PolitiFact Pennsylvania has ruled that state Rep. Brian Sims told a “Pants On Fire” lie about fellow Rep. Martina White in a fundraising letter.
In the letter, Sims wrote, “Finally, I will continue to fight against Republicans like Martina White, who like Trump, wants to deport all of our hard-working immigrant brothers and sisters and whitewash America.”
Sims sent the letter after he and White squared off on Fox 29 over sanctuary cities.
In fact, White has never suggested deporting all immigrants. A Sims spokesman admitted the false information in a phone conversation with PolitiFact Pennsylvania.
White has introduced a bill that would strip some state funding from Philadelphia if it continues to not fully cooperate with federal immigration officials as part of its sanctuary city status.
PolitiFact Pennsylvania noted that this isn’t the first time Sims stretched the truth in a fundraising message. Last spring, he claimed “right-wing extremists” were trying to take his seat, though no Republicans were running for his seat and his Democratic competitors were similarly progressive.
PolitiFact Pennsylvania is a partnership of the Billy Penn news website and PolitiFact.com, a Pulitzer Prize-winning website of the Tampa Bay Times.
Ed Rendell, a former Philadelphia district attorney and mayor and Pennsylvania governor, last week endorsed Joe Khan in the Democratic primary for district attorney.
“As a former Philadelphia district attorney, this election is especially personal for me because I know how critical the office is and how much good it can do for each and every neighborhood in our city. Because I feel so strongly about this role, I made a point of meeting with several of the DA candidates, but the decision to me was clear: Joe Khan,” he said in a statement.
Rendell cited Khan’s six years in the Philadelphia DA’s office prosecuting violent crime and nearly a decade in the United States Attorney’s Office, where he oversaw investigations into white-collar crime and political corruption.
On the issues, Rendell likes Khan’s proposal to eliminate cash bail so that the poorest Philadelphians are not held in jail before they are brought to trial; his call to end prosecutions of the lowest-level drug offenses; and his vow to to independently investigate police-involved shootings.
Michael Untermeyer, another Democratic candidate for district attorney, released a campaign finance report through March 27, showing $455,766 cash on hand after spending over $130,000 on television buys and production.
Untermeyer launched his campaign on Jan. 2. He has raised more than $713,000, including a $550,000 personal loan. He has pledged to take no campaign contributions from criminal defense attorneys.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 president John McNesby will host a fundraiser for Common Pleas Court Judge Vince Furlong on Thursday, April 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. at FOP headquarters, 11630 Caroline Road.
Tickets cost $50. Sponsorships are available. Checks can be payable to Judge Furlong Election Committee.
To RSVP, call 267–571–5328 or email email@example.com
Furlong, of Somerton, is running on the Republican and Democratic tickets.
The newly formed Philadelphia Coalition for a Just District Attorney will host a public forum on Tuesday, April 18, from 6 to 8 p.m., at Arch Street Methodist Church, 55 N. Broad St.
Candidates for district attorney are expected to attend.
The coalition argues that Philadelphia needs a district attorney who stands for justice, not one who seeks the harshest punishments or gets the most convictions.
“Philadelphia’s corrupt criminal justice system has negatively affected immigrants and both black and brown families for decades,” said Erika Almiron, executive director of coalition member Juntos. “Our communities have been criminalized for far too long, and we have an opportunity in this race to ensure we have a district attorney who is committed to ending the corruption inside the DA’s office — by adopting policies that prioritize accountability, transparency and keep our families together, not incarcerated or deported.”
The coalition’s platform calls for stopping the targeting of blacks and Hispanics; releasing data on how many minorities are convicted each year; holding law enforcement officers accountable when they break the law; putting youths in juvenile facilities, not adult jails; and the resentencing of young people who have been sentenced to life without parole.
“We struggled to raise bail to get my son out of prison, and the day after we posted it he was turned over to immigration and later deported,” said Gerardo Flores, board member of the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, a coalition member. “Not only was our son ripped away from us, we also lost a lot of hard-earned money. This election is an opportunity to advance justice for different communities, including us immigrants.”
“In the wake of the massive changes facing our country after the election of Donald Trump, electing a district attorney that centers racial and economic justice is one of the most powerful things we can do to help our city thrive,” said Bryan Mercer, executive director at Media Mobilizing Project, a coalition member. “Media Mobilizing Project is proud to join these extraordinary organizations centering decarceration, an end to racial profiling and the provision of true justice, which will help keep our communities safe.” ••