Defanging the Ethics Board and the Sabatinas

So, back to this whole defanging on the ethics board...

First, again, let's be clear what the ethics board thinks about this bill change:

By eliminating the electronic filing of campaign reports with the Ethics Board, this bill would essentially gut the City’s 2003 campaign finance law and reverse the progress Philadelphia has made toward greater transparency and accountability in City government and preventing large campaign contributions from corrupting city government.

Without electronic disclosure of campaign finance reports, it would be extremely difficult for the Ethics Board to enforce the City’s campaign finance law’s contribution limits and other provisions. The bill also would limit public access to the campaign reports because the Board could no longer post them on the Internet.

We had a successful election, where the candidate who won for Mayor did so largely by screaming CHANGE and ETHICS at the top of his lungs. And in response, Philadelphia State Reps are going to de-fang the goddamn ethics board. They say there are problems with it? Then fix the problems. But, you might at least have the decency to wait until that candidate becomes the Mayor...

We are truly down the rabbit hole here.

So, I thought it would be good to look at something... Such as the sponsor of the bill- John Sabatina Jr, and his father, John Sabatina, Sr.

Sabatina Jr. was effectively first elected by 4 guys in a restaurant in the Northeast. Why? The ever wonderful special election, of course! He replaced Alan Butkovitz, who became City Controller. And, he did so when the ward leaders had a hamburger and picked him.

On a completely unrelated note, his father, Sabatina, Sr, is a ward leader.

When Sabatina was being put into office, here is what he said he would focus on:

As he begins the campaign, Sabatina will stress honesty, integrity and accountability.

"That’s what the voter wants," he said.

That is rich!

So, why would Sabatina, of all people, be looking to end disclosure? Who knows. But on a completely unrelated note, I thought it would be interesting to look back at his dad again... Turns out, his ward leader father is one of those 'consultants' who makes tens of thousands from Philadelphia elections.

Lets look, for example at just this past election, at the money he was taking in:

Bill Green:$7,500.

Matt Ruben: $10,000

Bill Green: $15,000

Bill Green: $10,000

Joe Waters: $10,000

Mike Erdos: $30,000

So, basically, from the outside, it looks like Sabatina, who was kicked out of the party for backing Sam Katz in 99, then brought back, brought in at least $52,500 $82,500 in 'consulting' fees. Nothing like a Philadelphia electoral system that rakes it in for you!

Anyway, so, to sum up all these completely unrelated things: Father, ward leader, backs Republican, is kicked out of party. Father then brought back in, is one of five ward leaders who installs son in office. Father rakes in money from the shadiest of that Philadelphia operation, 'consulting fees.' Son then votes to de-fang the City's ethics watchdog.

Just thought it was worth mentioning.

What of the rest?

I do not know Sabatina, and while the history is enlightening, I'd like to focus on the "progressive" "Philadelphia" legislators who voted and/or supported this bill.

Rep. Cohen has put up a terrible defense of the status quo. If that is the best they have in support of this thing, it is seriously lacking. Frankly, I really do not see why this issue was pressing. I have actually done one of these filings, and while semi-time consuming, it goes with the job. It really isn't that big a deal.

I am working to elect Larry Farnese to the General Assembly. Unless otherwise expressly stated, this and every comment or blog I post on YPP and any action I take hereon is solely attributable to me and not Farnese or Friends of Farnese

Here's a question

Dan, how long did it take you to do this research electronically? And if this bill passes, what would you have to do to replicate it?

Some of these state legislators are also Phila. ward leaders

Dan’s post provides an answer to one of the questions several people on this list have raised: Why are state legislators so concerned about changing city laws which do not apply to them as state legislators?

Some of these state legislators are also Phila. ward leaders or, as in the case of Sabatina, have close family members who are ward leaders. In this sense, the city reporting requirements apply to them.

Not to point out the obvious or anything...

but I imagine that picking Katz was more forgivable because of the queasy racial politics of Senior's ward. Green and Erdos are still playing by OldPhillyPolitics rules-- Hell, Green will be the third son of a mayor on City Council soon. I'm not familiar with Joe Waters; I'm disappointed to see Matt Ruben mixed up with this.

I can't, however, muster up enough surprise to be disappointed in our state representatives. (Especially not Mark Cohen-- as much respect as I had for his late father, Councilman David Cohen, I can't forget that the older Cohen was the one responsible for holding up ethics legislation for so long.)

I'm not exactly a Nutter supporter, but I can't fault his ethics moves.

What we need to do now is elect state representatives who try "screaming CHANGE and ETHICS" for votes.

John Sabatina, Sr.

John Sabatina, Sr.'s name has been sent by Rendell on July 5 to the Senate to be a workers compensation appeal board member (it's posted on the General Assembly's website under Senate Nominations). A search of his firm doesn't show any experience in workers comp - connections maybe?

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