Clout: Votes are in and the 2nd District race gets dirty

Posted: May 20, 2011

WE KNEW the too-close-to-call Democratic primary election for City Council's 2nd District seat was getting a little tense.

It just got trashy.

Real-estate broker Barbara Capozzi trails state Rep. Kenyatta Johnson by 72 votes in the district, which includes parts of South and Southwest Philly and Center City. Yesterday, Capozzi emailed supporters a picture of her cleaning up Johnson's block.

Capozzi's campaign added a few comments when it sent the email to reporters, declaring Johnson's block to be "one of the filthiest blocks in the city."

Also this: "Barbara is ready to clean the campaign up with a WIN, and the City too."

The real point of the email seemed to be fishing for Election Day hijinks that could be used to contest the election results once the Philadelphia City Commission completes its official vote count, which begins this morning and will stretch into next week.

Capozzi asks her supporters to email her "any observations of irregularities" at the polls.

Mark Nevins, a spokesman for Johnson, had this reply:

"Now is the time to respect the will of the voters, not engage in the sort of personal, political attacks Capozzi favored throughout the campaign."

Apparently referring to the street cleanup, Nevins continued: "I can only hope that this campaign stunt wasn't a onetime effort and that she'll continue to find ways to stay involved and work with Kenyatta after he's sworn in as the next councilman from the 2nd District."

Speaking of political litter . . .

The question of who deals with the post-election problem of political campaign fliers and posters swirling around city streets came up during Wednesday's City Commission meeting.

Common Pleas President Judge Pamela Pryor Dembe, filling in as commission chairwoman because the commissioners were on Tuesday's ballot, asked about city regulations for when campaign materials must be removed after the election.

One staffer told her that for better or worse, the city's Department of Licenses & Inspections has jurisdiction in such matters.

But then another staffer told her that she had called 3-1-1, the city's information and services hot line, and was told that jurisdiction had been turned over to the Philadelphia Police Department.

"How about the SPCA?" Dembe deadpanned. "Probably they need the work."

Here's what L&I told us yesterday: "Several city agencies enforce against illegal signs depending on where the sign is located. Citizens should call 3-1-1 to report the sign, and it will be routed to the appropriate city agency from there."

Clout Line: Extra Innings!

Our Clout Line experts, five locals who have toiled in Republican and Democratic mayoral races, came close to nailing the prediction in Tuesday's grudge match between Mayor Nutter and T. Milton Street.

They predicted Nutter would win with 77.8 percent of the vote. The mayor got 75.8 percent.

The Republican race was harder to peg. They predicted Karen Brown, the Democratic committeewoman recruited to run for mayor, would defeat party insurgent John Featherman 55.4 percent to 44.6 percent.

Brown leads Featherman by just 53 votes as the city's official count gets under way today.

Four of our experts say Brown will prevail by a vote margin of 353, 229, 92 or 23. One of our experts says Featherman will take the race with 107 votes.

GOP fight over election

The Loyal Opposition, a Republican group trying to seize control and invigorate the party in Philadelphia, has called an election for a new GOP chairman Tuesday evening. The group is at odds with Republican City Committee Chairman Vito Canuso and general counsel Michael Meehan.

Meehan responded with a message to all GOP ward leaders, telling them there is no vacancy in the chairman's post, so no need for the meeting. Meehan also said that Mike Cibik, leader of Center City's 5th Ward and a Loyal Opposition member who called for the election and identified himself as the party's first vice chairman, does not hold that party post and has no authority to call a meeting.

The Pennsylvania Republican Party, which backs the Loyal Opposition, stripped Canuso of his title as chairman last year but took no steps to stop him from acting in that role. The state party said it found "numerous irregularities" in Canuso's re-election as chairman last year.

Quotable:

"Listen, I have no control over anyone. And to be honest with you, I only do politics because it works for my members."

John Dougherty, head of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, explaining that although two of the three candidates his union backed for City Council won their primary elections Tuesday, he doesn't expect to control them.

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

brennac@phillynews.com.

Check out the Clout blog at:

www.phillyclout.com.


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

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