While recently touting his campaign to clergy members, judicial candidate Jim DiVergilis said that he has hit people before — and he has "no problem" continuing to do so as a judge.
"I've done it. ... It's not only a punch in the mouth, but there is a baseball bat or a golf club," he said. "I have no problem doing it today as a lawyer or as a judge. And you can bet as a judge, if the parents are not gonna discipline these children, I'm gonna jump off the bench and I'll discipline either the parent and [sic] the child," he said.
Then, while talking about flash mobs, he added, "It's time to get up off that bench and give them a back hand to the mouth. And that's exactly what they need. If they got it like we all got it growing up, this city would be better."
You can hear DiVergilis' words yourself in the video above. According to a source who was there, DiVergilis was speaking to the Pentecostal Clergy PAC, along with several other politicians, in March.
DiVergilis did not immediately respond for comment. He is running for judge in the Court of Common Pleas in May 17's election.
Another part of the video worth noting: While talking about committee people, DiVergilis says there are "some things that we can take care of, to give them something for their efforts of getting petitions signed."
DiVergilis, if you recall, was just in City Paper last week: According to a letter obtained by CP, if you donated money to his campaign at a recent fundraiser, you would get police "courtesy cards" — better known as "get-out-of-jail-free cards" on the street — in return. Read more here.
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City Paper's ElectionEar presents ...
It's election time, folks!
For four weeks, the ElectionEar has brought you (increasingly hard to find) coverage of this year's primary election, in which nothing less than the future of the fair city of Philadelphia is at stake.
For a list of all candidates on the ballot, go to the Board of Elections website. For extremely helpful voting information (including polling places and a list of who you'll get to vote for) visit the Committee of Seventy.
And for fun, exciting, amazing City Paper coverage, read this week's cover story by Holly Otterbein and Isaiah Thompson — and don't forget the special edition of ElectionEar, which looks at the battles behind the battles.
And now: Dozens of candiates are running for a slew of offices — Mayor, City Council, Sheriff, City Commissioner, Register of Wills, and city and state and judicial races.
But who are these candidates? And why should you vote for them?
To find out, read the candidates' responses to ElectionEar's 2011 Ultimate Primary Candidate Questionnaire below. You'll find out their thoughts on everything from the city's biggest weakness to the Philadelphia School District — and even whether or not they can spell.
Big news: Former Mayor John Street is going to endorse Verna Tyner in the 8th Council District race, sources tell City Paper.
This is the second high-profile endorsement that Tyner has secured today: Earlier, incumbent Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller announced her endorsement of Tyner, saying she "knows what it takes to make things happen in city government."
Tyner is one of the percieved front-runners in the race, along with Cindy Bass, who's been racking up big political endorsements for weeks now — from Mayor Michael Nutter, District Attorney Seth Williams, state Rep. Dwight Evans, and, just announced today, Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel.
Tyner's two new endorsements surely change matters — though in what capacity, we won't know until May 17's election. It's also worth noting that Tyner has vowed to not support a DROP-enrolled official for the next Council president — i.e. Marian Tasco, who is Nutter's presumed choice. Councilman Darrell Clarke — a Street protégé — is also expected to run for president.
Bass, meanwhile, has declined to say who she'll support for Council president — and, as mentioned before, has been endorsed by Nutter, who ran for office as the "anti-Street."
Just now, Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller endorsed Verna Tyner in the fierce 8th Council District race.
You can read her reasons in the statement below:
Today, after months of consideration, I decided to publicly endorse Verna Tyner for the Eighth Council District race in the May 17th Primary election. My decision was based on Tyner’s fifteen years of enthusiastic dedication and work that she has put into the community; and the commitment to those she represented while working for two other Council members.
Verna Tyner has a wealth of knowledge in regards to the operation of City Council and city government; and I know she has the necessary experience to represent the Eighth Council District. While so much has been accomplished, there is still a lot to be done. Verna Tyner brings with her the kind of pragmatic leadership that is required to continue this task.
While many Eighth District candidates are bogged down in idealism, they offer no real solutions. Verna knows what it takes to make things happen in city government. Furthermore, she has the requisite relationships to effectively serve the constituents of the Eighth Council District. I ask you to join me in support of Verna Tyner’s candidacy.
Look for more on what this means from ElectionEar later.
Hot on the heels of success from his campaign video likening Philly to the Libyan dictatorship — which made it onto the Drudge Report — GOP mayoral candidate John Featherman has released another ad.
In this one, he yet again pokes fun at the city's political machine — in particular, the allegedly cozy relationship between leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties — as well as his opponent Karen Brown. For folks in the 8th Council District, you might want to tune in: Germantown Settlement is mentioned.
You've heard the Committee of Seventy bag our city's row offices, but do you still have nary a clue what they are — or which row office candidates to vote for in this month's upcoming election?
Then consider going to tonight's forum, aptly titled "What Are These @!#? Offices & Why Do We Vote For Them?" featuring candidates for Sheriff, City Commissioner and Register of Wills. It starts at the Free Library at 6:30, and will be moderated by Ben Waxman, who's written for the Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY.
