HAVE YOU BEEN following that state House race in Northeast Philly between Watergate-era incumbent Mark Cohen and brash challenger Jared Solomon?
Yeah, neither have we. But maybe we're all missing out. Sounds like the mud is flying up there. And possibly a few rocks.
Cohen, elected to the state House the year Richard Nixon resigned, has been lashing out at Solomon's supporters on Facebook, accusing them of "arrogant law breaking and harassment."
Last month, for instance, Cohen said someone slashed a tire on his wife's car, which, according to Cohen, made the car "barely drivable, even after new air was put in the tires." (Maybe that's because there was a hole in it?)
But then Cohen took it a step further, blaming Solomon's roaming band of misfits for "car mirror damage, broken windows, the dumping of dog waste on lawns, hostile interrogation of nonsupporters, barging uninvited into campaign events, or intimidation of voters, home owners or store owners when they put up posters or come to the polls, or otherwise express support for my campaign.
"It's time for the harassment to stop!" Cohen wrote.
Cohen told us Tuesday of a prior incident in which someone threw a rock in a neighbor's window after they put a Cohen sign up.
"There's just an endless pattern of these incidents," Cohen said.
As to whether he has any solid evidence tying this activity to Solomon, that's another question.
We checked in with Solomon, an Army JAG Reserve officer, to ask when he stopped running a political campaign and started running a criminal organization of window-smashing, tire-slashing thugs hell-bent on destroying their duly elected state representative in the 202nd Legislative District.
"My volunteers are 70- and 80-year-old women who sit in my office making phone calls," Solomon said.
Do they carry knives? Truncheons? How far can they throw a rock?
"They are people that live in the community who do not like the direction it's going," Solomon said.
OK, this is where it gets really interesting. A Clout tipster - who sounded like he honestly couldn't care less which guy wins - tells us that just before the January blizzard, he overheard a guy he believed to be Cohen consultant Joseph Driscoll outside a Northeast Philly bar talking about how he planned to steal Solomon's trash to dig up some dirt.
Now, we normally would file this under Crazy Clout Tips We'll Never Pursue. Except that when we call Solomon, he tells us that his trash actually did disappear around that time.
"Our trash was gone and everyone else's was there," Solomon said. "I thought it was odd."
This all sounds very . . . Nixonian.
Cohen said he knows nothing about the missing trash. As for Driscoll, he told us Thursday night: "All this trash talk being thrown out is a bunch of garbage. May the best candidate win, and to the victor belong the spoils."
Is that a denial? Or a non-denial denial?
This race is so trashy, it's great. We'll have to check back before Primary Day.
City to Dems: Pay up
Count this among the things we notice while perusing local court dockets: The city two weeks ago filed a five-figure lien against the Democratic City Committee for unpaid real estate taxes.
The local Democrats sold their longtime headquarters on Walnut Street in 2011 for $2 million and relocated to a plot at Second and Spring Garden Streets, where they built a new home.
They haven't been paying all their taxes since then. But they have an excuse. (Of course they do.)
Dawn Tancredi, an attorney for the party, said it is seeking a 10-year tax abatement. If approved, that will "dramatically reduce" the amount of taxes owed, she said.
Tancredi added that the City Committee didn't own the property when the building permits were issued, so it has to apply to the Board of Revision of Taxes retroactively.
Mike Dunn, a spokesman for Mayor Kenney, said the Democratic City Committee owes $25,245 so far and will be on the hook for an additional $18,197 when 2016's property tax comes due March 31.
The Democrats have an April 12 BRT hearing. Clout is betting they do pretty well there.
Mailing it in
U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah continues to round up support despite that nagging corruption indictment.
He's received endorsements from Philadelphia Democratic Party Chairman Bob Brady, State Sens. Vince Hughes and Anthony Williams, and City Council members Cindy Bass, Jannie Blackwell, Curtis Jones, and Blondell Reynolds Brown - among others.
Fattah's campaign announced Thursday that he'd landed another endorsement. "POSTAL WORKERS DELIVER FOR FATTAH," read the email announcing that the American Postal Workers Union is backing the 11-term congressman.
Hmmm. They do know that the charges against him include mail fraud, right?
Rashed to judicial board
Check it out: Gov. Wolf appointed Philadelphia's Mustafa Rashed to a nonlawyer position on Pennsylvania's Judicial Conduct Board this week.
Clout considers Rashed, who ran Doug Oliver's mayoral campaign and is the CEO of Bellevue Strategies, to be a straight shooter, which is exactly what the board needs.
The Judicial Conduct Board is the agency prosecuting horndog state Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin, who resigned Tuesday as a result of his involvement in the Porngate email scandal.
But close readers might recall that the first board investigation in 2014 was essentially a whitewash. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the board's chief counsel, Robert Graci, is a close friend of Eakin's and played a lead role in his 2011 reelection campaign?
Graci didn't publicly disclose the conflict at the time. It wasn't until the Daily News revealed the conflict last November that Graci stepped aside from the second Eakin investigation.
So, what we're trying to say, Mustafa: Class up that joint a bit, will ya?
And leak us information.
Lots of leaks.
On Twitter: @wbender99 and @ByChrisBrennan.
Phone: 215-854-5255 and 215-854-5973
Staff writers William Bender,
Chris Brennan, and Dana DiFilippo
contributed to this column.