Monday, April 30, 2007

Bryan Lentz Update

Let’s check in with one of the candidates whose campaigns I supported this past November. State Rep Bryan Lentz (D-161) has introduced five bills and has two more in the works, and has cosponsored 15 others. A few patterns I see are in keeping with areas he talked about before the election.

Reform – He has cosponsored HB 552 which prohibits private vehicle leases for state house representatives, and HB 443 on open records. He has introduced a bill (number not available yet) on the penalties for violating the state’s sunshine laws. In this excerpt from the house’s press release on the proposed legislation:

The Pennsylvania Sunshine Act requires public agencies to take all official actions and conduct all deliberations leading up to official actions at public meetings – allowing the public to witness agency decisions and, with limited exceptions, the discussions leading up to those decisions.

Last week a statewide investigative grand jury looking into corruption in Haverford Township issued its report detailing how township commissioners mishandled the sale and redevelopment of former state hospital property. One commissioner has been charged with bribery and other offenses.

The grand jury concluded the Haverford investigation by adding a series of recommendations for improving Pennsylvania's Sunshine Act. Those recommendations are included in Lentz’s legislation.

“The Sunshine Act should be strengthened,” Lentz said. “The public is fed up with a lack of transparency in local government. It is my hope that this proposal would end the practice of informing the public as an afterthought. To protect the public interest, we need rules in place to effectively enforce this law.”

Daddy Democrat looked up the URL for the existing sunshine law.
According to the Inquirer:
But the grand jury said there were no effective penalties for violating the law, given that it has a top fine of $100. A revised Sunshine Law should specifically address "intentional misrepresentations" and failure to publicly disclose facts about official business.
The grand jury suggested a toughened act patterned after Pennsylvania's Ethics Act, which forbids officials from using their office for personal financial gain. Penalties can riseup to $10,000 and five years in prison. Source: “Haverford was in the dark about sunshine act,” by Mari A. Schaefer, 4/27

Another area of interest, both at the state and federal level, is management of the Philadelphia airport. This past Wednesday Lentz introduced a bill to create a Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Airport Authority. It must be a really hot topic because three local publications covered the story.

Authority proposed to run Phila airport,” by William Bender, Philadelphia Inquirer 4/26

Lentz’s regional airport bill meets some resistance,” by John M. Roman, Delaware County Times, 4/27

Regional airport authority proposed,” Philadelphia Business Journal 4/27

On environmental issues, the Sierra Club and Clean Water Action both endorsed Lentz . He has kept the faith with them by cosponsoring the following bills:

HB 110 requires study to be performed on the impact of greenhouse gases
HB 551 making 50% of all state vehicles “fuel-efficient” by 2010
HB 857 & 858 eliminate sales tax on qualifying hybrid vehicles

You can check out the man himself at his next town hall meeting: Join State Rep. Bryan R. Lentz for a discussion on the Governor’s health care plan, Prescription for Pennsylvania7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 17th in the Brookhaven Borough Hall, 2 Cambridge Road Brookhaven, PA 19015.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Injudicious Conduct

In watching the judicial elections there are two Inquirer articles that caught my eye. One is from this Sunday’s paper, “Dilapidation on his docket,” by Nancy Phillips. She writes about Common Pleas Court Judge Willis W. Berry, Jr., who is running unendorsed and without the Bar Association’s recommendation for state Supreme Court. Judge Berry owns 11 properties in North Philadelphia, most in poor condition. More distressing, though, is the fact that he operates his rental business out of his judge’s chambers. Not good.

On April 1, Tom Ferrick, Jr. wrote “In hock, and also hoping for your vote,” in which he tallies up some of the local candidates who owe back taxes. He has a long list of judicial candidates for Philadelphia traffic court, court of common pleas, row offices, and city council.

The Foodstamp Challenge

There was a brief note in last Sunday’s Inquirer that the governor of Oregon was going to try to spend on $3.00 a day on food for a week to see what it was like to live on foodstamps. Oregon provides $21.00 per person per week. It doesn’t seem like much but I took some time to think about it. I spend between half again and twice as much per person at the grocery store every week and once a month someone in the house takes a trip to a big box discount warehouse for things we use frequently that can be purchased in bulk. So you could say a little more than 42.00 per person per week but there is a lot of waste and extravagance built into that.

As I went shopping this week I looked more carefully at prices and did some preliminary menu planning. Then I talked with two other women who have the same number of people in their households and who are, like me, frugal at heart. We all decided that we could, if we had to, make do on $21.00 per week per person. But we all agreed that those who need foodstamps probably couldn’t. Read on for why.

On the plan my peeps and I came up with, breakfast would be pancakes from generic pancake/biscuit mix, bulk purchased sausage, and generic orange juice. That would give everyone a reasonably well balanced start to the day. Note there is no store bought pancake syrup. That is an extravagance. You can make your own by boiling equal amounts of sugar and water.

Lunch for school kids is tricky. There is the old standby peanut butter sandwich, add jelly for extravagance. A can of plain spaghettios would take up most of your lunch money. Again, cooking your own at home, pasta and tomato sauce, maybe with some ground beef thrown in, would make an entrĂ©e. But you’d need a food thermos to make that work. You can get a big bag of carrots (or a bunch and cut them yourself) to parcel out a few each day for lunch. That is one of the more affordable veggies. My favorite, green peppers (cut into strips), are out of budget. Fruit is the killer. At the grocery store I priced apples at about .50 each. That’s half of a meal allowance. You’d have to slice it into halves or quarters. Lemon juice would be an extravagance so the apple would brown during the day until meal time.

Dinner can be done on the cheap. I bought 5 bags of frozen veggies for $5.00, which should last for more than a week. Buy a chicken and cook it, put with your frozen veggies, add bread and butter or biscuits and you have a meal. The chicken might last for two meals or provide leftovers for lunch.

However, my friends and I could manage because we have things people who really need foodstamps don’t. Here’s the list we came up with:

1) We have options on grocery stores. I can easily get to five chain grocery stores, a mom and pop, and the discount warehouse. One of my friends said she could easily spend $20 on gas to drive to get her $12 of groceries. Those with fewer options are likely to pay more. Those whose only option is a convenience store probably can’t live on what can be bought there for $21.00 per week.

2) We have equipment. My kitchen holds a standard oven, a microwave, and a toaster oven. My cupboards are a shrine to Tupperware and the counter stocks a variety of sizes of Ziploc bags. Someone whose stove has only one working burner is in trouble. At the beginning of each year I buy 2 food thermoses per kid to allow for loss and breakage. That gives me a lot of options as far as lunch goes.

3) We have gardens or friends with gardens. Last weekend Mr. J planted peas and green beans in a corner of the backyard. Tomatoes may follow. This really helps with vegetables in the summer. A woman at work has chickens and sometimes brings in fresh eggs for people to take for free.

4) We have cash to start with. It takes money to buy things in bulk and if you only have $21.00 per week per person you can’t afford to stock up. The plant bench in my kitchen looks like a bunker. There are currently three 2 pound boxes of Cheerios on it. That will last us awhile but it took start up cash to get. Ditto with the bulk purchase of ground beef that is separated into roughly half pound segments, wrapped and frozen.

5) We have time. All those I surveyed were in two parent homes and only worked one job each. Someone is home to cook. You can buy a nice plump chicken for a good price but it takes a few hours to cook. We also have central air so we can cook in the summer without overheating the whole house.

6) We all have our own living space. The only people who get into our refrigerators are people in our immediate family. If you share living space, the friends or relatives of those you live with can wipe you out quickly.

My grocery list for this exercise included no beverages – better hope your water tastes good and doesn’t come in through rusty pipes. There were no chips, no cookies, no sweets, no snacks of any kind. It can be done but it is grim and the menu has little variety. Keeping the meals nutritionally balanced requires exact planning.

What I thought was most lacking was the room to experiment. If you can only buy as much as can be eaten in a week there is no room for error. You can’t try anything new because if it turns our poorly you can’t afford replacements. I enjoy puttering in the kitchen and this budget would remove that small pleasure.

It is good for all of us to think about these things, the amount we spend on food versus what we as a people have decided the poor should be able to get by on. When we ask families to buy food for $21 per person per week we are giving them a hard task in the best of circumstances and an impossible one in many.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

PA in the WSJ

Some interesting bits this week, especially the political news.

PA Politicians

In “Colleges’ Culture of Privacy Often Overshadows Safety,” by Elizabeth Bernstein (4/27), we find this:

This week Republican Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, who is a psychologist and co-chair of the congressional mental-health caucus, proposed spelling out that the “health and safety” exception includes concerns of suicide, homicide or threats of physical violence. His amendment also would absolve college officials of liability if they contact parents to discuss concerns about a dependent student, as long as they consulted first with a licensed mental-health professional. “Universities can find parents when it comes time to pay the tuition or co-sign a loan,” Mr. Murphy says, “Let’s get them involved when their child is in danger.”

No good news for Pennsylvania in “Strength in Newcomers’ Numbers,” by June Kronholz (4/23), which says that by 2030 the state will lose four congressional seats. The only good point may be that by then all of Montgomery County would be in one district instead of scattered to the winds. Two interesting quotes from the article:
The Constitution requires a census every 10 years to divvy up House seats – there are currently 435 – based on each state’s population. It requires that all “free Persons” be counted, which is taken to include legal and illegal immigrants and long term visitors. That means that much of the coming political shift will be caused by people who aren’t citizens and may have no prospect of voting.

The Center for Immigration Studies, a Wahsington think tank tha favors reduced immigration, says that in 2002 it took fewer than 35,000 votes to win a seat in two California districts that have lots of illegal immigrants. By contrast, it took about 100,000 votes to win the typical congressional race in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and other low-immigration states.

