Lincoln senior organizes assembly to encourage voting

Spread­ing the word: Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln High School seni­or Brandon McK­enna is pic­tured with Demo­crat­ic state Rep. Ed Neilson (left) and Re­pub­lic­an Al Schmidt, a city elec­tions com­mis­sion­er, dur­ing an as­sembly on April 17. McK­enna or­gan­ized the event for Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln High School ju­ni­ors and seni­ors to en­cour­age them to re­gister to vote. TOM WAR­ING / TIMES PHOTO

Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln High School seni­or Brandon McK­enna last week or­gan­ized an as­sembly for ju­ni­ors and seni­ors to en­cour­age them to re­gister to vote.

McK­enna in­vited Demo­crat­ic state Rep. Ed Neilson and Re­pub­lic­an Al Schmidt, a city elec­tions com­mis­sion­er, to the April 17 event.

Neilson and Schmidt told the stu­dents they’ve nev­er missed vot­ing in an elec­tion since turn­ing 18. They told the teen­agers that every vote is im­port­ant. Neilson, a 1981 Lin­coln gradu­ate, won his first race in 2012 by 524 votes.

Neilson, who is run­ning for an at-large City Coun­cil seat, said Demo­crats are for the “have-nots,” while Re­pub­lic­ans fa­vor the “haves.” He cred­ited Demo­crats with caring more about health care, sup­port­ing an in­crease in the min­im­um wage and bring­ing about a 40-hour work week. He said Re­pub­lic­ans want to give tax cuts to the rich while Demo­crats want to in­crease taxes on the rich.

“The Demo­crats stick up for the work­ing fam­il­ies in Amer­ica,” he said.

Neilson and Demo­crats are in a 111-92 minor­ity in the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives. He wants more money for edu­ca­tion, teach­er pen­sions and Phil­adelphia in gen­er­al, but said many law­makers be­lieve the city is prop­erly fun­ded.

“They think Phil­adelphia drains all the money out of the budget,” he said.

Schmidt does not deal in city, state or fed­er­al policy in his job, which is gen­er­ally to over­see elec­tions twice a year. He de­clined to talk in a par­tis­an tone. He was en­cour­aged to be­come a Re­pub­lic­an after watch­ing, in his fourth-grade classroom, Ron­ald Re­agan tak­ing the oath of of­fice as pres­id­ent in 1981. He also poin­ted to his fath­er suc­ceed­ing in a star­tup busi­ness. He said Re­pub­lic­ans want lower taxes for all.

“They want more op­por­tun­ity for every­one,” he said.

At the end of the as­sembly, about 150 stu­dents had re­gistered to vote.

McK­enna, an 18-year-old from May­fair, plans to at­tend Com­munity Col­lege of Phil­adelphia for two years be­fore trans­fer­ring to Temple. He’ll study eco­nom­ics.


State Reps. Brendan Boyle and Kev­in Boyle have en­dorsed Mike Driscoll in the 173rd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict Demo­crat­ic primary.

“In the dec­ade that I’ve known Mike Driscoll, he’s con­sist­ently been a pil­lar of our com­munity,” Brendan Boyle said. “Mike is a com­mit­ted fam­ily man and a tire­less ad­voc­ate for loc­al com­munity groups that strengthen our neigh­bor­hoods. His com­mit­ment to cre­at­ing good jobs and pub­lic safety is what we need in Har­ris­burg.”

“The work that Mike has done as past chair­man of the May­fair CDC is un­par­alleled and will al­low him to tackle our re­gion’s toughest prob­lems,” Kev­in Boyle said. “He will be a great ad­di­tion to an already strong group of North­east Phil­adelphia le­gis­lat­ors.”

Paul DeFinis, who is also seek­ing the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­a­tion, sur­vived a chal­lenge to his nom­in­at­ing pe­ti­tions and will ap­pear on the bal­lot. He has the top bal­lot po­s­i­tion.

Den­nis Kilderry will be lis­ted second on the bal­lot.

Driscoll’s name will ap­pear last.

The Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate is Mike Tom­lin­son.


Phil­adelphia voters will de­cide on three pro­posed changes to the Home Rule Charter.

Ques­tion 1 reads, “Shall The Phil­adelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to con­firm Coun­cil’s powers to en­act pro­vi­sions Coun­cil con­siders ne­ces­sary or ap­pro­pri­ate to im­ple­ment a Min­im­um Wage and Be­ne­fits Or­din­ance, in­clud­ing, but not lim­ited to, pro­vi­sions man­dat­ing that min­im­um wage and be­ne­fits re­quire­ments be passed along to sub­con­tract­ors on City con­tracts and sub­re­cip­i­ents of City fin­an­cial as­sist­ance, and pro­vi­sions au­thor­iz­ing the grant­ing and re­voc­a­tion of waivers, with de­barment as a po­ten­tial pen­alty for vi­ol­a­tion of such pro­vi­sions?”

Ques­tion 2 reads, “Shall The Phil­adelphia Home Rule Charter be amended so that ef­fect­ive Janu­ary 1, 2016, an elec­ted of­fi­cial of the City may be­come a can­did­ate for nom­in­a­tion or elec­tion to a dif­fer­ent pub­lic of­fice without first resign­ing from his or her cur­rent of­fice, the same as state and fed­er­al elec­ted of­fi­cials, but may not run for re-elec­tion to his or her cur­rent of­fice in the same elec­tion?”

Ques­tion 3 reads, “Shall the Phil­adelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to provide that Coun­cil ap­prov­al is re­quired for cer­tain con­tracts for one year or less for the pur­pose of provid­ing leg­al rep­res­ent­a­tion and re­lated ser­vices for in­di­gent per­sons, in­clud­ing but not lim­ited to par­ents and chil­dren who are sub­jects of de­pend­ency pro­ceed­ings; crim­in­al de­fend­ants; per­sons in ju­ven­ile justice pro­ceed­ings; per­sons in­volved in be­ha­vi­or­al health pro­ceed­ings; and in­di­gent per­sons in­volved in oth­er pro­ceed­ings where leg­al rep­res­ent­a­tion is re­quired?”


The Re­pub­lic­an City Com­mit­tee is cri­ti­ciz­ing the city for costly over­time spend­ing as de­tailed in a story on

Adam Lang, Re­pub­lic­an lead­er of the 29th Ward, faul­ted the may­or and City Coun­cil for a lack of over­sight.

“They have an ex­ample of someone with a base salary of $27,000 mak­ing $86,000 a year with over­time,” Lang said. “They could hire an­oth­er full-time em­ploy­ee for less than that, in­clud­ing be­ne­fits. Save money in the budget and the pen­sion by em­ploy­ing an­oth­er Phil­adelphi­an? Why wouldn’t you?”

The city has spent $890 mil­lion in over­time in the last five years.

“This just shows that the people in charge really don’t care about the money be­ing spent,” said Joe De­Fe­lice, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the Re­pub­lic­an City Com­mit­tee. “How many school dis­trict de­fi­cits could this cov­er? How many more po­lice of­ficers could we hire? How many more potholes could be filled? What taxes could we lower?” ••

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