Vol. III No. 44 (412)
Keeping You Posted With The Politics Of Philadelphia
March 8, 2012
Philadelphia Daily Record
Public Servant Of The Year REGISTER OF WILLS Ron Donatucci will receive Phila. Public Record’s “Public Servant of the Year” Award at Swan Caterers’ Waterfall Room in S. Phila. tonight.
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Mar. 8Hon. Ron Donatucci honored as Public Servant of Year at Waterfall Rm., Snyder Ave. & Water Sts. Ticket $50. Open bar, buffet. For info John David (215) 755-2000, (267) 2596654. Mar. 9US Sen. Bob Casey hosts 4th annual St. Patrick’s Toast at Finnigan’s Wake, 3rd & Spring Garden Sts., 5-7 p.m. Contribution: $35 for committeepersons and Young Democrats, $100 Friend and $250 Sponsor. RSVP Aliyah (484) 557-3758 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Mar. 9, 23, 30Earlymorning workout exercise sessions with State Sen. Vincent Hughes at Salvation Army, 4200 Wissahickon Ave., 5:30 to 6:30 a.m Call (215) 879-7777. Mar. 10NIA-PAC’s Carnevale, 6 p.m. Union League. Vincent Papale, Master of Ceremonies. Formal dinner and auction. Black tie preferred. Chair Hon. Amato Berardi. Individual seating $185. For de-
tails Judy Camiel (610) 668-1730. Mar. 10Green Night Out features Prof. Heather Thompson discussing “Why Mass Incarceration Matters” at Singapore Restaurant, 1006 Race St., 7 p.m. Kosher Chinese food. Attendance $25. Open to public. RSVP (space is limited) (215) 243-7103 or email@example.com. Mar. 12Cocktail Event for State Rep. Tina Davis at Zia’s at Red Door, 110 N. 2nd St., Harrisburg, Pa. Tickets $50, $100, $500 and $1,000. For info Seth Skversky (215) 550-1186. Mar. 13Friends of Damon Roberts hosts fundraiser at S. Philly Tap Room, 1509 Mifflin St., 6-8 pm. Mar. 13S. Phila. Business Ass’n March dinner at Galdo’s catering, 20th & Penrose Ave., 6:30 p.m. Mar. 15Commissioner Al Schmidt hosts fundraiser at Tír na nÓg, 1600 Arch St. Donations $100.
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Philly For Change Hosts Candidates’ Night
PROGRESSIVE network Philly for Change packed Pen & Pencil Club in Center City last night as a dozen primary candidates turned out to introduce themselves to like-minded activists. Scarcely four years, PfC Chair David Sternberg, Congressman Bob Brady’s aide Ducky Birts, State Rep. Mark Cohen, PfC Political Director Sam Durso
LIVELY crowd at PfC meeting included a cross-section of activists such as, from left, challenger in 195th State House Dist. Takkeem Morgan, S. Phila. civic leader Fred Druding, Jr., Democratic 27th Ward Leader Carol Jenkins, community organizer and former Council candidate Andy Toy, and challenger in 202nd State House Dist. Numa St. Louis. • PHILADELPHIADAILYRECORD.COM
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Williams: Dems Will Sue Over Voter ID Law State Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D-W. Phila.) issued the following statement after passage of a voter ID bill in the Senate. The vote on HB 934 was 26-23 in favor.
minorities, seniors and collegeage voters that their voices don’t count. The Senate Democratic Caucus will be filing an Equal Protection lawsuit in response to this bill.
“Today’s passage of a voter-ID bill sent a clear message to Pennsylvania’s low-income citizens,
“It took 100 years following ratification of the 15th Amendment
in 1870 for all citizens to gain the right to vote and 40 years later, in a matter of hours, the Senate dismantled the guarantees of the US Constitution. This is not what America is about and certainly not what Pennsylvania should be about.
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THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD “I come from a proud lineage of parents and grandparents who understood what gaining the right to vote meant for women and minorities who were historically denied that right – and died trying to gain that right.
“The Senate has artificially denied eligible people the franchise based on perceived voter fraud, but no one in the General Assembly could identify the source of the alleged fraud. It’s because it does not exist.
“For all those who would wrap themselves in the flag and advocate that government should not intrude in our lives, I call them hypocrites if they voted for this bill today. This is a charade for those who claim that this bill would protect voters. If we are truly equals, we all should count.