PA Businesses

From “Funds to Opposed CVS Board Choices,” by Jennifer Levitz (4/23) mentions that “Pension funds in Louisiana and Pennsylvania have filed class-action lawsuits, alleging CVS offered Caremark directors protection from legal action or penalties related to improperly backdated stock options.”

There is a mention of Moody’s of West Chester in “House Prices Slide as Property Glut Grows,” by James R. Hagerty (4/25). A chart accompanying the article notes that housing prices in Philadelphia are down, housing inventory is up 14%, the employment outlook is weak, and 2.68% of loan payments are overdue.

Other PA

Phillies player Jamie Moyer’s Moyer Foundation uses 78.12% of its expenses for charitable programs. This and other information from “Big Players in Charity,” by G. Bruce Knecht (4/28)

The work of University of Pennsylvania researchers is highlighted in “Enzyme Tied to Cystic-Fibrosis,” by Dina Wisenberg Brin (4/25)

Norman L. Reimer, executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers makes this point in a letter on 4/24: “Take Pennsylvania, where public defenders provide counsel in 80% of all cases, yet the state does not put $1 into public defense. The burden falls to the counties, where resources vary widely. Consequently, the kind of legal representation one receives in Pennsylvania depends on the county in which an arrest takes place.”

Marisa Weiss, a Philadelphia breast oncologist and founder of is quoted in “An Easier Breast-Cancer Test,” by Kathryn Kranhold (4/24)

Other Interesting Tidbits

Interesting article on Gen. James Jones who is being courted by people from both parties for military advice and possibly to run for office. “The Courting of General Jones,” by Neil King, Jr. (4/23)

The recent interest by employers to automatically enroll employees in retirement plans is discussed in “Employers Grab Reins of Workers’ 401(K)s,” by Eleanor Laise (4/25)

weekly legislative update

This is a list of bills that passed the Pennsylvania House or Senate this week, and mention of any noteworthy resolutions. Standard caveats apply (resolutions not generally included, list of sponsors deleted if it was too long - three lines in the originally formatting).

Our accountant friends at PICPA have provided their usual informative weekly update.
Other updates this week:

PA GOP Senate
PA Democratic Senate
PA GOP House (server down when I checked)
PA Democratic House


Several resolutions were passed this week. Here are two that caught my eye.

(Both House and Senate) A Resolution recognizing the United Parcel Service of America, Inc., on its centennial celebration and honoring its contributions to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

HR 115 Prior Printer's No. 819.Printer's No. 1442. A Resolution directing the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to determine the effectiveness of keystone opportunity zones, keystone opportunity expansion zones and keystone opportunity improvement zones.



HB111 Prior Printer's Nos. 133, 980.Printer's No. 1268. An Act amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, providing for development of economic education and personal financial literacy programs; and establishing the Economic Education and Personal Financial Literacy Fund.

HB202 Printer's No. 235. An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for reports and removal of abandoned vehicles within the boundaries of a city of the first class or second class.

HB 272 Prior Printer's No. 304.Printer's No. 1266. An Act amending the act of June 23, 1931 (P.L.932, No.317), known as The Third Class City Code, further providing for residency requirements for vacancy appointments.

HB 347 Prior Printer's No. 397.Printer's No. 1263. An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for commercial driver's license qualification standards.

HB 840 Printer's No. 955. An Act designating the Main Street bridge on State Route 69 in the Borough of Sugar Grove, Warren County, as the AMVETS POW-MIA Memorial Bridge.

HB 896 Prior Printer's No. 1049.Printer's No. 1403. An Act amending the act of April 12, 1951 (P.L.90, No.21), known as the Liquor Code, further providing for special occasion permits and for limited wineries.

HB 112 By Representatives EACHUS, MUNDY and CALTAGIRONE. Prior Printer's Nos. 134, 413.Printer's No. 1354. An Act amending the act of May 17, 1921 (P.L.682, No.284), known as The Insurance Company Law of 1921, further providing for effect of act on existing laws and, in insurance holding companies, for definitions; providing for the Insurance Restructuring Executive Board and for Insurance Restructuring Executive Board approval; further providing for acquisition of control of or merger with domestic insurer and for acquisitions involving insurers not otherwise covered; and making an inconsistent repeal.

HB 642 Prior Printer's No. 703.Printer's No. 1353. An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for the offense of neglect of care-dependent person; and providing for the offense of harassment or stalking of care-dependent person.

HB 60 By Representative DERMODY. Printer's No. 85. An Act authorizing the release of Project 70 restrictions on certain lands owned by the Township of Harrison, Allegheny County, being conveyed by the township in return for the imposition of Project 70 restrictions on certain lands being conveyed to the township.

HB 331 Printer's No. 381. An Act amending the act of December 18, 2001 (P.L.949, No.114), known as the Workforce Development Act, providing for preference for training programs.

HB 419 Prior Printer's Nos. 483, 808.Printer's No. 1269. An Act to promote the general welfare and stimulate the economy of the Commonwealth by requiring that all government agencies purchase only flags manufactured in the United States; and imposing a penalty.

HB 503 By Representatives SANTONI, BIANCUCCI, CALTAGIRONE, COHEN, DALEY, DENLINGER, FREEMAN, GERGELY, HENNESSEY, KOTIK, PALLONE, SOLOBAY, WANSACZ, YOUNGBLOOD, SIPTROTH, KORTZ and LONGIETTI. Printer's No. 558. An Act amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, further providing for eligibility and incompatible offices for school directors.

HB 675 Prior Printer's No. 762.Printer's No. 1267. An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, providing for the offense of illegal dumping of methamphetamine waste; and imposing a penalty.

HB 688 Printer's No. 774. An Act amending Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for exemptions from jury duty.


SB 262 Printer's No. 300. An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for commercial driver's license qualification standards.

SB 365 By Senators GREENLEAF, COSTA, RAFFERTY, O'PAKE, ERICKSON, REGOLA, TOMLINSON, WAUGH and BAKER. Prior Printer's No. 403.Printer's No. 611. An Act amending Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for senior judge operational support grants.

HB 195 Prior Printer's No. 229.Printer's No. 807. An Act designating the bridge carrying SR 441 over the Swatara Creek in the Borough of Royalton, Dauphin County, as the Sgt. Major Clarence Edward Mathias Bridge.

HB 294 By Representatives SCAVELLO, SIPTROTH, CARROLL and PEIFER. Printer's No. 336. An Act designating the Interboro Bridge on State Route 2012, Monroe County, as the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

SB 72 By Senators GREENLEAF, DINNIMAN, TOMLINSON, ERICKSON, COSTA, RAFFERTY, BOSCOLA, FONTANA, ORIE, EARLL, VANCE, O'PAKE, WOZNIAK, BROWNE, BAKER, PILEGGI and STACK. Prior Printer's No. 102.Printer's No. 426. An Act amending the act of December 4, 1996 (P.L.893, No.141), known as the Volunteer Health Services Act, further providing for license renewal, continuing education requirements and disciplinary and corrective measures.

SB 83 By Senators TOMLINSON, COSTA, PUNT, RAFFERTY, ARMSTRONG and BROWNE. Prior Printer's No. 117.Printer's No. 850. An Act designating State Route 132 in Bucks County as the Armed Forces and Veterans Memorial Highway.

SB 760 Printer's No. 837. An Act designating the section of State Route 219 that is situated in Somerset County as the Flight 93 Memorial Highway.

SB 112 By Senators PICCOLA, RHOADES, WONDERLING, COSTA, RAFFERTY, TOMLINSON, BRUBAKER, REGOLA, ORIE and BROWNE. Prior Printer's No. 143.Printer's No. 599. An Act amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, further providing, in provisions relating to safe schools, for definitions, for the Office for Safe Schools and for reporting by school entities.

Friday, April 27, 2007

PA Congressmen in Politico

Patrick Murphy and Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania's 8th and 7th congressional districts respectively, are highlighted in a recent Politico article:

"Ex-military freshmen Dems step up on defense," by Amy Doolittle

Thursday, April 26, 2007

PA blog mentioned on Edwards site

Daren Berringer, formerly of Joe Trippi's shop, is now working for John Edwards' presidential campaign. Today on Edwards' blog he mentioned one of my favorite Pennsylvania political blogs.

Judicial Website Update

On the 18th I posted brief information on all of the Democratic candidates for Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge. Unfortunately I did not, at that time, have a web address for Timothy McCormick's campaign site. Someone left it in a comment to that post. For information on McCormock, please visit

Beverly Muldrow, Democratic candidate for Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas now has a campaign site. Take a look at: She and her team were in the train station again recently and, again, I was impressed with her and the quality of people she has working for her.

Democratic Presidential Debate Thoughts

I watched the Democratic Presidential candidates debate tonight. It was sufficiently engaging that I couldn't type and watch at the same time so there won't be any rough notes, just a few thoughts. The professional pundits will go over the candidates' remarks with a fine toothed comb so I'll stick to vague generalities.

Mike Gravel is a nut.

The candidate whose standing went up the most in my eyes was Dodd. I'll have to look into him further.

Obama did well.

Richardson uses too many expansive hand gestures and seemed ungainly somehow.

John Edwards did well I thought with the possible exception of the hedge funds question.

Biden and Kucinich were kind of washed out in comparison to the big three, with the exception of Biden's one word answer to the question of whether or not he could avoid making gaffes.

Clinton did well.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Water Water Everywhere

When Mr. J and I were house hunting, some years ago, the realtor showed us a great house with a creek in the side yard. The realtor said not to worry, the house was in a 100 year flood plain and had flooded a few years earlier so it was safe for another 90-some years. It was a nice house but we passed. The house we bought is on a hill, just below the crest. If water is coming up our driveway, an ark is afloat somewhere, possibly launched from the rooftop of one of our neighbor’s homes in the valley below.

