Northeast Times

If O’Brien leaves House, his seat could leave Philly

State Rep. Den­nis O’Bri­en is favored to be elec­ted to City Coun­cil on Nov. 8, which would leave his 169th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict seat va­cant.

As­sum­ing he resigns at the end of the year, a spe­cial elec­tion would prob­ably take place either in early March or on April 24, the day of the primary.

Re­pub­lic­ans eye­ing the seat in­clude at­tor­ney Anne Mar­ie Coyle, City Coun­cil aide Tim Ger­ard and Dave Kralle, an aide to O’Bri­en.

Demo­crats men­tioned as likely can­did­ates in­clude ward lead­er Shawn Dillon, loc­al FOP pres­id­ent John McNesby and Ed Neilson, a former of­fi­cial with the loc­al elec­tri­cians uni­on who worked in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Gov. Ed Rendell.

Com­plic­at­ing mat­ters is the on­go­ing re­dis­trict­ing pro­cess, which hap­pens every 10 years after census fig­ures are re­leased.

Of­fi­cials in both ma­jor parties have in­dic­ated that the 169th dis­trict might be taken out of Phil­adelphia and moved to a fast-grow­ing area, such as Mon­roe, York, Lan­caster or Chester counties.

“I heard that’s a pos­sib­il­ity,” said Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.), who is not in­volved in the over­all ef­fort to lay out dis­trict lines for all 203 seats.

Taylor ex­pects the bound­ar­ies to be an­nounced by the end of Oc­to­ber.

Two oth­er Phil­adelphia rep­res­ent­at­ives, Jew­ell Wil­li­ams and Kenyatta John­son, are ex­pec­ted to be elec­ted as sher­iff and to City Coun­cil, re­spect­ively, but their dis­tricts are likely to be pre­served.

If the 169th dis­trict moves, the ter­rit­ory will prob­ably be di­vided among Demo­crat­ic Reps. Brendan Boyle, Mike McGee­han, John Sabat­ina Jr. and oth­ers.

A dec­ade ago, after Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Chris Wogan was elec­ted to Com­mon Pleas Court, his 176th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict seat was moved to Mon­roe County.

Re­pub­lic­ans made the shift be­cause demo­graph­ic changes in Lawndale, Cres­centville and Sum­mer­dale favored Demo­crats. The Re­pub­lic­an di­vi­sions in Fox Chase and Burholme were giv­en to then-GOP Reps. John Perzel and George Ken­ney. On the sur­face, there ap­pears to be enough Re­pub­lic­an-friendly ter­rit­ory in the city to main­tain the 169th, but state Re­pub­lic­ans ap­par­ently have oth­er ideas.

Mean­while, Taylor will likely take in a good bit of May­fair in the 55th and maybe 64th wards un­der the new map. Thirty per­cent of his new dis­trict will prob­ably con­sist of new con­stitu­ents.

“I’m def­in­itely go­ing north,” the North­wood res­id­ent said.

• • •

Former City Con­trol­ler Jonath­an Saidel, a Demo­crat who served as the city’s fisc­al watch­dog for 16 years, last week en­dorsed Re­pub­lic­an Al Tauben­ber­ger for an at-large City Coun­cil seat.

Saidel has known Tauben­ber­ger for 30 years and called the can­did­ate to ask him if he wanted his sup­port. Tauben­ber­ger, of course, ac­cep­ted.

“It’s im­port­ant to get the best pos­sible people in City Coun­cil, and Al is that per­son,” Saidel said.

The an­nounce­ment came at the Din­ing Car res­taur­ant in Holmes­burg.

Saidel, of Bustleton, lauded Tauben­ber­ger’s work as pres­id­ent of the Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce. He de­scribed the cham­ber as per­haps Phil­adelphia’s most power­ful eco­nom­ic or­gan­iz­a­tion out­side Cen­ter City.

In Coun­cil, Saidel ex­pects Tauben­ber­ger to re­frain from di­vis­ive par­tis­an polit­ics and be a re­spons­ive law­maker.

If elec­ted, Tauben­ber­ger — who was crushed by Demo­crat Mi­chael Nut­ter in the 2007 may­or’s race — said he would sup­port tax policies that cre­ate new jobs, at­tract new busi­nesses and pro­tect ex­ist­ing jobs.

