More City Hall Indictments

Via Catherine Lucey of the Daily News, we get word that there are some new indictments coming out of City Council's chambers today, this time courtesy of the Chief of Staff of GOP Councilman, Jack Kelly:

City Councilman Jack Kelly's chief, Chris Wright, and three men involved in local land development were indicted this morning on federal corruption charges. Federal investigators say Wright used his post to help real estate developers Ravinder and Hardeep Chawla and their attorney Andrew Teitelman. Wright, the indictment said, received $16,000 in cash, gifts, a free apartment near Rittenhouse square and free legal services.

Check out the rest at Philly Clout.

How about this? How about some statements from City Councilpeople that when staffers are indicted, it is an indictment on how they, too, are running their offices? I know there is a level of collegiality involved in City Council, and I am sure it is somewhat necessary. But at some point, the 'good apples' are going to have to realize that staying quiet when their colleagues bring embarrassment to their whole legislative body, and to our city, is just not OK.

I know that when previous indictments (and later guilty pleas) came out of Donna Miller's office, I received emails from multiple staffers saying that they wish they could speak out, because the job they took pride in was being denigrated.

Maybe it is time for their bosses to step up to the plate?

And of course

Election fraud charges related to alleged mishandling of absentee ballots in the razor tight Nov. runoff between David Oh and Kelly are apparently still puttering along through federal court so there are still fireworks likely to come on that front as well.

-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

Keep the Context in Mind--River City Development

This indictment is connected to the massive River City proposal for JFK Boulevard and the
Schuylkill River. This proposal is attractive in its boldness, its attempt to bring multiple uses together, and its integration the river into they city. But it is also far too large and would be a major imposition on the people who live in the Logan Square neighborhood. Let’s hope that the indictment brings some sanity to this development

Why Chris Wright?

It eludes me how a staffer in a Republican Councilman At Large's office could be any help to someone in a Center City developement.

Republicans Part of City Council's Governing Majority

Republican members have long been part of City Council's governing majority because the Democratic Party is factionalized and they may play a decisive role in picking a City Council President.

The Republican Party, for instance, cast the decisive votes electing John Street Council President over Marion Tasco and was helpful in electing Anna Verna as street's successor and keeping her in office.

While Republicans do not get committee chairs in City Council, they do get adequate staffing for legislative and constituent service purposes and two of their three members get the extra salary caused by their being party leaders. Their bills get treated with similar respect as Democratic bills.

Republican members also have links to big donors who might want to contribute to Democratic mayoral candidates. The Republican Party has long been able to negotiate for patronage jobs in City Council and in City government as a whole. They are not outsiders to city decision-making by any stretch of the imagination.

There are positive aspects to bipartisan cooperation. More people, in general terms, favor parties cooperating than parties fighting. But the influence that bipartisan cooperation brings can lead to dangerous entanglements, as is alleged to have happened here.

Please explain

Republican members also have links to big donors who might want to contribute to Democratic mayoral candidates. The Republican Party has long been able to negotiate for patronage jobs in City Council and in City government as a whole. They are not outsiders to city decision-making by any stretch of the imagination.

There are positive aspects to bipartisan cooperation. More people, in general terms, favor parties cooperating than parties fighting. But the influence that bipartisan cooperation brings can lead to dangerous entanglements, as is alleged to have happened here.

Mariano did almost exactly the same thing as Chris Wright allegedly did. I don't see what this despcription of "dangerous entanglements" actually means. In many ways your post is spot on - it explains how the two guaranteed "minority seats" on council make the local Republican Party machine in terms of how City Council functions as a defacto adjunct of the Dem machine. State government in the NorthEast is obviously different but not Council. Jack Kelly was officially a Republican but in terms of his alliances and where he stood on council, the fact that Frank Keel ran his general election messaging and that he came out for John Dougherty's State Senate announcement is probably a far more significant piece of information than the (R) after his name.

Besides those seats are guaranteed by the City Charter so its not like the City has any option for opting out of such "entanglements". If anything its a suggestion that at a local level "party" is meaningless and the smart money is on leveraging your vote's maximum impact by spending two of your City Council at-large votes in the general election to pick the "best" Republicans - provided there is one. Its the single simplest thing an individual Dem can do to make their vote have more numerical impact on city government. Because of the registration imballance, Dems voting for Republicans in the at-large elections has about 4 or 5 times the numerical impact in affecting who will sit on Council than their votes for Dem at-large candidates will. As such it sort of begs the question of why we even allow party affiliation in municipal government at all.

I first started voting for city elections in San Francisco where they don't allow party affiliation on the Board of Supervisors at all. The world does not end.

-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

DRM, perhaps?

I didn't see any mention of everyone's favorite inert Councilperson, Donna Reed Miller. Any scuttlebutt about more corruption in her office, perhaps even leading right up to her?

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