In a region built along 2 rivers and a number of creeks flooding will always be a concern. When development has run amuck with little real planning and zoning is a hodge podge of municipal vagaries, there is bound to be trouble. And that’s what we have, trouble. Two weeks ago we had a very rainy weekend and flooding was in the paper again.

In hard rains we sometimes have a mixing bowl on the kitchen counter to catch the occasional drip. I work on lower ground and some departments were closed after the recent rains because of the problems people had getting to the office.

The rivers, Delaware and to a lesser degree the Schuylkill, get the most attention. Most of the Philadelphia area Congressional delegation belongs to the Delaware River Basin Task Force, with representatives from other states in the region joining also. This year a group of area congressional representatives contacted New York about overflow from reservoirs in that state (“On behalf of Delaware River families”). The same concerns were expressed last year.

There is a Delaware River Basin Commission which prepared a report a 96 page report. Solutions for those who live or work along the river range from the extreme but sensible, such as buyouts and preventing people from living or working along the river in the future, to the do-able but not so effective. Each body of water is different and each needs an individualized plan. Patrick Murphy, congressman for the 8th congressional district (Bucks County, a sliver of Montgomery County and a bit of Northeast Philadelphia) has formed a Delaware River Flood Task Force, with representatives of 17 municipalities along the river (Portner). He has also called for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study (Adler).

However, the problem is not just the rivers. There are creeks, with numerous branches, that feed into the river. Stormwater runoff is also a big problem, especially in overdeveloped areas. As previously written about on this blog, Temple University completed an extremely detailed floodplain map of the Pennypack Creek, setting a new standard for how this should be done. (See the Inquirer’s link to the floodplain map). Repairing and updating storm water systems is expensive. A recent article in the Inquirer gave the cost for just Whitemarsh Township in Montgomery County as $12 million. One possible funding source is a flood-control fee (Mastrull).

Big ventures like those are wonderful and get a lot of press. There are other, equally necessary measures, needed also. Some areas are building stormwater basins, basically big dirt buckets to hold rainwater and stormwater runoff, much like the bowl on my counter. There are zoning ordinances that can be passed limiting development in flood prone areas (provided you have adequate mapping available). There are rules on approved development or at least suggestions that can be made. For one example, when Wegmans built a store in Warrington they used a water permeable surface in the parking lot (Warrington). Proper care of streams, creeks, and wetlands are another. Townships and governments that encourage those living along bodies of water not to mow to the land’s edge but to leave a riparian buffer of native plants will also help prevent erosion and flooding. Grassroots watershed organizations can assist with these efforts. The largest of these is the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, but there are a lot of smaller ones out there, too, like the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association. .

Flooding is a topic that we often hear about when it rains but it is one that needs attention even when it is dry. Sorry to harp on it so often but it is a problem that affects all of us. As is said, we all live downstream, even if we live on a hill.


Adler, Danny, “Murphy ready to tackle flooding,” Bucks County Courier Times 4/06/07

Delaware River Basin Commission

Delaware Riverkeeper Network

Flood of Trouble,” Philadelphia Inquirer (series of articles) various dates

Is your house in a floodplain?” Philadelphia Inquirer 3/27/07

Mastrull, Diane, “Flood control fees gain support,” Philadelphia Inquirer 4/02/07

“On behalf of Delaware River families….” (Rep. Patrick Murphy press release) 4/18/07

Portner, Jenna, “Task force to study river flooding,” Bucks County Courier Times 3/22/07

Temple completes floodplain mapping,” 9/29/06

Warrington Township Board of Supervisors Minutes 1/13/04

Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Knox Knocks I: A Look at Corporations

A lot has been said about the business experience of Tom Knox, one of the Democratic candidates for mayor of Philadelphia. The two articles listed at the end of this blog post do an excellent job of giving an overview of the corporations he has owned. I wanted to do a little poking around myself though. The issues surrounding the Crusader bank have been reviewed fairly thoroughly in the papers so I looked more at some of the other businesses Knox has owned or been associated with. This post is not an in-depth as I would have liked but it has been difficult to find more information, at least in the sources I have at hand.

I was particularly concerned when reading about Kasser and Gimco. After all the city is not something that can be sold off after a year or so if it doesn’t prove profitable or something more interesting comes along. However, Knox has worked with a lot of other companies, some for a number of years.

This is not intended as a complete history and the companies are not listed in any particular order. You can, if interested, just browse through, most of the information is just straight quotes from news sources. Sources are listed, though most are not freely available on the Internet. So, here it is:

Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Co.

”It’s a great opportunity,” Knox said of his new job [appointed by the state insurance commissioner to run Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance So, which was seized by state authorities in November]. “I’ve always wanted to be the CEO of a large insurance company. Before joining the Rendell administration, Knox was an insurance and benefits consultant. He founded several firms, including the Knox Insurance Co., and the Knox Group. Knox was also an active fund-raiser for Mayor Rendell.

Later in story:

In November, Knox was on a committee to select a firm to handle the investment of $27 million in city employee retirement benefits. The committee recommended a firm that Knox had founded, although he had sold his interest in the company many years before joining the administration
Source: Purdy, Matthew, “Knox Will Head Insurance Firm….,” Philadelphia Inquirer May 22, 1993

Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Co, Radnor, PA, has a commitment from a Pennsylvania regulator to rehabilitate the company, despite the appearance of a conflict of interest involving a former rehabilitator of the insurer.

The conflict, which is threatening to scuttle the rehabilitation plan, involves stock investments Deputy Rehabilitator Thomas Knox made with Presidential Life Insurance Co., which under the rehabilitation plan is investing $45 million into Fidelity Mutual for a 49.9% stake in the trouble insurer.

In return for its investment, Presidential Life will receive 9.9 million shares of Fidelity Insurance Group, a new stock insurance holding company that will own Fidelity Life Insurance Co. Knox, who was named by Insurance Commissioner Linda Kaiser’s predecessor, Cynthia Maleski, in 1993, resigned Sept. 8, 1995, after his investments were discovered.

A former Fidelity Mutual agent who lead a group of the company’s former agents challenging the rehabilitation plan, said his group has asked the Securities and Exchange Committee to investigate the timing of Knox’s investment in Presidential Life.
Source: “Companies,” Best’s Review / Life-Health Insurance Edition, 96 #9 (Jan 1996): p. 120+

Medical College of Pennsylvania

HMO drops hospital from list of participating medical facilities

The HMO [Health Maintenance Organization of Pennsylvania] criticized the hospital’s [Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital] fourth negotiator, Thomas Knox, an MCP board member, for insisting on a cost-plus payment system as opposed to one in which the hospital would live within designation payment levels. MCP’s proposed payment system, according to the HMO, would have given the East Falls hospital higher payments than other network hospitals without “any documentation to show that the quality of care provided by MCP is superior to other hospitals … so as to justify a significant differential in payments
Source: Scism, Leslie, “Fee Dispute Ends HMO Link to MCO,” Philadelphia Daily News Aug. 9, 1991

Kasser Distillers Products Corp.

The Knox Group, Inc. – led by Philadelphia businessman Thomas J. Knox – said yesterday that it has purchased Kasser for $25 million. Knox promised to keep the company and its 175 employees in the city’s Feltonville section, where the firm has been located for 54 years.
Source: “Thompson, Gary, “Here’s Proof: Kasser is Staying,” Philadelphia Daily News June 8, 1988

Source: Bivens, Terry, “Deal Uncorked Kasser Distillers Sold to Investor Group,” Philadelphia Inquirer June 8, 1988, “But he [Knox] said he plans no resale of Kasser. “We’ll keep this one,” he said.”

It was not to be, though. In Dan Stet’s “Kasser Distillers Closing Its Plant,” in the Inquirer on Sept. 2, 1989 we find this:
The firm’s blending and bottling plant at Third and Luzerne Streets in the Feltonville section will be closed, and about 38 production workers will be alid off by the end of the year, Knox said. An as-yet-undetermined number of support people also will lose their jobs, he said.

Later in the article:

In an interview with the Inquirer six weeks ago, Knox predicted that he was going to turn Kasser into a money-making machine within 60 days. That, Knox says, is what he’s now done. When he bought the firm a year ago, he predicted he would be able to turn operations around financially. Yesterday, he said the best way to do that was by selling off the pieces.

Crusader Savings and Loan Association

Crusader Savings and Loan Assocation said it had signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by an investors group formed by Thomas J. Knox and W. Kirk Wycoff. Under the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, the aggregate purchase price is $4.1 million, the company said.
Source: “Allegheny in Line for a Takeover,” Philadelphia Inquirer May 11, 1988

Mount Sinai Daroff Division of Albert Einstein Hospital

[Roger] Hiser is being joined by Thomas Knox, owner of Thomas Knox Associates, an insurance company, and Thomas Fleming, owner of Healthcare Ventures, a business that buys firms involved in health care.
Source: Lowe, Frederick H., “Group Signals Intent to Buy Daroff Division Philadelphia Daily News June 17, 1987.

The deal did not go through. Daroff was later sold to someone else. Source: Lowe, Frederick H. “Graduate to Buy Mount-Sinai Daroff,” Philadelphia Daily News July 31, 1987.

Thomas Knox Associates

Knox resigns as chairman and chief executive officer and sells his 38% interesting. “The Ft. Washington based company designs and administers employee-benefit plans and operates preferred provider organizations in Philadelphia and Missouri through its Preferred Care subsidiary. (Source: “Calif. Bank Drops Bid for Rival,” Philadelphia Inquirer Feb. 10, 1987)

Preferred Care, Inc.

Preferred Care’s pitch to employers basically works this way: In return for being a company’s only health plan for its employees, the for-profit PPO guarantees lower premiums and hence less-costly health-care bills.

