Monday, February 24, 2014

Run for Republican Committeeperson

February 24, 2014

Re:       Run for Republican Committeeperson
Dear Fellow Republican: 
            Please accept this letter on behalf of the Philadelphia Republican City Committee as an invitation to run for Republican Committeeperson.  As a Republican Committeeperson, you get to be the Party’s representative in your neighborhood.  You will have the opportunity to meet Elected Officials, be involved in policy discussions and help shape the City’s future.  The Committeeperson position is a great way to meet your neighbors and help influence the quality of life in your community.  In order to run for Committeeperson, you need to retrieve a petition and gets signatures from ten registered Republicans in your voting division. 

If you are interested in running, please contact me and I will get you a street list and a petition or help get you in contact with your local GOP Ward Leader to facilitate the process.  If you would like to get in touch with me, please call our office at 215-561-0650 or email me at josephjdefelice@phillygop.com.  In the meantime, to follow us more closely, please “Like” us on Facebook or “Follow” us on Twitter @PhillyGOP. 
                                                                       
Very Truly Yours,
                                                                                         
                                                                     Joseph J. DeFelice, Esq.                     
                                                                     Executive Director    
                                                                     (215) 756-4158
                                                                     Josephjdefelice@phillygop.com



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Voter Fraud by Election Board Workers? No Kidding

Philadelphia Republican City Committee
Hon. John J. Taylor, Chairman
www.phillygop.com 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:          Joe DeFelice, Executive Director
Phone:             215-756-4158 (mobile)
Email:              josephjdefelice@phillygop.com


Voter Fraud by Election Board Workers
No Kidding
Philadelphia, PA, February 18, 2014:  Today the Philadelphia District Attorney’s arrested an Election Board Worker for voter fraud by tampering with voting machines and electioneering inside the polls.  Executive Director Joe DeFelice stated,
“This is not surprising to us in the least.  Such voter fraud and tampering has been an ongoing problem in Philadelphia for decades.  In 2008, in the same polling place where Dianah Gregory is accused of violating election law, I watched as Election Board workers actively campaigned for the write in of State Representative Tommy Blackwell, who had previously been knocked off the ballot, in his primary election contest with current State Representative Vanessa Brown.  These workers, when approached by voters at the table, stated ‘We have stamps to write in Tommy Blackwell available here.’ While these actions are outrageous, they are also commonplace in the city and we need to take the necessary steps to prevent such violations from occurring.   The Election Board is the first line in providing free and fair elections, and unfortunately, this is where we see the majority of our election-related issues. Consider that in 2012 in Philadelphia, the Republican Party of PA, under my leadership, appointed 300 Minority Inspectors in divisions with few Republicans.  Of the 300 Minority Inspectors, 100 were denied entry to polling places and subjected to racial intimidation despite having a Court Orders signed by President Judge Pam Dembe. National news outlets, as well as local, highlighted these stories prominently and it is this coverage that forced the General Assembly to hold election reform hearings in the State Government Committee specifically dealing with Election Board issues in Philadelphia.  How can voters feel confident that their votes are being counted – and how can we ensure the integrity of any election – if we allow this type of tampering and fraud to continue in Philadelphia?  And how can we curb this problem if our inspectors aren’t even allowed inside the building?”
* *******************************************************************************
Philadelphia Republican City Committee · 3525-27 Cottman Avenue · Phila., PA 19149
                                215-561-0650 · www.phillygop.com · Facebook.com/PhillyGOP · Twitter.com/PhillyGOP

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

We're #2 - Why are Philly Poor Taxed More?

