Friday, May 13, 2011

Philadelphians for Ethical Leadership’s Endorsements for the 2011 Primary Election

by A. Benjamin Mannes, CPP, SSI, CHS-III

Throughout the week, we’ve seen endorsements by many papers, blogs, and news outlets.  In reading many of these, I’ve gained insight from both sides of the aisle that were useful in contributing to my knowledge base.  As you know, my primary focus in scrutinizing candidates for endorsement is their ability to act ethically, their ties to the political machine (whether it be Bob Brady’s Democratic Committee or the Canuso/Meehan RCC) that have contributed so heavily to the waste, fraud, and abuse that has drained Philadelphia’s budget and community morale to a point of utter crisis.  

Allow me to be blunt, citizens, it is VITAL to the survival of our city to make the right choices at the ballot this year.  For the first time in over a generation, we can actually change the way business has been getting done (or more appropriately, not getting done) in Philadelphia’s Municipal Government. 

The number of open council seats can effect the balance of machine politics at City Hall and usher in some long-needed changes that will streamline our city services, if we pull the lever for the right people.  

FIRST DISTRICT:       Vern Anastasio (D) – Mr. Anastasio is the only candidate who has acknowledged the difference between the diverse neighborhoods north and south of Market St.  More importantly, he is not connected to Brady, Nutter, DiCicco, Keller, the Street Bros., or the Unions.  He will be a strong and independent voice in the democratic City Council if elected.

SECOND DISTRICT:  Barbara Capozzi (D) – PEL backs outsiders with no connection to the corrupt machine, and endorses folks who stand up to the machine.  Ms.Capozzi’s run takes a stand against outdated and corrosive identity politics and reminds us that she once stood up to both Fumo and Rendell on the Sports Complex expansion bill.  For an Italian-American in South Philly, that takes guts.
                                    The Republican candidate for this office is running unopposed.

THIRD DISTRICT:      Unfortunately this is an unopposed seat, showing that nobody in the Democratic Party has the intestinal fortitude to stand up to Jannie Blackwell’s lackluster leadership.

FOURTH DISTRICT:  Unfortunately this is also an unopposed seat, giving Curtis Jones free reign to lead his district with a hairdresser’s certificate.

FIFTH DISTRICT:      Suzanne Carn (D) – Ms. Carn runs against the current City Council Majority Whip, and if anyone believes that City Council has done a great job in leading the city over the last 12 years, they need to get their heads examined.  Ms. Carn is a noted HIV/AIDS counselor and advocate, drug & alcohol counselor, and chaplain to the 22nd & 23rd Police Districts; which are not easy jobs.  If Ms. Carn can lead in council without being beholden to the clergy that she’s affiliated with, she can do a much better job than her opponent has.

SIXTH DISTRICT:      This is an extremely difficult race to follow.  Why?  Both Democratic Candidates are beholden to different factions of machine politics.  In one corner, you have Bobby Henon, a union executive at John Dougherty’s Local 98, which has been extremely influential in local politics, which would be great for an electricians union with exception that they always inexplicably back anti-business legislators who tax business and future growth out of Philly, where they employ other union locals to build for them.  In the other corner, Marty Bednarek, a former banking executive who served on the School Reform Commission.  If we have to make a choice, it would be for Marty Bednarek, simply because he served in the financial sector for 27 years and would be one of the few Council Members who’s actually managed a payroll; despite he’s associated with Mayor Nutter and the decaying School District.  This is the only alternative to the back-room dealings and lemming support that we’ve seen from Local 98 throughout the years. The Republican candidate for this office is running unopposed.

SEVENTH DISTRICT:            Maria Quiñones-Sánchez (D) – Ms. Sanchez is one of the few freshmen Council Members that got there without the help of Mayor Nutter or the Machine. Put this up against someone who is backed by the machine and was the Chair of the L & I committee and the ethical choice is simple.     

EIGHTH DISTRICT:               Howard Treatman (D) – In this heavily contested (7 candidate) race, Mr. Treatman, a real estate lawyer, is by far the most educated and qualified candidate for this Council seat, especially because he is not associated with the machine, where most other candidates for this seat are. 

NINTH DISTRICT:                 Lamont Thomas (D) – Mr. Thomas, who holds a J.D. from Temple is looking to unseat DROP recipient and Council President hopeful Marian Tasco.  It’s IMPORTANT to remove Tasco, not just for DROP but for a legacy of poor leadership since 1988 that has left the 9th District in desperate need of help.  Let’s retire Tasco so she can enjoy her $478,057 payout and slip into the obscurity she deserves.

TENTH DISTRICT:     The Republican and Democratic candidates for this office are running unopposed. Endorsements will be made for the general election.

AT LARGE (D):           Andy Toy (D) – Aside from his MA in public policy, he has a BA in economics, which is a rare combination needed to manage city budgets in our current fiscal crisis.

                                    Sherrie Cohen (D) – An attorney, Block Captain, and LGBT activist, it is in our opinion that Ms. Cohen wont succumb to small-thinking party politics and do what’s right for a city in crisis.