Preferred Care can make such promises because it plans to have, by the time it opens its doors in May, contracts with a select group of less-costly hospitals and doctors who are willing to provide care at a discount in return for the patients.

Later in story:

One advantage Preferred Care may have over some of its competitors is that it is part of an already successful organization specializing in medical claims processing and managing employee benefits plans – Thomas Knox Associates, Inc.
(Source: Gaul, Gilbert M., “Phila. Is Offered Another Way to Take its Medicine,” Philadelphia Inquirer Feb. 23, 1985

Preferred Benefits Corp.

Bids sought from companies willing to administer the [deferred compensation] fund [used by 12,000 city employees] showed significant savings over the $1 million fee earned by PEBSCO last year. An administration team recommended Fort Washington –based Preferred Benefits Corp. which bid $472,976. But [David] Cohen said, representatives of PEBSCO pointed out that Knox, the deputy mayor who helped advise the administration on the bid, owned Preferred Benefits until 1986.
Source: Davies, Dave, “Who’ll Run City Program? Plan to Change Administrators Draws Some Fire,” Philadelphia Daily News Nov. 5, 1992

Knox Group

Knox, a leader fund-raiser for Rendell’s mayoral campaign, owns the Knox Group, Inc., which designs employee benefits plans for corporations. He said he would sell the business, or otherwise “divorce” himself from it, to avoid any conflict with his new job [in the Rendell administration]
Source: Duvoisin, Marc, “He’s Rendell’s Man on Efficiency,” Philadelphia Inquirer Jan, 9, 1992

Knox said he formed the Knox Group in 1987. (Source: Bivens, Terry, “Deal Uncorked Kasser Distillers Sold to Investor Group,” Philadelphia Inquierer June 8, 1988)

Gimco International

This company, which sold and serviced trucks and agricultural equipment, was bought by Tom Knox in 1988 and sold to Ron Stout in 1989 who renamed it Stout International.
Sales for 1989 have increased over last year, Stout said. “We’ve sold more combines in the last month than in several previous years. It’s substantial,” he said. “I can’t help but think that some of the increase has to do with the change of ownership….”
Source: Fairley, Michael, “Union Native Seeks New Challenge,” Charlotte Observer Dec. 5, 1989

Gimco Farms

A turkey operation in the Carolinas, Knox said he sold half of the turkey farming business at a return of 400 percent for the original investors (Source: Bivens, Terry, “Deal Uncorked Kasser Distillers Sold to Investor Group,” Philadelphia Inquierer June 8, 1988)

Other big farms doing business with S.C. growers include Continental Grain, ranked No. 8 with $554 million in sales; Cargill, No. 9, $528.8 million; Louis Rich, No. 43, $111.67 million; Murphy Farms, No. 49, $103 million; Cuddy Farms, No. 54, $95.55 million; Seaboard-ISE America, No. 73, $65.47 million; and Gimco Farms Inc., No. 253, $17 million.
Source: Hughes, Bill, “Midlands Farms Rand with Nation’s Largest,” State, The (Columbia, SC), May 13, 1989

Gimco Farms President Bob Hord, however, disputes Successful Farming`s
$19.5 million estimate of his farm`s sales. He notes that sales from his
company`s turkey operations are about $10 million, which would rank it 342nd. Gimco`s truck and implement sales total $9 million.
Source: Mildenberg, David,” Among America’s 400 Biggest Farms Holly Farms 3rd Largest In U.S.,” Charlotte Observer, January 26, 1987

Further Reading:

Fitzgerald, Thomas, “Sales mogul's product: Himself as savior,” Philadelphia Inquirer,
November 27, 2005

Davies, Dave, “A Long Way Up - Millionaire entrepreneur as Philly's next mayor? His business dealings may reveal his style & substance,” Philadelphia Daily News February 20, 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007

For $500, Hear John Perzel Talk About Winning

I'm working on some long posts so this evening's offering is a bit skimpy.

Campaigns & Elections is having their annual The Art of Political Campaigning seminar from May 31 through June 2. Register now and it's only $505, as opposed to the regular $595.

Looking through the list of speakers and topics I found these Pennsylvania connections, as well as a note on Tom DeLay. There may be others.


What It Takes to Win
Speaking on what it takes to win elections from the standpoint of a legislative leader with the responsibilities of overseeing more than 100 races a cycle, representative Perzel will cover the basic components of a sound, hard fought campaign, what he looks for in a campaign organization and the basic grassroots components that take a borderline campaign to the victory circle.
Representative John Perzel, PA House of Representatives

No Retreat, No Surrender
Congressman Tom DeLay, Former House Majority Leader


The Internet is No Longer Just Tubes and Wires
In 2007, blind faith in traditional media is a recipe for defeat. Find out what you need to know to stay ahead of the curve and leverage the power of the Internet for your campaign.
Joe Trippi, Trippi & Associates

Video Killed the Radio Star
Effective Political TV Spots: The Strategy Behind the Winning TV Spot
Everyone remembers the Willy Horton ads from the 1988 presidential race. In this session learn how to make your candidate’s message just as effective, with and without the scare tactics.
John Brabender, BrabenderCox

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Two Upcoming Events

For those looking for things to do:

Monday, April 23rd you can stay home and connect to Dwight Evans' next videoconference. I won't be able to see this one live but hope to watch the footage, usually posted on his campaign site within a day or so.

The Montgomery County DFA group has a new website. Peter Amuso, Democratic candidate for county District Attorney is slated to be a their next meeting, May 3rd.

Philly Mayoral Forum on 4/21

Philadelphia Democratic Mayoral Debate 4/21

Rebroadcast 4/22/07

Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Philadelphia and 6 ABC

Moderators: Tamala Edwards and Matt O’Donnell

The format was different from most debates. The candidates all sat around a table. The moderators would ask a question of one candidate and then allow the others to respond or modify the question slightly to individualize it. This often led to candidates talking over each other. I couldn’t keep up with the changes in the questions and so went with the first, broad question asked.

These are rough notes. My apologies in advance for any errors or misinterpretations.

The candidates attending with links to their campaign websites are listed below (caution, Brady and Fattah's sites open with music, caution in work settings)

Bob Brady (B)
Dwight Evans (E)
Chaka Fattah (F)
Tom Knox (K)
Michael Nutter (N)

Q: Crime, what went wrong?

N: lack of opportunity, lack of jobs, educational attainment, commitment to focus on young people. Those coming out of prisons need jobs, invest in kids at earliest possible age, mentoring, dedicated attention and focus.

E: from a leadership standpoint it wasn’t a question of political will but lack of the right kind of leadership. Talking about this differently than others, esp Tom Knox. Need good solid leadership in police dept. Knox creates a record, I have a record

K: I guess it’s the time for everyone to start criticizing someone. I won’t do that. Too few jobs, too many drugs, need redirection in educational system. Recidivism too high, need career training in prison. Career training in schools, 45% of kids aren’t graduating. Been a businessman all my life, running successful businesses, hiring successful people.

F: will have a city wide all out effort to deal with crime, get illegal drugs off street, bring together federal, state, local police agencies, execute warrants for those wanted, don’t try to win political points off tragedy inflicted on Philadelphia families.

B: Son of a cop. Knows what is like for the phone to ring at 4 a.m. Need to give police officers tools to do their job. Cars that run, radios that work. Need redeployment. Shouldn’t have officers with guns and badges sitting behind a desk. Put habitual violent criminals away.

N: Only candidate to have put police officers on the street. Supported police dept. Targeted enforcement zones. My plan is the most aggressive on the table.

E: Tom is trying to sell himself as the David Cohen of the Rendell administration. No experience in fighting crime. I brought John Timoney to Philadelphia.

[Evans and Knox argue and talk over each other]

E: Knox is trying to present himself as something he is not. When Rendell was mayor, I was part of the Gang of 5 pushing for change in police dept.

K: Never said I was David Cohen. Rendell put me in charge of management and productivity. I can fight crime as well as anybody at the table.

F: Need to focus on fact that Philadelphia has highest rate of poverty of any major city. I have a program that has gotten 700 guns off the street. Need to work together not attack each other.

B: City is suffering. Had a summit with every major player. Chamber of Commerce has agreed to have 1000 jobs for kids this summer, give them a taste of what it is like to work.

E: There can only be one mayor. Who has the ability to do what they say they are going to do? Don’t believe Tom has that ability.

F: Personal attacks not helping

Q: Almost half of the kids in Philadelphia schools not graduating on time, a quarter never graduate.

F: As mayor education will be #1 priority. Will take families and children very seriously. Set up scholarship program. Reform effort needs to be supported. Schools will not be last in line.

B: Need smaller class sizes. I am a teacher and have taught at the University of Pennsylvania for 11 years. I know about class size. Easier to teach a class of 22 than a class of 60. Some Philadelphia schools have a 2nd grade and a 3rd grade in the same room. Need smaller class sizes, more individuality.

N: Need to make sure school buildings safe. I know what it is like to wonder what is going on in a school building. I take my daughter to school. First thing is ensure a safe environment. Primary focus, safe school environment. For those struggling, make sure there is a safe alternative.

Q: police officer in every school

E: Schools that request them should get them. City needs to increase money going to schools. Take a long term strategy to select new school ceo. Also talk about what happens at school. Organizing parental families

K: Have safety plans for each school. Need to give kids options to stay in school. Either four year high school diploma or career training. [gave example that I missed] Need economic viability at the end of 4 years.

F: Put a cop in every high school and middle school

N: have a school safety plan for every school, city police need to work with school police

F: nothing more important than our children. Had an officer in school when I was in school.

B: Ask the governor , mayor, etc. not to pick new school ceo until after primary. State take over, need to have state involved to get money from state. Mayor is responsible for schools.

E: support state take over. Do what is interest of students. Opportunity to open up more choices and options.

