Clout: Hornstein's Black Clergy endorsement is outta here

Posted: May 13, 2011

WAS IT MISSING cash or miscommunication that caused City Council candidate Jeff Hornstein to lose the endorsement of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia & Vicinity?

The group withdrew its endorsement and gave it instead to Mark Squilla, also seeking the 1st District Council seat in Tuesday's Democratic primary election.

Hornstein said he received a call this week from the Rev. Terrence Griffith, the group's first vice president, asking why it had not received a $1,500 contribution from his campaign.

"I value my relationship with the Black Clergy," said Hornstein, who included the endorsement in his campaign literature. "I earned it long before I was running for Council because I worked with them on affordable housing."

But Griffith said that he had trouble getting Hornstein on the phone and that a campaign aide finally told him to drop Hornstein's name from the sample ballots the group will publish in the Philadelphia Sunday Sun and the Metro and hand out at polling places on Tuesday.

The endorsement switch was not about money, Griffith said. In fact, some of the candidates on the sample ballots have given no money to the group, he said.

"There are no quid pro quos here," Griffith said. "The endorsement was not based on that."

Griffith said that Hornstein had offered to help pay for the sample-ballot printing but that Squilla had not.

"Maybe he will," Griffith said. "I don't know. But we're not going to pressure Mr. Squilla to contribute."

Squilla said that he knows the Black Clergy has a political-action committee but that the group hadn't said if he should make a donation.

"I don't know. I could," Squilla said when we asked if he planned to donate. "Is that something I need to do? I make donations to a lot of organizations."

Tayoun touting Tartaglione?

 We read the Philadelphia Public Record each week and it sure seems as if publisher Jimmy Tayoun is a big fan of City Commission Chairwoman Marge Tartaglione. But is he using his business to help her get re-elected?

Tartaglione's latest campaign-finance report showed she had $43,829 in the bank as of May 2, but had not spent any money in recent months in her bid to win a 10th term on the commission.

Tartaglione is, however, running ads in Tayoun's paper.

Tayoun told us there were "no freebies" for Tartaglione.

"She hasn't been billed yet," Tayoun told us. "She wanted to be billed weekly. I said don't bother. Concentrate on your election."

Still, it's not so farfetched an idea. Tartaglione's campaign-finance report from 2007 lists an in-kind contribution worth $1,200 from the Public Record on the day of the Democratic primary election that year.

One issue we can clear up is a claim, made in the form of an ethics complaint this week by a pair of Republican ward leaders, that the City Commissioners ran an ad with Tuesday's ballot in Tayoun's paper as a ruse to get their names in print at election time.

Tayoun ran that ad himself, adding a line that said it was "courtesy of the City Commissioners."

Tayoun ran an editorial in his paper yesterday calling the complaint a "political gambit" to "smear the commissioners."

No Democratic mayoral debate

 We've been waiting since February for T. Milton Street Sr. to "wax eloquent all up and down," as he promised while challenging Mayor Nutter to a debate.

It's not going to happen.

Nutter declined to appear yesterday with Street and the two Republican candidates for mayor, John Featherman and Karen Brown, when Larry Kane taped his "Voice of Reason" television show on the Comcast Network.

Kane said his next best option was to tape a show with one-on-one interviews with the four candidates. That will air on Comcast Sunday from 9-10 p.m.

Dom Giordano tried to get Nutter and Street to debate earlier this month on his WPHT (1210-AM) show. Nutter was willing, Giordano said, but Street could not finalize a date for the debate.

"We were really disappointed," Giordano said. "It would have been riveting."

Fast cash came and went

Republican John Giordano made a fast name for himself in Philadelphia politics, picking up $154,835 in campaign contributions from mid-November to early March in his brief bid for a City Council at-large seat.

Giordano, who received the local GOP endorsement but then dropped out of the race to take a job with Gov. Corbett's administration, spent it just as fast.

Giordano has just $116 in the bank, according to a campaign-finance report filed last week. He also has $16,566 in debt.

More than a third of Giordano's campaign war chest, $56,700, went to a political-consulting firm run by Ken Smukler and Linda August.

Giordano didn't pass the campaign cash around to other Republicans running for office.

"I didn't feel it was appropriate to do that," Giordano explained. "I told the governor I would cease doing anything political."


"Now Milton is the eternal optimist. I said: 'You must be crazy.' I said: 'You don't have any money.' He said: 'I don't need money.' "

- James Street Jr. older brother of Milton Street, when he heard that Milton was running for mayor.

Staff writer Catherine Lucey contributed to this report.

Have tips or suggestions? Call Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973 or e-mail

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Have a news tip? Gossip? Suggestion? Call Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973 or Catherine Lucey at 215-854-4712. Or e-mail

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