Clout: In Philly, City Council interest draws familiar crowd

Posted: July 16, 2010

PHILLYCLOUT'S handy election calendar shows the May 17, 2011, primary is just 10 short months from tomorrow. With no time to spare, pols across the city are positioning themselves for a shot at that most august of legislative bodies, Philadelphia City Council.

And no surprise here: The lineup so far contains many familiar names.

Brady urges on Saidel

Is former City Controller Jonathan Saidel mulling another bid for office after failing to win the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor last month?

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, chairman of the Democratic City Committee, said he has encouraged Saidel to consider running in Northeast Philly's 10th District, which has been represented by Republican Brian O'Neill for 30 years.

"I told him he should look at it, absolutely," Brady told PhillyClout. "Jonathan Saidel needs to be an elected official. He would be a tremendous asset to the City Council."

A Saidel spokesman said he is "enjoying the practice of law" and has not made any decisions about future political moves.

O'Neill said he plans to run for a ninth term. Of Saidel, he said: "If that's true, I'm flattered. I think a lot of Jonathan."

Living at large

Longtime Brady associate Rich Subbio is reportedly considering a Democratic at-large bid for Council, which hasn't drawn a warm reaction from the party boss. Brady says he told Subbio he can't support him if he runs.

"I told him I'm supporting the incumbents," Brady said. "I told him, you do what you have to do. I'm not doing nothing behind the scenes."

And Brady said Subbio, who had been working for his congressional office, is no longer on his staff because he is weighing a run.

"I said you can't work and run for Council," Brady told us, stressing that if Subbio decides against running, he'll reconsider.

Subbio did not respond to a request for comment.

On the Republican side, state Rep. Denny O'Brien is considering an at-large run for Council. O'Brien, who is running unopposed for the 169th state House district in Northeast Philly, was first elected in 1976 and served as speaker in 2007 and 2008.

"I guess I would say that, unless there is an intervening act like I become speaker of the House again, that it's something that I'm interested in," O'Brien said.

DiCicco, Anastasio and DROP

It looks as if there's more than one candidate interested in the Council seat held by Frank DiCicco.

Attorney Vern Anastasio, who has unsuccessfully run against DiCicco in the past, sent an e-mail to supporters last week expressing his interest in the seat.

But Anastasio's message was a little slippery - he's raising money, but said he'd only run if DiCicco didn't, noting DiCicco's enrollment in the controversial DROP retirement program.

DiCicco, however, plans to run and, if he wins, says he will contribute some or all of his salary back to the city to offset the $392,194 DROP payment he would receive before starting his next term.

"I don't have any problems with someone expressing the desire to run or deciding to run," DiCicco said. "The only thing was unsettling to me in his e-mail was that he emphasized the DROP."

Asked if he was encouraging him to retire, Anastasio said: "I would never suggest that he ought to retire. As long as folks are healthy, people should be able to work for as long as they want."

And after Krajewski . . .

City Councilwoman Joan Krajewski, in office since 1980, is not expected to run for reelection in Northeast Philly's 6th District next year.

State Rep. Mike McGeehan, running this year for a 10th two-year House term, is considered a likely candidate for her seat.

If McGeehan doesn't get into the Council race, another candidate waits in the wings - Bobby Henon, political director for Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Henon says some union leaders have talked with him about running. He's interested if McGeehan doesn't run.

"If Mike McGeehan decides to run for Council, we're going to be out there in front for Mike," Henon declared for his union.

Local 98 already is showing strong support for McGeehan. The union donated $25,000 in January for his re-election try.

McGeehan didn't have an opponent in the May 18 primary and is running unopposed in the Nov. 2 general election.

McGeehan could only use $10,600 of the Local 98 contribution to run for Council because of the city's campaign finance laws.

McGeehan doesn't want to talk about a run for Council until Krajewski makes her plans known.

"I really don't have too much to say about it until and unless the councilwoman makes an announcement," he said.

Mike Driscoll, a Democratic committeeman who ran for Council at-large in 2003, told us he wants to get back into politics and is "definitely considering" a shot at Krajewski's seat.

A report from the 70th Ward

Joe Hoffman Jr., a South Philadelphia pol convicted five years ago of taking $7,000 in cash to fix parking tickets for a taxicab kingpin, finally arrived in federal prison this week, checking into the Devens Federal Medical Center, about 40 miles west of Boston.

Hoffman, 54, a onetime Traffic Court hopeful and the son of the former 1st Ward Democratic leader, pulled a two-year federal jail sentence but delayed his departure for years - first with an appeal of his conviction, then by claiming that the prison system couldn't provide him with adequate medical care after a liver transplant. Two federal judges decided that the medical care at Devens would be good enough.


"By lawsuit, rather than by legislation, the Federal Government seeks to negate this preexisting power of the States to verify a person's immigration status and similarly seeks to reject the assistance that the States can lawfully provide to the Federal Government."

- A federal court filing this week by state Attorney General Tom Corbett, the GOP nominee for governor, and colleagues from eight states in support of the controversial Arizona immigration law against a federal suit.

Staff writers Catherine Lucey and Bob Warner contributed to this report.

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