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Vol. II No. 19 (179)

Keeping You Posted With The Politics Of Philadelphia

March 10, 2011

Philadelphia Daily Record

Budget Fallout

LEFT FOR DEAD in Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget, delivered to General Assembly on Tuesday, was Penna.’s adultBasic program of affordable health coverage for low- and moderate-income families. Outcries are now being heard in Phila. and across state. See story page 2.


Ending Of adultBasic Will Bring Great Hardships To Working Poor State Sen. LeAnna Washington (D-Northwest) recently expressed her disappointment at the ending of Pennsylvania’s adultBasic program:

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“I am greatly disappointed a greater effort was not made to save such a vital program,” Washington said in a statement. “The tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians who depended on this program will now have to make some very difficult decisions.” Washington said the adultBasic program, which served approximately 40,000 individuals and had a waiting list of at least 505,624, offered premiums of an affordable $36 a month. Washington added Gov. Tom Corbett called for getting rid of the adultBasic program and rolling recipients into the Blues’ Special Care program. However, the premiums for that program are more than double the cost of AdultBasic. “This is not a sound solution for the working poor and their families,” Washington said. “These individuals are already dealing with the burdens of the economic downturn, how can they be asked to pay so much for health coverage?” Washington added there were better options on the table that could have saved adultBasic, including a proposal by State Sen. Mike Stack (DNortheast) that would have used excessive legislative-leadership accounts to fund adultBasic until a long-term solution is found. “This option could have saved the adultBasic program without needlessly burdening the State’s already strained coffers,” Washington said. “Why was this option not considered?” Washington added until federal health-care reforms are put into place in three years, adultBasic subscribers will be bereft of adequate health care. “It is appalling that 40,000 Pennsylvanians will have no health care and no real effort was made to save them,” Washington said. “It is time we do what what’s right for our most-vulnerable citizens and find a way to extend adultBasic. This program cannot be allowed to simply fall by the wayside.”

For more information, call William Hanna

267-808-0287 2|

Washington vowed to work to find options to reinstate the program. THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD

9 MARCH, 2011


Casey: White House Has Tools To Lower Gas Prices US Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, yesterday urged the White House to use all tools at its disposal, including the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to lower gas prices for Pennsylvania families and businesses as the price of oil has increased due to the unrest in the Middle East. “The crisis in the Middle East has caused oil and gas prices to spike

in recent days. Increased fuel costs are causing a greater burden on families and businesses already struggling during a fragile economic recovery,” wrote the Senator in a letter to President Obama. “America must secure its energy independence while strengthening the domestic market for clean-energy technologies.” In addition to pressing for the release of oil from the SPR, Casey called on President Obama to take

action to limit the impact of speculators on the price of oil and to use profits acquired through the sale of SPR oil to invest in our clean-energy future. A greater investment in domestically-produced clean energy and energy-efficient technology will work to protect the environment, safeguard the health of our families and reduce our nation's unsustainable dependence on foreign oil, Casey wrote.

Toomey Hails Obama For Trying Suspects At Guantánamo US Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) issued the following statement this week regarding President Obama’s executive order regarding Guantánamo Bay, Cuba: “I am pleased President Obama has decided to resume trying detainees in military commissions at Guantánamo. I now look forward to hearing the President announce murderous enemy combatants, such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, will go before military commissions instead of American civilian courts. Pennsylvanians do not want terrorists such as Mohammed being tried in their communities, and our citizens must be kept safe from the security threats that would arise from such high-profile trials,” Toomey said.

Lawmakers Plead To Open Statute Of Limitations On Child Sex Abuse State Reps. Louise Williams Bishop (D-W. Phila.) and Mike McGeehan (D-Northeast) have called on the House Judiciary Committee to convene a public hearing and vote on their two bills to abolish the statute of limitations in child sexual-abuse cases and to suspend the statute of limitations for adult victims of childhood sex abuse. Their letter to Republican Chairman Ronald Marsico (R-Dauphin) 9 MARCH, 2011

and Democratic Chairman Tom Caltagirone (D-Berks) follows Tuesday’s announcement by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia 21 priests have been placed on administrative leave after they were named in a grand-jury report on incidents of child abuse within the diocese.

cused priests from public circulation, it is all the more apparent laws must be enacted to allow justice to be served,” the two said in their letter. “Only through discovery can records and files on the accused be subpoenaed and alleged enablers of childhood sexual abuse be deposed.”

“While we applaud the Archdiocese for taking action called upon by the grand-jury recommendations by removing credibly ac-

Bishop’s bill (HB 832) would abolish the statute of limitations on both criminal and civil lawsuits for child sexual abuse going forward.

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McGeehan’s bill (HB 878) would open a two-year window for adult victims of childhood abuse to access the civil-justice system. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove. Mar. 10St. Patrick’s Day Parade Luncheon & Sashing of Grand Marshal at Doubletree Hotel, Broad & Locust Sts., 12 m. Tickets $50. RSVP Kathy McGee Burns (215) 872-1305. Mar. 10Cocktail Party for Traffic Ct. candidate Fred Mari at American Pub, 1500 Market St., in Center Sq. Bldg., 5-7:30 p.m. Donation $50. For info Mark (215) 9909352. Mar. 10Fundraiser for Controller Alan Butkovitz at Vesper Club, 226 S. Sydenham St., 5:30-7:30 p.m. Donation $500. For info (412) 721-9489. Mar. 10South Philadelphia Business Association annual Scholarship gala at Galdo’s catering, 20th & Moyamensing Ave., 6-10 p.m. Honoring DA Seth Williams, and Row Home magazine’s Dawn Rhoades and Dorette Rota Jackson. For info (215) 336-1108. Mar. 10State Sen. Anthony Williams hosts foreclosure-prevention workshop at Ezekiel Baptist Ch., 5701 Grays Ave., 6-8 p.m. Mar. 11Sen. Bob Casey, John Dougherty and others host St. Patrick’s Day Toast at Finnigan’s Wake, 4rd & Spring Garden Sts., 6 p.m. Contributions $35/person, $60/couple, $250/sponsor. RSVOP recommended. For info rsvp@bobcasey.com. 4|

“We want to emphasize although this latest action on the part of the

Archdiocese of Philadelphia provided the catalyst for our request, we recognize that the problem is not peculiar to the Catholic Church and by some estimates, cleric abuse accounts for but a small percentage of childhood sexual abuse,” they wrote.

Flood Watch: Rains Carry Significant Flooding Potential The Managing Director’s Office of Emergency Management is closely monitoring the possibility of flooding in the Philadelphia area this Thursday and Friday. According to the National Weather Service, two to four inches of rain is currently expected in the Philadelphia region with higher amounts possible. Light rain is expected to turn heavy this morning, lasting into Friday morning. The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for the entire Delaware Valley based on this forecast. This rainfall may cause flash flooding of low-lying areas, streams, creeks and moderate flooding on the Schuylkill River. A Coastal Flood Watch is also in effect for the Delaware River from 1:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. Friday morning. A nearly three-foot surge is forecast near the time of the high tide late Thursday night and early Friday, which would result in THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD

moderate flooding. Philadelphia has several flood prone areas, including but not limited to: Cobbs Creek and the marshlands in the Southwest sector of the City; portions of the Philadelphia Naval Base; Delaware River, which is usually first observed along Delaware Avenue by the Ben Franklin Bridge; in the Northeast where Linden Avenue meets the Delaware; Main Street, Manayunk; Kelly and Lincoln Drives; city brooks, creeks and streams such as the Pennypack, Poquessing, Cobbs, Tacony, Frankford, and Wissahickon Creeks. Flooding may involve numerous hazardous conditions, including moving water, washed-out roads, damage to utility systems, and damage to structures. Residents and businesses in lowlying areas with a history of flooding during storms should prepare immediately. Be prepared to evac9 MARCH, 2011