Philadelphia Republican City Committee
Hon. John J. Taylor, Chairman
www.phillygop.com 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:          Joe DeFelice, Executive Director
Phone:             215-756-4158 (mobile)
Email:              josephjdefelice@phillygop.com


Philly Poor Taxed More
Low-income residents forced to shoulder second highest tax burden
Philadelphia, PA, February 18, 2014:  According to a USA TODAY article “Top 10 cities with the highest tax rates” Philadelphia ranks second for cities with the highest tax burdens citing information from the Office of Revenue Analysis. Most revealing is the fact mentioned in the article, “Philadelphia's poorer families were subject to a much higher tax burden than those in most other large cities.” The Office of Revenue Analysis determined overall local tax burden by identifying four types of taxes:  income, property, automobile, and sales. Also a direct correlation exists between higher tax burdens and higher unemployment rates in large cities with Philadelphia’s unemployment rate at 8.6 percent, tied for third highest among the top 10 cities with the highest tax burdens. 
In response to the article Executive Director of Philadelphia’s Republican City Committee Joe DeFelice stated, “As a city government we need to enact policies that support upward income mobility. Unfortunately Mayor Nutter and the Democrat controlled City Council keep raising taxes on the most vulnerable, the working and middle class, who could use the extra money rather than paying burdensome taxes.” Higher tax rates deter economic growth and force business to think twice before relocating to Philadelphia and creating much needed jobs. 
According to Melvin Jonakin, owner of Schuylkill Falls Family Barber Shop and Schuylkill Falls Landscaping, “In order to create more jobs in Philadelphia, City Hall must reduce the tax burden on businesses and individuals. We need to increase the tax base and get more oars in the water instead of increasing tax rates and drowning our residents in a sea of taxes.” Also noted in the article, local taxes for a family earning $150,000 a year are $25,317. Financially it makes sense for two young professionals starting a family to relocate outside of the city where taxes are less burdensome. Being the city with the second highest tax rate hurts local families and businesses and hinders job creation. DeFelice concluded, “It should be Mayor Nutter’s top priority to work with City Council with the goal of reducing taxes on all Philadelphians, especially the working poor. A great first step will be rolling back the “temporary” property tax hikes proposed by Mayor Nutter and Democrats on City Council which were due to expire in 2012 but to the detriment of working families are still with us as well as following the lead of Republican City Councilman David Oh who recently put forth a plan to reduce the wage and net profits tax over a period of ten years by $100 Million thus resulting in a shift in the wage tax from 3.92% in 2014 to 2.09% in 2025.”
*******************************************************************************
Philadelphia Republican City Committee · 3525-27 Cottman Avenue · Phila., PA 19149
                                215-561-0650 · www.phillygop.com · Facebook.com/PhillyGOP · Twitter.com/PhillyGOP

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Breakfast Speaker Series Featuring Paul R. Levy

The Republican Party of Philadelphia

Presents

 “A Red State of Mind “

Monthly Breakfast Speaker Series

Featuring

Paul R. Levy
CEO of Philadelphia’s Center City District

Thursday, February 20, 2014
Doors open at 7:15 am--Program starts at 7:45 am 
at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia
Lower Level Downstairs
215 South 16th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

2013 Speaker Series Sponsors

Frederick W. Anton III, Esq.
Michael A. Cibik, Esq.
John DePaul
Robert A. Gleason
Rick Hellberg
Lee M. Herman, Esq.
Lt Col Kevin Kelly
Mark Kerschner
Andrew Terhune
Terry Tracy

A light breakfast will be served.   Attire is business casual.
The event is free of charge.   Reservations are required as space is limited.
RSVP to Denise Furey at  denise.furey@wolfe.org or 215-387-5641


Paul R. Levy is the founding chief executive of Philadelphia’s Center City District (CCD), serving in that capacity since January 1991. The CCD is a $20 million downtown management district, which provides security, cleaning, place marketing, promotion, planning and capital improvement services for the central business district of Philadelphia. Mr. Levy also serves as executive director of Central Philadelphia Development Corp., (CPDC), an advocacy and planning organization supported by the downtown business community. He serves on the boards of many civic organizations, including the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Committee and the Independence Visitor Center Corporation. He served on the 2009 Mayor’s Task Force on Tax Policy & Economic Competitiveness. He is a past chairman of the International Downtown Association and now serves on its board. Mr. Levy teaches at the graduate school of the University of Pennsylvania in the City Planning Department.  Mr. Levy holds an MA. and Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree in history from Lafayette College.




Local NAACP Should Look Out for the People's Interests.

