Tomlinson announces he’s running for city controller

Holmesburg resident Mike Tomlinson will be the Republican candidate for city controller.

In a Monday night Facebook post, he said the city over-taxes people and has too much waste, fraud, corruption and inefficiencies.

If elected, he plans an audit of the School District of Philadelphia.

Tomlinson has previously run for state senator and state representative.

A former CPA and high school teacher, he’s been active in the community coaching youth sports, opposing the opening of methadone clinics and as a member of the Friends of Holmesburg Library and other neighborhood groups.

City Controller Alan Butkovitz faces a Democratic primary challenge from Rebecca Rhynhart, the city’s former chief administrative officer.

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Last week’s decision by District Attorney Seth William to not run for re-election leaves five candidates in the Democratic primary.

The remaining Democrats are former federal prosecutor Joe Khan, former Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni, former city managing director Rich Negrin, civil rights attorney Larry Krasner and attorney and real estate developer Michael Untermeyer.

The Republican candidate is Beth Grossman, a former assistant district attorney and chief of staff at the city Department of Licenses and Inspections.

Williams was recently fined $62,000 by the Philadelphia Board of Ethics for failure to report sources of income and gifts on city financial statements over a six-year period. The board reported that, among the gifts given to Williams that he failed to disclose, there were “20 gifts from individuals who had a financial interest that the District Attorney was able to substantially affect through official action at the time they gave the gifts.”

Negrin said, “This news, while perhaps not surprising, is, in my view, the right decision for Seth. I was among those who were optimistic when he took office, but those expectations were not met and his ethical and legal troubles have become a distraction to the office. The hard-working attorneys and staff deserve to be led by someone who puts a premium on criminal justice reform, integrity, innovation and community service. I believe the Office of the District Attorney in Philadelphia should be a national model for progressive policies, professionalism and public safety. That’s why I’m running. I look forward to bringing my passion and experience into the office so we can move forward and do great things for this city. These problems will soon be history as we usher a new era of excellence into what should be the best district attorney’s office in the country.”

Khan said, “I want to commend District Attorney Williams for doing the right thing and deciding not to seek re-election. This decision allows us to move on from the scandals plaguing the district attorney’s office and gives the people of Philadelphia the opportunity they deserve to have a real discussion about the important issues facing the city, from reducing gun-violence to addressing criminal justice reform. I will work with the mayor and police commissioner to ensure that unconstitutional stop-and-frisk policies become a thing of the past and that Philadelphia will remain a sanctuary city and a welcoming city where every resident is treated fairly. Now more than ever, our city needs effective leadership in the DA’s office to keep our city safe and to protect our citizens from the overreaching of the Trump administration.”

Grossman said, “When I announced my candidacy, I emphasized that a district attorney must hold him or herself to the highest of ethical standards, which District Attorney Williams has failed to do. What is crucial going forward now, however, is that Williams is just one of a long line of recent ethically, and sometimes criminally, beleaguered Democratic public officials. Even my mentor in the DA’s office, Lynne Abraham, saw it as necessary to recuse herself from public corruption matters involving fellow Democrats because there is no credibility to teammates, running mates, also being zealous watchdogs of one another. Enough is enough. It is time for change. It is time for a Republican candidate, with more prosecutorial experience than any other candidate, and the independence of being outside the Democratic machine, to restore integrity to the district attorney’s office and political balance to Philadelphia. I am that candidate.”

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Following reports of Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids taking place last week in cities across the country at the order of President Donald Trump, district attorney candidate Joe Khan promised to maintain Philadelphia’s sanctuary city policy and called on his opponents to make the same commitment.

“I am deeply disturbed by the news that Donald Trump’s administration has launched an aggressive ‘surge’ in immigration raids and deportations. Not only does this further divide us as a people, but we are less safe when victims and witnesses of crime hide in the shadows because they are afraid of deportation. In light of the Trump administration’s shameful travel bans and immigration crackdowns, it is more important than ever that Philadelphia preserve and strengthen its status as a sanctuary city to protect vulnerable and marginalized communities,” he said.

“My father is a Muslim immigrant who helped build Philadelphia, and I will do everything in my power to resist Donald Trump’s cruel and discriminatory war on immigrant families. To that end, I pledge that I will not cooperate with any of Trump’s efforts to conduct inhumane immigration raids, nor will I facilitate mass deportations by granting federal immigration authorities access to PARS (Police Arraignment Reporting System) data, arrest records or other records in the possession of the District Attorney’s Office. I call on all candidates in the district attorney race to join me in this pledge. Philadelphia voters deserve to know that their next district attorney will be an advocate for our most vulnerable families, not an ally of Trump’s deportation force.”

ICE arrested hundreds of illegal immigrants from a dozen Latin American countries at their homes and work sites. The agency targeted known criminals, and locked up people who face charges on crimes such as murder and domestic violence.

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Mayor Jim Kenney last week issued the following statement regarding the nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general:

“Last night, Coretta Scott King’s concerns over Sen. Jeff Sessions were silenced, so I will echo them here. I have great concern that, as attorney general, Jeff Sessions will reverse the reform that has strengthened police-community trust in Philadelphia, helping to bring our crime rate to a forty-year low. I also fear that Sessions will enforce discriminatory voting laws that serve only to disenfranchise millions of voters — the majority of them poor and people of color — in order to address statistically insignificant, isolated incidents of voter fraud. I hope he proves those concerns unfounded. But if he does not, then I encourage Philadelphians to protest his nomination by exercising their right to vote as they never have before.”

On the Senate floor last week, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren read a 1986 letter from Martin Luther King’s widow that opposed President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Sessions to be a federal judge. Mrs. King claimed that Sessions, as attorney general, lacked commitment to voting rights for blacks.

Warren, a possible 2020 presidential candidate, was stopped from finishing the letter because she broke a rule prohibiting senators from impugning the motives and conduct of a peer.

Sessions supporters pointed to a 2000 video in which Mrs. King recognized Sessions at the dedication of Rosa Parks Library.

Alveda King, Martin Luther KIng’s niece, accused Warren of playing the race card.

Sessions was confirmed as attorney general, 52–47. Sen. Pat Toomey voted for him. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. voted against him.

Only one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, voted for Sessions. ••