March 16-22, 2006
City Beat : Political NotebookThe Green Party
Kelly, a former 7th District councilman who became a city lobbyist after he lost his seat to Dan McElhatton in 1991, won at-large in 2003 with help from Democrats like Councilwoman Joan Krajewski, an icon of the Northeast who is not seeking re-election next year.
"I wish she'd change her mind," Kelly said.
State Rep. Michael McGeehan, a Mayfair Democrat like Krajewski, is said to be the leading contender to replace her, but may only get party support if the Democrats feel they can regain his House seat in '08.
Meanwhile, Nutter said he is preparing for public hearings on March 27 for a public-smoking-ban bill. He says he feels confident the bill would pass council this time.
Councilwoman Marian Tasco, a Nutter ally who chairs the Public Health and Human Services Committee, will introduce the bill, which bans smoking in all indoor public places including private clubs. (No compromises, this time). Nutter deems public smoking a health hazard, particularly for bar and restaurant workers who are constantly exposed to smoke.
Meanwhile, there has been speculation floating around the city that Nutter won't give up his council seat to run for mayor next year. But Nutter says, "Those rumors are started by people who don't want me to run."
Kelly's party drew an eclectic mix, including a hatless Joe Mammana, who said he has been barred from Aruba. Mammana is frustrated with the pace of the investigation of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, the Alabama teen who was last seen in May in Aruba on a high school senior trip. He is helping her mother, Beth Twitty, find out what happened.
Last November, the governor of Alabama called for a boycott of Aruba, and Kelly and Councilman Juan Ramos proposed in City Council that Philadelphia join in. The resolution stalled because a majority of council wanted more information before making a decision. Twitty recently filed a civil suit against Joran van der Sloot, the Dutch boy who was partying with Holloway the night she disappeared. Aruba officials kept him for questioning but later released him. Mammana is helping pay for that suit.
Hanford Jones sued his employer, lost the suit, appealed and lost the appeal, but never lost his civil-service job. Who is his most generous and forgiving employer? Why city government, of course.
In spring 2004, Jones, the personal and professional coordinator for the Philadelphia Minority Business Enterprise Council (MBEC), sued the city, former City Commerce Director James Cuorato, Commerce employee Vincent Dougherty, the Inquirer, the Daily News, former Republican mayoral candidate Sam Katz and radio personality/Daily News columnist Michael Smerconish for publicly criticizing him.
According to court papers, Jones gave a presentation at an April 17, 2003 meeting with members of MBEC, the City Finance Department and the Commerce Department to address the lack of minority participation in city contracts and to identify ways to increase contracting opportunities for minorities. Jones' presentation included examples of bidding situations in which competitors had been predominantly or exclusively nonminority, and he specifically addressed the Home Ownership Project on Cecil B. Moore Avenue.
Jones stated that the lack of minority representation in the project stemmed from "Jewish firms" getting all of the contracts. He was quoted as saying that "Jewish architects and Jewish lawyers" dominated the developer teams.
Last May, Common Pleas Court Judge Allan L. Tereshko dismissed the case in favor of the defendants. Jones appealed, but lost last month. Recently reached in his office, Jones said he was the victim of yellow journalism and wrong information. "All of the facts in that meeting were not presented," he maintained. "I was just doing my job."
At the meeting, Jones said that he was concerned that none of the architecture firms recommended for the Cecil B. Moore project was black. HUD, which requires community and minority participation, partially funded the development.
"In a development where there is a 99 percent black residency, inclusion of minorities is crucial," continued Jones, who is unsure whether he'll appeal to the state Supreme Court. "I was reporting the facts that cannot be disputed. Cecil B. Moore would be turning in his tomb if he knew what had happened."