Former District Attorney Lynne Abraham, who is running in the Democratic primary for mayor, last week issued a statement sharply criticizing Mayor Michael Nutter and City Council President Darrell Clarke for the decision by UIL Holdings to drop its bid to buy Philadelphia Gas Works.
“Philadelphia had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sell one of our largest assets, improve service to our people and take a substantial bite out of our pension liabilities. But the mayor and City Council President Clarke don’t have the guts to get things done,” Abraham said.
“A major company spent $21 million to present a proposal worth serious consideration, and they have been sent packing, without even a hearing on the merits. The mayor failed to engage City Council at the outset and couldn’t get a single Council member to introduce the bill to approve the sale.”
Nutter is prohibited from seeking a third four-year term. Clarke is considered a possible mayoral candidate, and Abraham took particular aim at him.
“The Council president stymied the mayor and failed to conduct a serious public hearing on the merits. Philadelphia never got a chance to hear the pluses and minuses of the proposal.,” she said.
“The signal that city leadership sent to the business community in the region and throughout the nation is toxic: Philadelphia is not open for business. The people of this city deserve better.”
Meanwhile, the Susan G. Komen Philadelphia organization on Saturday presented Abraham with the Love & Loyalty Award, a one-time-only recognition.
The award was presented during the group’s Sisters for the Cure informational breakfast at the Marriott hotel in Center City.
“From the very beginning of Komen Philadelphia 25 years ago, Lynne has been a leader, a worker, a visionary and a believer… always giving 110 percent of herself, her ideas, her resources and her heart,” said Elaine I. Grobman, CEO of Susan G. Komen Philadelphia. “She helped found the organization when very few had confidence in it, and she has been a vital instrument in shaping the leader Komen Philadelphia is today. People often say, ‘We couldn’t have done it without him or her.’ In the case of Lynne and Komen Philadelphia, that is undeniable true. Moreover, we wouldn’t be here if not for her conviction, her hard work and her unconditional love for all women.”
Superior Court Judge David Wecht announced last week that he will run in the May 2015 Democratic primary for one of the three vacancies on Supreme Court.
“In its most recent term, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has decided cases that impact the lives of women walking into health care clinics, voters walking into poll locations, and private citizens injured by the misconduct of others. I want to offer the people of Pennsylvania my 12 years of judicial experience and dedicated service in our trial and appellate courts,” Wecht said. “Our Supreme Court often helps define what justice means in this commonwealth, and well-qualified jurists are essential to that work.”
One seat will be open because Chief Justice Ron Castille, of Rhawnhurst, has reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Another seat is open because Justice Seamus McCaffery, of Bustleton, resigned. He had been suspended for forwarding sexually explicit emails from a personal account to others, including employees of the state attorney general’s office. In addition, Justice Michael Eakin charged that McCaffery threatened to leak pornographic and racists emails that were sent to Eakin’s personal account, unless he lobbied Castille to retract negative statements made about McCaffery as it related to the email issue.
The third seat belonged to Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who was convicted of using staff to perform campaign work.
“One needs only to pick up a newspaper to see that our Supreme Court must rebuild the trust of Pennsylvanians,” Wecht said. “I pledge to work tirelessly to restore this trust in a way that will make the citizens of the commonwealth proud of their Supreme Court and of the justices who serve on it.”
Wecht was elected to a 10-year term on Superior Court in 2011. He lives in Allegheny County with his wife, Valerie, and their children, Nathan (16), Jacob (14), Alex (13) and Emma (12).
The primary races for Supreme Court seats will likely be crowded.
On the Republican side, one confirmed candidate is Rebecca Warren, district attorney of Montour County. ••