Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Philadelphia posts lackluster numbers for the latest FBI Uniform Crime Report

JUST RELEASED: FBI Preliminary Uniformed Crime Report for 2010. Philadelphia has marginal crime reduction with a rise in murder, rape, property crime, theft, and vehicle theft.
Is this worth another $60K raise for Ramsey?
One can't help but wonder if we could have gotten Gerry McCarthy if Ramsey didn't tank his Chicago negotiations.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

PETITION: Investigate political corruption & patronage at the PPA

On May 19, 2011; Philadelphians for ethical leadership started a petition to the Criminal Law Division of the Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General conduct a full field audit and investigation into the Philadelphia Parking Authority and it’s connection to Michael MEEHAN and Vito CANUSO, ESQ., and the “Republican City Committee” (Currently unrecognized by the Pennsylvania GOP):   

On Tuesday, May 17, 2011, in which the primary elections for Philadelphia Municipal Offices was held, numerous members of the Philadelphia press and political activists received independent reports of the following:
§         That numerous members of the Philadelphia Parking Authority were instructed to switch their shifts to the overnight tour of duty and instead of working normal day shifts; to report to polling places and aggressively campaign for Karen BROWN, the candidate in the Republican Mayoral Primary Election backed by the Republican City Committee (RCC), regardless of their personal political beliefs – which may possibly amount to unlawful political activity
§         That this political patronage at the PPA constitutes waste, fraud, and abuse hindering the responsible financial management and performance of the PPA, effects the revenue the PPA is supposed to generate for the Commonwealth and City of Philadelphia, and its stakeholders.

We therefore hope that upon the signing of the petition, that the State Attorney General initiate an investigation into these allegations forthwith.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Fellow Citizens,

Please don't allow John Featherman to be SCREWED out of his victory. Numerous reports come in about Karen Brown's votes being paid for, PPA employees being coerced to support her despite their beliefs and committeemen/ward leaders committing election fraud with absentee ballots. We DEMAND an investigation & monitoring!

Read more here.

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.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Marie Delany: RCC “Eye Candy” or City Commissioner Candidate?

Much has been said in blogs and political back chatter about City Commission candidate Marie Delany.  I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for Ms. Delany because she was one of the first people to join our Meetup.com group when she was a City Council candidate.  However, recent events surrounding the campaign of this candidate are hard to ignore. 

As many of you know, there is a civil war between the bulk of Republican voters who want to see a powerful voice in checks and balances in Philadelphia Municipal Government, which has been under Democratic control for over sixty years, and those who follow the existing Republican City Committee (RCC) who accept the 6:1 Democrat to Republican ratio in Philadelphia and fight to retain what little influence and patronage they still have (which is currently only within the ranks of the Philadelphia Parking Authority), and therefore do not “rock the boat” with the sizable stories of Democrat-committed corruption recently surfacing.

Ms. Delany was one of the early Republican candidates for City Council-at-Large.  While we have been closely following this colorful race, we are also following the unofficial race that will resolve the aforementioned dispute within the Philadelphia Republican Party.  See, some very notable republican candidates for Council-at-Large, Mayor, and City Commissioner are running without the endorsement or “support” of the RCC, yet they continue to run as they believe in their platform and qualifications.  Ms. Delany was not one of those candidates.  When she initially sought and did not win the RCC endorsement for her City Council run, she dropped out of the race.  Shortly thereafter, she announced a run for City Commissioner with a late RCC endorsement, raising serious questions as to why the RCC, led by Vito Canuso and Mike Meehan, would endorse Ms. Delany for City Commission but not for Council-at-Large, as her qualifications did not change in the short time span between runs.  It is widely speculated that Ms. Delany’s RCC-backed run for Commission was a direct bid to try and pull votes from Commissioner Candidate Al Schmidt, who challenged Canuso and Meehan for control over the RCC and challenged a weak audit of the RCC-controlled Philadelphia Parking Authority. 

Last night, at the East Falls Community Council’s Candidates’ Forum, Ms. Delany confirmed many of our suspicions about her candidacy, as she showed the audience that she did not have a clear understanding of what the Commissioner’s office does, what the election laws are, and why she’s running for that office. During her speech, Ms. Delany said she was asked if she was running to be “eye candy” for the election, somehow conveying a sexist or inappropriate connotation to her experiences as a “real” candidate; which shows that others are also questioning the odd timing for which she became a Commissioners candidate after withdrawing from the Council-at-Large race.  See, I’m personally compelled to analyze her motivation for running.  When I first met Ms. Delany, she was running for City Council, which is a legislative position involving constituent service and oversight of city agencies requesting budgetary allotment.  When she dropped out of that race, she promptly joined the race for City Commissioner, a position that involves regulatory enforcement and oversight of election law.  This is a very different position from council, which begs the question whether Ms. Delany truly wants to be a Council Member or Commissioner; or whether she just wants a good-paying elected position with influence and a favor from the RCC in her pocket?