uate if needed, and if an evacuation order is given, leave as quickly as possible for your own safety. It is strongly recommended that Philadelphians living in flood prone areas make alternative arrangements to stay with family or friends whose homes are not prone to flooding for the course of this event and until the flooding threat subsides. If you are driving and encounter flood waters or standing water, do not attempt to drive your vehicle through the water. Try to find an alternate route or wait until the water recedes. The Office of Emergency Management recommends people sign up for ReadyNotifyPA, the region’s emergency text and email alert

system at www.phila.gov/ready; monitor National Weather Service forecasts at http://weather.gov/phi; know your area’s flood risk and consider getting flood insurance – to estimate your flood risk and flood insurance premium, visit www.floodsmart.gov. If your home is susceptible to basement flooding you should: If possible, seal any floor drains in your basement, as they are the lowest points of entry of sewer backup. Do not store anything of value in your basement. If you have time before the next heavy rainfall, relocate your valuables prior to flooding.

To prevent sewer blockages, never pour grease, paint or other thick liquids into sinks or drains. Avoid flushing items that are not suitable for sanitary sewer disposal, such as paper towels, diaper wipes, contraceptive and feminine products. Verify with your insurance company if you have flood and sewer backup coverage, especially if your basement is finished. This will usually require a separate rider to your policy. Never enter a flooded basement – the risk of electrocution is present. Wait for the water to subside.

Mayor Relaunches City Commision On Aging Mayor Michael A. Nutter relaunched the Mayor’s Commission on Aging and appointed new members who will advise the Mayor on policies and projects that affect older Philadelphians. Roughly 20% of the City’s population is over the age of 55, and the number is expected to rise. Established by City ordinance nearly 30 years ago, MOCA coordinates all municipal programs related to services for the aging, advises the Mayor on private or governmental services that are available to senior citizens, and supports the development of new programs meant to serve Philadel9 MARCH, 2011

phia’s senior community. “It is projected that by 2015, 27% of the City of Philadelphia’s population will be over the age of 55. Given those projections, we know programs designed to support our senior citizens will be seriously challenged to meet basic needs,” said the Mayor Nutter. “The newly appointed members of the Commission on Aging will help guide our work to ensure Philadelphia is a great place to live and play, no matter your age.” Members of the Commission are representatives of area senior centers, non-profits, businesses, minority enterprises, churches, THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD

healthcare institutions and civic and community organizations. All members serve at the pleasure of the Mayor and are be eligible for reappointment to successive terms. There is no compensation for their service. The Members are: Rose Gray, VP of Community and Economic Development for the Association Puertorriquenos en March Bill Salas, CEO of the Hispanic Association of Contractors and Entrepreneurs Nancy Henkin, Executive Director of the Temple Center for Intergenerational Studies |

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Lynn Fields Harris, Executive Director of Center in the Park Mark Segal, Publisher of Philadelphia Gay News Ginger Zielinske, Executive Director of Benefits Trust Angela M. Brown, Director of Marketing and Public Affairs for NewCourtland Tania Rorke, Executive Director of Penn’s Village Thoai Nguyen, Executive Director of Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition

Simon P. Bouie, Pastor for Zion A.M.E. Church Karen Buck, Executive Director of SeniorLaw Center Rodney Williams, President of the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging Nora Dowd Eisenhower, Principal of One Point, Public and Private Solutions, LLC Diane Menio, Executive Director of the Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly Bill Ryan, Senior Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs for Albert Einstein Healthcare Network

Top Progressive, Babette Josephs Endorses Jeff Hornstein State Rep. Babette Josephs (D-S. Phila.), one of Pennsylvania’s most-respected leaders for progressive causes, including women’s rights, LGBT rights, consumer rights, seniors’ issues and environmental protection today endorsed Jeff Hornstein for City Council in the 1st Dist.

South Philadelphia, since 1985.

“I am honored and humbled to have earned the endorsement of Rep. Josephs, whom I consider a hero, a role model, and a friend,” said Hornstein, who noted Josephs has long represented the conscience of Center City politics for many himself and many voters. Josephs has served the 182nd Dist., which includes parts of Center City, Society Hill, Bella Vista and Hawthorne as well as parts of

Josephs’ is Hornstein’s second large endorsement from a State Representative representing a sizable portion of the 1st Councilmanic Dist. Earlier, popular State Rep. Mike O’Brien (D-Kensington), Democratic Vice Chairman of Appropriations, also endorsed Hornstein.