K: Privatized school scores not any better than public schools. Make sure it works before spend more money. Philadelphia has to take over control of the schools from the state.

F: When state took over the plan was for Edison to run all schools. Will be run out of town when I am mayor.

N: If state take over just about kids, then funding formula would have been changed. Support more funding coming from city. But can’t do as much as state can. State required to provide good education.

F: work with Rendell and state legislators. We will educate out children.

B: We spend $20K per child in the suburbs, $10K in city.

Q: Economy, Philadelphia 10th poorest city in the US, but has high tax burden

K: Where does the money go? We need to get that money back.

[talking over each other]

E: Only one at this table who led the effort for the convention center, which transformed city. That investment took $185 million. Arts and culture very important. Who best has the ability to implement what they say they will do?

F: Will cut the wage tax, eliminate gross receipts tax. We need jobs in the city, educate population so they have the skill sets needed. Need more college educated adults.

N: Focus should be city wide. Only person who has lowered a tax in Phildelphia. Already cutting the wage tax. Also lowered business privilege tax. Taxes a problem for all businesses city wide. Make it easier for entrepreneurs and locals to open business.

E: Using community college can move people from poverty. More options available than ever before re: funding. What did they do in the positions they were in.

F: My plan is to help 80,000 Philadelphians who have some college finish their degree. Set up scholarship, $15 million to get kids who graduate into college.

B: Speaking of the Community College of Philadelphia, when people had a problem who did they call? Me. Casinos bring a lot of money into the city. Problem is no neighbor participation. Get neighbor participation. Let them know what’s going on.

K: We have plenty of people in top of educational system. Plenty of people at the bottom. Need middle, with career training opportunities. Lowering taxes in Philadelphia because Rendell administration turned budget deficit into a budget surplus. Don’t like casinos and what they bring in. But do like construction and jobs they bring. If you don’t’ want casinos in people’s neighborhood, put them on naval base.

E: Casinos are an oppotunity for wage tax reduction. Helps expansion of convention center, hire 500 additional police. In a perfect world there would be no gaming in America.

N: opposed to what state had done with gaming. Nixed one casino location which now a Target and two other stores across the street. Gaming is “everyone else is doing it why don’t we?”

F: Casinos not getting at the real problem. Too many people below poverty line. Laid out a detailed plan. Lease airport. Let every family have an opportunity.

E: After 9/11 won’t turn around and let airport be leased. Fuzzy math.

F: Amendement in Congress to let airport lease with money be used in areas other than airport. Lease airport. Been done in other areas.

B: Half of airport in Del Co. A little against selling off all our assets.

K: Not going to base our future and our kids’ future on leasing airport. Getting it done can take forever.

E: Earned income tax. Something we are trying to do in Harrisburg first. Raise minimum wage, increase money to community college.

K: Better management more productivity; get rid of pay to play. Get rid of no bid contracts. Get rid of fraud.

N: lower taxes create opportunity, let people go to community college. When construction contracts given make sure more neighborhood people get work there.

B: Need to lower tax issue. Need to get better work force development. Vocational training or go to college. Need to make it safe for people to come into the city.

Q: what is a failure you have had and what did you learn from it?

K: Haven’t had any failures in my life. Did regret not finishing school but went back and finished.

B: 4th grade, didn’t catch a ball in a game.

E: in 2007 still debating issue of violence. I raised this issue in 1999 and we are still working on it.

F: used to skeptics. People didn’t think I could get rid of high rises or establish scholarships but I did. Failure is low aim. Need to think bigger.

N: first run for office, learned the importance of working harder, doing extra.

Q: Pay to play. Can you guarantee that city would trust government again if you are mayor?

B: No one at this table has been involved in pay to play. It’s about character. If you have character you attract people with character

F: Get rid of no bid contracts so there will be no correlation between contracts and contributions to me. Put contracts online. Put city budget online. Need a government that focuses on city issues.

N: Put a lot of procedures already. I created city’s ethics board. Personal leadership of mayor. Every contract now on city’s website. We have procedures and steps in place.

K: I’ve had 15 different companies. Key is hiring good men and women for high level positions.

E: We raise money because we need it for tv ads. If we could have this [debate] once a week on tv it would change the way we conduct politics. If you want to change the way we do business change the process. Public financing can change politics. Media has as much responsibility because airwaves regulated.

F: Voters need honest and open govt. Lack of educational attainment and high level of poverty. Ethic and effectiveness.

B: It’s the crime. We have to fix the crime.

Closing statements

N: Thank you for opportunity to be here. Voters have the power to change the future. I stood up and took the action necessary to move Philadelphia for the better. I Look forward to leading the city into a bright future. Demonstrated leadership, independent, integrity. Ready to lead.

E; Thank for opportunity to be here. [cites example of Faheem Thomas Child murdered in city of Philadelphia.] You have heard candidates talk about what they have done. Can they do what needs to be done? Have they done say what they said they would do? Hope you will vote for me.

F: We have to lift Philadelphia. Focus not on neighborhoods but on neighbors. More small businesses, more college graduates, more tenants becoming homeowners.

K: I grew up in public housing, grew up poor, written off told I didn’t have a chance. I don’t want that to happen to others ins Philadelphia. Pay to play hindering Philadelphia. Running against back room politics. Haven’t forgotten where I can from. Running for my mother and all mothers. Running for my brother and all families that have lost people to drugs.

B: There are four candidates that have all their life helped people. Knox hasn’t. He’s been in predatory lending, etc. My vision is too important to let Tom Knox be mayor. Families should be able to walk kids to school and go to a job that provides a living.

PA in the WSJ

It was a slow week for Pennsylvania in the Wall Street Journal.

PA Politicians

Rep. John Murtha is quoted as supporting a two-month funding bill in “Bush, Democrats Tackle Funding,” by David Rogers (4/19)

PA Businesses

Hershey is featured in “The Case for a Hersey-Cadbury Romance,” by Julie Jargon (4/19)

Comcast will provide content to a new online video venture (“Comcast to Provide Content to News Corp., NBC Venture,” 4/17)

Allentown based PPL will sell its Bolivian electricity-delivery operation and a related company. (“Employee Group to Bolivian Electric Unit,” 4/18)

Other PA

Robert Nelson reviews “The Day the Earth Caved In,” by Joan Quickly in 4/17. The book is on a fire in an abandoned mine in Centralia, PA

In “Next Debate: Should Colleges Ban Firearms?” by Vanessa O’Connell, Gary Fields, and Dean Treftz (4/18) we find this rather odd sentence, “In the wake of the recent Amish school shooting in Pennsylvania, there was renewed debate about the possible merits of arming schoolteachers.” I don’t think Amish teachers would carry guns even if they were allowed.

Research from the University of Pittsburgh is discussed in “Antidepressants Get a Boost For Use in Teens,” by Elizabeth Bernstein and Jennifer Corbett Dooren (4/18)

“Cuomo to Sue Drexel Over Loans as Other Schools Settle,” by Jennifer Levitz (4/20) discusses Drexel

A book by University of Pennsylvania professor, Witold Rybczynski, “Last Harvest” is reviewed by Andrew Ferguson (4/20)

Wharton professor Steve Smolinsky is quoted in “The Most-Praised General Goes to Work,” by Jeffrey Zaslow (4/20)

A Penn professor, Jeremy Siegel, is quoted in “More Professors Are Lured Out of Ivory Tower to Street,” (4/21)

Pennsylvania is among the states listed that have released some court records online, making them available to the public. From “Why You Should Spy on Yourself,” by M. P. McQueen (4/21)

Other Interesting Tidbits

None that I wanted to include.

Friday, April 20, 2007

weekly legislative update

This is a list of bills that passed the Pennsylvania House or Senate this week, and mention of any noteworthy resolutions. Standard caveats apply (resolutions not generally included, list of sponsors deleted if it was too long - three lines in the originally formatting).

Our accountant friends at PICPA have provided their usual informative weekly update.

Other updates this week:

PA GOP Senate
PA Democratic Senate
PA GOP House (daily session updates)
PA Democratic House


I looked through the resolutions and one or two caught my eye but honestly I'm too tired to really get a handle on them. Apologies.



HB 35 Prior Printer's Nos. 60, 979.Printer's No. 1006. An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for sexual abuse of children.

HB 191 Prior Printer's No. 216.Printer's No. 1007. An Act providing for the donation of blood by certain persons 16 years of age or older; and making a related repeal.

HB 282 Prior Printer's No. 314.Printer's No. 985. An Act providing for Commonwealth support for a Mental Health and Mental Retardation Staff Member Loan Forgiveness Program and an Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselor Loan Forgiveness Program for Commonwealth residents who graduate from institutions of higher education and who apply their degrees to careers as mental health and mental retardation staff members in this Commonwealth.

HB 296 By Representatives R. STEVENSON, BOYD, CALTAGIRONE, DENLINGER, GINGRICH, HUTCHINSON, M. KELLER, KOTIK, MILLARD, O'NEILL, PHILLIPS, PICKETT, PYLE, REICHLEY, GEIST, SIPTROTH and WANSACZ. Printer's No. 338. An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for costs imposed following conviction for passing bad checks.

HB 301 Prior Printer's No. 342.Printer's No. 997. An Act amending Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for subpoena.


SB 397 By Senators REGOLA, ORIE, RAFFERTY, O'PAKE, ROBBINS, ERICKSON, WASHINGTON and D. WHITE. Prior Printer's Nos. 96, 122.Printer's No. 749. An Act amending Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, imposing a central or regional booking fee on criminal convictions to fund the start-up, operation or maintenance of a central or regional booking center; and providing for a countywide booking center plan.

