Vol. II No. 42 (202)
Keeping You Posted With The Politics Of Philadelphia
April 12, 2011
Philadelphia Daily Record
Racing To Catch The Money Train
SEN. BOB CASEY is giving a boost to Pennsylvaniaâ€™s efforts to grab $248 million in federal high-speed train money which was dropped by Florida. Weâ€™d use this money to speed up the Keystone Corridor line to Harrisburg. Story page 2.
Casey Urges Support for Keystone Corridor High Speed Rail Project US Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) sent a letter to US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood yesterday urging him to approve approximately $248 million in funds sought by PennDOT to increase the maximum speed on the Keystone Corridor to 125 miles per hour. This will create jobs, spur economic growth and reduce travel time between Harrisburg and Philadelphia by 20 minutes. “Investing in the corridor is crucial to expanding our nation’s high-speed network and creating more sustainable forms of transportation,” wrote the Senator. “This investment would also spur job creation and promote economic growth. Previous efforts to upgrade this line have played a vital role in encouraging economic growth along the corridor.” In his letter, Casey highlighted estimates that this project would create 4,500 full-time equivalent jobs
over its duration, helping the economic recovery move forward in Pennsylvania. “If funding is awarded, PennDOT will make improvements to five key intercity interlocking and three station projects that will improve operating speed, decrease travel time, increase ridership and improve the state of good repair condition on the corridor,” Casey wrote. Since 2006, ridership on the Keystone Corridor has increased 45%. If this project is awarded funding, it is estimated ridership will increase by an additional 30% within three years of implementation. The funding PennDOT is seeking is available due to Florida’s declining a previously awarded grant for high-speed rail development.
House Passes Lawsuit Reform Measure To Bag ‘Joint And Several’ The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a measure yesterday aimed at keeping employers and jobs in Pennsylvania, saving tax dollars and helping hospitals remain open, said Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny). HB 1, “The Fair Share Act”, passed by a vote of 112-88. It would eliminate the ability of injured parties to collect the full cost of their damages from a defendant with deep pockets, if that defendant was less than fully responsible. “This simple, reasonable and responsible lawsuit-abuse reform will help put an end to deep pocket 2|
frivolous lawsuits and is a necessity if we want to improve Pennsylvania’s economic and health care climate,” Turzai said. “The current system is susceptible to abuse by plaintiff lawyers seeking co-defendants with deep pockets such as large employers, hospitals or state and local governments.” Business advocates such as the Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Society were quick to hail passage of the bill. Harry Schmaltz, MD, POS’s president, commented, “This critical reform will help doctors in their roles as health-care practitioners and as business people.” The Fair Share Act eliminates joint THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD
liability for defendants in civil cases found to be less than 60% liable and implements a system of comparative responsibility in which a defendant is responsible for paying only his fair share of the damages. That means if a party is responsible for 10% of the fault, that party would be accountable for paying only 10% of the total award. Under current law, the doctrine of joint and several liability establishes that a defendant in a multi-defendant civil case may be required to pay damages associated with the actions of its co-defendants. Each year, according to the Acting 12 APRIL, 2011
Attorney General, the Commonwealth is sued several hundred times; currently, more than 1,300 tort cases are pending against the State. The majority of these cases involve the Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation, where an uninsured, or under-insured, driver caused death or bodily injury. The plaintiffs are just looking for someone to pay, regardless of fault. The current system of joint and several liability has a direct impact on Pennsylvania taxpayers who are left paying the share of others who are at fault.
The Fair Share Act uses the same compromise language as Act 57 of 2002 which was signed into law by Gov. Mark Schweiker. It was challenged in court by House Democrat leaders on procedural, not substantive, grounds. They wanted to stop it – and succeeded. The Fair Share Act was again passed in 2006, but it was vetoed by Gov. Ed Rendell, though he had previously promised support. Pennsylvania is one of only nine states to have not modified or abolished the system of joint liability.
