May 22, 2014 |
TRENTON - Democratic legislators investigating September lane closures at the George Washington Bridge grilled a former member of Gov. Christie's administration on Tuesday about whether politics - not constituent service - was the guiding impulse in the performance of his government job. No one accused Matt Mowers of closing the lanes, and he said he was not involved. But Democrats, who control the Legislature, seized the daylong hearing as an opportunity to criticize the now-defunct Office of Intergovernmental Affairs for a variety of reasons.
May 19, 2014 |
A relatively small Philadelphia union has become the biggest independent source of campaign money in the state. Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has poured $25.6 million into political races since 2000, an Inquirer analysis of campaign records found - more than statewide powerhouses such as the trial lawyers, teachers' unions, or Marcellus Shale gas drillers. The donations, financed by members' paycheck deductions, have helped turn the local and its business manager, John J. Dougherty Jr., into a potent and even feared political force.
May 10, 2014 |
Business and political leaders on Thursday stepped up a campaign for developing massive new infrastructure to deliver energy to Philadelphia from the booming Marcellus Shale natural-gas fields. "We're really bound and determined to make an eastern natural-gas energy hub here in Philadelphia, and that's all about connecting to the Marcellus," Philip Rinaldi, chief executive officer of Philadelphia Energy Solutions, told the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce's State of the Region event at the Crystal Tea Room in Center City.
May 9, 2014 |
The legislative committee probing the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge has subpoenaed a top political adviser to Gov. Christie. The subpoena to Mike DuHaime, announced Wednesday, seeks communications and documents related to the September lane closures, as well as concerning specific conversations between DuHaime and several other figures in the controversy. Those conversations - including a Nov. 11 meeting with David Wildstein, the former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official who oversaw the closures, and a December phone conversation with Christie - were noted by DuHaime in an interview with lawyers hired by Christie to review the issue.
May 8, 2014 |
SECAUCUS, N.J. - When Gov. Christie in March demanded tighter restrictions in a bill to limit raises for some police and firefighters, Senate Democrats quickly accepted his revisions and sent the bill to the Assembly to consider just before the cap was to expire. But Speaker Vincent Prieto had already left the Statehouse for the day. His caucus had passed legislation to renew the cap, set to expire April 1, and Christie's conditional veto did not leave much room for negotiation. With that, Prieto, who became speaker in January, defied the Republican governor, parted ways with Senate President Stephen Sweeney, and sent them a political message: They can't get anything done without the Assembly.
May 6, 2014
BACKSTAGE before an education forum at the Free Library last week, Tom Wolf told me he was "still enjoying" his first run for public office. Because I've witnessed many such runs and own what I consider a healthy cynicism (others think it's not so healthy), I simply responded: "You'll learn. " Minutes later, Wolf got a sense of what I meant. That's when Rob McCord used his opening statement to head-butt Wolf, accusing the wealthy York County businessman of tolerating racism.
May 4, 2014 |
Readers' communications come in a mixed mailbag. Most ask questions. Others offer opinions. Some of the letters are complimentary, others not so much. I took a particular pounding for this opening paragraph of a recent column: "There was a time when the full-size pickup truck was largely blue-collar transit with a blue-collar price tag. As it turns out, that nostalgic note has gone the way of whitewalls, wire wheel hubcaps, and moderate Republicans. " I thought the reference to "moderate Republicans" was at once innocuous and factual, since the rise of the tea parties has left a number of moderate Republican lawmakers by the wayside.
April 30, 2014 |
When Paul E. Sigmund and his brother Peter returned to the United States from Germany in 1933, the then-preschoolers could not speak English. "He and I both spent our first years in Germany," where their father worked as a civil engineer, Peter Sigmund said. Their American parents "considered it better to stick with one language. " So they were the only German-speaking children on their block of Hewitt Road in Wyncote, making them "an object of wonder," he said. On Monday, April 28, Paul Sigmund, 85, who retired in 2005 as a politics professor at Princeton University, died of complications from pneumonia at University Medical Center of Princeton.
April 26, 2014 |
Richard J. Sestak, 54, of Springfield, Delaware County, brother of and campaign manager for former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, died of complications from cancer Wednesday, April 23, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Sestak grew up in Springfield, and graduated from Cardinal O'Hara High School, Villanova University, and Villanova University School of Law. He started his law career in New York City, in the capital markets group of Price Waterhouse and went on to practice as a commercial litigator at Kittredge Donley in Philadelphia, and Baker & McKenzie, Brown & Winfield, and Ropes & Majeski in Los Angeles.
April 25, 2014
MICHAEL R. Bloomberg recently announced that he would be writing a $50 million check to support a grass-roots effort to counteract the National Rifle Association. We live in an age of dueling oligarchs (take that, Koch brothers), made all the more pronounced by rising income inequality and Supreme Court rulings that have unfastened political spending by the rich from its modest legal tethers. It's hard to see all that as good for democracy. Nonetheless, we can't help but admire this foray from Bloomberg as a rare instance in which the big money is on the side of the public in a fight against a special interest, rather than the other way around.