“At a time when the state claims it can’t adequately fund education for our children, we are now going to spend millions of dollars with no return on investment.
sion, right before a presidential election. It is far from sound policymaking or governance. It is a distraction from our real priorities – fighting for jobs and fairer taxation and an adequately funded education system that will enable our students to compete in a global marketplace. These are things Pennsylvania citizens care about and we have an obligation to be the more conscientious and responsible fiscal stewards of the Commonwealth that the people elected us to be.”
“This bill is nothing more than a mechanism for voter suppres-
PA GOP Chairman: Voter ID ‘Right For All’ Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason released the following statement applauding the Pennsylvania Senate for passing voter-identification legislation. “The Pennsylvania Senate took an important step to promote the integrity of our electoral process by passing critical voter-ID legislation. The bottom line is that voter ID is a commonsense reform that strengthens a fundamental pillar of our democracy by ensuring that every single vote that is legally cast, legally counts,” the Chairman said.
“Showing identification has become a part of our daily lives. We show ID to prove that we are who we say we are when we drive a car, board plane, cash a check, purchase medicine, buy a gun or go hunting for our protection. Isn’t the integrity of our elections worth protecting too? “Protecting our electoral process should be a team sport, but I’m shocked Democrats continue their attempts at blocking a clear way to give each Pennsylvanian and equal say electing our representatives. Protecting each and
every Pennsylvanian’s right to have his or her vote counted once and ensuring that valid votes aren’t canceled out by fraudulent votes, is a protection for all voters. Opponents of this legislation would leave the door open to fraud and abuse in elections from President of the United States to local office.” Gleason continued, “With the passage of HB 934, we are another step closer to protecting the fundamental right to vote for all citizens.”
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Casey Bill Would Crack Down On OPEC US Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) pushed Congress yesterday to pass legislation to close a loophole that prevents the Dept. of Justice from bringing suit against OPEC for price-fixing, a major cause of rising gas prices in Pennsylvania. The No Oil Producing & Exporting Cartels Act would help prevent hikes in gas prices by ensuring gas prices are determined by the free market, not by countries conspiring to raise prices. “The United States cannot sit
idly by while other nations conspire to raise the price of our gas,” said the Senator. “This bill will give us essential tools to crack down on price-fixing, and I will continue to fight for every possible strategy to keep gas prices in check.” Casey has been fighting for strategies to bring gas prices down. Last week, he sent a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission demanding an end to bureaucratic delays that are preventing a crackdown on
speculation in the oil markets. He has also been fighting against closures of refineries in Southeastern Pennsylvania that will likely lead to price hikes in the Northeastern US. Senator Casey highlighted the increase of gas prices over the same time last year in every region of Pennsylvania as a call to action. Average gas prices per gallon in Philadelphia, he noted, are $3.772 today, versus $3.517 a year ago – a 7.25% increase.
Toomey Meets Army Corps Head For River Briefing
SEN. PAT TOOMEY Sen. Toomey with Lt. Col. Flip Secrist 6|
THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD US Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) met this week with Army Corps Philadelphia District Commander Lt. Col. Flip Secrist and received a briefing on the Philadelphia district projects, including the Delaware River deepening. “I was pleased to see the Philadelphia Army Corps district’s work plan for the upcoming year,” the Senator said. “I have been working with members on both sides of the aisle to make sure the Army Corps budget focuses its resources on infrastructure projects that promote economic growth. On its
merits, the Delaware River deepening project was able to secure funding because Congress and the administration are starting to refocus their priorities on these types of projects.” Toomey also filed an amendment in November, along with Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) to increase the prospects of securing federal funding for the Delaware River dredging project and other portdeepening projects. This project deepens the Delaware River Channel from 40 to 45 feet in order to accommo-
date larger vessels. This will reduce shipping costs, make maritime transportation more efficient and make the channel safer and more reliable. Once the channel is deepened, there will be an estimated increase of 2.5 million tons of cargo to the Port of Philadelphia, creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs. Ports along the East Coast will see increased traffic once the expansion of the Panama Canal is complete. Increasing funds for navigation projects will help to ensure that ports are able to grow and compete.
