This was a week that seemed to be more dependent than usual on using numbers to convey both the good news and the bad.
And, as is so often the case with numbers in the news, there was more of the latter. The Philadelphia soda tax looks set to provide a spritely $8 million bump to the city’s revenues – and a jolt of $32 million to state coffers – but then there were the headlines about two state prisons and two state mental health facilities, moves that will save millions and leave thousands jobless. There was the $1.8 million bill for the decidedly G-rated and censored Porngate report that the attorney general’s office negotiated down from its original $2 million price tag. The $314,000 in welfare fraud. The budget … you get the idea.
Enough with the new math – on to what you clicked here for!
Seth Williams: No, you’re reading that right. Making his first appearance on this side of the ledger is the perpetually embattled Philly DA, who appears to be the beneficiary of a glut of Democratic challengers in his re-election bid. With four declared opponents already, the odds of a split vote favoring Williams have greatly increased.
The Patriot News: We’re taking a break from honoring one individual to instead congratulate the paper, which received the good news that Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse has finally ended his six-month ban on commenting to its reporters. In other news: Papenfuse coincidentally announced he would be running for re-election.
Ken Lawrence: The Temple University alumni relations director is the de facto frontrunner to fill the Montgomery County Commissioner seat left vacant by Josh Shapiro’s ascension to attorney general. While 18 candidates have already sent letters seeking the position, the Court of Common Pleas judges who decide on replacements tend to go with the departing official’s party choice.
Michael Nutter: The former Philadelphia mayor has long sought a role in national politics, and was often mentioned as a potential member of a President Clinton cabinet, either as HUD or Transportation secretary. Of course, Clinton isn’t going to be in the White House, and even if she won, a recently leaked list of potential Clinton Cabinet nominees showed that Nutter wouldn’t be joining her administration.
Pat Toomey: Do you know where Pat Toomey spends his Tuesday afternoons? Neither do we, but we can tell you where he doesn’t pass the time: in his Philadelphia office. In fact, he hasn’t been there in over 2,000 days – a fact that the advocacy group Tuesdays With Toomey and a growing cadre of reporters have been trumpeting. Although we’re sure there is a perfectly good reason why the junior senator hasn’t managed to make time for face time with a portion of his 1 million-plus constituents in the city.
Bill Peduto: The Pittsburgh mayor, a longtime opponent of “pay to play” politics, found himself defending that very practice due to a series of fundraising calls he made with his chief of staff, who also chairs the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority. The issue doesn’t seem likely to die down anytime soon: Councilwoman Darlene Harris has called for an investigation into Peduto’s campaign finances as a result.