering Pittsburgh’s finest to my good friend, newly elected RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and his counterpart from the Wisconsin Democrat Party. Here we go, Steelers! Here we go!” “There’s one thing Pennsylvania Democrats and Republicans can agree on: The Pittsburgh Steelers will be Super Bowl Champions,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn. “Throughout Pennsylvania, Democrats and Republicans are all looking forward to a Steelers victory, and we’ll enjoy the tastes of Wisconsin together in our victory celebration.” At stake in the bipartisan bet are food and beer favorites to the specific regions.
Roberts Makes It Official For 2nd South Philadelphia Community Leader Damon K. Roberts officially announced his campaign for Philadelphia 2nd Dist. City Council THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD
Jan. 28Swearing-in Fundraiser for State Rep. Kenyatta Johnson at Union League, 140 S. Broad St., 6-9 p.m. RSVP (215) 820-7308. Jan. 29Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell hosts prayer breakfast for ministers in 3rd Councilmanic Dist. at Sharon Baptist Ch., 3955 Conshohocken Ave., 8 a.m. For info (215) 6863418. Jan. 29Campaign Kickoff for Damon K. Roberts, 2nd Council Dist. Democrat candidate, Ch. of the Redeemer, 1440 S. 24th St., 2 p.m. For info (267) 334-0244. Jan. 30Bridges To Education charitable fundraiser at Finnigan’s Wake, 3rd & Spring Garden Sts., 3-7 p.m. $30 ticket includes beer, wine, soda, buffet and music by LeCompt. Hosts Angie Dellavella, Franny Driscoll and Maureen McAllister. Jan. 31Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz’s “Thank You For Your Support” reception at Finnigan’s Wake, 3rd & Spring Garden Sts., 6:30 p.m. Feb. 2Realtors for Alan Kurtz for Sheriff fundraiser at Sampan, 124 S. 13th St., 5-7 p.m. Write checks to Friends of Alan Kurtz, 220 S. 16th St., Suite 201, Phila., PA 19102. Feb. 23rd Dist. Appreciation Night sponsored by Friends of Jannie Blackwell at 1st Dist. Plaza, 3801 Market St., 69 p.m. Free for committeepersons and ward leaders of 3rd Council Dist. 31 JANUARY, 2011
seat, the first candidate to do so in the race to replace Council President Anna Verna in front of 120 family, friends and community and civic leaders at The Church of the Redeemer in South Philadelphia. “We need a City Councilperson who can come to the table and focus on the critical issues facing our city and advocate for those who cannot speak up for themselves,” Roberts said. “This City Council race is going to come down to voters selecting the candidate they believe can best make their hopes, dreams and lives better and the city of Philadelphia a better city. I believe I am that person.” Roberts started campaigning for the seat in late 2010 and has been speaking to citizens, community and civic leaders for months to find out what voters would like to see improved in the District. The campaign has received a very positive response.
Controller Reports Revenue Up, Overtime Down City Controller Alan Butkovitz today released his monthly economic report that shows the City’s overtime costs are down 5%, but the Fire Dept.’s overtime costs are $1.6 million more compared to this same period one year ago.
year. As a means to reduce the Fire Dept.’s overtime costs and save $3.8 million this year, Mayor Michael Nutter implemented a “brownout” measure to temporarily close certain fire stations on a rotating schedule. If the second half of the fiscal year mirrors the first half’s costs, overtime payments could reach $3.2 million above last year’s mark. Overall citywide overtime payments for the first half FY11 totaled $59.8 million, compared to $62.6 million in the first half of FY10. Some of the departments with significant decreases include the Office of Supportive Housing, Public Property, Sheriff’s Office, Streets Dept. and Police Dept. Along with a look at overtime costs, the Controller’s monthly economic report also highlights the City’s monthly tax revenues. The Wage/Earning/NPT tax collections for the month totaled $143.4 million, which is a 30% increase from December of last year. It is the highest monthly collection for this revenue stream since January 2008.
Halfway through the current FY2011 the Fire Dept.’s overtime payments totaled $10.5 million, compared to $8.9 million in the first half of FY2010. The Department’s overtime expenses for every month this year have exceeded costs from the same month in the prior
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