Thursday, January 29, 2015

City Council to Create a "Feel Good" Committee

Philadelphia Republican Party

www.phillygop.com

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

Philadelphia City Council Loses Its Notes
“Income Inequality Committee is merely ‘feel good’ legislation” in an Election Year

Philadelphia January 29, 2015– City Council is looking to form a “Special Committee on Income Inequality” (Bill 150025) to look into “…how income is unevenly distributed across a regional or national economy…”

“The economic well-being of Philadelphians is a very important matter. We just think City Hall should start getting to it and not form another Committee.” responds Republican City Committee Executive Director Joe DeFelice. “There have been countless recommendations on how to address the economic issues in Philadelphia.  There have also been reports from two previous committees involving jobs, business and economic competitiveness.”

“At some point City Hall has to realize it is a jobs and business problem and having repetitive meetings won’t change the reality.”

The per capita/median household income of the United States is:
$27K/$51K

Pennsylvania
$27K/$50K

Philadelphia
$21K/$36K

Of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, Philadelphia ranks 43rd. The four other SEPA counties rank 1 through 4.

Chester, Montgomery and Bucks counties have over twice the median household income as Philadelphia.  Delaware County is just slightly less than twice.

“Do we really need a Special Committee to see where the wealth is distributed and why? Well, you know what they say, ‘If you want to kill any idea in the world, get a committee working on it.’”

For those looking for the ideas presented in Mayor Nutter’s TASK FORCE ON TAX POLICY & ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS:  http://www.phila.gov/taxpolicy/

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Supreme Court Clarifies Danger of Council Inaction on PGW

Supreme Court Clarifies Danger of Council Inaction on PGW
By Matt Wolfe

The state Supreme Court recently came down with an unsurprising ruling that the Municipal Tort Claims Act is constitutional. This is the statute that states that most municipalities are only liable for $500,000.00 for any negligent act. I worked with this statute often when I served as a Deputy Attorney General.

Why is this topical right now for Philadelphia? Not to beat a dead horse, but because of PGW. The city itself and PGW are covered by this law. This means that an catastrophe such as a gas main explosion, no matter how negligent PGW was and no matter how much damage is done, that PGW will only be liable for $500,000.00 in damages.

Couple this with the fact that PGW has one of the oldest and most decayed pipeline delivery systems in the country. It is reported that nearly two-thirds of its over 3000 miles of gas mains that deliver gas to homes and businesses are "at risk," which means that they are aging cast iron or unprotected steel and more prone to breakage. Some of the pipes date back to the 1800's. Seriously? PGW's plan is to replace all "at risk" pipes by 2100. That's the year 2100. Again, seriously?

The case that the Supreme Court just ruled on was particularly horrific. The poor schoolgirl was run over by a school bus due to the school district's negligence. She lost her left leg and suffered other severe injuries. A jury awarded her $14 million. The Supreme Court said that the law is what the law is and it is up to the legislature to change it. And they're right, unfortunately.

When there was a gas main explosion in Allentown a few years ago, destroying eight homes and killing five people, UGI, the gas utility there, probably paid out $25 million in damages and fines. The same thing happening here would cause PGW to pay the $500,000.00 into court and the court would split up the money between everyone who suffered losses.  Is that fair?

One of the reasons that PGW's plan to replace dangerous pipes will take the better part of this century is because they won't have to pay out the true costs of any negligence. Another reason is that they do not have the same access to capital that a private company has. UIL Holdings, the company that won the bid to purchase PGW, committed to speeding up that process dramatically. And, of course, it would have only been in their best interests to do so if they completed the sale.

The Supreme Court opinion came down while the deal to sell PGW was still pending.  City Council should have approved the PGW sale because the city should not be in the gas business in the first place. City Council should have approved the PGW sale because it is a good financial deal for the city. City Council should have approved the PGW sale because an efficiently run gas utility will spur development and attract businesses and jobs. As the Supreme Court decision drives home, City Council should have approved the PGW sale because it would be unfair for anyone to be harmed by PGW's negligence and not be fairly compensated. 

Most importantly, however, City Council should have approved the PGW sale because to do otherwise would be put pandering to special interests above the very lives of our citizens.

This commentary is by Matt Wolfe

Martina White Fundraiser - Thursday February 12 - 6-9PM - $40 - Paddy Whacks


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Matt Wolfe Commentary on Tax Deadbeats