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Organizations which have bestowed awards on Josephs include Philadelphia NOW, NARAL, Philadelphia Gay News, ActionAids, ACLU, PennEnvironment, the Clean Air Council and CasinoFree Philadelphia.

Following the incumbent Frank DiCicco’s announcement he would not seek reelection, 2nd Ward

THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD

Leader Ed Nesmith, 5th Ward Leader Mike Boyle, 31st Ward Leader Margaret Rzepski and 45th Ward Leader Harry Enggasser all pledged Hornstein their coveted support for the May 17 Democratic primary. Ward-leader support is especially prized in municipal elections without a Mayor’s race, when turnout is considered a challenge. Hornstein is the former organizing director of SEIU Local 32BJ. A graduate of MIT, Penn, and the University of Maryland, he is the author of “A Nation of Realtors,” on the 20th-century American middle class. He lives in Queen Village, where he has served on the zoning committee of Queen Village Neighbors.

9 MARCH, 2011


South Philly’s Rocco Amato Featured In Men of Mah Jongg At Society Hill Playhouse

FOUR OLD-TIMERS play a classic Jewish women’s game – for laughs. From left are Ted Ford, Arnold Kendall, Seymour Kover and Rocco Amato. by Adam Taxin dies, Jerry, a furrier who enjoys singing but is losing his hearing, is Elderly Jews are not underrepreplayed by Rocco Amato, a native sented in the Philadelphia theater of South Philadelphia. scene, at least as far as audiences are concerned. In a change of pace, Amato clearly enjoys describing however, a play which opened Tues- his “skirt-chaser” (single) characday on the Main Stage of the Sociter, who is eager to bring his friend ety Hill Playhouse (507 S. 8th “back to the human race.” His Street) and which runs through Sun- character “wants to be a singer. He day, Apr. 17, features senior citizens has a prolific mind and writes a lot of Hebraic descent actually as char- of songs. And he’s dating this acters on stage. young Asian woman who’s supposed to be a hooker. He’s supIn Men of Mah Jongg, Sidney, a posed to be in his 70s, and she’s in widower so devastated by the her mid-20s.” passing of his wife of four decades that he has not left his apartment in Amato gained something of an aptwo years, convinces his longpreciation of the game of mah standing friends, after he receives jongg, which the actors learned “a sign,” to make a tribute to his how to play and actually do play wife by substituting mah jongg for on stage. “You have to understand poker for their weekly game. The mah jongg is a women’s game. friends go along as a means of Men don’t play mah jongg. Jewish helping Sid readjust to life. women play mah jongg. They have tremendous clubs, and they’re very In this comedy with dramatic passionate about it. They won’t parts, one of the four poker bud9 MARCH, 2011

THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD

even let men play with them. But ‘Sidney’ feels this is a message from his wife, that they should get together and learn to play mah jongg. They’ll do anything to get him out of his doldrums, so they become mah jongg players.” On one level, the veteran actor notes that audiences will appreciate the fact the play is “very funny,” with “some slapstick.” At the same time, on a less comedic level, he notes, “people will relate to the characterizations, especially older people. They should relate to the relationships between these four men and how much they actually care for each other and how long they’ve been friends.” The playwright is Richard Atkins, who has been involved in entertainment in various capacities, including as a cabaret accompanist pianist (whose credits include the Bat Mitzvah party of the daughter of Howard Stern), Off-Broadway actor and writer of 20 plays. The play’s dramaturge is Mark Medoff, whose writing work has resulted in a Tony Award for Children of a Lesser God. Besides Amato, the veteran actors playing the old friends are Greater Philadelphians Ted Ford of Downingtown, Arnold Kendall of Havertown and Seymour Kover of Mt. Laurel, N.J. Adam Taxin is an attorney based in Center City. He can best be reached via Facebook or at adamtaxin@gmail.com. |

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