Keller Rallies With Unions To Protect Worker Rights State Rep. Bill Keller (D-S. Phila.) rallied with hundreds of union workers at the State Capitol yesterday against legislation that would weaken collective bargaining and threaten the rights of all workers across the state. Participants rallied to debunk “Right to Work” legislation authored by State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler). Keller said the legislation that would end mandatory union membership and dues for workers in union shops is an attempt to bust unions that fight for fair wages and safe working conditions for Pennsylvania workers across the state. “Unions are the conscience of America,” Keller said. “Unions built the middle class and the American economy as they fought for fair wages, safe working
conditions, sick days, vacation time to spend with family and affordable health care. “Today, and with Gov. Tom Corbett at the helm, the rights of Pennsylvania workers are systematically being challenged with uninformed rhetoric from those who care more for corporate profits and corporate donors than the workers who keep America moving,” he said. Keller is Democratic chairman of the House Labor & Industry Committee, the panel charged with reviewing the Republican-sponsored anti-worker bills (HBs 50-53). He also is a sponsor of a House resolution (HR 134) that would recognize the rights of union workers to organize and would call for an end to the new war on workers.
Tartaglione Praises Committee Approval Of Firefighter Cancer Bill The State Senate Appropriations Committee approved a measure that will ensure firefighters they and their families will be protected financially if they contract cancer on the job, State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione announced. “We’ve made terrific progress in recognizing the risk for firefighters and acknowledging the responsibilities of their communities,” Tartaglione said. “I’m gratified we 12 APRIL, 2011
were able to bring everyone together to get this far.” Last year, Tartaglione ushered HB 1231 through the Senate but it was vetoed by Gov. Ed Rendell after municipalities expressed concerns about the cost. A new bill, SB 654, passed the Appropriations Committee yesterday with some minor changes to accommodate local concerns. It cleared the Senate Labor & IndusTHE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD
try Committee last week. The bill specifically adds cancer to the Workers’ Compensation Act as a work-related illness if no other obvious cause for the disease is present and amends the law to include cancer suffered by firefighters and caused a group of known carcinogens recognized by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The measure covers professional |
The Philadelphia Public Record Calendar
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Apr. 12S. Phila. Business Ass’n hosts candidates at Waterfall Rm., 2015 Water St., 6:30-9:30 p.m. Open bar, buffet. Ticket $35. For reservations Reggie Lozzi (215) 3361108. Apr. 13Grand opening of new 180th Dist. Office of State Rep. Angel Cruz, 3501 B St. in Mall. Apr. 13St. Patrick’s Day Parade Awards Ceremony at Finnigan’s Wake, 3rd & Spring Garden Sts., 6-9 p.m. Tickets $25. For info Mike Callahan (215) 983-7224. Apr. 13World Trade Ass’n of Phila. fundraiser for Autism Speaks, honoring 2011 Company of Year, at Cescaphé Ballroom, 923 N. 2nd St., Reception 6 p.m., dinner 7 p.m. Ticket $100. Call Deborah Ingravallo for information at 1 (856) 642-3957. Apr. 14Fundraiser for Derrick Coker, candidate for MC Judge, at Café Santa Domingo, 3547 N. 5th St., 5:30-8:30 p.m. For info call Iliana Renoso, 215-740-5273. Apr. 14Fundraiser for Jeff Hornstein, candidate for 1st Council Dist., at AFSCME/Dist. 1199C Hall, 1319 Locust St. Hosted by Marty Tuzman, DC 47’s Cathy Scott and Rita Urwitz, and Wayne MacManiman, Jr., SEIU Local 32BJ. RSVP Dave O’Hara (257) 6031480 or Dave@jeffhornstein.org. Apr. 14Fundraiser for 2nd Council Dist. candidate Barbara Capozzi at Chickie’s & Pete’s, 15th & Packer. For info (267) 888-6045. THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD
Apr. 15Happy Hour for judicial candidate Harry Levant at Ladder 15, 5:308 p.m., 1528 Sansom St. Apr. 15Latino community honors Iris Violeta Colon Torres at Isla Verde Cafe, 2727 N. American St., 6 p.m. Free admission and buffet. Drinks half price. She is poet, news reporter among other accomplishments. Apr. 15Temple Law Class of ’95 Fundraiser for Joe Grace at Dark Horse Pub, 421 S. 2nd St., 6-8 p.m. For info firstname.lastname@example.org. Apr. 15Wine & Cheese reception for judicial candidate Nycole Watson, at Soft Illusions Fine Art Gallery, 4203 Main St., 7-10 p.m. Tickets $25 at door. For info Info@email@example.com. Apr. 15Beef & Beer for Marty Bednarek, 6th Dist. Democrat Council candidate, 8 p.m. to midnight at St. Dominic’s Marion Hall, 8504 Frankford Ave., 8 p.m.-12 a.m. Tickets $25. Live music by “Formerly Known As”. Apr. 16Ducky Birts Foundation’s Medallion Scholarship Banquet, 1st Dist. Plaza, 3801 Market St., 6 p.m., sponsored by Brown’s ShopRite. For info (215) 242-1220. Apr. 16Women Organized Against Rape hosts Community Walk & Speak Out rally at 16th & JFK Blvd., registration 11 a.m. Ends at Visitors Center, 6th & Market Sts. For info Carrie (215) 985-3315, ext. 169. 12 APRIL, 2011
and volunteer firefighters in Pennsylvania that have been on the job for more than four years and have been exposed to known carcino-
gens. There are provisions in the bill that allow the presumption of job-related cancer to be rebutted by evidence of cancer-causing ac-
tivity – such as smoking – during a firefighter’s non-duty hours.
Bill Would Regulate Abortion Clinics Like Other Surgical Centers The Pennsylvania Family Council applauded the House Health Committee passage of legislation (HB 574) that would require the state’s abortion clinics to be regulated like every other ambulatory surgical facility. “For nearly two decades, Pennsylvania’s abortion centers have been hiding behind a veil of politically motivated secrecy,” said Michael Geer, president of PFC. “No inspections, virtually no followup on malpractice and injury allegations against abortionists, and lax rules and regulations that left women endangered. “HB 574 provides critically important health and safety protections for the women of Pennsylvania, regulations that many women take for granted when
they undergo serious medical procedures.” The bill passed the committee by an 18-4 vote. The bill was drafted and passed in response to the “house of horrors” case of abortionist Kermit Gosnell and his staff, who were charged with the killing of newborns, at least one woman, and other unconscionable practices amid horrendous conditions while operating a State-approved abortion clinic in Philadelphia. Details of this wrongdoing are in a Philadelphia Grand Jury report, which states, “There is no justification for denying abortion patients the protections available to every other patient of an ambulatory surgical facility, and no reason to exempt abortion clinics from meeting those standards.”
Capozzi Works Oregon Ave. BARBARA CAPOZZI, right, rallied her supporters at La Stanza in Girard Estates last night as she pressed her campaign to replace Anna Verna in the 2nd Council Dist. Capozzi told them she was elated Democratic City Committee had refrained from endorsing a candidate and freed committeepersons to choose their own candidate. Capozzi is joined her by, from left, Joe Russo, judicial candidate Diana Anhalt and 39A Ward Leader Roseanne Pauciello. 12 APRIL, 2011
THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD
Durham Logs Thousands Of Visits In The 8th William Durham, one of eight candidates to replace Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller in the 8th Council Dist., has updated us on his campaign.
consecutive day doing door-to-door visits. Don’t be surprised to see me knocking on your front door soon!”
“As of Apr. 11, I have visited 2,358 homes in the 8th Council Dist.,” Durham says. “Today makes my 35th
Durham is also on G-town Radio, a low-watt local station in the Northwest.