Philadelphia Republican City Committee
Hon. John J. Taylor, Chairman
www.phillygop.com 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:          Joe DeFelice, Executive Director
Phone:             215-756-4158 (mobile)
Email:              josephjdefelice@phillygop.com

IT’S TIME THE LOCAL NAACP BEGAN LOOKING AFTER THE PEOPLE'S INTERESTS RATHER THAN THEIR OWN POLITICAL INTERESTS
Philadelphia, PA, February 13, 2014:  In a recent story highlighted on both Axisphilly.com and in the Philadelphia Daily News, several officials from the local chapter of the NAACP have asked the State Attorney General to look into financial misdeeds of current President J. Wyatt Mondesire.  The opposition group, led by Sid Booker and Ducky Birts, claim that the nonprofit has questionable financial maneuvers and has also asked the National NAACP to audit the local Chapter.  They, specifically Mr. Birts, have claimed “Mr. Mondesire got power drunk.  He thinks the NAACP belongs to him.” 

            This is not the first time Mr. Mondesire has operated on the periphery of the law.  Just a few weeks ago, in a Philadelphia Daily News Article, Mr. Mondesire, when responding to the Nomination of Bill Green to the School Reform Commission, in his capacity at President of the NAACP, stated, “atleast he is a Democrat…” which would be in direct conflict with the law that the nonprofit be nonpartisan.  Philly GOP Executive Director Joe DeFelice stated, “the time has come for the local Chapter of the NAACP to begin to work for the mission on which they were founded rather than be the ‘political advocacy arm for the Democratic Party’ as stated by former President of a Chicago chapter who was suspended for speaking out.”

*******************************************************************************
Philadelphia Republican City Committee · 3525-27 Cottman Avenue · Phila., PA 19149
                                215-561-0650 · www.phillygop.com · Facebook.com/PhillyGOP · Twitter.com/PhillyGOP

Monday, February 10, 2014

PAGOP RESOLUTION HONORING D DONALD JAMIESON ADOPTED FEBRUARY 1, 2014

Memorial Resolution for The Honorable D. Donald Jamieson

It is with profound sadness that the Republican Party of Philadelphia County and the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania acknowledges the passing of a former City Chairman, the Honorable D. Donald Jamieson on December 15, 2013.

WHEREAS, Judge Jamieson was born and raised in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.  He graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  Judge Jamieson married and bought a home in Philadelphia and began to raise his family.  He is survived by this wonderful, caring family including his devoted, loving wife Nannette and their son Douglas and daughter Hepburn, and a grandson.  In addition, the Judge is survived by a nephew Lou Bond.

WHEREAS, The Judge began his political career in the 23rd Ward and was elected as a Delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1956.

WHEREAS,  Judge Jamieson served in the Army and spent several years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Judge Jamieson spent twelve years in private practice before he was appointed to the Court of Common Pleas in 1965 by Governor William Scranton and elected to a full term.  In 1970, Judge Jamieson was elected President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District and served until 1973.  As President Judge, he was a leader in court reform receiving numerous awards and recognition including the American Judicature Herbert Harley Award and the Good Government Award of the Committee of Seventy.  He was also elected to the Board of Directors of the National Center for State Courts.

WHEREAS, He was elected the Chairman of Republican City Committee in 1980 and served for 15 years advising such candidates as Arlen Specter and Ron Castille.  As Chairman, Judge Jamieson also served on Republican State Committee.

WHEREAS, in 1995, Judge Jamieson was appointed by Governor Tom Ridge to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.  Upon the expiration of his term, Judge Jamieson returned to private practice at Mesirov Gelman firm which later merged with the Schnader Harrison firm until his retirement.

WHEREAS, Judge Jamieson served as President of the Citizens Crime Commission, Chairman of the Board of Shriners Hospital for and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Frankford Hospital.  He was also a member of the Advisory Board to the Philadelphia Council of the Boys Scouts of America and was a member of the Commission to Preserve Legal Services for All.





IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED that in recognition of this outstanding man who held strong the belief of God and Country, and as evidence of the esteem and admiration in which he was held by all his friends and colleagues, that this resolution, which is being presented by the members of the Philadelphia Republican City Committee, our State Committee members and by our entire Legislative delegation, be adopted and be permanently placed in the archives of the Republican State Committee and that a copy of this Resolution be presented to Don Jamieson’s wife, Nannette, and her family, along with the deep and heartfelt sympathy of his fellow members of the Republican State Committee.

Resolved this 1st day of February 2014
Republican State Committee
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania



_______________________________________
Robert Gleason, Chairman


PAGOP RESOLUTION HONORING JOSEPH DUDA ADOPTED FEBRUARY 1, 2014

Memorial Resolution for The Honorable Joseph J. Duda, Sr.

It is with profound sadness that the Republican Party of Philadelphia County and the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania acknowledges the passing of a former City Commissioner Joseph J. Duda, Sr. on January 8, 2014.

WHEREAS, Joe Duda was born and raised in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania and  graduated from Germantown Academy.  After marrying his wife Peggy, they bought a home in the Parkwood section of Philadelphia and began to raise their family.  He is survived by a wonderful, caring family including his devoted, loving wife Peggy, his daughter, Laura Lorio and her husband Gary, and his son, Joseph and his wife Sharon.  Joe is survived by his grandchildren, Timothy and Taylor Lorio and Kendra Duda.  In addition, Joe is survived by his brother, Stephen.

WHEREAS, Joe began his political career as a volunteer and Committeeman in the 58th Ward of Philadelphia County.  The Election Commissioners later split the 58th Ward and Joe became the Ward Leader of the 66th Ward Republican Executive Committee and served as Ward Leader for over forty years until his death.  The Republican registration of the 66th Ward continues to be larger than many counties.  Most recently, Joe tirelessly recruited committee people (90 out of 92) and election board workers.

WHEREAS, Joe worked on various campaigns including, but not limited to the election Frank Salvatore as State Representative and later State Senate; the elections of George Kenney and Dennis O’Brien to the State House; and the election of Brian O’Neill as Councilman in the 10th Councilmatic District.

WHEREAS, Joe was appointed and served as Executive Director of Republican City Committee for over thirty years.

WHEREAS, Joe’s interest in politics continued to flourish and in 1995, he was elected to the office of City Commissioner where he served with great distinction.  Joe knew the Election Code and may have been the only opponent of the Motor Voter Act in Pennsylvania.

WHEREAS, when Joe was stricken ill, he continued serving his community and the Republican Party as Ward Leader.

WHEREAS, Joe's passing was a great loss to his wife, family, their community and this great Commonwealth.  In short, it can be said that he loved his family and dedicated much of himself to the Republican Party, this great Nation and its political process.

IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED that in recognition of this outstanding man who held strong the belief of God and Country, and as evidence of the esteem and admiration in which he was held by all his friends and colleagues, that this resolution, which is being presented by the members of the Philadelphia County Republican Committee, our State Committee members and by our elected officials, be adopted and be permanently placed in the archives of the Republican State Committee and that a copy of this Resolution be presented to Joe's wife, Peggy and his family, along with the deep and heartfelt sympathy of his fellow members of the Republican State Committee.

Resolved this 1st day of February 2014
Republican State Committee
Harrisburg, PA



                                                           
Robert Gleason


PAGOP RESOLUTION HONORING GUS PEDICONE ADOPTED FEBRUARY 1, 2014


MEMORIAL RESOLUTION FOR GUS A. PEDICONE


  It is with profound sadness that the Republican Party of Philadelphia and the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania acknowledges the passing of former 26th Ward Leader Gus A. Pedicone, on Christmas Day, 2013.

  WHEREAS, Gus Pedicone was born on February 6, 1926, and was proud to share his birthday with his beloved Ronald Reagan.

  WHEREAS, South Philadelphia resident Gus served in the Navy in both World War II and the Korean Conflict.  In 1945, he was on board the USS Missouri to witness the historic signing of the Peace Treaty signaling an end to World War II.

  WHEREAS, Gus entered the political arena as a committee member in 1947 and served his community for the next 51 years.  He was the 26th Republican Ward Leader for 26 of those years.  In 1971, Gus had the honor of running for United States Congress.

