July 1825, 1996
Mary Frangipanni's Political Notebook
By Mary Frangipanni
Foggy Bottom Picnic
"I was happy that Bob Dole was in my district Tuesday night for the All-Star Game, but there are direct flights from Philadelphia to Charlotte, North Carolina," said Congressman Tom Foglietta to his colleagues in the House of Representatives last Wednesday, referring to Dole's decision to attend the game at the Vet rather than the NAACP convention.
"Bob Dole has obviously nothing to say to the NAACP and he won't do or say anything to offend the right wing of his party," said Foglietta.
By Saturday, Foglietta was on South Philly soil surrounded by ward leaders, committee people and friends who were involved with his primary election. He and his staff were in town Saturday afternoon for a barbecue bash at the American Swedish Historical Museum to show appreciation for his supporters' commitment to his re-election.
One man who made sure he attended the picnic was Paul Arcure, a national delegate from Foglietta's district. Arcure returned from the Democratic Training Academy in Somerset, NJ, just in time to attend.
Part-owner of the Waldorf Cafe, a 5th Ward committeeman, and member of the board of directors of POPEC, Arcure is a busy guy.
Still, he has time to play around on the Internet that's how he found out about the campaign training academy, sponsored by the Democratic National Committee.
"I was interested and checked it out," said Arcure.
The four-day session focused on grassroots campaign tactics, strategies and fundraising. The courses were taught by professional consultants.
Participants' performances were rated in various ways and Arcure said he was depressed to hear he came in at number 17. But he got happy again when he discovered that it was 17 out of the 1,400 who attended. He has now been selected to work on a national campaign for the remainder of the year, with travel expenses paid by the committee and a monthly salary of $500.
"It's not a lot of money," said Arcure, "but the experience will be good for me. We've got to turn back the extremist Republican agenda; it's even more important for those of us that are gay and lesbian because of bills such as the Defense of Marriage Bill and for those in the HIV/AIDS community vulnerable to proposed cuts in Medicare." Arcure is seriously considering running for an at large Council seat in 1999.
The barbecue crowd flocked around 49th Ward Leader Shirley Gregory. Was it her perfume? No, it was because she may be State Sen. Gregory soon.
Word is that Gregory, who serves as Foglietta's community services director, may very well be voted in by the 16th District ward leaders next month. Due to the recent death of State Sen. Roxanne Jones, State Democratic Chairman Mark Singel has called for a special election on Nov. 5. The ward leaders in the senatorial district will caucus to select a candidate to go on the ballot.
"I can't officially campaign until I become a candidate," said Gregory. "But I am attending every event I am invited to, and I have been invited to a lot of places lately."
Gregory has a large ward 22 divisions and considers 20th Ward Leader Shirley Kitchen, who is also interested in the Senate seat, her biggest challenger; Kitchen only has six divisions. The deadline for the caucus is Aug. 21, and it will be the job of 35th Ward Leader George Naulty, who has the biggest ward, to initiate the process. Philadelphia Chairman Bob Brady will oversee the caucus in hopes that the ward leaders will be unified. Other possible candidates are 42nd Ward Leader Linda Matthews, 47th Ward Leader George Brooks, and even George Naulty. "I think George said that just to be funny," said one commiteeman.
"I have also heard that Rosita (State Rep. Youngblood) is interested in running," said Gregory. Youngblood is Leader of the 13th Ward.
"I am still keeping an eye on Rosita," said John Connelly, who attended with his wife, Thera Martin-Connelly who recently left Greater Media Cable to become press secretary for Foglietta's colleague, Chaka Fattah. John Connelly had seriously considered running against Youngblood in the primary but said he decided to give her another chance.
Chatting with the Connellys was John O'Connell, a 12th Ward activist, who has assumed much of Florence Cohen'sresponsibilities since her retirement as chief of staff to her husband, Councilman David Cohen.
I say hello.
Stan White was greeting guests. And that's not his only new job. White, who is currently Foglietta's executive director in Philadelphia, will leave for Capitol Hill soon to become his senior legislative assistant.
"I'm depressed about it," said the Congressman. "I want him to stay here. He does a good job, but he wants to learn more about legislation."
Wendell Pritchett will replace White in the local office.
Michael Foglietta, Tom Foglietta's campaign treasurer, tagged along with his Uncle Tom.
In April of this year, Michael was the target of a nasty radio dust-up when Judge John B. Braxton accused he and Tom of operating an international trading scam; Michael is currently employed at the world trade division of the Delaware River Port Authority
He blames Braxton's PR firm, Keystone Strategy run by Larry Cisler and Ken Smukler.
"But the voters made their decision. It's clear that Cisler and Smukler's sleazy modus operandum didn't work," said MichaelFoglietta.