SB 44 By Senators PICCOLA, EARLL, RAFFERTY, D. WHITE, FOLMER, PUNT, ARMSTRONG, EICHELBERGER, O'PAKE, ROBBINS, WOZNIAK, ORIE, SCARNATI, REGOLA and WAUGH. Prior Printer's Nos. 112, 761.Printer's No. 855. An Act amending Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, providing for compensation of judges and for exclusive jurisdiction of Supreme Court; and making related repeals.

SB 183 By Senators PIPPY, BOSCOLA, FONTANA, RAFFERTY, WONDERLING, RHOADES, COSTA, KITCHEN, ERICKSON, O'PAKE, PILEGGI, TOMLINSON, BRUBAKER, WOZNIAK, BROWNE, LOGAN and WASHINGTON. Prior Printer's Nos. 219, 752.Printer's No. 854. An Act amending Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further expanding the offense of impersonating a public servant; and making editorial changes.

SB 121 By Senators COSTA, BOSCOLA, STOUT, KITCHEN, FONTANA, TARTAGLIONE, KASUNIC, ORIE, LAVALLE, O'PAKE, PIPPY, MUSTO, LOGAN and WASHINGTON. Printer's No. 166. An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for burglary.

SB 233 By Senator KASUNIC. Prior Printer's No. 270.Printer's No. 759. An Act authorizing and directing the Department of General Services, with the approval of the Governor, to grant and convey to Somerset County certain lands situate in Somerset Township, Somerset County.

SB 432 Prior Printer's No. 480.Printer's No. 753. An Act amending the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L.233, No.64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, providing for the offenses of operating a methamphetamine laboratory and illegal dumping of methamphetamine waste.

SB 433 Printer's No. 481. An Act amending the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L.233, No.64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, providing for environmental costs.

SB 434 Printer's No. 482. An Act amending the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L.233, No.64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, further providing for prohibited acts and penalties; and providing for methamphetamine production.

SB 436 Printer's No. 484. An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, providing for the offense of operation of methamphetamine laboratory.

SB 548 By Senators CORMAN, ERICKSON, D. WHITE, VANCE, M. WHITE, WONDERLING, FOLMER, WAUGH, GORDNER and C. WILLIAMS. Printer's No. 292. An Act establishing the Long-Term Care Partnership Program; and imposing powers and duties on the Department of Public Welfare.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

October House Journals

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives was in full session for eleven days in October. Keeping track of legislative and personal leaves has proven too complicated in a body as large at the house so I am giving up on that.

In reviewing the house journals I look in particular for discussion of issues. My apologies for any errors or misinterpretations. Page numbers refer to the page of the pdf files available on the state house’s website.

This was a productive month for the state house. Please take a moment to browse through my notes, especially those on the 24th. There is an excerpt from Rep. O’Brien that I think is very significant. Please also note the comments of Rep. Kirkland on Oct. 4th. If that story is correct it is really despicable.

No longer keeping track of leaves, too complicated

Oct 2 (2 p.)
Oct 3 (20 p.)
Oct 4 (48 p.)
Oct 5 (3 p.)
Oct 16 (27 p.)
Oct 17 (49 p.)
Oct 18 (67 p.)
Oct 23 (52 p.)
Oct 24 (98 p.)
Oct 25 (1 p.)
Oct 30 (3 p.)

Oct. 3rd, a number of speeches in honor of the late Bob O’Connor

Oct. 4th
pp. 20-22 minor’s use of tobacco
pp. 23-25, taxi cabs and the Philadelphia Parking authority
p. 27 Rep. McGeehan withdraws his amendment allowing a tax credit to families that join health clubs, buy exercise equipment or sign their kids up for sports
pp. 31-32 Rep. Kirkland discusses his efforts to rename a highway in his district for Willie Mae Leake, the first African-American mayor of Chester. She was a Republican but he still wanted to honor her. The bill went over to the Senate where it was changed to the Rosa Parks Highway. He also says the road itself was changed.
pp. 37-48 there is a discussion of hiring nurses from Puerto Rico, also nurse’s hours, rules, and stress

Oct 16th,
pp. 5-6 a farewell from Rep. Sather
pp. 14-19 a bill and amendment on riverfront brownfields and development in Philadelphia, the state is granting a lease on 7 acres for $10 a year. Rep. Watson is asking some good question.

Oct. 17th
p. 18 farewell from Rep. E Z Taylor
pp. 20-23 water and sewer authorities
pp. 26-27 Reps. Vitali and Gannon go at it over notifications due in commercial real estate transactions
pp. 30-47 gambling

Oct 18th
pp. 27-32 real estate developments in relationship to school districts
pp. 33-34 tax credit for families of the disabled [not sure about this]
pp. 38-39 drug trafficking to minors. Rep. Vitali mentions that according to these mandatory sentences a father who gave a son trying to an athletic scholarship steroids would be given a mandatory sentence of 3 years in prison.
pp. 41-42 farewell from Rep. Herman
pp. 46-53 copays for prescription drugs
pp. 55-56 coal bed methane gas
pp. 58-59 tax credits for small business to provide health care for their employees
pp. 60 the importance of PA-based banks remaining headquartered in PA

Oct. 23rd
pp. 6-7 farewell of Rep. Bebko-Jones. This is a hoot. For purely entertainment purposes you should read this. She says she never understood a word Bill DeWeese said, Dan Surra wears muddy boots, and Daylin Leach is a whacko and her successor should not have to sit next to him, and that Tony Melio kissed her everyday.
pp.18-20 farewell of Rep. Miller. This is very informative and I am keeping a printout of it in my files. She was the second woman elected to the house from Berks County and gives a lot of information on the first, Lillith Wilson, a Socialist who served from 1931-1936.
pp. 28-29, discussion of a workman’s comp bill that was the cumulation of work by the House, the Senate, Trial Lawyers, Pennsylvania Bar, PA Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Businesses. I can think of a few other parties I’d want involved.
p. 30 partnerships and LLC members can no longer use corporate funds for political contributions
pp. 34-36 billboards
pp. 38-39, Rep. Samuelson asks why an amendment on hotel occupancy tax is attached to a bill exempting National Guard from state income tax on emergency pay. My head nearly exploded on reading this.

Oct. 24th
pp. 40-53 on the gaming bill and riparian rights and smoking in casinos. Rep. Keller spoke on riparian rights (rights along a waterway). Rep. Lederer spoke on the rights given to casinos toward “associated areas.” In some spots she got fiery. One of her comments, from page 47:

I do not want to repeat what I have said. However, I do want to say that none of the senators who voted unanimously to put this associated areas into the bill live anywhere near the proposed casinos. I think that the casinos should be permitted to usurp the power of this legislature nor the power of the people. If they were to win this now, it happens to be my district, but it could be everyone here’s district.

pp. 56-57 Rep. O’Brien, now Speaker of the House, from page 56:

Let me also tell you about these insurance guys who says, they make the policy and say, we cannot afford to cover autism. You have heard about a company called United HealthCare, have you not? Well, let me tell you about the chief executive officer of United HealthCare. We are talking about instituting a premium starting at $40,000 for our families. The United HealthCare chief executive, who says w cannot afford to cover autism, made $124 million last year, Mr. Speaker, $124 million. But that is not enough, because he is a very talented individual who knows how to cut costs. So they gave him stock options of $1.6 billion, billion with a “b.” And guess what? That is not enough. So you know what this greedy guy did? They backdated the stock option, and therein lies his peril, Mr. Speaker, because the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) came knocking at his door and said, you know what? You just violated the law, and he stepped down from United HealthCare, but not soon enough, not soon enough.

pp. 70-71 more police officers
pp. 73-78 Keystone opportunity zones
pp. 81-90 lobbying reform. There are a number of good exchanges here but none brief enough to excerpt. I know how seriously those guys in Harrisburg take copyright. But there is good stuff there. Read for yourself. Rep. Vitali, ever watchful, is in rare form. I enjoyed and appreciated his comments a great deal. In October I watched part of this discussion on PCN.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Superior Court Judicial Candidate Lightning Round

I recently had a change to listen to the seven Democratic candidates for Pennsylvania Superior Court judge. Some brief information on each of the candidates is listed below, primarily from their web sites and their brief talks at the forum. Personal comments have been added in italics for some of them.

A few words about the Superior Court, and my thanks to Christine Donohue who took part of her time to explain this. The Superior Court is an appellate court, and the court of last resort for many people. The Superior Court heard around 5,000 cases last year; the state Supreme Court heard around 150. Three judges hear the cases instead of a jury. Around half of the Superior Court judges come to the court as trail lawyers; the other half have served as judges of lower courts.

For more information, see:

“A Look at Candidates for Supreme, Superior Courts” Centre Daily 4/16/2007

Pennsylvania Bar Association Judicial Evaluations

Christine Donohue

Highest recommendation for the Superior Court by the Judicial Evaluation Commission of the Pennsylvania Bar Association

26 years of trial and appellate practice
American College of Trial Lawyers
International Academy of Trial Lawyers
American Board of Trial Advocates
Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, Former President

Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline, Former Judge, by gubernatorial appointment
Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, former member, by appointment of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court
Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners, former chairperson, by appointment of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court
Duquesne University School of law, former teacher of professional responsibility

Former Pittsburgh 14th ward Democratic committee woman
Served on the boards of the Turtle Creek Valley Mental Health / Mental Retardation, Inc., The Hill House Association, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Western Pennsylvania, and the National Aviary of Pittsburgh.

Her father was a coal miner and member of the United Mine Workers. Her mother was a seamstress and member of the International Ladies Garment Works Union.

personal comments: She has a quiet demeanor but is worth listening to when she talks.

