Clout: Philly convention with a union seal

Posted: April 25, 2012

LABOR UNIONS unhappy that the Democratic National Convention will be held this September in union-averse Charlotte, N.C., are organizing a massive "middle-class" rally for August.

The location: Philadelphia.

"A lot of people aren't happy that the Democratic National Convention is being hosted in a completely, 100-percent non-union environment," John Dougherty, head of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, told us Tuesday during the traditional Election Day lunch at the Famous 4th Street Deli. "So we want to make sure our voices are heard."

Ed Hill, IBEW's national president, told the Associated Press at the AFL-CIO winter meeting last month that organized labor was looking for a "union-friendly city" for the event. IBEW is one of several unions boycotting the Charlotte convention.

Kristie Greco, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Convention Committee, played down the strife Tuesday, noting that the Philadelphia event is being scheduled to not conflict with the Charlotte proceedings.

Dougherty said that the planning was still in the early stages but that he expects every union in the country to have a presence here. "It's just starting to take hold here," he said. "Let me put it this way: We're serious enough to start reserving hundreds and hundreds of hotel rooms."

That sounds good to Mayor Nutter, who first heard about the event from Dougherty on Monday, and thinks it could help the Democratic push for a second term for President Obama.

Dougherty said the event may start on Aug. 10 or 11. The convention in Charlotte starts with a rally on Labor Day, Sept. 3.

File under: Shenanigans

It wouldn't be Election Day in Philadelphia without some shady tactics. Here's a roundup of what we heard from the Committee of Seventy:

In East Falls, someone pasted stickers reading "scam" on the campaign posters of Jewel Williams, who was running for the the 197th District state House seat her father, Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams, held from 2000 until January.

In South Philly's 186th District, a judge ordered the campaign of Damon Roberts to stop circulating a sample ballot that falsely listed him as the Democratic County Executive Committee of Philadelphia's endorsed candidate and didn't identify who paid for that sample ballot.

In Center City's 182nd District, Democratic challenger Brian Sims accused incumbent Babette Josephs of improperly politicking in a polling place. A Josephs campaign spokesman quickly denied that claim.

DiCicco may run again

Former City Councilman Frank DiCicco circulated petitions to run for a state House seat when a redistricting plan moved his South Philly house from the 182nd District to the 186th District, an open seat because Kenyatta Johnson resigned in January to join City Council.

But then the state Supreme Court threw out the redistricting plan and ordered another drawn up. DiCicco said he may take another shot at public office in two years if the new plan puts him back in the 186th District.

"It's very possible, unless I get too comfortable being a private citizen or make so much money that I don't want to go back," said DiCicco, who served four terms on Council and now runs his own lobbying firm.

Put a sticker on it

New City Commissioners Chairwoman Stephanie Singer is trying hard to put the fun into voting. At polling places across the city on Tuesday, the commissioners provided red-and-blue stickers that said "I Voted Today" or "He Votado Hoy."

"I thought it was important to raise the profile of Election Day," said Singer. "One of my goals is to engage Philadelphians in the voting process. This is an inexpensive, fun way to raise the profile."

Singer said the stickers cost the commissioners $4,000. But Singer's joy seeing them on lapels across town? Priceless.

- Staff writer Catherine Lucey

contributed to this report.


Call Chris Brennan at 215-854- 5973 or email brennac@ phillynews.com.

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