  WHEREAS, after attending Palmer Business College and then receiving an Associate’s Degree from the Wharton Business School, Gus later started a successful Air Freight Shipping Business working in conjunction with such industry giants as United, American, and TWA Airlines.  His company, which later traded as G.A.P. Air Freight, was 49 years in existence.

  WHEREAS, Gus served on the State Tax Equalization Board and was a Board Member of the Vehicle Manufacturers, Dealers and Salespersons.  He was also a proud member of the Sons of Italy, Commonwealth Lodge #1949.

  WHEREAS, local civic and religious leaders saluted Gus at a Testimonial held in his honor on December 6, 1998, on his retirement as the 26th Republican Ward Leader.  He was feted with Citations from City Council, Proclamations from the Senate and a Congressional Record Entry.

  WHEREAS, Gus was blessed with his wife of 47 years, Mildred; three wonderful children – Tommy, Constance and Valerie; a precious granddaughter, Amber Marie and a great-granddaughter, Kylie.

  WHEREAS, we in the community who have been fortunate enough to have had Gus touch our lives and have called him our friend, have been truly blessed.  He deeply loved the 26th Ward and continued to support its community.  He will be truly missed.

  IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED that in recognition of this outstanding man who held strong the belief of God and Country, and as evidence of the esteem and admiration in which he was held by all his friends and colleagues, that this resolution, which is being presented by the members of the Philadelphia Republican City Committee, our State Committee members, and by our entire Legislative delegation, be adopted and be permanently placed in the archives of the Republican State Committee and that a copy of this Resolution be presented to his family, along with the deep and heartfelt sympathy of the members of the Republican State Committee.


                                       Resolved this 1st day of February, 2014
                                        Republican State Committee
                                       Harrisburg, Pennsylvania



                                      _____________________________
                                       Robert Gleason, Chairman



Governor Corbett to be Honored for Commitment to Philadelphia Port

Governor Corbett to be Honored for Commitment to Philadelphia Port


Good afternoon –

Later this week, the Seamen’s Church Institute of Philadelphia & South Jersey will present the Spirit of the Port Award to Governor Tom Corbett for his commitment to ensuring the Philadelphia port prospers and grows as a viable part of the greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and U.S. economy. The Philadelphia port is supporting more than 130,000 jobs paying more than $7.8 billion annually in wages and salaries.  The award is accompanied by an announcement recognizing the Governor’s achievement in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, attached and seen below.

Please see the following statement from Campaign Manager Mike Barley:

“Governor Tom Corbett remains committed to growing Pennsylvania’s economy, strengthening our energy sector with Marcellus Shale development, saving the southeast refineries and attracting new opportunities for the Philadelphia port and shipyards. Governor Corbett has kept taxes low and empowered the private-sector to create more family-sustaining jobs on a path to securing greater economic growth and a brighter future for the people of Pennsylvania.”

****

·        CNBC, Made-in-USA shipbuilding finds an unlikely ally, 10/25/2013

“And while it might not be surprising that the City of Brotherly Love is home to a thriving shipbuilding economy, the reason for the boom might be: domestic oil production…At a cost of $200 million each, the tankers represent a significant investment that will help boost Philadelphia's economy...And with energy production in Texas and North Dakota at record highs, it looks like the ship builders in Philadelphia will be busy for quite a while.”

·        Philadelphia Inquirer, After lean years, Aker Philadelphia Shipyard is hopping, 10/26/2013

“After several lean years, the nation's second-largest commercial shipyard has enough work to keep busy for several years. The 1,110 employees are back, and morale is high.”


“As the City of Philadelphia continues its role of as a major port for shipments of Chilean fruit, Chilean Minister of Agriculture Luis Mayol Bouchon met with Gov. Tom Corbett…Corbett says the port of Philadelphia is improving to meet the needs of the fruit business and other cargo….Grapes and kiwis are among the cargo that comes through the port supporting good-paying jobs for workers from truck drivers to those who unload the cargo from the ships.”