Two particularly uncoventional Sheriff candidates, John Kromer and Cheri Honkala, have confirmed that they'll be there. Kromer says that upon election, he'd abolish the Sheriff's position altogether. And Honkala, a longtime activist and Green Party candidate, says she'd suspended all sheriff's sales and refuse to evict families from their homes.
ElectionEar's @hollyotterbein will be live-tweeting the event, a-duh — follow along starting at 6:30!
And click below to see which candidates have confirmed attendance for tonight.
If you give $500 to Common Pleas judge candidate Jim DiVergilis' campaign in an upcoming fundraiser, you'll get 15 police "courtesy cards" — also known as "get-out-of-jail-free" cards to some. Legend has it that if you flash a courtesy card after getting pulled over by police, you can avoid getting a ticket, so long as you didn't just run over a puppy or do something really egregious.
The courtesy cards are signed by Fraternal Order of Polce (FOP) president John McNesby, according to a letter recently sent out by the FOP, of which City Paper obtained a copy. (The FOP has endorsed DiVergilis.) $500 gets you 15 cards, which are tradtionally given to friends and family of police; $100 gets you 10; and $50 gets you five.
You can read the FOP's letter here.
Last year, the Inquirer ran an article in which McNesby claimed that the cards are basically worthless:
"I think, years ago, if you showed one you might get a free pass from a ticket," [McNesby] said. "But it's an antiquated tradition. These days I think officers use a lot of discretion with people in general. If you get pulled over for something, you have your license, registration, a clean record, the officer might let you go with a warning. That's a courtesy they show to a lot of folks."
But some claim otherwise. Police departments in other cities, like Toledo, Ohio, meanwhile, have done away with the cards because of scandals that broke out about them.
It turns out that DiVergilis isn't the only candidate whose campaign is giving out police courtesy cards: NakedPhilly recently reported that if you give $1,000 to City Council candidate Bobby Henon, you get 15 cards signed by the FOP's McNesby.
According to the City Commissioners, GOP mayoral candidate Karen Brown has violated campaign finance law — for the second time this year.
Brown has failed to file a campaign finance report for her political committee "Friends of Karen Brown" with the Commissioners' office — despite it bringing in more than $11,000 in contributions last year. By law, candidates are required to do so.
Tim Dowling, of the Commissioners' office, says a complaint about the violation has been referred to the District Attorney's office.
In February, the city's Board of Ethics found that Brown had violated another campaign finance law — a fact that, until now, has not been reported by the press. At the time, Brown was running as a Democrat for the 1st Council District and at-large seats, and violated a law that bars candidates from having more than one political committee for each office being sought. Brown had "Friends of Karen Brown," as well as "Karen Brown for 1st District Council" and "Karen Brown for City Council at-Large."
The Ethics Board settled with Brown, and waived any fines or penalties against her.
To her credit, Brown has filed a campaign finance report for "Friends of Karen Brown" with the Ethics Board, in accordance with the settlement agreement. But according to the two offices, candidates must file the reports with both.
When reached over the phone, Brown says, "I did what I was told to do [by the Ethics Board]." She also claims that as soon as she became aware of her first violation in February, she told the Ethics Board and complied with their investigation. "Not being a politician before," Brown says, "I realized I had made a boo-boo."
The ElectionEar is a good listener: Send your tips here.
On Wednesday's debate between 8th Council District candidates, there were a few notable disagreements — over term limits, how to deal with the Martin Luther King Jr. High School scandal, and which Councilperson to support for president.
But more frequent, it seemed, was consensus among candidates. Most advocated for more transparency in the position, involving the community in development decisions, using education to wrestle with gun problems, and fighting for the city to take back control of the Philadelphia School District.
So how are candidates separating themselves from the crowd?
Some, it seems, are using personality to do that trick — which is something often better conveyed in video than in words. See above for a short clip of the debate, organized by NewsWorks and the Committee of Seventy, in which candidates respond to moderator Chris Satullo's call to prove that they won't be beholden to the political machine or big donors. (Satullo, WHYY's executive director of news and civic dialogue, pulled his questions from a series of forums that NewsWorks held with local voters throughout the past several weeks.)
The first candidate to respond is Robin Tasco, then Howard Treatman, Verna Tyner, Cindy Bass, William Durham, Andrew Lofton and Greg Paulmier.
Throughout the debate, Tasco, as one person closely watching the race put it, came off as the person you'd want in a fight — she's visibly pissed about Bass' campaign allegedly threatening her. Bass is cool and confident — perhaps because of all the endorsements she's racked up. Paulmier is talkative, happy, a grassroots developer. Durham is the no-nosense State Democratic Committee representative. Treatman is the cerebral developer. Lofton is the passionate underdog. And Tyner is part calm and collected, part fighter (when speaking out against DROP, she stood up to boldly make her point and called on the crowd to voice their opinion about the program).
The ElectionEar is a good listener: Send your tips here..
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