City controller candidates to participate in forum

The Committee of Seventy will hold a Facebook Live forum for Republican Mike Tomlinson and Democrat Rebecca Rhynhart on Thursday, Nov. 2.

In other political news: City Councilman Brian O’Neill last week endorsed Beth Grossman, the Republican candidate for district attorney, at a news conference outside his office at Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5.

The Committee of Seventy will hold a Facebook Live forum for the two candidates for city controller on Thursday, Nov. 2, from noon to 1 p.m.

Participating will be Republican Mike Tomlinson and Democrat Rebecca Rhynhart.

Chris Satullo will interview each candidate for 15 minutes.

There will also be a 15-minute discussion with each candidate about the issues and their vision for the office.

The election is next Tuesday.

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Auditor General Eugene DePasquale last week endorsed Rebecca Rhynhart for controller during a news conference at an office building at 20th and Market streets.

DePasquale described Rhynhart as independent, nonpartisan and a problem solver. He credited her for being gutsy and showing leadership in criticizing operations of the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

“Rebecca will be committed to the Philadelphia taxpayer,” he said. “She will be a tremendous partner with me.”

Rhynhart, a former city treasurer, budget director and chief administrative officer, won the Democratic primary in May with 59 percent of the vote, defeating incumbent Alan Butkovitz. She promises to run a transparent office that identifies efficiencies in government, and to be an independent financial watchdog. The savings, she said, could go to public schools or holding the line on taxes.

“There needs to be more trust in government,” she said. “I will be independent.”

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DePasquale was asked about rumors that he plans to run in next year’s Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, challenging incumbent Mike Stack, who is not a favorite of Gov. Tom Wolf.

“Absolutely not,” he said.

DePasquale is in his second term, which expires at the end of 2020. He is prohibited from seeking a third term, and a successful run for LG could position him well for the 2022 governor’s race.

DePasquale, though, said he’s more likely to be playing center field for the Phillies next year than running for lieutenant governor.

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City Councilman Brian O’Neill last week endorsed Beth Grossman, the Republican candidate for district attorney, at a news conference outside his office at Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5.

“I could not have a better candidate to be standing next to,” he said. “The choice should be automatic. I think most people in the Far Northeast would agree that Beth is, by far, the best candidate in this race.”

O’Neill praised Grossman’s prosecutorial experience and work with the community as part of the district attorney’s office’s Public Nuisance Task Force.

The councilman said Democrat Larry Krasner, a career defense lawyer, “is not on the side of law enforcement.”

“His record speaks for itself,” he said.

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The Philadelphia AFL-CIO, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Transport Workers Union 234 and 32BJ Service Employees International 32BJ have endorsed Larry Krasner, the Democratic nominee for district attorney.

“The Philadelphia AFL-CIO is proud to endorse Larry Krasner, who will be a champion for workers as our district attorney,” said Patrick J. Eiding, president of the union.

“Larry Krasner’s election will be a referendum on decades-old policies that disproportionately imprisoned people of color,” said Gabe Morgan, vice president of 32BJ SEIU. “Larry Krasner’s election is the first step in healing divisions in our communities and saving Philly taxpayers millions. At a time when the White House eagerly fans the flames of racism and anti-immigrant fervor, Philadelphia has a rare opportunity to be a beacon of hope and progress by electing Krasner.”

A longtime civil rights lawyer, Krasner won the seven-way Democratic primary with 38 percent of the vote.

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State Reps. Jason Dawkins and Isabella Fitzgerald are among the members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus who last week endorsed Democrats Dwayne Woodruff for Supreme Court and Carolyn Nichols for Superior Court.

“Justice can’t be blind — justice needs to see the people of color of this commonwealth, and the first way to do that is to have a seat at the table,” said Rep. Jordan Harris, chairman of the caucus. “We’re here today to make clear that diversity on our courts matters.”

“It matters who is sitting on judicial benches, and having judges of diverse race and gender on the bench matters,” said Rep. Donna Bullock, vice chairwoman of the caucus.

Woodruff faces Republican Sallie Mundy.

Nichols is among nine candidates running for four seats. The other candidates are Democrats Maria McLaughlin, Debbie Kunselman and Geoff Moulton, Republicans Craig Steadman, Emil Giordano, Wade Kagarise and Mary Murray and the Green Party’s Jules Mermelstein.

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Pennsylvanians will elect two candidates to Commonwealth Court.

The candidates are Democrats Ellen Ceisler and Irene Clark and Republicans Paul Lalley and Christine Fizzano Cannon.

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Below is a list of judges up for retention.

Supreme Court: Thomas Saylor and Debra Todd.

Superior Court: Jacqueline Shogan.

Common Pleas Court: Linda Carpenter, Michael Erdos, Rosalyn Robinson, Teresa Sarmina, Ellen Ceisler and Shelley Robins New.

Municipal Court: James DeLeon, Nazario Jimenez, Brad Moss, Karen Simmons, Joyce Eubanks, William A. Meehan Jr., David Shuter, Marvin Williams and Thomas Gehret.

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There will be two questions on the ballot.

A proposed state constitutional amendment reads, “Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to permit the General Assembly to enact legislation authorizing local taxing authorities to exclude from taxation up to 100 percent of the assessed value of each homestead property within a local taxing jurisdiction, rather than limit the exclusion to one-half of the median assessed value of all homestead property, which is the existing law?”

A city bond question reads, “Should the City of Philadelphia borrow One Hundred Seventy-Two Million Dollars ($172,000,000) to be spent for and toward capital purposes as follows: Transit; Streets and Sanitation; Municipal Buildings; Parks, Recreation and Museums; and Economic and Community Development?”

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A federal grand jury last week indicted political consultants Donald Jones and Ken Smukler, charging them with conspiracy, causing unlawful campaign contributions, causing false statements and the filing of false reports to the Federal Election Commission and making false statements to the FBI.

According to the indictment, Jones and Smukler engaged in a falsification scheme involving contributions to the campaign of Jimmie Moore, who planned to challenge U.S. Rep. Bob Brady in the 2012 Democratic primary.

Moore has already pleaded guilty, admitting he withdrew from the election pursuant to an agreement with Brady, who promised to pay Moore $90,000 from his campaign funds to be used to repay Moore’s campaign debts. Those payments were made to Moore’s campaign manager, Carolyn Cavaness, and to an entity created for the purpose of repaying the Moore campaign’s outstanding debts to its vendors.

Cavaness, acting at Moore’s direction, allegedly used the money to repay the vendors and to reimburse Moore for loans he had made to his own campaign. She, too, has pleaded guilty.

Brady, chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party, has not been charged. ••