“State and city officials were rolling out the red carpet today at the Packer Marine Terminal in South Philadelphia for Horizon Lines.  The cargo company has decided in favor of Philadelphia…to the delight of Keystone State officials…Governor Tom Corbett…says it’s a major coup for Pennsylvania, and predicts this announcement will be the first of many….Corbett says this will mean jobs — approximately 635 jobs and an additional 200 vendors and others who will come in to serve those working.  Horizon Lines officials were equally optimistic.”

·        Newsworks, Delaware River dredging reaches Philadelphia, 09/12/2012

“More than 20 years after planning started for the deepening of the Delaware River, dredging of the nearly 12-mile section between the Walt Whitman Bridge and the Philadelphia International Airport started this week…Boosters of the project, including Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, say increased shipping will bring tens of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to the region.”


“Corbett led another phalanx of state and local officials back to the lower end of the county on Wednesday to complete something of a trifecta when it comes to the region's critical refining business…Thousands of jobs were at stake, and a way of life - a ticket to a solid, middle-class life - hung in the balance. Ten months later, all three facilities have a future, as do all those employees…Corbett has made good on his pledge to make Pennsylvania more business friendly, especially when it comes to the energy arena….Compared to where the region stood a few months ago, and the economic abyss that loomed, it's a solid investment.”

o   Site Selection Magazine, Philly’s Resurgent Refineries, 02/2013


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Germantown Republican Club Lincoln Day Dinner


Honoring State Rep John Taylor, City Commissioner Al Schmidt, Executive Director Joe DeFelice and Office Manager Carmella Fitzpatrick.
RSVP to Schuy Wood at bsdw@att.net or Suzie Segal at suziesegal@aol.com.

Denny O'Brien: Time to Re-eval­u­ate Va­cant Build­ing Fires

Time to re-eval­u­ate va­cant build­ing fires
Fires at large va­cant build­ings are killers. 
These blazes cause more fire­fight­er in­jur­ies than in any oth­er prop­erty clas­si­fic­a­tion and they can kill the fab­ric of our neigh­bor­hoods.
Va­cant build­ing fires are of­ten in­cen­di­ary or sus­pi­cious. These struc­tures are tar­gets for kids, van­dals, drug-users and the home­less.
Aban­doned large build­ings put fire­fight­ers at ex­tra risk. Stripped of wir­ing, pipes and oth­er com­pon­ents for scrap, they of­ten con­tain open shafts or pits, be­com­ing man­traps or al­low­ing fires to spread rap­idly.
On April 9, 2012, at 3:13 a.m., a fire broke out in an aban­doned, six-story ho­siery ware­house at York and Jasper streets. The ware­house covered more than half a block. The Phil­adelphia Fire De­part­ment pulled five alarms and the fire was placed un­der con­trol after a little more than two hours. Sadly, Lt. Robert Neary and Fire­fight­er Daniel Sweeney, both of the Fire De­part­ment’s Lad­der 10 sta­tion, died when a wall col­lapsed and bur­ied them while bat­tling the blaze. Two oth­er fire­fight­ers sur­vived, but were in­jured in the col­lapse. 
The Na­tion­al In­sti­tute for Oc­cu­pa­tion­al Safety and Health re­cently re­leased an in­vest­ig­at­ive re­port in­to the blaze that found eight con­trib­ut­ing factors to the deaths of Lt. Neary and Fire­fight­er Sweeney. 
I’ve in­tro­duced an or­din­ance that will take steps to re­duce fire­fight­er, oth­er first re­spon­der and com­munity risks as cited by NIOSH. I seek to amend The Phil­adelphia Fire Code, by provid­ing re­quire­ments to cre­ate a va­cant prop­erty task force charged with com­pil­ing an in­vent­ory and data­base of such prop­er­ties. It also calls for an in­spec­tion team with spe­cif­ic re­spons­ib­il­it­ies when eval­u­at­ing aban­doned and va­cant build­ings, struc­tures and premises.
I be­lieve this or­din­ance is a sorely needed and pro­act­ive step in the right dir­ec­tion.
Den­nis M. O’Bri­en
Coun­cil­man-At-Large
http://www.bsmphilly.com/2014/feb/6/letters-editor-february-5-2014/#.UvPebPldUrU