James M. Deleon

Twenty Year Veteran of the Philadelphia Courts

Municipal Court Supervising Judge-Criminal Division
Presided Over 100,000 Court Cases Including Jury Trials
Criminal Justice Center Chairman of the Security Committee
Member of the United States Courts of International Trade, Military Appeals, Military Review, and Appeals
Instructor of Paralegal Studies

Graduate of the West Philadelphia Catholic Boys High School, Howard University, and the Delaware Law School. Post graduate work at Temple, Temple Law School and the University of Pennsylvania. As a student leader at Howard he was part of the committee that brought Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to Washington, D. C. for his last speech there. Deleon has been active in a number of political campaigns.

A Vietnam War Era Veteran, James served as a Reserve Officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1970 and 1985. In 1975, he became the first black Officer to serve in the 717th Transportation Battalion.

When he is not working in his official capacity, Judge DeLeon divides his time between the Kaiserman Jewish Community Center as a Red Cross and Water and Safety Lifeguard Instructor, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association as a Track and Field and Cross Country Official and the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. He also currently serves as an Instructor of Paralegal Studies at the Berean Institute in Philadelphia.

personal comments: Just as an aside, red text on blue or blue text on read can be difficult to read. His palm card has both. In his talk he mentioned that he had been a recruiter for the astronaut program as part of his military service.

Ron Folino

Highly Recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association
14 years of experience as a trial judge, currently on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas since 1994
Of the 70 state and federal judges in Allegheny County, a bar association survey found Folino #1 in impartiality, #1 in temperament, #2 in diligence, and #3 in legal ability.

Graduate of Penn State University and Dickinson School of Law
He has taught judges in all Pennsylvania counties how to judge medical malpractice cases, and also teaches new judges.

From his website: His father worked for the county parks department; his mother was nurse. Folino once worked as a stand-up comic.

personal comments: Folino speaks well, both to groups and one on one. I was surprised to read on his site that he had worked in comedy. He struck me as straight-and-narrow kind of guy, focused and maybe a bit of a nebbish, but, to me, those are good qualities in a judge.

Anne E. Lazarus

Rated “highly recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
Appointed to the Court of Common Pleas in 1991 by Governor Robert P. Casey, elected by the voters of Philadelphia in 1991 and retained in 2001.
Experienced overseeing both civil and criminal cases.
Chairs the Ethics Committee of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges.
Holds a post doctoral law degree, an L.L.M. from Temple University School of Law.
Author of scholarly articles published in respected legal journals.
Appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
An adjunct professor of Widener University School of Law, The National Judicial College and The National Institute of Trial Advocacy.
A board member of the organization, Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent (VIP)
First recipient of the Judicial Pro Bono Award by the Pennsylvania Bar Association

Endorsed by Rep. Allyson Schwartz (see more endorsements on her web site)
Graduate of Temple Law School
Reversal rate of less than 1%

personal comments: I liked her. She’s crisp and professional, but not cold. I was impressed.

Jimmy Lynn

Appointed to the Court of Common Please by Gov. Bob Casey in 1991, reappointed, First Judicial District
Supervising Judge – investigating Grand Jury
Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia
Practiced law for 18 years in federal, state and local trial and appellate courts including the U.S. Supreme Court

Graduate of LaSalle University and Loyola University School of Law

Volunteered in New York City after 9/11, also volunteered in New Orleans after Hurrican Katrina

Son of a railroad conductor and a nurse, 9th of 12 children. Worked on Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign.

personal comments: Judge Lynn is very affable and easy to talk to.

Timothy McCormick

I cannot do Mr. McCormick justice. He doesn’t have a website that I can find nor did I get a palm card or flyer from him. When speaking he mentioned that he was been an attorney for 28 years and his workload mirrors superior court cases, mostly criminal with some family and personal injury cases.

John Milton Younge (web site best viewed through Internet Explorer)

Judge on the Court of Common Pleas since 1995
Graduate of Philadelphia public schools, Boston University, Howard University School of Law
Rated as “recommended” by Pennsylvania Bar Association

Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel
Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia (1985 to 1995)
Attorney and Counselor at Law (1982 to 1985)

Chairman, West Philadelphia Community Mental Health Consortium
President, Cobbs Creek Environmental Education Center
Chairman, New Life Credit Union
Board Member, Central High School Alumni Association
Member, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Mu Omega Chapter
Member, Deacon Board of Sharon Baptist Church
Past President, Friends of the Free Library of Philadelphia

Past President, PA Conference of State Trial Judges
National Judicial College, Reno, Nevada
Past President, Clifford Scott Green Judicial Council

Father a school teacher, mother a social worker

personal comments: I’ve spoken to Judge Younge twice now. He is very personable and people who know more about local legal issues than I do seem impressed with him.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Reform Commission, Part II

From the inbox:

In the first part of its work, the Speaker’s commission focused on reforms to the rules of the House of Representatives. Now the commission is looking at other proposed reforms that would require changes in state law or even constitutional amendments. Do you have something to say about open records, campaign finance reform, term limits, or the size of the legislature? This is your chance.

Later this month, the reform commission will hold public input sessions at western, eastern, and central locations in Pennsylvania . You are invited to attend and speak. Even if you don’t speak, you’re welcome to come and listen.

The public input sessions are as follows:

April 19, PITTSBURGH – Gold Room of the Allegheny County Courthouse, 436 Grant St.

April 26, PHILADELPHIA – Room 202 A/B, Pa. Convention Center, 1101 Arch St.

April 27, HARRISBURG – Room 140 Main Capitol

Each day’s session begins at 9 a.m. and is expected to go until early afternoon.

To sign up to testify, please contact Bill Patton at If you are unable to testify in person, you may submit your testimony online by emailing, and I will share it with my colleagues on the Commission.

Another announcement I saw indicated that the testimony could go on until 4 p.m. so pack a lunch if you go.

Curious about what the commission have done? Read an editorial by comission co-chair and deputy speaker Rep. Josh Shapiro on the commissions efforts.

Monday, April 16, 2007


If you are interested in the workings of state legislatures across the US, hop on over to the National Conference of State Legislatures blog, The Thicket.

Montco Commissioner Polling

This may be old news but it showed up on my doorstep again. On January 16 and 17 Global Strategy Group conducted a survey of 400 randomly selected voters in Montgomery County, likely to vote in the county commissioner's race. It was a computer assisted telephone interview with an error of plus or minus 4.9 points.

At the time of the survey if incumbent Democratic county commissioner Ruth Damsker and Democratic challenger Joe Hoeffel were running against incumbent Republican commissioners Jim Matthews and Tom Ellis the results would have been:

Hoeffel / 53%
Damsker / 34%
Matthews / 34%
Ellis / 27%

If Damsker and Hoeffel ran against Republican challengers Bruce Castor and Melissa Murphy-Weber the results would have been:

Hoeffel / 48%
Castor / 41%
Damsker / 32%
Murphy-Weber / 25%

Now that the candidates have been chosen and we have Damsker and Hoeffel running against Castor and Matthews it looks like Hoeffel and Castor are the frontrunners with Damsker running neck and neck with Matthews for the third spot.

Of course, all sorts of things could happen between now and November; this is just a snapshot.

New Feed Option

Knowing that some regular readers use a feed instead of coming to the blog directly, I have set up a feed with feedburner. There is a new widget near the top of the sidebar to subscribe, if you have not already. It is

Sunday, April 15, 2007

April 14th Democratic Mayoral Debate

Mayoral Debate 4/14 (rebroadcast 4/15)

Sponsored by the Committee of 70, the League of Women Voters, and CBS3
Larry Mendte, moderator

The Next Mayor’s wrap up

These are my rough notes from a rebroadcast Sunday at noon. Apologies for any errors or misinterpretations. The entire debate can be viewed at CBS3 here. My traditional tie report is at the end of the debate notes.

The three topics to be discussed are crime, the city budget, and schools.

Kelly Green, president of the Philadelphia League of Women Voters gave an introduction and encouraged people to vote.

The candidates are listed below with links to their campaign websites. Candidates are asked a question and have 1 minute to respond. The other candidates have 30 seconds to rebut.

Bob Brady (B)
Dwight Evans (E)
Chaka Fattah (F)
Tom Knox (K)
Michael Nutter (N)

Q: Police Commissioner Johnson is stepping down when Mayor Street leaves office. Should the next commissioner be from inside or outside the department.? Do you have any names in mind?

K: No names in mind, need to get best commissioner possible, hopeful that we can find a commissioner in the Philadelphia police department, need someone who can get a head start, prefer someone from Philly but will look every place

B: people who serve Philadelphia do it well, need funding, working cars, radios, would like to chose from inside the police department, exhaust every method to keep morale up, only go outside after talking with FOP and others

F: no silver bullet. We have had a lot of commissioners. I know something about fighting crime, need after school programs, beef up homicide division, should look in Philadelphia, not just in the police department, but also state and federal agencies in Philadelphia.

N: It is important will look locally, regionally, and nationally, people should be safe. I will have a top police commissioner to serve us.

E: Crime is a public health epidemic. I indicated on 12/11 would like John Timoney. It is not just about him, though, but about jobs, etc. We need a different kind of leadership.

Q: All candidates called for more police officers. In some high crime districts officers are not on police work but on other duties.

B: I have been endorsed by the FOP and the district attorney. They know I I will give them what they need to do the job, don’t need someone with a gun and badge sitting behind a desk, need more parole officers, violent repeat offenders should be staying off the streets, give the DA what is needed to do the job.

F: It is not just a question of more, but what we deploy them to do. We have fewer officers on street compared to other cities. Need to get civilian workers in offices to do work that officers not needed to do.

N: No question we need new deployment strategies. The safest place to be during the day is outside the [did not catch name] where too many officer outside are the courts waiting to give testimony.

E: I will put 500 more police on street, modernize the police dept, provide solid leadership. If I am the mayor streets will be safer.

K: We do need more police officers on the street, need criminal justice center as opposed to police house, should have judges, truant officers and parole officers, community center attached

Q: Do you support a new trial for Mumia; the FOP has denounced this.

