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Archive: May, 2010

POSTED: Thursday, May 20, 2010, 9:28 AM

City Council meets today to give final approval to the budget.  Will it include the soda tax?  And how is that two-year 9.9 percent property tax increase playing in the neighborhoods?

Arlen Specter's change in political parties does not enable him to be reelected.  Here's why.

The battle for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor is both narrow and nasty.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 6:41 PM

The White House just released a statement from Vice President Joe Biden, calling U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter a good friend and U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak a great candidate to take on former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey in the Nov. 2 general election.  Sestak defeated Specter in yesterday's Democratic primary election by 8 points. 

Considerable ink was spilled over the issue of whether Biden and President Obama could have saved Specter with a last-minute campaign rally in Pennsylvania.  After luring him back to the Democratic Party in April 2009, Biden and Obama stayed away during the closing days of the campaign.  Specter repeatedly ran a television commercial with Obama praising the five-term senator while Biden did radio ads.

Here's Biden's statement:  "Arlen Specter is one of my closest friends. He has served Pennsylvania with determination, wisdom, and skill for many years. I was proud to play a role in his return to the Democratic Party; his votes to pass the Recovery Act and health insurance reform were courageous and critical to our success. I look forward to working with him during the rest of this year, and remaining in close contact with him after his term in Washington is finished.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 6:40 PM

Sources tell PhillyClout that Mayor Nutter plans to veto a recent Council bill that dictates that paramedics are firefighters, which would allow them to remain in the same bargaining unit.

The Nutter administration opposed the legislation, sponsored by Councilman Jim Kenney and unanimously passed by Council, arguing that because paramedics have different schedules and do different work from firefighters, they should be in a separate unit.

We called Kenney for comment, who said: “Although [Nutter’s] my friend and I like him very much, this will be his first override.”

POSTED: Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 2:34 PM

Former City Controller Jonathan Saidel, a candidate yesterday for lieutenant governor, was targeted by a robocall around the city Monday that linked him to the Ku Klux Klan.  The woman who made the recorded calls claimed she was supporting another candidate in the Democratic primary election, former Commonwealth Court Judge Doris Smith-Ribner.  Ribner tells us she had nothing to do with the call.

PhillyClout has obtained a partial recording of the call, in which the woman asks if "Saidel is running for controller or for grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan."

Here's the rest of the script:  "It is no secret that Saidel has not been a friend of our community. But now, he thinks he can buy off a few ward leaders and we will all vote for him. Not me. I am voting for one of us: Doris Smith-Ribner. Doris has fought racial stereotypes all her life, rising to be the first African American elected to the Commonwealth Court. Please join me in voting for Doris Smith-Ribner for lieutenant governor. This call paid for by Pat Wilson."

POSTED: Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 10:05 AM

It wouldn't be the day after election day without recriminations and disputes about what went down at the polls.  But we really didn't count on a dust-up between Al Jazeera and the Delaware County GOP.   Tom Ackerman, a reporter/producer for Al Jazeera English in Washington D.C. e-mailed this morning to say our blog post yesterday was "grossly misinformed."  The post quoted John McBlain of the Delco GOP saying an Al Jazeera crew seemed perturbed yesterday at the lack of signs for U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter's campaign at a polling place.  Another Delco official told our colleague, Bill Bender, that the crew improperly tried to enter a polling place.

Here's what Ackerman has to say about all that:

"The only "combative" aspect of the incident was the GOP representative's insistence that we were breaking the law by shooting routine voting scenes, none of which violated any law that he could recite, even after calling the County Solicitor. Anyway, we were not perturbed about the lack of Specter lawn signs (or for that matter, any Specter pollwatchers that we could find). We simply made a journalistic observation which may have proved telling."

POSTED: Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 9:56 AM

Will Bunch takes a look back at Sen. Arlen Specter's career.

John Baer looks ahead to the Toomey-Sestak matchup in the fall.

Democratic Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato and Republican state Attorney General Tom Corbett will face off in the governor's race.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 18, 2010, 10:54 PM

The battle for governor is now fixed. Democratic Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato will take on Republican state Attorney General Tom Corbett in the November general election.

Onorato won the four way Democratic race and Corbett easily beat his opponent. Check out the Associated Press report on the race here.

Corbett’s victory speech tonight was heavy on references to President Obama and Gov. Rendell. He said voters said are tired of too much government spending. “It’s enough of Washington, enough of Harrisburg, enough of tax and spending,” he said. “And yes, enough of Ed Rendell.”

POSTED: Tuesday, May 18, 2010, 10:44 PM

Tonight U. S. Rep. Joe Sestak, a former Navy admiral and unapologetic liberal, toppled Arlen Specter, the longest-serving U. S. senator in state history.

With 77 percent of the statewide vote counted, Sestak, 58, a two-term Congressman from Delaware County, held a solid 50,000-vote lead in his bid to end Specter’s 30-year run in the Senate. Specter carried Philadelphia, where he began his political career as district attorney in the 1960s, by some 45,000 votes, but he lost virtually every other county in the state.

Sestak’s opponent in November will be Republican Pat Toomey, 48, a former Congressman from the Lehigh Valley whose calls for lower taxes and reduced government regulation have made him a favorite of the conservative right.
Capturing better than three-quarters of the Republican vote, Toomey handily defeated Peg Luksik, a Johnstown homemaker who supported a Constitutional amendment against abortions, among other conservative positions.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
 Follow Chris on Twitter

Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
 Follow Jenny on Twitter.

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