                                    Bill Green (D) – While it bothers me that Mr. Green attributes some of his success to name recognition (being a third generation Philly politician), he has encountered heavy resistance from powerful elements in his own party over the last two years when he addressed corruption at the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office and Housing Authorities.  Let’s see if he can continue to work in the city’s interest if we (the voters) show the machine that they don’t have as much power as they threatened him with.

AT LARGE (R):           Elmer Money (R) – A fiscal conservative and Fiscal Distribution Representative at Abington Hospital, Mr. Money is uniquely suited to prepare the city for the upcoming change in healthcare law and has some extremely good common sense views regarding the management of city services.

                                    Joe McColgan (R) – The former Naval Officer and Financial Manager, Mr. McColgan is exactly what the city needs to become more business-friendly, which is the key to defeating our jobs crisis and budget shortfalls. He is direct and decisive, which is a breath of fresh air in municipal politics.  

                                    David Oh (R) – One thing that I greatly expect about Mr. Oh is the fact that he, as a young attorney, served as a 2nd Lieutenant with the U.S. Army (Airborne).  Most lawyers I know are too busy trying to pay off student loans to pick up a rifle and defend their country.  In addition, I believe we need more former prosecutors at City Hall, given the history of and propensity for corruption there.  While many republicans have pulled their support of Mr. Oh due to his voting for Obama and wavering on the possible City Council Presidency of Marian Tasco, he sticks to his guns and knows how to reach across the aisle to get the job done.  Personally, I’d like to see what he can do on the job.

                                    Malcolm Lazin (R) – Another candidate which gets heat from many republicans for having moderate to liberal views on some matters, Mr. Lazin wins our endorsement on having the best resume of all the candidates.  His being a former Assistant US Attorney and Chair of the Pennsylvania Crime Commission makes him an easy choice for this watchdog group; and his public work in the GLBT community shows that he sticks to his beliefs regardless of any political implications that may be associated with them.   

                                    Steve Odabashian (R)An attorney who entered the race with little more to his name than being an Andy Reid impersonator and performer, Mr. Odabashian has distinguished himself with an excellent viewpoint on economic development and fiscal responsibility that should be noted.  In addition, Mr. Odabashian is completely independent of any ties to the political machine and would clearly be his own man if elected.

Let’s face facts, folks.  The DCC and RCC machines think you are uneducated sheep without the common sense to vote for people you actually believe in (without their telling you to).  PROVE THEM WRONG.  Our City Commissioner’s Office is without a doubt a bastion of corruption and patronage, so much so we have a 78-year old DROP recipient running the office, despite the fact that she made her own daughter her #2 until she was caught with her hand in the cookie jar.  Did the other two Commissioners do anything to clean up the office and preserve their good names? Nope.  They’re running for re-election in the same way she is.

Here’s how you change this…vote in the candidate (and only ONE candidate) who you feel is best qualified to change a row office that has had no less than 25 years of corrupt leadership.  This is why we have endorsed the two BEST candidates for the position, who are truly the smartest candidates running for the office in history.

NOTE: While voters are not restricted from picking more than one candidate in the primary election for Commissioner, it is important to vote for only one candidate in your party, as additional votes will dilute the lead for your favorite candidate and lead to election irregularities.

DEMOCRAT:              Stephanie Singer (D) – The Ward Leader and Professor brings a base of knowledge and guts necessary to reverse the corrupt legacy of Marge Tartaglione.

REPUBLICAN:           Al Schmidt (R) – Dr. Schmidt holds a PhD from Brandeis University and was a senior analyst with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (the investigative arm of Congress), responsible for keeping those who spend our tax dollars honest on a nationwide scale.  There is no better a candidate to reform the Commissioner’s Office.

The Office of the Philadelphia Sheriff has been marred with patronage and racial politics for a quarter of a century, causing a popular groundswell of people who want to simply disband the office.  Those people are extremely uninformed as to what the Sheriff’s Office is SUPPOSED to do, and what a failure to conduct civil law enforcement operations has done to the fiscal health and morale of the city.

Therefore, PEL endorses Jacques Whambush (D) in the democratic primary for Sheriff as he is the only candidate from that party that A) WANTS to enforce the law, reform the office and B) Isn’t beholden to the party machine.

That being said, Army Captain Josh West (R) is running unopposed in his primary and is our favorite for endorsement in the general election.

Short and simple, there are two legitimate candidates running against two complete frauds.  Anyone who considers voting for fresh-out-of-jail and racially-charged Milton Street or the inarticulate and financially irresponsible Karen Brown are doing a GREAT DISSERVICE to our city and our fellow residents.

Therefore, PEL proudly endorses John Featherman (R), a smart and honest individual for the republican  nomination to run against Mayor Michael Nutter (D) for the election of Mayor of Philadelphia.


  1. Thanks very much. As I said on your facebook page, this is an endorsement that means a ton to me. Ultimately, the real reason I am running is my disgust in the ethical shortcomings of our current leaders (and how that has destroyed any sort of financial accountability). I hope to make it past Tuesday and eventually into office where I can hopefully make some real changes.

    Steve Odabashian

  2. What do the acronyms stand for after the author's name?

    by A. Benjamin Mannes, CPP, SSI, CHS-III