F: I’m not taking a position on innocence or guilt but the need for the judicial system to carry through on appeals, everyone entitled to fair day in court, he may be guilty but should be determined by fair trial. The FOP has said this issue would not let this interfere with working with me as mayor.

N: The mayor of Philadelphia has nothing to do with someone getting a new trial. Mayor can make sure people are safe. Utilizing technology to make streets safe.

E: Who is talking about Daniel Faulkner and his family? Court has made a decision. Need to talk about what needs to be done to make everyone safe. Cannot move city forward if streets not safe.

K: He was tried and found guilty, no new evidence. No new trial. Make sure things like this don’t happen again. Make sure police well equipped

B: The mayor has nothing to do with this trial. It is the court system’s job. I am the son of a police officer. When an office killed in line of duty it is a major problem.

Q: Mr. Nutter’s plan calls for declaring a crime emergency, dividing the city into law enforcement zones. Some have said parts of the plan are close to martial law

N: What about the rights of people who can’t afford to move out of high crime areas? Their civil rights are already restricted. Everyone has a civil right not to be shot. Plan to take illegal weapons away from people. In neighborhoods people want to be safe. Need vigilance and political experience, neighborhood buy in. We need the will to move it forward

E: It is not an easy thing to deal with, most essential issue, need to invest in schools and jobs, need leadership, someone to stand up and say this no longer acceptable

K: don’t deny people their civil rights, enforce curfew laws, make schools safer, hold kids accountable for behavior in schools, make sure kids can learn in safe environment

B: I was at a senior citizen’s center and people started to leave around 4 to get home before dark. People should be safe.

F: I will not wait for an election. I have been working with the Philadelphia police department, program for people to turn guns in, need to get guns out of community, set up tip line for illegal guns for reward, mobile headquarter units, need to get young people off the streets

Q: Should Philadelphia be allowed to pass its own gun control laws?

E: The climate is changing. Pennsylvania listed as having the most African-Americans killed. Other mayors are stepping up on this issue. It is unfortunate that it takes this many deaths to get people interested, not just poor in minority neighborhoods, affects everyone. Mood is different.

K: Last year I asked people to sign petition to have own gun control laws, Rendell took to the state legislature. They threw it in the trash. The legislature should listen to their conscience not the NRA.

B: We should pass that law, too many guns on the street. In Congress I supported all gun control laws, stop straw purchases, join with colleagues to lobby Harrisburg.

F: We shouldn’t wait on that. A safer approach is for Philadelphia to do everything they can do themselves, have DA find out where people get guns, need faith based community, get churches involved.

N: I prepared to lobby the state general assembly, but cannot wait till they act. We need to implement my plan now. There were 296 black men killed in Philadelphia last year, if the KKK came in and killed 296 black men, then we would seen more action.

Q: In 2012, 27% of city budget will go to pension and health benefits for city workers. Should city unions pay more for pension and health?

B: The mayor must be fair with unions. I am talking to unions now, talking to firefighters to win back backpay, etc. 1 of 7 firefighters has asthma, working with unions now, need to get fair contracts. They are protecting our families.

F: his fiscal plan deals [missed this] need to be fair, cut wage tax, replace business tax with net profit tax, need to work with unions for fair contracts

N: challenging issue, be collaborative, with work with unions, fair to unions and taxpayers, cost savings that city needs to pursue and biz opportunities

E: don’t do it on backs of workers, in 1991 workers gave give backs; we need those workers. I have been endorsed by transportation workers, and 2 other unions

K: not balance budget on backs of workers, get rid of pay to play politics, no bid contracts, no show jobs, patronage, nepotism, don’t cut benefits and pensions

Q: leasing airport

F: Everyone running said they willing to explore leasing the airport. We should lease it and use money to focus on city’s actual problem, poverty, education, worst educational attainment levels of major cities. Way to grow city’s wealth is to give opportunity to people who grow up in shadow of city

N: can examine, but a long term process, not made any plans for revenues from leasing airport, not building foundation of his economic revitalization on airport leasing, but first make sure it works better

E: a voodoo econ ideas, need to make investments, earned investment in young people,

K: I don’t believe we can lease airport. The federal government said only 5 airports can be leased, must get permission of all the airlines, stick to getting rid of pay to play, no bid, etc.

B: Part of the airport is in Delaware County. I’m not sure Philadelphia can lease the airport. People live outside side because of city wage tax. We need more votech education to make sure people have the skills we need.

Q: Will you increase property tax revenues with the money going to schools

N: property reassessment in Philadelphia is broken. I have a child in city schools. Property owners deserve a fair system that reflects the fair value of property, should be revenue neutral, increases responsible and [missed this], fix system, not drive people out of homes

E: put a plan in place that makes sure we freeze what takes place with senior citizens first, overall tax reform package, Rendell moving in the right direction

K: property taxes are going to go up with new mayor, revenue neutral, reassessment, value going up when people not expecting it, protect elderly

B: Not for 100% property value assessment. Asks all candidates to ask that no new school CEO is selected until after the primary election

F: property owners should not be concerned, not looking for new revenues. Issue not being discussed is poverty in city, city can’t reach potential with 1 in 4 in deficit position

Q: casino gambling. Will you support the will of people is there is an anti-casino question on the ballot?

E: reason for casinos is to reduce wax tax, put more police on the street, reality we have to work with state not against it, understand anti-casino concerns, nobody generally likes gambling, reality is people going to Jersey to gamble, gambling here will bring money to city

K: wouldn’t want casino in his neighborhood, put casinos away from churches, schools, etc., put them near naval yard if they want to be near water

B: Concerning New Jersey, my prayers and thoughts with Corzine. People should not have anything near their neighborhood they didn’t want, no one talked with neighbors

F: state has schizophrenic relationship with city, taking over parking, schools, put in casinos with no zoning control, our relationship with state we need to talk and agree

N: terrible decisions to force location with no city involvement, use zoning code to restrict growth and development, matter of local control, I am only person who has lowered taxes

Q: For Tom Knox, there is concern about your to your campaing. For others, how will you deal with pay to play, etc

K: good question, when put $5 million in, understood that if I got out would lose money. Would not want my family to lose money. Now loan has been forgiven, can’t get it back, the money has been spent

B: I don’t have any millions to loan. There is a reason why in 30 years of politics my name not mentioned in pay to play. I am a man of character, people around me have character

F: I am less concerned with Tom’smillions, than with the hundreds of millions he says he will slash in budget will affect city. Knox spent his life turning around companies, I spent my life turning around lives

N: As the true reformer in race, I am the only person who has changed any ethics law in Philadelphia, literally re-written city’s ethics code, my record, 15 years in office, zero tolerance for corruption

E: I said in 1999 that something needed to be done. It is unfortunate that we need a crisis to change behavior, has always been about change

Q: Vallas stepped down as CEO of Philadelphia schools. Should the new mayor have some say in who the new CEO will be?

F: I intend to work with Gov. Rendell and school reform commission, not a process that will happen overnight, will have interim person, tremendous progress made but a long way to go. Talking about launching most successful school reform in nation

N: we should not put in permanent person right now, meet with mayoral candidates to have input, criteria, ensure open process for parents taxpayers to have a say

E: called for a blue panel task force, broader than school reform commission, compliment Paul Vallas on how far he has moved the schools, long term schools, what do we want the school district to look like 5 years form now

K: should wait, ask Gov. Rendell to wait until primary, bring Democratic and Republican candidate into talks, has hired people at high levels

B: ask governor and school reform commission to wait, on next mayor’s watch, we need a great character, a great cheerleader

Q: Should there be armed police officers in schools?

N: every public school should have a public safety plan, must coordinate resources, in some schools Philadelphia police officers to make the school safe

E: In 1971 there was an officer in my school, Officer Foster. Put officers in schools if requested, work in interest of children and parents

K: every school deserves public safety plan, some schools need police officer, every kid deserves an opportunity to learn, no kid a throwaway

B: if school asks for it, can’t put officer in every school. My mother was a non-teaching assistant. We need non-teaching assistants to patrol halls, cafeteria, etc. teachers need to teach, students need to learn

F: young people will be #1 priority. In my school Officer Reese was there, all the kids knew him. All high school and middle schools will have an officer.

Q: state take over schools?

K: philly should have control

F: work with Gov. Rendell to keep state city partnership together, distraction to try to unravel it

E: support what Gov. Rendell said, if it s not broker don’t fix it

B: need money from state

N: want responsibility and accountability to be local, mayor responsible and accountable. I am the parent of public school student

Closing statements

K: grew up in public housing and poor, know what it feels like to be written off, through hard work and help of city got successful greater than wildest dreams, need to give city new police officers, running to take big boss politics out of city, not forgotten his upbringing, running for mother and brother and every family lost a child to drugs

B: Knox talks about machine politics, stop beating on Nutter, Fattah, they have done good things, want a parent to walk child to school in safety, school look like a school not a prison, walk home to a safe house, get a good job, work every single day to make that dream come true

F: philly a glass more full than empty, in center city shining, low crime rate, condos soaring, too many neighborhoods crime soaring. Want to invest in Philadelphians, get illegal guns off streets, enhance early learning opportunities, quality after school programs, out of harms way, his family opened their own doors to kids and changed lives, put these values in action

N: on 5/14 use power to vote to change city, can bring reforms, schools, when corruptions scandal broke out closed loopholes, put 100 new officers on streets of philly, a leader , independent representation

E: cites case of Faheem Thomas being shot on way to school, will work every waking moment to make the city safe, will work block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, bring skill set from Harrisburg, bring people together

Tie count: Knox wearing light blue (every time I have seen him on tv he has worn a light blue tie). Brady, re tie. Fattah, red tie. Nutter red tie. Evans, dark tie (did not catch color).