Northeast Times

Endorsements for the May 17 primary election

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Of the can­did­ates for Phil­adelphia City Coun­cil’s sev­en at-large seats who cared enough about the voters of North­east Phil­adelphia to re­spond to a ques­tion­naire sub­mit­ted by the North­east Times, only a hand­ful had the cour­age to stand up to Demo­crat­ic Coun­cil­wo­man Mari­an Tasco, who is widely be­lieved to be plan­ning to seek the pres­id­ency of City Coun­cil.

Coun­cil’s cur­rent pres­id­ent, the pom­pous, in­su­lar, self-serving lady from South Phil­adelphia, Anna Ver­na, stands to pock­et more than $500,000 in DROP money when she re­tires next Janu­ary. How au­da­cious would it be if her suc­cessor is Mari­an Tasco, who’s count­ing on voter ig­nor­ance to al­low her to win re-elec­tion, col­lect $478,000 in DROP money, stage a fake one-day re­tire­ment after the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion, then be­come pres­id­ent when the new Coun­cil con­venes in Janu­ary?

Even in Phil­adelphia, the Sub-Me­diocre Politi­cian Cap­it­al of the World, that should not hap­pen, must not hap­pen and will not hap­pen if cur­rent and pro­spect­ive Coun­cil mem­bers say “enough is enough” and pledge to not vote for Tasco for pres­id­ent.

Of the can­did­ates in con­tested primar­ies in Coun­cil dis­tricts that in­clude North­east Phil­adelphia, only two, Demo­crats Bobby Hen­on in the 6th dis­trict and Dan Sav­age in the 7th, have pledged not to vote for Tasco for pres­id­ent. On that cour­ageous stand alone, Hen­on and Sav­age de­serve to win their primar­ies

Hen­on’s op­pon­ent, Marty Bed­narek, has a three-fold prob­lem. His sup­port­ers in­clude Tasco and the Queens of DROP, City Com­mis­sion­er Marge Tartagli­one and re­tir­ing 6th dis­trict Coun­cil­wo­man Joan Kra­jew­ski. After get­ting re-elec­ted to their ump­teen terms in 2007, Tartagli­one and Kra­jew­ski staged one-day re­tire­ments just to col­lect hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in DROP money, then they re­turned to their over­paid, un­der­worked jobs.

Like most politi­cians, Bed­narek talks out of both sides of his mouth. He claims to be op­posed to DROP in all forms, yet he is en­dorsed by the Ter­rible Three and he re­fuses to rule out vot­ing for Tasco for Coun­cil pres­id­ent.

What Tartagli­one and Kra­jew­ski did four years ago — and what fel­low DROP en­rollees Tasco, Coun­cil­man at-large Frank Rizzo and Re­gister of Wills Ron­ald Donatucci want to do this year — is dis­gust­ing. They want to have their luc­rat­ive cake and eat it too, and then re­main at the pub­lic trough.

DROP is Is­sue No. 1. Any Coun­cil can­did­ate who does not clearly and un­equi­voc­ally con­demn even the no­tion of Mari­an Tasco re­tain­ing her 9th dis­trict Coun­cil seat and be­com­ing pres­id­ent says a lot about the can­did­ate’s view of gov­ern­ment and the way it treats tax­pay­ers.

Phil­adelphia needs a City Coun­cil whose mem­bers will stand up to the status quo, boldly, loudly and dir­ectly. Phil­adelphia des­per­ately needs a Coun­cil that sees re­form at the top of the list of pri­or­it­ies.

DROP is a red her­ring and a good pre­dict­or of just how much “re­form” a can­did­ate would fight for if elec­ted.

Rul­ing out a Tasco pres­id­ency should be a no-brain­er in a city fed up with its politi­cians’ hanky-panky.

Phil­adelphia is a town where two city so­li­cit­ors said it’s OK for elec­ted of­fi­cials to stage fake re­tire­ments for the pur­pose of col­lect­ing DROP money and then re­main­ing in of­fice, but city so­li­cit­ors owe their jobs to those very same elec­ted of­fi­cials — spe­cific­ally mem­bers of City Coun­cil, who get to de­cide wheth­er to con­firm those very same so­li­cit­or nom­in­ees. That ob­vi­ous con­flict of in­terest is partly re­spons­ible for City Coun­cil’s pathet­ic im­age and it’s one of the reas­ons voters need to clean house, be­gin­ning Tues­day, primary elec­tion day.