Cohen Takes Progressive Endorsements In At-Large Race Today Sherrie Cohen, an attorney and social activist running for a Democratic at-Large City Council seat, announced she had received the endorsements of three leading progressive groups: Neighborhood Networks, Philly for Change and The Southeastern PA chapter of Americans for Democratic Action. Neighborhood Networks, a group working to advance social equality, economic justice and resource stewardship, formed after the 2004 Move On Campaign and has chapters and members citywide. In making its endorsement, the group stated that Cohen seeks “to change
the institutions through which power is exercised,” and approvingly quoted Cohen’s goal as creating “a more participatory democracy that is empowering and inclusive, where human needs and human rights are our government’s top priority.” Philly for Change is a group of progressive Democrats fighting for social and economic justice, environmental sustainability and a green economy. They are a local chapter of Democracy for America. Americans for Democratic Action have been fighting for progressive
causes since the 1940s. They have been on the forefront of the battles for civil rights, women’s rights and against the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. “I am very excited to have received the endorsements of these groups whose values I share. I have fought alongside many of their members on issues affecting the quality of life for all Philadelphians.” Cohen said. “As a City Council member, I will continue to work with these groups for economic and social justice, a green economy and to make Philadelphia a model for social change.”
GOP Heavyweights Plump For Duda SHOWING their support for Commissioner Joe Duda at Quartet Club fundraiser in his honor last night were, from left, Bill Ivers, Duda, former State Sen. and State GOP Chairman Earl Baker, Michael Meehan, John Perzel, Joe Ashdale and Joe Barrett. 6|
THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD
12 APRIL, 2011
Arden’s Wanamaker May Or May Not Be Worth Pursuing by Adam Taxin The Arden Theatre’s contribution to the 2011 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, Wanamaker’s Pursuit, simply did not do all that much for me while I was in the audience or during any sort of lingering thoughts in subsequent days. Cuban émigré Rogelio Martinez’s play, which will be on the Arden’s Arcadia stage through Sunday, May 22, is a fictional work about the attempt of imaginary department-store scion Nathan Wanamaker to discover who he really is. This attempt occurs during Wanamaker’s extended semi-business-related trip to Paris in 1911, following a personal tragedy. The various scenes include appearances by Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso characters. It may have been the point of Jürgen Hooper’s portrayal of Wanamaker, but I just didn’t care too much about what happened to the rather flat and uninteresting main character. I simply did not buy into any sort of romantic chemistry between Hooper’s Wanamaker and his off-limits romantic interest, Geneviève Perrier’s Denise Poiret. (I grant the seeming lack of chemistry may well have been purposeful, as if to suggest that the characters were not so much in love as attempting escapes from their lives.) On the brighter side, Shawn Fagan provides several laughs as five different characters, including an arrogant (perhaps historically accurately so) Pablo Picasso. Catharine K. Slusar’s Stein was periodically amusing as a so-wise-that-everyone-must-drop-whatthey’re-doing-every-time-she-speaks, lesbian-writer version of a Rodgers and Hammerstein mother-hen character (à la Aunt Eller in Oklahoma!, Nettie Fowler in Carousel and the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music). The several fencing scenes were eye-catching. Some in the audience clearly enjoyed the production much more than I did. Lindsay Goodman connected to the way the play provided a sense of “being around a whole lot of people yet feeling all alone. It’s an 12 APRIL, 2011
Geneviève Perrier and Jürgen Hooper enact a dubious trans-Atlantic romance in Wanamaker’s Pursuit. emotional struggle, but you just can’t articulate it.” Goodman was particularly enthusiastic about Hooper’s performance: “His facial expressions showed a lot of raw emotion, and he came off, appropriately, like a boy in a man’s suit.” Goodman also appreciated the sense of isolation and unfulfilled needs Perrier’s Poiret conveyed: “Her husband [Paul Poiret, played by Wilbur Edwin Henry] treated her like an object. She basically served a role in his business. During their marriage, he treated her as a means to an end. They didn’t really have a level of communication for him to know that she was suffering because of that. She had to be a lot of things to a lot of different people. The actress did a good job of changing her demeanor with each person with whom she interacted.”
THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD
SHERRI XANTHOPOULOS RUSSO will be representing Collegeville, Pa. in pageant.