2 Williams Bills Help Philly Homeowners On Mar. 6, State Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D-W. Phila.) steered through the Senate two legislative initiatives to aid homeowners in Philadelphia. The measures passed by a 48-0 vote and head to the House Finance Committee. Williams authored SBs 1301 and 1302 to provide the City of Philadelphia with the tools it needs to transition to a propertyassessment system that more accurately reflects the value of the properties. Williams Homestead Exemption bill, SB 1301, authorizes the
City of Philadelphia to provide a property-tax exemption for lowincome citizens and seniors. Currently ours is the only jurisdiction in the Commonwealth without the authority to offer a homestead exemption. “Philadelphia needs flexibility as it seeks to update its property assessment process,” said Williams. “This legislation provides the city the room it needs to structure a system that will be effective, make sense and work for all city residents fairly, especially for our most-vulnerable citizens – those of low economic means and seniors.”
Philadelphia is in the process of reforming its property-assessment system by undertaking a full, citywide reassessment in which the true value of every city property will be determined. SB 1301 will protect low-income and senior homeowners from losing their homes by alleviating a portion of their assessments should their property-tax increase significantly under the full valuation system and render them unable to pay their property-tax bill. Act 50 of 1998 allows participating Pennsylvania school dis-
THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD tricts, counties and municipalities to offer property-tax reductions to its permanent residents. This homestead exclusion reduces the assessed values of single-family homes, condominiums, farms and other places of permanent residence, reducing the taxes on the property. The Senate also passed Williams’ SB 1302, which authorizes the City of
Philadelphia to create a new independent appellate board, the Philadelphia Board of Property Assessment Appeals. “I am pleased the City of Philadelphia can now move forward to ensure fair and accurate assessments and an independent appeals process for those who deem they have been unfairly assessed on their property taxes,” said Williams.
The new Appeals Board was passed overwhelmingly by referendum May 18, 2010. Under this bill, members of the new board would be appointed by the Mayor from a group of nominees identified by a nominating panel of industry and professional experts. Appointments would require confirmation by City Council and appointees could only be removed for cause.
Bishop Reviews Adoptions In Committee State Rep. Louise Williams Bishop (D-W. Phila.), Democratic chairwoman of the House Children & Youth Committee, held an informational hearing to review the state’s adoption laws and better protect children. The committee members discussed Bishop’s legislation (HB 594) that would provide added protection for children throughout the adoption process, in addition to creating a more stable and permanent residence. “I would like to see the adoption 8|
law revised to include adoption related counseling for birth parents, which would include the understanding of the process of parental rights,” Bishop said. The committee heard testimony from representatives from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia; attorney Sam Totaro, adoption lawyer; and Frank Cervone, Esq., executive director, Support Center for Child Advocates. Bishop said her legislation would terminate parental rights for anyone who commits serious
crimes against a child, a child’s siblings or another child living in the home. Crimes include bodily injury or indecent contact. The legislation would expedite the adoption process by setting time restraints for adoptive parents including the search for birth parents and the filing of a termination petition. Bishop welcomed the new Republican chairperson of the committee, State Rep. Kate Harper of Montgomery Co.
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Pa. Greens Elect New Steering Committee Last weekend, the Green Party of Pennsylvania elected a new Steering Committee for 2012. Carl Romanelli of Luzerne Co., the Green’s 2006 Senate candidate, was elected Party Chair, and Katrina Brabham of Allegheny Co. was reelected as Party Secretary. Other Green Party Steering Committee members include Hillary Kane and Charles Sherrouse of Philadelphia Co., Jay Sweeney of Wyoming Co. and Robert Piemme of Allegheny Co. Sweeney, a Township Auditor, and Piemme, an Inspector of Elections, are also elected officials in their home communities. There are seven Green
office holders in Pennsylvania. Vivek Ananthan of Philadelphia was reelected as Green Party Treasurer.
“The first order of business for our Steering Committee will be to kick off our petition drive to get our candidates on the ballot,” said Kane. “This is a critical next step toward regaining our ballot status as a political party in Pennsylvania,” she explained. Currently, three candidates are seeking the Green Party nomination for President: single-payer activist and physi-
cian Dr. Jill Stein, www.jillstein.org; air quality inspector Kent Mesplay, www.mesplay.org; and nationallyknown comedienne and actor Roseanne Barr, www.roseanneforpresident.com/. Green Party members will collect well over 20,000 signatures to get on the ballot in 2012. Democrats and Republicans needed only 2,000 signatures to get on their respective primary ballots. The Green Party of Pennsylvania stands for grassroots democracy, sustainable economics, nonviolence, and ecology.