Politicians Grease the Wheels at Penn Alexander


OPED: Politicians Grease the Wheels at Penn Alexander
UC Review
• Wed, Feb 05, 2014
By J. Matthew Wolfe
Picture a bitter cold night. Four o’clock in the morning. People are freezing outside at 42nd and Locust. Parents lined up at the Penn Alexander School, a well-regarded public school. They are lined up in the middle of the night in this bitter cold weather because not every child who lives in the school’s catchment area can attend due to the limited space. The School District registers children for kindergarten on a first-come, first-served basis, hence the line outside more than 24 hours before the first morning of registration. The parents try and make the best of it, but its no fun for anyone. And it is even more difficult for those parents who for whatever reason – health problems, lack of child care – cannot be there knowing that their kids are at a disadvantage.
Picture the same bitter cold night. Four o’clock in the morning. Sleeping in their warm beds are parents in Overbrook Farms. They have kids, too, and they live in a catchment area for public school they feel is substandard but they can sleep peacefully. They’ve cut their deal. Their kids are already into Penn Alexander.
The Daily News broke a story that those of us in University City already knew but could not prove. The reason for the lack of transparency in the registration of children at Penn Alexander was due to politicians rewarding their friends. Kevin Johnson, who is exploring a run for Mayor and lives outside the Penn Alexander catchment area in Overbrook Farms, has his three children there. He was close to disgraced former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman. Former Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson’s grandson is also there, and two siblings are graduates. They also live in Overbrook Farms.
The issue involving Penn Alexander’s enrollment is one of the biggest in our neighborhood. The first-come/first-served line was incredibly stupid and unfair, yet it went on for years. When Superintendent Hite learned of that procedure, he immediately ended it. The parents who were already in line stayed, however, hoping for some advantage for their kids.
The School District implemented a lottery system, but refused any transparency. They would not pick the "winners" publicly and would not publicly reveal specific information as to the results. was not alone in speculating on blogs and at meetings that this was so that the politicians could use their influence to help political friends and allies. Suspicions confirmed.
I cannot take issue with any parent who wants the best for their children. Fair is fair, however. More importantly, using our public schools and public tax dollars for political gain is not only immoral but can be criminal. There are a number of politicians sitting in prison right now for doing just that.
It appears that prior superintendents (Hite has not done this) had given themselves the right to bypass all the rules. A spokesman for the School District said that it looked like "superintendents in the past" had done this to benefit these politically connected parents.
For the first time, the School District admitted that there were 34 children out of Penn Alexander’s enrollment of 550 that were from outside of the catchment district. There are waiting lists for each grade in Penn Alexander. Well, I know a quick way to take 34 spots off that waiting list.
The School District says that going forward the district will allow only families living inside the catchment area to attend the school. That is good, but it is not good enough. The district needs to remove the children outside of the catchment area and give those spots to those parents who have been improperly excluded. They also need to be transparent about the process, both going forward and backwards. Any lottery must be done in an open meeting, announcing who gets in, who is out and the order of the waiting list. Looking backwards, it should reveal which children are from outside the catchment area, why they were admitted and who pulled the strings. Any documents involved should be made public. There is not a privacy issue here. These are public schools paid for with our tax dollars. None of the parents involved were forced to try and game the system.
J. Matthew Wolfe is the Chairman of the University City Republican Committee and writes for the Republican City Committee Policy Committee.

Councilman Oh Introduces a Tax Reform Bill to Reduce Wage/Net Profit Taxes

City_Seal_ColorPHILADELPHIA CITY COUNCIL

             OFFICE OF

COUNCILMAN-AT-LARGE

             DAVID OH

 

    Press Release

__________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: Chris Pienkowski, (215) 686-3452 orchris.pienkowski@phila.gov

 

Councilman David Oh Introduces a Tax Reform Bill to Reduce Wage and Net Profit Taxes on Residents of Philadelphia without Increasing Other Taxes

 

Philadelphia, PA – City Councilman At-Large David Oh introduced a bill on Thursday to reduce the wage tax for employees and the net profits tax for individuals who are residents of Philadelphia by $100 million over ten years. And he has done so without raising other taxes to off-set the reduction.