“We need someone who un­der­stands the lan­guage of busi­ness and neigh­bor­hoods,” said Tauben­ber­ger, the long­time pres­id­ent of the Burholme Com­munity Town Watch and Civic As­so­ci­ation.

The top sev­en fin­ish­ers in the at-large race are elec­ted. The five Demo­crats are shoo-ins based on their party’s voter-re­gis­tra­tion ad­vant­age.

Two Re­pub­lic­ans will join them. The oth­er GOP can­did­ates are Dav­id Oh, Denny O’Bri­en, Joe Mc­Col­gan and Mi­chael Un­ter­mey­er. Saidel in­dic­ated that he would prob­ably also en­dorse O’Bri­en. He de­clined to say which two Demo­crats he will not sup­port.

• • •

Joe Mc­Col­gan, a Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate for an at-large Coun­cil seat, is ap­plaud­ing last week’s resig­na­tion of School Re­form Com­mis­sion chair­man Robert Arch­ie.

Mc­Col­gan fa­vors ab­ol­i­tion of the SRC and cre­ation of an elec­ted school board.

“For too long, Phil­adelphia’s school chil­dren were led by in­di­vidu­als who didn’t de­liv­er on the prom­ises of a bet­ter to­mor­row,” he said. “While this is a pos­it­ive step to­ward fix­ing a broken school sys­tem, Arch­ie’s resig­na­tion does not solve our prob­lems.

“I con­tin­ue to call on lead­ers in Har­ris­burg to re­peal the SRC and al­low Phil­adelphia’s voters to elect re­gion­al school boards who will an­swer to them. Sixty-six out of sixty-sev­en counties in Pennsylvania are work­ing with elec­ted school boards, why can’t we? It’s time to take bold steps to save our chil­dren’s — and Phil­adelphia’s — fu­ture.”

• • •

May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter and Re­pub­lic­an chal­lenger Kar­en Brown will de­bate on Oct. 4 at Fox 29 stu­di­os. The de­bate will be broad­cast on Fri­day, Oct. 7, at 10:30 p.m.

Brown plans to dis­cuss the va­cancy cre­ated when Ar­lene Ack­er­man ac­cep­ted a luc­rat­ive buy­out as su­per­in­tend­ent of the School Dis­trict of Phil­adelphia.

“Why not go loc­al?” she asked about the suc­cessor to Ack­er­man, who pre­vi­ously headed the school sys­tems in San Fran­cisco and Wash­ing­ton, D.C. “Why do we al­ways seek people out­side our city? Why not hire our own?”

Brown also will fault Nut­ter on real es­tate and sales tax in­creases.

“He’s nev­er been one to lower taxes or keep them where they are in the four years he’s been there,” she said.

Brown would like a big audi­ence for the de­bate, but thinks many seni­or cit­izens could be in bed by 10:30. Also, it is Yom Kip­pur.

• • •

State Rep. Eu­gene De­Pasquale, of York County, is build­ing sup­port to­ward his run for the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­a­tion for aud­it­or gen­er­al.

A Pitt­s­burgh nat­ive and a mar­ried fath­er of two, he was elec­ted in 2006. He is a law­yer and formerly served as the city of York’s dir­ect­or of eco­nom­ic de­vel­op­ment and as the state De­part­ment of En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion’s deputy sec­ret­ary for com­munity re­vital­iz­a­tion and loc­al gov­ern­ment sup­port.

The law­maker has the sup­port of 14 Demo­crat­ic county chairs, along with former DEP sec­ret­ary John Hanger, in his bid for high­er of­fice.

“By be­ing the first le­gis­lat­or to post his ex­penses on­line and by re­fus­ing to ac­cept pay raises in the le­gis­lature, Eu­gene has shown his real ded­ic­a­tion to re­form­ing gov­ern­ment,” Hanger said.

• • •

Dav­id Lynn, pres­id­ent of DAL Ser­vices Inc., has launched a Web site that fea­tures free soft­ware to run polit­ic­al cam­paigns in Pennsylvania.

Vis­it­ors to ht­tp://pa­pol­cm.com can ac­cess voter files and demo­graph­ics in­form­a­tion and file re­ports to the Pennsylvania De­part­ment of State. 

“My goal is to level the play­ing field,” Lynn said. “Elec­tions have be­come big busi­ness in Pennsylvania, and I want to as­sist can­did­ates, es­pe­cially new can­did­ates, of any party in gain­ing the ad­vant­ages of en­trenched in­cum­bents.” ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­ing@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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