Butkovitz, Rhynhart to debate

City Controller Alan Butkovitz and challenger Rebecca Rhynhart will debate twice before the May 16 Democratic primary.

The first debate will take place on Thursday, April 27, from 7 8:30 p.m., at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, 500 W. Willow Grove Ave. It will be moderated by Holly Otterbein, of Philadelphia magazine, and Pete Mazzaccaro, editor of the Chestnut Hill Local.

The second debate will be co-hosted by The Philadelphia Citizen and the Committee of Seventy, and will take place on Tuesday, May 9, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., at Industrious Philadelphia, 230 S. Broad St. It will be moderated by WHYY Newsworks vice president Chris Satullo, and be streamed live on Facebook.

“I am running to be an independent voice in city government and do more to eliminate wasteful spending, improve efficiency and ensure taxpayer dollars are being appropriately allocated toward needed city services,” Rhynhart said.

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Michael Untermeyer, a Democratic candidate for district attorney, last week released his plan to combat and end elder abuse in Philadelphia.

For him, the issue is personal.

“My father was a victim of elder abuse. As his health declined, his spouse became frustrated with his situation and became emotionally and physically abusive over a period of years. The pattern of abuse gradually increased from outbursts until she began physically abusing him regularly. Throughout his late years, he had a significant reduction in his quality of life due to the fear of abuse,” he said.

Untermeyer’s four-point plan consists of appointing a deputy-level administrator to lead a task force charged with identifying and prosecuting crimes against seniors, including fraud, theft, identify theft and elder abuse; creating an elder abuse hotline through which Philadelphians can report crimes against seniors or get information about potential scams or attempts at fraud; increasing senior awareness and education so that Philadelphia seniors can identify and report elder abuse on their own; and working with law enforcement to better recognize crimes against seniors and bring cases straight to the DA’s office.

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The Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club last week endorsed candidates in the upcoming Democratic primary.

Larry Krasner got the nod for district attorney.

There are 29 candidates running for nine seats on the Court of Common Pleas, and Liberty City backs Lucretia Clemons, Mark Cohen, Vikki Kristiansson, Danyl Patterson, Henry Sias, Zac Shaffer, Dan Sulman, Stella Tsai and Betsy Wahl. Sias is running to be the first transgender man to be elected judge in the United States.

Seven Democrats are running for two seats on Municipal Court. Liberty City chose Marissa Brumbach and George Twardy.

There are five Democrats running for four seats on Superior Court, and Liberty City supports Maria McLaughlin, Geoffrey Moulton and Carolyn Nichols.

There are six Democrats running for two seats on Commonwealth Court, and Liberty City favors Ellen Ceisler and Todd Eagen.

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The Philadelphia Chapter of the National Organization for Women last week announced its endorsements for the primary.

NOW believes that the city needs a reformer in the district attorney’s office who will advocate for women, specifically women of color and their families. The group endorsed Democrat Joe Khan.

“Nearly every candidate is talking about reform, but the only candidate who is talking about women, without being prompted or asked, is Joe Khan. I have not heard one other candidate in any forum discuss rape culture and sexism and how that negatively affects all women seeking justice in our city,” said Samantha Pearson, NOW’s secretary.

“When you take into account the blatant racism, coupled with the overt sexism, in the current DA’s office, it is no surprise that women of color are the most underserved population in our city. Joe has sought justice for these women as a prosecutor and he will ensure justice for them as our district attorney,” said Natalie Catin-St. Louis, NOW’s president.

NOW endorsed Democrat Rebecca Rhynhart for city controller.

“Joe and Rebecca are a needed breath of fresh air for Philadelphia’s women and families. Many people overlook the very important role of the city controller. It is often overshadowed by the race for district attorney, but NOW is very excited that such a well-qualified woman as Rebecca is running for the job. At a time when everyone is concerned with reforming our government and ensuring that money is being well spent and used in making Philadelphians’ lives better, Rebecca is the obvious choice,” said Malcolm Kenyatta, president of NOW’s education fund.

Rhynhart, formerly city chief administrative officer, is challenging incumbent Alan Butkovitz in the primary.

“Running to be the first female controller of Philadelphia, it is a great honor to receive the endorsement of NOW, an organization whose mission reflects the progressive values I represent. Now more than ever, it’s time to bring fresh energy into Philadelphia politics and the Democratic Party, and I believe I am the independent voice all Philadelphians deserve to lead us. I cannot thank NOW enough for their support and look forward to working with them into the future.”

NOW endorsed Marissa Brumbach for Municipal Court and Zac Shaffer, Vikki Kristiansson, Betsy Wahl, Lucretia Clemons and Dan Sulman for the Court of Common Pleas. ••