City Coun­cil’s two Re­pub­lic­an at-large mem­bers must have big mouths and/or big ideas if they have any hope of get­ting any­thing done in this Demo­crat­ic town, but for­tu­nately for re­gistered Re­pub­lic­ans in Tues­day’s Re­pub­lic­an primary — and for all voters of all polit­ic­al stripes in the Nov. 8 gen­er­al elec­tion — the field of Re­pub­lic­ans seek­ing at-large seats is the best it’s been in many years.

The Re­pub­lic­an Party in Phil­adelphia in­creas­ingly is re­sem­bling Fred Flint­stone’s fam­ily pet — Re­pub­lic­ans in Philly are a di­no­saur. Phil­adelphia’s Grand Old Party, the GOP, is rap­idly be­com­ing the GO­TOO­GP — the Grand Old Tired Out Of Gas Party. Things are so bad that the party per­suaded a Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate for City Coun­cil in the at-large race AND in the 1st Coun­cil­man­ic Dis­trict to switch parties to be­come the GOP’s can­did­ate for may­or.

No Re­pub­lic­ans even bothered to run in most of Coun­cil’s 10 dis­tricts — dis­tricts where the voices of the Grand Old Party should be heard in primary AND gen­er­al elec­tion cam­paigns.

Eight of the nine Re­pub­lic­ans run­ning for Coun­cil at-large have something to of­fer. An­oth­er one, of course, is Coun­cil­man Frank Rizzo. His DROP shenanigans should dis­qual­i­fy him im­me­di­ately. Shame on him for try­ing to join Kra­jew­ski and Tartagli­one in the Quit For a Day Club, and shame on Re­pub­lic­an voters if they al­low him to win one of the five slots on Tues­day that would al­low Rizzo to ad­vance to the gen­er­al elec­tion.

Re­pub­lic­an voters on Tues­day would be wise to se­lect for at-large seats Al Tauben­ber­ger, Mal­colm Lazin, Steve Oda­bashi­an and Elmer Money. All four have the in­test­in­al forti­tude to pub­licly pledge that if elec­ted in Novem­ber, they will not vote for Mari­an Tasco for pres­id­ent. That sort of de­clar­a­tion might not sit well with their fu­ture busi­ness-as-usu­al col­leagues should they reach Coun­cil, but it should sit very well with voters, for it speaks volumes about their char­ac­ter.

All four men have great cre­den­tials. Tauben­ber­ger, as head of the Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce, is the busi­ness­man’s busi­ness­man. His ex­pert­ise would be a tre­mend­ous as­set to a city whose busi­ness com­munity is starved for prop­er treat­ment. Nev­er mind that Tauben­ber­ger was de­mol­ished by Mi­chael Nut­ter in the may­or’s race four years ago; he ran a clean, is­sues-ori­ented cam­paign in every neigh­bor­hood and he would be a su­perb mem­ber of a Re­pub­lic­an caucus in Coun­cil.

Sim­il­arly, law­yers Lazin and Oda­bashi­an and hos­pit­al ad­min­is­trat­or Elmer Money have good re­sumes and could give Coun­cil some des­per­ately needed fresh air.

Former Navy of­ficer Joe Mc­Col­gan, who stops short of rul­ing out vot­ing for Tasco for Coun­cil pres­id­ent, is also worthy of con­sid­er­a­tion, as is law­yer Mi­chael Un­ter­mey­er, who says Tasco’s DROP plan is dis­hon­est.

Two oth­er can­did­ates, law­yer Dav­id Oh and former state House Speak­er Denny O’Bri­en, also have im­press­ive cre­den­tials and likely would be ex­cel­lent mem­bers of Coun­cil, but neither one is brave enough to pub­licly take on Mari­an Tasco. That should give pause to the long-suf­fer­ing res­id­ents of the City of Broth­erly Love. Send let­ters to: pronews@bsmphilly.com

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You can reach at fgusoff@bsmphilly.com.

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