Goode Intros A Call To Negotiate With Unions Councilman Wilson Goode, Jr. is introducing in City Council today a resolution calling on the Nutter Administration to negotiate a Fair Contract with AFSCME Municipal Workers Unions. It will be voted on next Thursday. It reads as follows: “WHEREAS, there is a need for the City of Philadelphia to recognize the significant fiscal support to the City made by the employees of the City represented by AFSCME municipal workers unions; and
“WHEREAS, AFSCME municipal workers unions worked closely with the Nutter Administration in the fall of 2009 to reassign 200 jobs and restructure the workforce to fill vacant previously funded positions in order to minimize job losses which resulted in savings to the City totaling $35 million; and “WHEREAS, AFSCME municipal workers unions, by not receiving wage increases over the last four years, have helped the City save $61 million; and
“WHEREAS, AFSCME municipal workers unions, not having received any increase contributions from the City to cover the costs for health benefits, have saved the City $84 million; and WHEREAS, AFSCME municipal workers unions played a significant role in helping the City to attain legislative approval from the Pennsylvania General Assembly to defer payment obligations to the Pension Plan until the year 2013 thereby allowing the City to conserve an additional $235 million; and
THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD “WHEREAS, The total fiscal support that AFSCME municipal workers unions have provided to the City over the last four years equals or exceeds $415 million; and “WHEREAS, The City would not have been able to balance the City Budget in any of the last four years without these significant fiscal contributions by AFSCME municipal workers; and
“WHEREAS, AFSCME municipal workers unions have remained willing and, in fact, engaged in ongoing negotiations to settle a Fair Contract with the City; now, therefore, be it “RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, That City Council calls upon the Nutter Administration to acknowledge the significant fiscal support provided by AFSCME municipal workers unions; and
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That City Councils calls upon the Nutter Administration to end the contract negotiations stalemate and demands for contract concessions and instead enter into negotiations with AFSCME municipal workers unions to reach a settlement for a Fair Contract that reflects the significant fiscal support that these two City employee unions have already rendered.”
DeLissio Funders Will Use Local Businesses State Rep. Pam DeLissio (DNorthwest) announced a new fundraising policy which will favor local businesses. “If small businesses are the backbone of this country, why aren’t we doing everything we can to support them? While I’m not against big business, I am in favor of ‘acting locally’,” she said. “To that end, I intend to hold fundraisers at businesses that are owned or operated locally and within my existing district or 10 |
within the anticipated redistricted 194th,” stated DeLissio. Her first campaign fundraiser will be at Coyle’s Café, 6080 Ridge Avenue on Wednesday, Mar. 21, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Owner Michael Coyle couldn’t be happier. Mike said, “It means a lot that Pam is having her first fundraiser here. She gets to meet and mingle with her constituents and we get old friends and new customers walking in the door. We both win.” Tickets are $15 each and include
a glass of wine or draft beer and a tempting array of Coyle’s famous French fries. Tickets can be purchased at the door. (ID will be required for alcoholic drinks.) “One of my commitments over the past 15 months has been to ‘drive business locally’ and this is a great way to continue that effort”, stated DeLissio. For more information or to RSVP please email Pam@ElectPam.com, or call (215) 808.9167.
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Penn Bike Guards Seek To Unionize Three bike and outside security officers employed by AlliedBarton spoke at the Occupy Penn rally on Mar. 1 in front of the Van Pelt Library and announced they have filed for a unionrecognition election. “We work outside regardless of the weather and have a more dangerous job than any other security guards on campus” said Colin Koch, a security officer for four years. “We need our employer to treat us with respect. That’s why we organized ourselves into a union,” stated Koch. Seventy-five out of 100 “Penn Walk” and “Penn Park” security
officers signed union recognition cards which were filed with the National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday. “We organized with the Philadelphia Security Officers Union because they had already helped University of Pennsylvania security officers win paid sick leave and wage increases back in 2008,” said Bryant Hall, a Penn Walk security officer of over four years. The independent Philadelphia Security Officers Union was founded after the local labor support group, Jobs with Justice, won a campaign to that raised wages for Penn guards from $9.50 to $15 in 2008.
The victory was unique because it used “non-union” strategies to raise wages. The victory spawned the Philadelphia Security Officers Union, which settled its first collective bargaining agreement in May 2011. “We were excited when the Penn Walk security officers told us that they wanted to join us again,” said Dynnita Bryant, union president and security officer at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The union election is expected to take place in early April.
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