Nutter and City Council Fight to Protect Tax Deadbeats
            It seems like a simple concept.  A bill requiring that any tax payment more than a year overdue in Philadelphia be automatically turned over to a debt collector.  The City of Philadelphia doesn’t do that now.  In fact, Philadelphia has the worst record of any big city in America for property tax collections.  Over 100,000 delinquent properties - almost 20 percent of all parcels in the city.  Over $500 Million in delinquent taxes.  No taxes have been paid on thousands of properties for 20 years or more.
            Could the city use an extra $500 Million?  Maybe for the schools?  Police?  It’s not fair that some taxpayers have to pay and others do not.  Not even considering the revenue implications, these properties are a blight on the neighborhoods.  Not up to code.  Lowering the values of properties around them.  Making life miserable for their neighbors.  
            You would think that a bill to ensure that taxes owed by deadbeats are collected, freeing up money for essential city services and enabling blighted properties to be improved, would be a no-brainer.  Think again.  
            City Revenue Commissioner Clarena Tolson testified before City Council’s Finance Committee that the Nutter Administration is against the bill.  She said that they prefer the present system where they decide on a “case-by-case” basis whether and when to turn the tax deadbeats to a collection firm.  She said “You have to use some judgment in regards to how you want to manage the situation.”  “Case-by-case” basis?  Isn’t that what you do when you want to punish your enemies and reward your friends?  We certainly have a history of district city council members controlling city services in their districts and using the unwritten policy of council privilege to cement themselves in office.  Perhaps they will influence the Revenue Department’s case-by-case analysis?  Mayor Nutter likes to tout his focus on integrity.  Something like this at least calls his record into question.
            Ms. Tolson further testifies that “You wouldn’t put up for sheriff’s sale somebody’s property who is injured, who has extreme circumstances, or even a modest amount of debt.”  Even ignoring the potential of favoritism by such a system, shouldn’t the Department of Revenue be neutral in doing its job?  Shouldn’t they just accurately determine how much is owed in taxes and then ensure that it is collected?  What business does the Department of Revenue have in making case-by-case determinations as to which taxpayers should have to pay their taxes and which should not?  If there is any leeway given to individual taxpayers it should be given by departments or agencies with expertise in determining who should receive help and what the nature of the help should be.  And the money to support any such programs should come deliberately dedicated to that purpose.  The Department of Revenue should be staffed with people good at collecting revenue, not making social welfare decisions.
            It was reported that several of the City Council members were uncomfortable with the bill.  Councilwoman Marion Tasco tried to justify coddling tax deadbeats by saying that the case-by-case approach favored by the Revenue Commissioner is OK because “She does it with compassion and she still collects the taxes.”  Huh?  Whether she does her job with compassion is debatable.  What is not debatable is that she doesn’t collect the taxes.  Councilwoman Tasco ignores the obvious truth to pander to those voters.
            It appears that this bill will either be defeated or amended to make it ineffectual.  And the beat goes on.  Half a billion dollars won’t be going to schools or police.  More and more will continue to play the system while the rest of us fill the void.  Neighborhoods will continue to deteriorate because of vacant and deteriorating properties.  Taxpayers and jobs will continue to flee due to bad public schools, high taxes and crime.  Great news for tax deadbeats.  For the rest of us, not so much.
Commentary by Matt Wolfe, a Republican candidate for City Council at Large.  www.Wolfe.org

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

NE Times: Taylor Backs Young Candidate to Replace Boyle

Taylor backs young candidate to replace Boyle
By: Tom Waring
State Rep. John Taylor, chair­man of the Re­pub­lic­an City Com­mit­tee, will act­ively sup­port Mar­tina White in the up­com­ing spe­cial elec­tion for the 170th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict seat.
The seat is va­cant be­cause former Demo­crat­ic Rep. Brendan Boyle resigned pri­or to his swear­ing-in as a mem­ber of Con­gress.
White, 26, is a fin­an­cial ad­viser. The elec­tion is set for March 24.
Re­pub­lic­ans hold a com­mand­ing 119-83 ad­vant­age in the Pennsylvania House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives, with two West Phil­adelphia Demo­crats likely to leave after be­ing charged with bribery.
“Mar­tina White is the type of per­son I will need to join me in the ma­jor­ity caucus in Har­ris­burg to ad­voc­ate for North­east Phil­adelphia,” Taylor said. “It is rare to find a can­did­ate that has the com­bin­a­tion of tenacity, cre­ativ­ity and in­tel­lect that Mar­tina pos­sesses.”
Demo­crats are ex­pec­ted to nom­in­ate John Del Ricci, vice pres­id­ent of the Park­wood Civic As­so­ci­ation and a road­way op­er­a­tions man­ager with the Pennsylvania Turn­pike, where he’s worked for 18 years.
Seth Ka­plan, pres­id­ent of the Somer­ton Civic As­so­ci­ation, re­cently resigned as chief of staff for Demo­crat­ic state Rep. Kev­in Boyle to run as an in­de­pend­ent.
Joe De­Fe­lice, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the city Re­pub­lic­an Party, is hope­ful of a vic­tory by White.
“This race will be all about get­ting our people out to the polls,” he said. “This seat was re­cently held by Re­pub­lic­an George Ken­ney, and new por­tions of this dis­trict were part of the former 169th Dis­trict formerly held by fel­low Re­pub­lic­an and former House Speak­er and cur­rent City Coun­cil­man Denny O’Bri­en. Re­pub­lic­ans routinely do well in this sec­tion of the city and are tired of the high­er taxes and poor ser­vices they have re­ceived. Mar­tina will not al­low this sec­tion of the city to con­tin­ue to be for­got­ten.”