She then proceeded to speak about what she’d do to fix the Commissioner’s office; without a clear understanding of the legal responsibilities and the authority of the office.  This was highlighted by her claim that she would have been able to, as Commissioner, take care of the November 4, 2008 incident where New Black Panther Samir Shabazz was recorded in front of the entrance to a polling place wearing black BDUs and holding a police-style baton.  When challenged by an audience member within the hyper-literate crowd of critical thinkers that were in attendance, Ms. Delany said that she would have notified the DA’s office for Voter Intimidation.  The problem is that:
  1. She didn’t know that the crime was called “Voter Intimidation”, she stammered and asked the crowd for assistance and her opponent, Al Schmidt told her that it was voter intimidation, which is publically known since the story had considerable media coverage.
  2. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has no jurisdiction over the crime of Voter Intimidation, which is a federal offense requiring report to the FBI and/or US Attorney’s Office.  I’m not even running for Commissioner and I knew that.
  3. If these incidents occur, then the City Commissioner’s Office has already failed to carry out its mission to provide fair and safe voting places.  The real question is why Philadelphia, unlike the other 66 Pennsylvania counties and every other major city in America, fails to assign a law enforcement officer (police, sheriff, or constable) at every polling place on Election Day.  This preventative measure would have kept the panthers away from polling places in the first place.
So as much as I like being friendly with the folks I see at political events, I feel compelled to call out what I feel is a straw candidate and distraction from candidates who can actually make a difference (such as Schmidt and Singer).   In my opinion, Ms. Delany’s rapid withdrawal from the Council race and subsequent endorsement in the Commissioner’s race against stinks of the same RCC manipulation seen in the endorsement of Karen Brown against John Featherman in the Mayoral election. 

As Philadelphians for Ethical Leadership, it’s irresponsible for us to stand by and tolerate the manipulation of the most important political race in over a quarter-century so that some unelected, outdated party bosses can keep their illicit influence. Let’s send a clear message to Ms. Delany, Ms. Brown, Mr. Canuso and Mr. Meehan that this behavior is simply intolerable by voting in a new slate of elected officials that actually have the best interests of the city, not the committee at heart.

VITAL Voter ID Bill is Criticized as Partisanship

Today, Daily News reporter John Baer  wrote a story on new legislation that would require voters to show government-issued photo IDs at polling places.  What I find odd is that the American Civil Liberties Union, the League of Women Voters and most Democrats oppose this simple, common-sense law that would drastically curb voter fraud in Pennsylvania

Anyone following the heated City Commissioner's race can attest to the myriad of voter irregularities that have plagued elections in Philadelphia for upwards of a half-century.  It's also common knowledge that machine-politics on both sides of the aisle have long discouraged election reform and modernization of the process as it takes some of the shady "tools" (to include fraudulent petition-signings, dead voters, and rigging voter registrations) at their disposal away.  However, the opposition to this bill doesn't come from the party bosses we would expect it to come from, it comes from rights activists who somehow equate an identification card with economic status.

The ACLU called the law requiring voters to show their ID "voter suppression," unnecessary and costly, even though the polling place is supposed to have their name on the voter rolls when they arrive. The ACLU cites a 2006 study by the "Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law" (which doesn't sound at all liberally-biased) saying that 11 percent of the voting-age population lacks photo IDs, including 18 percent of seniors, 25 percent of African-Americans and 15 percent of those with incomes under $35,000.  So instead of working to correct the contributing factor as to why these groups are somehow having trouble obtaining a state-issued identification card that ranges from free to $30.00, the ACLU are opposing a bill that will clean up voter fraud and restore integrity to elections effecting the very communities they are "representing"?

That makes no sense.

It's apparent that the bill, which is sponsored by State Government Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe, (R-Butler), a noted conservative, is being derided as a political ploy.  Reporter Baer asked Metcalfe if he was creating barriers for "certain" voters.  Metcalfe replied: "No barriers," "The state will issue a photo ID free of charge." Metcalfe further cited other states with the law where Democratic voting "actually increased", to include Indiana and Georgia.

In elections marred with fraud, illegal voting tactics, and special interest groups (to include Acorn); it's important to verify that the voter is only voting once, and has the right as an American to do so.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

PEL Circulates a Petition for a State Attorney General Investigation into the Sheriff's Office

Background (Preamble):
The Office of the Sheriff for the City and County of Philadelphia, an elected office, has been held by John Green (D) since 1987. On December 31, 2010, Sheriff Green retired with a year left in his term, shortly after a civil audit was announced by the Philadelphia City Controller's office regarding the misappropriation of $53,000,000.00 in revenue from "Sheriff's Sales" of foreclosed or tax lien properties throughout the city. This probe resulted in a three-month moratorium in all Sheriff's Sales ordered bu Court of Common Pleas Judge Dembe.

In addition, Sheriff Green made national news in 2008 when he refused to hold a court-ordered foreclosure auctions in response to the "Forclosure Crisis" in dereliction of the Philadelphia Sheriff's sworn duty to enforce legal contracts.

Currently, the Sheriff's Office does not have adequate deployment for field operations, to include all aspects of civil law enforcement (Property and Income Executions, Order of Attachment, Order of Seizure, Public Tax/Debt Collection, Bail Enforcement, Warrant Execution, Process Service et. al.).

It is the petitioners' accusation that the Green Administration's failure to collect funds owed to the city and lien holders therein was a political tactic to counter favor among his voting base which contributed to the current municipal budget crisis. Furthermore, the petitioners assert that poor fiscal management, accounting, bookkeeping, and the misappropriation of over $53,000,000 under review by the Controller's Office is a direct result of waste, fraud, abuse, and possible theft by senior ranking members of the Sheriff's Office under the Green Administration.

We therefore respectfully request that the State Attorney General initiate an investigation into these allegations forthwith.
As Philadelphia is currently facing a monumental budget crisis, the petitioners are asking for State Oversight and Investigation into the aforementioned allegations to bring the Green Administration to justice, locate and return missing/stolen funds, and require the Office of Sheriff to enforce civil law and execute field civil law enforcement and collection operations consistent with similar Sheriff's Offices throughout the Commonwealth and the Nation in order to hold citizens equally accountable for state and municipal taxation.
Sign the Petition at: