Al Schmidt, a Republican candidate for city elections commissioner, has pledged to take a pay cut and refuse a taxpayer-funded vehicle and gasoline.
Schmidt is in a four-way race for three seats. Democrats Stephanie Singer and Anthony Clark, an incumbent, are favored to win because of their party-registration advantage.
That leaves a battle for the final seat between Schmidt and fellow Republican Joe Duda, an incumbent.
If elected, Schmidt would take a 10-percent pay cut for the first three years and a 25-percent cut in the fourth year, as the law prohibits commissioners from performing all of their duties as they seek re-election.
“Taxpayers across Philadelphia are hurting, and our leaders should set an example,” Schmidt said. “I am happy to join those in city government who have reduced their salaries and to do my part to help our great city.”
Many other elected officials and highly paid city officials, but not the commissioners, have taken voluntary pay cuts to ease the city’s fiscal woes.
“If you don’t do a full day’s work, you shouldn’t get a full day’s pay,” Schmidt said. “The fact that our current commissioners are prohibited from performing one hundred percent of their duties but still take one hundred percent of their salary is wrong. I won’t do that.”
The job of a commissioner does not require travel, and Schmidt won’t take a city-owned vehicle.
“The city commissioners work in offices and, just like every other working person in Philadelphia, they shouldn’t be given a car and gas simply to get to work,” he said. “I won’t take this outrageous perk that taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for.”
Meanwhile, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 22 has endorsed Schmidt.
“Al is honest, trustworthy and will work hard to ensure business is conducted with the city’s best interests in mind,” said Bill Gault, president of Local 22.
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Michael Untermeyer, a Republican candidate for an at-large City Council seat, wants to broadcast his You Tube commercial on television.
The commercial is titled Sleeping City Council and shows actors portraying Council members sleeping as text on the screen criticizes them for inaction on the high city wage tax, public school violence and unregulated lobbyists.
To pay for a television broadcast of the commercial, Untermeyer will hold a fund-raiser next Tuesday at the Society Hill home of Mike Cibik, the Republican leader of the 5th Ward.
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The men’s club of the Congregations of Shaare Shamayim will hold a candidates forum on Sunday at 9 a.m. at the synagogue, at 9768 Verree Road in Bustleton. The public is invited. Admission is free. Refreshments will be served. For more information, call Harris Popolow at 215-676-7486.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Federation of Young Republicans and the GOP leaders of the 2nd, 5th, 8th, 14th, 27th and 30th wards will sponsor a candidates forum on Saturday, Oct. 29. from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.. at St. Michael Russian Orthodox Church, at 335 Fairmount Ave.
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The Pennsylvania Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Commission has issued ratings and descriptive paragraphs for all statewide judges appearing on the Nov. 8 ballot.
The commission is recommending the retention of the following judges: J. Michael Eakin (Supreme Court); John T. Bender and Mary Jane Bowes (Superior Court); and Renee Cohn Jubelirer, Mary Hannah Leavitt and Robert E. Simpson Jr. (Commonwealth Court).
In the race for an open seat on Superior Court, the commission rated Republican Victor P. Stabile “recommended” and Democrat David N. Wecht “highly recommended.”
In the campaign for a Commonwealth Court seat, Democrat Kathryn Boockvar and Republican Anne E. Covey were each rated “recommended.”
Information on the candidates is available at http://www.pavotesmart.com
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In news about the 2012 campaign, Patrick Murphy announced that he has raised $1 million from more than 1,200 supporters in his campaign for the Democratic nomination for state attorney general.
Murphy, a former two-term congressman, will face former assistant district attorneys Dan McCaffery of Philadelphia and Kathleen Kane of Lackawanna County in the April 24 primary. The leading Republican contenders are state Sen. John Rafferty of Montgomery County and Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed.
Among those backing Murphy are former Gov. Ed Rendell; U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah; District Attorney Seth Williams; state Reps. Dwight Evans, Larry Curry and Tony Payton; City Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez; and Councilman Bill Greenlee.
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Three more candidates last week entered the crowded race for U.S. Senate.
Brian Kelly, of Wilkes-Barre, will challenge Sen. Bob Casey in the Democratic primary. Kelly faults Casey as a “political clone of Barack Obama.”
“Most Pennsylvanians do not know the real Bob Casey. He ran like a conservative in 2006 — but voted like a tax-and-spend liberal for the next five years,” he said.
On the Republican side, Washington County businessman Tim Burns and Chester County entrepreneur Steve Welch entered the race. Both are expected to contribute much of their own money to the contest.
Others running are David Christian, a former congressional candidate, decorated Vietnam War veteran and president of a Holmesburg-based defense manufacturing company that builds ground support equipment for U.S. Navy aircraft carriers; Perry County attorney Marc Scaringi, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum; retired U.S. Army Col. John Vernon, of Tioga County; Tom Smith, a former coal company owner and Tea Party leader from Armstrong County; Bedford County pharmacist John Kensinger; and Lackawanna County Tea Party leader Laureen Cummings. ••
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or firstname.lastname@example.org