Danny Alvarez, the Republican candidate for district attorney, is hoping to debate incumbent Democratic D.A. Seth Williams before voters go to the polls on Nov. 5.
Alvarez, a Somerton resident, said he immediately accepted a debate invitation by the Committee of Seventy.
The challenger believes Williams is afraid to lose a debate to him, citing his poor record. He added that Philadelphia voters deserve a debate, and that Williams should face the public without being surrounded at meetings by assistant district attorneys answering questions for him.
“I think Mr. Williams is afraid to go toe to toe with me in a debate about the issues, unless he has his entourage there to answer all the tough questions,” Alvarez said.
Terry Tracy, the Republican candidate for city controller, received the endorsement of the Pentecostal Clergy of Philadelphia & Vicinity.
Tracy is challenging Democratic incumbent Alan Butkovitz.
The Pentecostal Clergy of Philadelphia & Vicinity has a parishioner count of about 10,000.
Vic Stabile, the Republican candidate for Superior Court, received the endorsement of the Pennsylvania State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police.
In a letter to Stabile, Les Neri, president of the Pennsylvania FOP, said, “It is the privilege of the Fraternal Order of Police, Pennsylvania State Lodge representing more than 40,000 law enforcement officers, to present you our highest endorsement for Superior Court of Pennsylvania. … You are a role model in your present profession as well as a committed member of your community. We stand with great pride in support of you. Thank you especially for all of your years of volunteer service to the citizens in Cumberland County and may your service continue for many years to come.”
Stabile faces Democrat Jack McVay Jr., an Allegheny County Common Pleas Court judge.
Gov. Tom Corbett issued a statement to explain further comments he made on same-sex marriage in a news interview.
Corbett was asked to comment on a court ruling that the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts did not have the power to decide the constitutionality of state laws.
“My words were not intended to offend anyone. If they did, I apologize. I explained that current Pennsylvania statute delineates categories of individuals unable to obtain a marriage license. As an example, I cited siblings as one such category, which is clearly defined in state law. My intent was to provide an example of these categories.
“The constitutional question is now before a federal court, and that is the venue in which same-sex couples wishing to legally marry have standing to intervene and be heard. Same-sex marriage is an important issue, and the question of its legal status is one that will be heard and decided upon its merits, with respect and compassion shown to all sides.”
Allyson Schwartz, a Democratic candidate, blasted Corbett in a statement.
“Governor Corbett’s continued hateful rhetoric regarding same-sex marriage is unacceptable and an insult to thousands of gay and lesbian Pennsylvanians who simply want equality. The governor should immediately apologize for his latest offensive comments.
“Pennsylvania deserves a governor who is respectful of our rich diversity and who will advocate for LGBT couples in loving and committed relationships to receive equal recognition under law. States across the country have made historic progress and, as governor, I will fight to make sure Pennsylvania joins those efforts.”
Katie McGinty, a Democratic candidate for governor, is calling for an increase in funding for the State Food Purchase Program to address a rise in hunger affecting 1.9 million Pennsylvanians, including 560,000 children.
Funding for the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP) has declined to around $17 million since the start of the recession in 2006-07, despite rising demand and increased food costs over the same period. If SFPP funding kept pace simply with the rise in food prices and demand, the program would need an appropriation of $24 million.
“Pennsylvania’s poor economy and high joblessness have produced an increase in hunger among working families, children and seniors. As governor, I would increase support for the State Food Purchase Program so Pennsylvania families — especially our children — don’t go hungry,” McGinty said.
McGinty also encouraged residents to support their local food banks and learn more about the need for additional food assistance by visiting Hunger-Free Pennsylvania at www.hungerfreepa.org or Feeding Pennsylvania at www.feedingpa.org
Both nonprofit organizations are statewide anti-hunger organizations serving all 67 counties.
Meanwhile, McGinty released a poll that showed Allyson Schwartz in the lead, but McGinty with the potential to build support.
The poll was conducted by GarinHartYang Research Group of 506 likely voters in next year’s Democratic primary. It gave Schwartz 25 percent and three other candidates - McGinty, state Treasurer Rob McCord and York County businessman Tom Wolf - 6 percent apiece. Fifty-seven percent were undecided.
A polling memo indicated that 87 percent of people polled found it “extremely appealing” that McGinty, former secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, is an environmentalist and a job creator. Fewer people, the survey showed, found it appealing that Schwartz has been in public office for more than 20 years.
The memo pointed to Schwartz’s name recognition advantage in the Philadelphia media market as the reason she leads the poll. It argued that McGinty’s numbers will rise when people learn that she is the ninth of 10 children of a Philadelphia police officer and restaurant hostess and that she worked in the Clinton administration and as an aide to then-U.S. Sen. Al Gore Jr. She is a Rhawnhurst native who attended Resurrection of Our Lord Grammar School and St. Hubert High School.
The poll did not include other announced or likely candidates, such as state Sen. Mike Stack; Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski; Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz; former DEP secretary John Hanger; and Max Myers, a pastor, author and businessman from Cumberland County.
City Councilman At-Large David Oh has introduced legislation to amend the “Resign to Run” provision that was placed in the Home Rule Charter when it went into effect in 1952.
Currently, as the law is written, elected officials in Philadelphia must first resign from their offices if they want to run for any other offices. According to Oh, this law limits the strength of Philadelphians to influence decisions made in Harrisburg and the region.
“If any other elected official from a township, city or county wants to run for another elected office, they do not have to resign their current office to do so. However, if an elected official from Philadelphia wants to run for another elected position, they have to resign from their city office first. By eliminating this provision in the City Charter, we are leveling the playing field for Philadelphia residents and businesses to be better represented,” Oh said.
The amendment would not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2016, so that the next mayor’s race wouldn’t be affected. Also, the amendment says that while someone does not have to resign to run for a new office, they cannot run for re-election and a new office at the same time.
“This is a good-government, positive public policy bill. I have introduced this legislation with the support of the Committee of Seventy and the Ethics Board,” Oh said.
“Philadelphia is the economic engine to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and we have talented and passionate elected officials who could very effectively represent the interests of the city if they have the opportunity.”
The Men’s Club of of the Congregations of Shaare Shamayim is holding a “Meet the Candidates” brunch on Sunday, Oct. 27, from 9 a.m. to noon, hosted by Ruth Horwitz and former state Sen. Bob Rovner.
Brunch is at 9, and candidate talks begin at 10.
The Synagogue is at 9768 Verree Road, in Bustleton. ••