Clout gave Lew Blum a call the other day to have a follow-up chat with Philly’s favorite towing tycoon.
Last month we quoted an irate Blum as saying, “None of us has been arrested for stealing. Stop calling us thieves,” as he railed against city pols behind the predatory-towing legislation that could cut into his profits.
Turns out what he said isn’t entirely accurate.
In 2006, Jamal Marshall, one of Blum’s drivers, was arrested, as reported by Chris Brennan, then the “Urban Warrior” columnist for the Daily News.
Marshall was charged with theft, receiving stolen property, and possession of an instrument of crime for towing a 1987 Toyota Corolla from a lot at Juniper and Cherry Streets. When the driver went to reclaim his car, the folks at Lew Blum repeatedly told him they didn’t have it.
“Man, that is old,” Blum said when asked about that case. “People gotta let wounds heal.”
The charges were dismissed after he reached a cash settlement with the car owner, according to Blum.
But then, Blum changed the subject. He says he has political ambitions. City Council. Maybe run a whole slate of Council candidates. Shake up the status quo.
“Write this,” Blum said as he stepped onto his figurative soap box. “Lew Blum wants to run for councilman at large. And Lew Blum has a way of hiring 1,000 more police officers and 300 more firefighters. I will replace the soda tax, and I won’t raise taxes and I’ll still have enough money left over to pay $26 million for pre-K.”
Sounds great, Lew Blum. Where will you get the money?
“I can’t tell you,” he said.
Channeling his inner President Trump, Blum said it was time to “repeal and replace” the city’s 10-year tax abatement plan. He also wants to end tax breaks for Comcast and other companies.
“Put that in the paper,” Blum said. “I would love for the soda folks to finance my campaign.”
Clout has some doubts about Blum’s electability, considering that the guy uses bulletproof glass to protect himself from the … eh, customers.
But before we hung up, Blum offered a future favor, as politicians tend to do.
“Hey,” he said. “You want to park somewhere? Gimme a call. We’ll make sure we don’t tow your car.”
Ah, a quid pro tow. Maybe Blum does have a future in politics.
Exit stage right
State Sen. Daylin Leach apparently is still basking in the glory of his Tuesday tweet that called Trump a “fascist, loofa-faced s—gibbon.” It went viral and was retweeted more than 12,000 times.
By Thursday morning, he was trying to monetize it, sending an email to potential donors with the subject line, “Hey, @realDonaldTrump!” The request said Leach was contemplating emailing the president a copy of the tweet.
“Let me know what you think, and if you think I should, click here to make a $3 contribution to let The Donald know the resistance is alive and well,” it states.
Three bucks. Gee, add $1.25 and you can grab a Molten Chocolate Frappuccino at Starbucks.
By the way, does anyone have the time? We have a feeling the senator’s 15 minutes of fame expired about five minutes ago.
Still raking it in
State Rep. Brian Sims has another of his paid speaking engagements coming up next week, this one at Old Dominion University for $2,750. These speaking fees have previously raised eyebrows because Pennsylvania prohibits lawmakers from receiving honorariums if they are connected with their official duties.
Sims' spokesman, Dan Siegel, tells us it’s NBD because the speech on gender, justice and LGBTQ equality is not related to his state job – even though the flier describes Sims as “the first openly gay elected state legislator in Pennsylvania” and “a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the 182nd district.”
Clout will continue to file this one under: Hmmmm.
“He genuinely enjoys participating in these discussions,” Siegel said, “and will continue to do so to help advance diversity, inclusiveness, and tolerance at a time when they are strongly needed.”
For $2,750 a pop, we’d genuinely enjoy participating in those discussions, too.
DA debate canceled
The Feb. 23 debate in the district attorney’s race, sponsored by the Chestnut Hill Local and WHYY, has been canceled because District Attorney Seth Williams refused to show up.
No word on a new date. The other candidates — four Democrats and one Republican — were ready to debate Williams, who faces more legal, ethical and political troubles than we have space to enumerate here.
(Update: Williams announced Friday morning that he will not seek re-election).
Staff writers William Bender, Claudia Vargas, and Chris Brennan contributed to this column.