 

“My bill reduces wage tax for employees and net profit tax for individuals that will see the rate go from 3.92% in 2014 to 2.09% in 2025. With the median household income in Philadelphia being $34,207, the annual wage and PICA tax being paid is $1,340. The reductions that I am advocating along with the conclusion of the PICA tax in 2023 will result in a savings to the average family of $626 per year” says Oh. “When more Philadelphians have more disposable income in their pockets, they will spend more money at local stores and businesses. In addition, employers will have a greater opportunity to retain both high quality talent coming from our colleges and universities to become residents of Philadelphia along with every other worker currently living in the city. This is the most practical way to drive our economy and benefit our residents without increasing taxes.”

 

Experts agree that the Philadelphia tax system is too complex and unfriendly to businesses and the residents who live and work in the city. In fact, in 2003 and again in 2009, Tax Reform Commissions were established and provided a series of recommendations to simplify the tax system in our City, but none of these recommendations have been implemented. Of these recommendations in both reports were the need to reduce the personal wage and net profit taxes on individuals.

 

In recent hearings on making Philadelphia a more globally competitive city, Professor Robert Inman of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania stated “Even a slight reduction of wage taxes could result in adding roughly 5,000 jobs per year to the City.”

 

“Business owners and economic experts have consistently testified that the wage tax is so detrimental, and that by reducing it, we would actually add jobs and grow the economy of the City” said Councilman Oh. “After studying this issue I believe that my solution of reducing these taxes can be accomplished without raising different taxes. And that is the kind of reform our City needs in order to grow.”

 

During the last budget cycle, Councilman Oh found $48 million in potential savings that he believes will be there again this year and allow an initial individual tax reduction of the same amount. And with the mandated program-based budget going into effect in 2015, he believes that an accelerated reduction schedule of these taxes is completely reasonable and sustainable.

# # # # #

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

PHILLY GOP IS ENCOURAGED BY THE NEW LEADERSHIP OF PHILADELPHIA SCHOOLS

Philadelphia Republican City Committee
Hon. John J. Taylor, Chairman

www.phillygop.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:          Joe DeFelice, Executive Director
Phone:             215-756-4158 (mobile)
Email:              josephjdefelice@phillygop.com

PHILLY GOP IS ENCOURAGED BY THE NEW LEADERSHIP OF PHILADELPHIA SCHOOLS
Philadelphia, PA, February 4, 2014:  Chairman of the Philadelphia Republican City Committee State Representative John Taylor praised Governor Corbett on his bold decision to nominate, and the State Senate on their decision to confirm, two new members to the School Reform Commission.  “Bill Green and Farah Jimenez will bring a breath of fresh air to the School Reform Commission, they are the type of leaders we need to help our students realize their full potential,” stated Taylor. 
            Taylor also praised the Governor for including more funding in the 2014 budget for Education stating, “The Governor realizes the importance of education in the Commonwealth, as well as in Philadelphia, as shown in the increase in financing for the coming school year while keeping a keen eye on how that money is spent.”
Taylor set the record straight by previously responding to falsehoods with respect to funding by stating “Philadelphia schools received $983,928,923 in Basic Education Funds (BEF) for 2013-14. This is the largest yearly funding allocation from the state that the district has ever received under the [current] BEF formula.”
“The School District of Philadelphia received $1,072,038,281 during the last year of the Rendell administration in 2010-11. $878,191,207 was in state basic education funds and $193,847,074 came from federal stimulus dollars.”
“Absent the federal stimulus dollars, the basic state education funding under the Rendell administration was almost $100 million less than the current basic education dollars that the school district is currently receiving under Corbett.”


** *******************************************************************************
Philadelphia Republican City Committee · 3525-27 Cottman Avenue · Phila., PA 19149
                                215-561-0650 · www.phillygop.com · Facebook.com/PhillyGOP · Twitter.com/PhillyGOP