Germantown Republican Club's Lincoln Day Dinner - Feb 12 Union League

The Germantown Republican Club will hold its 126th annual Lincoln Day Dinner on

February 12, at the Union League.  Our featured speaker will be Congressman Mike 

Fitzpatrick.  Senator Pat Toomey will be our special guest. 

Founded in 1888 to support the election of President Benjamin Harrison, we are the 

oldest Republican Club in the nation.  

Our Lincoln Day Dinner will be a glorious event, with tradition, fspirit, cheer, fine 

food, and friendship as we celebrate our party's big majorities in both branches of 

Congress and even bigger majorities in both houses of the Pennsylvania General 

Assembly.  This year's races for Mayor and City Council, and the big race for the 

White House in 2016 will be on everyone's mind.

I would be honored if you would join us for this important event.  Tickets are $65.  

The invitation is enclosed.

Looking forward to honoring Abraham Lincoln with you on February 12

Very truly yours, 

CALVIN  R. TUCKER 

President

Germantown Republican Club

UPDATE

All tickets must be paid in advance as the Union League requires a head count and anyone who commits but do not attend, the club is still obligated to pay the League. There will be no payments allowed  at the door. Because of this, GRC is asking that payment be sent to the following location no later than February 5, 2014:

Germantown Republican Club, 
Schuyler Wood, Treasurer,
4100 Angus Way, 
LaFayette Hill, PA 19444

Thanks for your consideration on this matter.

Calvin

Calvin R. Tucker, 22nd Ward Leader
President
Germantown Republican Club

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Philadelphia Public Record: SPECIAL ELECTION SET MAR. 24 FOR 170TH DIST.


House Speaker Mike Turzai called for a Special Election to be held in 170th Legislative Dist. on Mar. 24. The local GOP has officially nominated 26-year-old financial advisor Martina White to fill the seat. This was a call made by the Public Record in earlier editions.
“Martina White is the type of person I will need to join me in the Majority Caucus in Harrisburg to advocate for Northeast Philadelphia,” stated Philly GOP Chairman and State Rep. John Taylor (R-Northeast). He added, “It is rare to find a candidate that has the combination of tenacity, creativity and intellect that Martina possesses.”
Philadelphia Republican Party Exec. Dir. Joe DeFelice further affirmed, “This race will be all about getting our people out to the polls. This seat was recently held by Republican George Kenney and new portions of this District were part of the former 169th Dist. formerly held by fellow Republican and Former House Speaker and current City Councilman Denny O’Brien. Republicans routinely do well in this section of the City and are tired of the higher taxes and poor services they have received. Martina will not allow this section of the City to continue to be forgotten.”
White, a longtime resident of Somerton, is a financial advisor who received her undergraduate degree from Elizabethtown College where she captained the Field Hockey team, was on the Dean’s List and received numerous Academic Awards and Honors. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter at VoteMartina2015 and via her website at www.votemartina.com.
The Democratic ward leaders are encouraging and waiting for John DelRicci to accept their nomination. He presently is employed by Turnpike Commission. He is noted for leading a crew to Boston to help it with its eight-foot snowstorm.
City and state candidates should know ballot positions will be pulled on Mar. 18.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Republicans Pick Martina White in 170th Special Election

Philadelphia Republican Party
www.phillygop.com
Contact:          Joe DeFelice, Executive Director
Phone:             215-756-4158 (mobile)
Email:              josephjdefelice@phillygop.com

Republicans Pick Martina White in 170th Special Election
26 Year-Old Financial Advisor Poised to Return the Seat to GOP Control and Bolster Statewide Seats to 120.

Philadelphia January 12, 2015 –Yesterday, House Speaker Mike Turzai called for a Special Election to be held in 170th Legislative District on March 24, 2015.  The local GOP has nominated 26 year old Financial Advisor Martina White to fill the seat.  “Martina White is the type of person I will need to join me in the Majority Caucus in Harrisburg to advocate for Northeast Philadelphia,” stated Philly GOP Chairman and State Representative John Taylor (177th).  He further stated, “It is rare to find a candidate that has the combination of tenacity, creativity and intellect that Martina possesses.”

                Philadelphia Republican Party Executive Director Joe DeFelice further stated, “This race will be all about getting our people out to the polls.  This seat was recently held by Republican George Kenney and new portions of this District were part of the former 169th District formerly held by fellow Republican and Former House Speaker and current City Councilman Denny O’Brien.  Republicans routinely do well in this section of the City and are tired of the higher taxes and poor services they have received.  Martina will not allow this section of the City to continue to be forgotten.”

                Martina White, a longtime resident of Somerton, is a financial advisor who received her undergraduate degree from Elizabethtown College where she captained the Field Hockey team, was on the Dean’s List and received numerous Academic Awards and Honors.  She can be found on Facebook and Twitter at VoteMartina2015 and via her website at www.votemartina.com.  If you would like to find out more about the candidate or want to get involved in her race, please contact the Philadelphia Republican Party at 215-561-0650.




Philadelphia Republican City Committee – 215-561-0650 – 3525 Cottman Ave. Phila., PA 19149